Get involved to help pass the Move Seattle levy

logoHey you! Yes, you. Did you follow our coverage as Seattle crafted a bold new Bicycle Master Plan?

Did your heart fill with hope for the health of your neighbors and loved ones as the city unveiled a plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030?

Are you simply sick and tired of hitting potholes or reaching the abrupt end of a sidewalk with nowhere to go?

Then you should get involved with Let’s Move Seattle, the campaign to pass the transportation levy Mayor Ed Murray proposed and the City Council unanimously supports.

Simply put, our plans to build and connect safe bike routes or take drastic action to prevent life-altering or -ending traffic collisions are just pieces of paper without funding, and Move Seattle is the best opportunity we’re going to have to repair, earthquake-proof and revolutionize our streets and bridges.

All this will be funded by Move Seattle and more. See a Council District breakdown in this PDF.

All this will be funded by Move Seattle and more. See a Council District breakdown in this PDF.

Move Seattle is how the city can provide more transportation options for everyone. It’s how we can fix the scariest parts of the Ballard Bridge. It’s how we can complete more and more Road Safety Corridor projects like NE 75th Street, which cut collisions by half and cut speeding by 60 percent (meaning collisions that do happen are far less serious).

And you can tell your skeptical friends and family that the new NE 75th Street actually carries more cars more quickly than before (lower top speed but fewer stops and delays means faster total trip).

We can build projects like this all over the city. And we don’t need to wait for another tragedy before taking action. There’s no shortage of streets just as dangerous as the old NE 75th Street. I bet you can think of one within a three-minute walk of where you are right now. We know where these streets are and we know how to fix them. All we need is the funding to get ahead of the problem rather than respond to tragedies. And that’s Move Seattle.

Why are so many Seattle schools surrounded by dangerous, fast streets? Don’t we want kids to have the opportunity to walk and bike safely to school? Of course we do! That’s why Move Seattle will fund a Safe Routes to School project at every single public school (and some private ones, too). See all those little green schools in the map above? This will fund Safe Routes to School to all of them. If our goal is to protect our most vulnerable community members (and of course it is), starting with schools is a no-brainer. But the more funding we can direct that way, the more sidewalks, crosswalks and neighborhood greenways we can build.

Which why it’s totally awesome that pressure from groups like Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and active residents like yourself convinced Councilmembers to expedite work at schools with the lowest income levels (and, therefore, the biggest need for low-cost and parental-time-saving ways to get to school). That’s the power of getting engaged! But the work’s not over yet. Now we need to pass this thing.

But that’s not all! Maybe you’re sick and tired of getting stuck in traffic on an overloaded bus. Why can’t we just give these hugely popular buses their own lanes? Or give them a way to get a head start at traffic signals? Or maybe even create an all new, more direct express bus route? We can!

Or maybe you want to improve economically-vital freight routes that are both efficient and maintain safety for everyone else walking, biking and driving around them. That’s in this plan, too.

There’s even money in Move Seattle to plant more trees (aside from making streets more pleasant, a tree canopy also calms traffic) and to partner with Seattle Public Utilities to reimagine street space as a way to increase neighborhood greenery and reduce environmentally-damaging and expensive storm water runoff.

But to make all this happen, Seattle needs to vote “Hell yes!” on Prop 1 to Move Seattle.

The owner of a median-value property ($450,000) in Seattle will spend about $12 more per month. But that money will enable about $1.8 billion in vital transportation investments over the next nine years. That’s because part of the $930 million raised will be used as leverage and planning to win federal, state and regional grants. These are grants like the one that helped build the totally awesome W Thomas Street bike/walk bridge between Lower Queen Anne and Myrtle Edwards Park. Maybe future grants will complete the amazing Accessible Mt Baker Project or even fix and/or replace the Ballard Bridge once and for all.

King County will mail ballots in just two months, 20 days before the November 3 election (and for the love of god, register your ass to vote right now if you haven’t already). So the campaign to raise support and get out the vote is gearing up. Elliot Helmbrecht will manage the campaign, and he sent the following email to supporters today. If you want to get these emails or (even better) sign up to volunteer for the campaign, fill out this form. Here’s the text of Helmbrecht’s email:

This November, Seattle voters will have an opportunity to renew our critical transportation levy to create a more modern, effective transportation system that gives all of us more choices for getting around our city efficiently, safely, and affordably. The nine-year Let’s Move Seattle levy, which replaces the expiring Bridging the Gap levy, does exactly that.

And we want you to get involved today!

