As I dive into the mayor’s proposed 2012 budget, one thing is clear: We need to pass Prop. 1.
We are looking at $300,000 in cuts to bicycle and pedestrian spot improvements, and it is unclear how long SDOT will leave Gina Coffman’s vacated position within the bicycle program unfilled (passing her work onto an already overworked staff). Coffman, who was in charge of projects like marking signed bike routes and more, left months ago for personal reasons.
Proposition 1 will restore this funding and then some. It will pump millions of dollars per year into pools that can be used for neighborhood traffic calming, the creation of neighborhood greenways and projects that will update our city’s streets to designs that have proven to save lives for all road users, whether they are in a car, on foot or on a bike.
It will restore bicycle and pedestrian spot improvements that make our city safer and ensure that when you get to your destination, you will have somewhere secure to lock your bike that does not block pedestrian or ADA access to our precious sidewalk space.
Ideas of what transit improvements could come from Prop. 1 are also developing in really exciting ways. For example: Imagine Metro’s 48 as an electric trolley bus from Mount Baker station to the UW. Now, imagine that it actually runs on time (it’s called the forty-late for a reason). For anyone who uses that bus (the most popular route in King County), that’s an inspiring vision (see more on that idea from Bruce Nourish at Seattle Transit Blog).
The investments in transit efficiency are permanent. You speed up a route once using infrastructure, and you save that time and those operating hours forever.
These investments make transit and biking more useful and more of a viable alternative to driving for more trips in our city. They are investments in a healthier and more lively Seattle.
The best argument against the Proposition is that a vehicle license fee is a regressive tax. This is true. Unfortunately, the state has unwisely taken away funding options that are more fair, such as a vehicle excise tax based on the car’s value. The council is working on a rebate program for low-income residents who will be hit disproportionately by a flat-rate fee. I hope they can create a program that will work.
But we are only talking about the cost of one and a half tanks of gas (one if you have a big SUV) per year per vehicle in Seattle. Instead of investing $60 in something to be burned in a few days, this plan will make investments that save lives and forever increase transit efficiency in our city.
Show your support by endorsing Prop. 1 online.
But if you feel even more strongly, Streets for All Seattle is working hard to gather a team of volunteers to spread the message of transit efficiency and safe streets to people all over Seattle. They need your help. Even if it is just three hours a week, it will make a huge difference in the campaign.
You can simply show up to any of the volunteer opportunities below. If you want to make your arguments stronger, the volunteer training is a useful opportunity to learn how to tell your story, but it is not required. Email Max Hepp-Buchanan at email@example.com to RSVP or if you have any questions about volunteering.
From Streets for All:
We are hosting phone banks four nights a week (Monday through Thursday) from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at the Futurewise office (814 2nd Ave, Suite 500) from now until Election Day. Anybody is welcome to attend and refreshments are provided.
We also have available shifts to pass out Prop 1 fliers at transit stops across the city with a team of people. We typically do this Monday through Thursday from about 4pm to 6pm and meet in Marion Court at the corner of 3rd Ave and Marion St at 3:30pm. Again, anybody is welcome to come help out.
*Special event this week: Volunteer training on Thursday, September 29, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the SvR Design office (1205 Second Avenue, Suite 200 Seattle). This is a great opportunity to learn how to effectively tell your story about why approving Prop 1 and funding transportation improvements are important to you.
*Special event this week: Volunteer happy hour at Fado Irish Pub (801 1st Ave) Friday, September 30 from 4:30pm to 6:30pm. Come check in about the campaign, share stories, and blow off steam. Everybody is welcome, including those that haven’t yet volunteered. This is a good opportunity to get involved and meet others that are working hard for a better transportation future for Seattle.