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O’Brien will Chair the Transportation Committee

1450410019-2016-2017_standing_committees___dutiesIt’s not just for photo ops, Councilmember Mike O’Brien really does bike everywhere.

But he’s also not just about bikes. O’Brien has a seat on the Sound Transit Board, and he has been a strong advocate for biking, walking and transit during his time on the Council. He was also among the only Councilmembers fighting hard against the downtown highway tunnel (he preferred investing in the waterfront, I-5 and transit service instead).

So it’s great news that O’Brien will be the new Chair of the Transportation Committee, taking over for longtime Chair Tom Rasmussen, who did not run for reelection. O’Brien is bringing the “Sustainability” with him to the now-named “Sustainability & Transportation Committee,” the Stranger reports. These placements all assume Bruce Harrell will get picked as Council President and the Council approves of his assignments.


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Former Transportation Choices Coalition Director Rob Johnson will be the Vice-Chair of the committee, and Kshama Sawant will also be a committee member (with Lisa Herbold as the alternate).

This is pretty much a transportation dream team, and I can’t wait to see them in action next year.

And they are going to have to hit the ground running. With Move Seattle levy funds kicking in, SDOT is going to have to level up to keep up with the new workload of major transit, biking and walking upgrades. The city will also have a Pronto Cycle Share plan in front of the committee in early 2016.

And, of course, Bertha is supposedly going to start moving again, bringing a ton of questions with it. And we couldn’t have better Councilmembers in place to ask them.


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8 responses to “O’Brien will Chair the Transportation Committee”

  1. Ballard Biker

    Great, something else to distract him from the problems he’s ignoring in his district.

  2. Adam

    Over the past year O’Brien has demonstrated that he’s more than willing to turn his ‘sustainability’ creds upside down in order to placate loud NIMBYs. I’m cautiously hoping that he does a good job and doesn’t just give in to whoever yells the loudest.

    1. Andres Salomon

      Don’t worry, D4 has your back.

      http://www.seattlemet.com/articles/2015/12/21/city-council-announces-committee-assignments

      “whoa, incoming freshman, District Four (U District, Roosevelt, Wedgwood) council member Rob Johnson, got a plum assignment: the land use committee.”

      “[Johnson] disagreed with mayor Ed Murray’s decision to take single family zones out off the table for new development. In fact, he went as far to say triplexes and duplexes should be in the mix.”

      O’Brien’s place is in the Transportation Committee. Johnson’s place is in both.

      1. Adam

        Thanks D4 for keeping it real.

        How about we start a GoFundMe for Maddux to move out of D4 to another district so he can run again in a different district. D4 needs to spread some of the love.

  3. Ramona amazon

    Rasmussen was terrible, so an upgrade isn’t too hard.

  4. Virchow

    Just wanted to offer a more optimistic tone than above. I think Councilman O’Brien is a fantastic guy and will be a boon for the biking/transit communities on the sustainability and transit committees. He consistently hammers out the most progressive agenda possible on the council. I wish he were repping my district :) and I am glad to have him helping stear the ship.

    Just curious, are there other councilmembers the above detractors prefer to head the committee? Who and why?

    1. Adam

      He tarnished his ‘sustainability’ and ‘progressive’ creds last year when he used his position on PLUS to repeatedly roll back the supply of housing and backtracked on portions of the HALA recommendations that had his own name on them.

      If he can be so easily swayed against such measures, despite them falling quite clearly under the ‘sustainable’ flag, then I have my doubts that he’ll do what’s right instead of what whoever screams the loudest tells him to.

      With that all said, I’m still happy that he’s on the committee. If I could have any swaps, I’d swap Herbold with Bagshaw. Bagshaw has a history of being a good friend to safe streets, and I’d like to have her proven voice on the committee.

  5. Conrad

    I am impressed with O’Brien’s track record so far. He was the only one on the council at the time that was against the big tunnel if I remember correctly. As near as I can tell he is the only council member that rides his bike to work on a regular basis. Come on. Whats not to like?

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