The Let’s Move Seattle levy will improve our transportation system in three key ways:

One: More transportation choices to relieve congestion on our streets – Levy dollars will be allocated to projects designed to enhance transportation options and reduce travel times around the city. Priorities include:

  • Improving light rail connections – a new Graham St. station in SE Seattle and a ped-bike bridge in Northgate over I-5
  • 7 new RapidRide transit corridors
  • Automatic traffic signal timing
  • Street  improvements to relieve transit bottlenecks

Two: A focus on safety – Let’s Move Seattle makes needed investments to improve safety across the entire city. The levy funds:

  • Safe Routes to Schools projects at every public school
  • Safety improvements in high-crash areas
  • 150 blocks of new sidewalk
  • 60 miles of neighborhood greenways
  • Repairs to the Ballard Bridge
  • The levy is critical to reaching the City’s goal of zero traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

Three: Taking care of what we have – Millions will be allocated to infrastructure maintenance projects and repair work along major arterials. A few improvements include:

  • Seismic improvements to our 16 vulnerable bridges
  • Filling potholes and repaving up to 180 lane-miles of arterial streets
  • Repairing 225 blocks of damaged sidewalk.

Our campaign is just getting started and we want transportation advocates like you to join our effort today.

Head over to our website to learn more and sign up to get involved! And while you’re there, endorse the levy by adding your name on the Endorsements tab.

This is only the beginning and we look forward to working with you. Together, we can bring Seattle the transportation system we all deserve.

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15 Responses to Get involved to help pass the Move Seattle levy

  1. Southeasterner says:

    I would love to know what “repairs to the Ballard bridge” means. Is this fixing it so it stops getting stuck in an open position causing hours of delays for everyone? Is this expanding the bridge for a bigger bike/ped lane? Is this just painting the bridge and filling in the numerous cracks?

    The only way I will vote yes on Move Seattle is if they include something on accountability and add an independent review panel to ensure they are actually doing all the things they promise to do. We have been promised an “integrated” network of bike infrastructure for decades but promises have never amounted to much.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      From the Let’s Move Seattle FAQ:

      How do I know that this money will be spent wisely?

      The Let’s Move Seattle levy proposal includes strong transparency and accountability protections that build on the successful performance of the Bridging the Gap levy. That levy employed a robust accountability and performance tracking system, with progress on projects monitored closely by a City Council- and Mayor-appointed oversight committee. A similar oversight body would also be appointed for the Move Seattle levy. A list of projects completed with the expiring Bridging the Gap money can be found on the City’s Bridging the Gap website. In addition, Mayor Murray’s Move Seattle Strategic Vision lays out specific metrics that will be used to track the Seattle Department of Transportation’s progress in fulfilling the core values of the vision to a safe, interconnected, vibrant, affordable, and innovative city. Examples of those metrics include annual rate of pedestrian collisions, percentage of potholes repaired within 3 days, and percentage of destinations within a ¼ mile of frequent transit.

  2. Matthew Snyder says:

    I really hope SDOT has finally learned its lesson the hard way, and decides to complete full Environmental Impact Statements for all of the major projects funded by this levy, rather than try to quietly issue DNSs and hope nobody challenges them. It’s like a banana peel on the floor that we just can’t help slipping on, over and over again.

    What specifically will the Move Seattle levy do for the “scariest parts of the Ballard Bridge”? Maybe I’ve missed something, but all I’ve read was that there are undefined plans for “improvements” for pedestrians and cyclists. It would be nice to hear a little more detail about this.

  3. Harrison Davignon says:

    In a ideal Ballard bridge safety/ efficiency system, we would have 2 8 foot wide non motorized paths ( both just like the one on the i 90 floating bridge), one on each side of the new bridge( the old needs replacement). Next we would we safely connect the to two new paths to a big cycle track on either side of the bridge, have clean fuel buses that run every 10 minutes throughout the day, with dedicated bus only lanes, sidewalk safety improvements and fix road pot holes, all construction done at night to minimize congestion. That would hopefully virtually eliminate traffic jams, make things safer health wise( reduce smog related health problems) and collision accidents, and give people convenient options for transportation needs of all types. Maybe the rest of the city and other puget sound urban areas could do something similar. I would say will never get to zero accidents or deaths, but maybe we reduce them by 90 percent. 15 years to make this vision of safe, efficient transportation for all is too long in my opinion( then again for about 70 years of so we built all are infrastructure exclusively for the automobile, vehicles and driving were a big obsession during that time, so I understand why its such a slow process.

  4. anthony says:

    This is a farce, right?

    Hmm, do something about the Ballard Bridge? More like they’re gona make it easier for cars, not bikes. The City has been trying to quash bikes from the bridge altogether.

    Face it, supporting the City is asking for a death sentence for yourself on this. Don’t do it and you’ll feel better about yourself in the long run.

    • Al Dimond says:

      Recent channelization changes near the Ballard Bridge may be misguided, but certainly don’t suggest the city is trying to “quash” or even ban bikes from the bridge.

