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Streets for All: Bike and Ped spending up 7% in city’s budget

Streets for All says the city’s budget as approved by the City Council last week includes a seven percent increase in bike and pedestrian master plan spending over 2010. While this is not near the amount the group (or the mayor) was looking for, it is better than it could have been.

From Streets for All (via Great City):

Yesterday, the Seattle City Council passed the city’s 2011-12 budget. Our elected leaders faced the daunting task of closing a $67 million deficit while maintaining crucial city services. We are proud to say that the city’s 2011-12 budget takes a number of positive steps in the right direction towards providing transportation choices that will make our city safe and accessible for everyone. However, we will need to take much larger steps next year if we are serious about funding a transportation system that works for our future.

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Positive steps this year include:

·      Spending on the pedestrian and bicycle master plans will increase by seven percent over 2010;

·      Funding for basic street maintenance will increase by over $1 million in both 2011 and 2012;

·      A $784,000 increase in the Neighborhood Projects Fund (small pedestrian and bicycle improvements); and

·      A nearly $2 million increase for Mobility Operations, such as wayfinding, the Transit Master Plan, and safety projects.

Prior to the budget process the City Council also passed a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) and will form a public advisory committee to advise the Council on transportation priorities. The Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee 3 (CTAC-3) will report back to the Mayor and City Council early next summer with recommendations to design, fund and build a transportation infrastructure that aligns with the values and priorities of our citizens. The City Council enacted a vehicle license fee as part of this legislation to fund pedestrian and bicycle improvements and help support basic street maintenance.

None of this would have been possible without Streets For All Seattle volunteers like you, who “dominated the mic” and packed the house at budget hearings, sent thousands of emails to the City Council in support of our goals, and provided our elected leaders with the support they needed to do the right thing.

In fact, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Chair of the Transportation Committee, wrote us last week because he:

“…wanted to thank you and the other members of the Streets for All Seattle campaign for all your hard work over the last year to elevate the importance of increased investment in Seattle’s bicycle, pedestrian and transit infrastructure…. I believe your work was critical in getting us to create a TBD and pass the $20 VLF earlier this year. I also believe we would not be moving forward with CTAC-3 but for your advocacy.”

City Council President Richard Conlin added that: ”…with all of this work and commitment, and the strong advocacy of a new coalition called Streets for All Seattle…we have a great opportunity to move forward together with increased ped/bike investments.”

While we applaud these positive steps, the City Council missed an opportunity to significantly increase funding for pedestrian, bicycle and transit improvements when they failed to pass the larger revenue increase proposed in the budget. Despite modest increases in funding for walking, biking and transit, this budget barely makes a dent in meeting the great remaining needs for sidewalks, transit, and bike facilities in our city.

But this campaign has always been about more than this year’s budget process – it’s about engaging the entire city in a conversation on how to make Seattle into the city we want it to be. That’s why we’ll be back in 2011 to work with the City Council, Mayor McGinn, and people like you to build a transportation system that will make Seattle work for our future. Stay tuned for updates about our plans moving forward.

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