      • Anthony says:

        Al,

        what they’re doing in these “channelizations” is trying to actively discourage people from riding across the bridge. It all boils down to the inconvient nature of when bikes meet cars at each respective end and the City’s refusal to implement a safe and thorough route for cyclists since it will inherently slow down cars even more.

        The south end debacle is something that I frankly can’t believe anyone in their right mind would ever support the City after seeing that. The innumerable amount of ways they are trying to get us off that and onto the ridiculous crossing at the Locks never ends.

        They just don’t want to tell drivers to behave in a reasonable manner because they know it’s gonna piss them off and that always equates to umhappy voters at the polling place, so we take the brunt of their political BS everytime.

      • Al Dimond says:

        I think the city would like to generally discourage people from riding the bridge. Neither the general-purpose lanes nor the sidewalks are a great place to ride at this point. Anyone that has a remotely direct alternative is better off going somewhere else, and that will be true until substantial changes are made to the interchange on the south end, which is complicated by the fact that it’s partially on a viaduct structure.

        What the city is trying to do is define a consistent path to bike through. It’s legitimately difficult to superimpose that onto a physical layout designed to clear pedestrians entirely from the elevated west side of the interchange. Perhaps, despite this intention, crosswalks going through the triangle median would work just as well as all those crosswalks across ramps do on the east side of the interchange (which is not great — it’s at least four crossings, and it’s hard to keep track of which directions traffic can come from at each one — the west side would be more straightforward). But to change the original design that much the city would have to undertake a much bigger design effort and study.

        I’ve been ruminating lately on some people’s accounts of Davis, CA’s golden age of cycling — there, they say, before bike lanes bikes dominated the main streets of town. Cyclists rode out in the open where sight lines were good and had comfort in numbers, a far greater situation than door-zone bike lanes. If we are to build a true mass cycling culture we may do this on N 45th, NE 65th (Ravenna-Bryant), Market, the rechannelized Rainier, and California Ave, just like we do on Ballard Ave, The Ave, and Lake Washington Boulevard. But this is the situation on the local streets (including commercial streets), not the highways. 15th is a highway and there’s no plausible path to cyclists gaining enough comfort in numbers there that ordinary folk will want to ride in traffic there. Anything that happens until major construction is never going to affect many people; it’s just not a reason to ascribe malice to the city.

      • Al Dimond says:

        FWIW I don’t think they (the city, the feds, anyone) want people going through the locks with bikes in large numbers, either. The BMP expresses a high-level unfunded goal, to build some kind of sidepath along the Ballard Bridge with connections to the Burke on one side and the South Ship Canal Trail on the other. There’s no getting around how big a project that is. It could fit in under some of the Move Seattle projects (the Ballard transit improvements project includes Ballard Bridge ped/bike improvements, yet unspecified, which is reasonable — it will take some advocacy to get a good solution included). Without Move Seattle there’s nothing on the horizon.

  5. ODB says:

    Al, I’m interested in your observations about the “golden age of cycling.” I tend to agree that my favorite infrastructure allows me to mix with car traffic without being scared by it, e.g., Lake Washington Blvd. This is why I have always liked sharrows, because they legitimize the kind of bicycling I prefer. I hate door zone bike lanes (unless going uphill) and I’m skeptical about the safety of protected infrastructure at the speed I prefer to travel (and that anyone can achieve when going downhill or on an electric bike). But how to build a “mass cycling culture” that would provide “comfort in numbers” when inexperienced people evidently aren’t willing to just jump into unprotected situations? Greenways as a vehicular-cycling starter program? The natural progression of population growth clogging the roads to the point where cars aren’t going very fast relative to bikes? I’m reminded of advice I received when I was first getting into sea kayaking–the slow but super-stable boat that you prefer as a beginner is not a boat you’re going to enjoy as you get more proficient. The problem with cycling infrastructure compared to kayaks is that beginners can’t just trade up for a more advanced design once they have outgrown the super-safe model. Everyone at all levels is stuck with the same infrastructure.

  6. Anthony says:

    Al,
    Don’t ever beleive the crap about Davis, it simply isn’t true. Having lived there for ten years I can equivocally state that their set-up sucks so bad that any politican who supports it should be taken to Siberia, permanently. Davis a certified dump, and tries to pass itself off as roses.

    Having done three months in jail for my 17K in bike fines I know quite well what I am talking about. In 1991 or so the town made further strides towards hitting the bottom after creating another large parking garage for the whiny students who refused to ride the ten blocks to campus. It’s a sick culture there.

    As for the Ballard Bridge, anything can work for any number of pedestrians and cyclists. But if the City isn’t going to tell people to drive better and respect the other users then we’re gonna get nowhere. Many parts otown have higher rates of traffic like down at the stadiums and somehow people seem to get around with all that traffic. I would bet a hundred bucks that if we got all those publicly paid people downtown to ride the Bridge for a month there would be an IMPLEMENTED solution so fast it wouldn’t be funny.

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