Mayor Ed Murray signed the 2017-18 Seattle budget last week, which includes some major short-term and long-term investments in safe streets.
We already reported on the most immediately-dramatic budget change, when the City Council pulled funding for Pronto Cycle Share beyond March 31. The Council did preserve Mayor Murray’s bike share expansion funds pending further Council approval. But beyond bike share, there are some major wins both from the Mayor’s original budget and from the City Council’s additions.
While Rainier Ave will get $1 million to help extend its recent safety project from Hillman City to Rainier Beach, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ attempt to dramatically increase the city’s Vision Zero funding didn’t catch on. For me, this is the biggest missed opportunity of this budget. Perhaps with a more clear plan for how the city can use the additional funds to scale up its successful Road Safety Corridor program, this effort will have a better chance next year. Because fixing a corridor or two a year just isn’t fast enough.
But still, there are a lot of great investments in this budget. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways highlighted these wins:
- $1 million to fix Rainier Ave S – the most dangerous street in the city, and an acceleration of funding for the exciting Accessible Mt Baker project.
- Funding to create a North Beacon Hill Multimodal Transportation Study to allow much needed safety and community building projects to move forward.
- Moving up the Bicycle Master Plan (Cascade Bicycle Club led the charge on this!) and Pedestrian Master Plan spending so we can design and build more safe streets sooner.
- Additional funding for Safe Routes to School ($400,000 from red light cameras).
- Directing SDOT to use best practices for streetcar & bike collision safety.
- Other great improvements to the budget: Funding to conduct a condition assessment of Seattle’s $5.3 billion sidewalk system to support smart investments in sidewalk repairs, a new grant writer position to help SDOT leverage Move Seattle funding, and a section of sidewalk for the Meadowbrook neighborhood.
Cascade Bicycle Club is also praising the budget, and even has a handy online tool so you can thank the mayor and City Council. They highlight:
- Accelerated dollars to build out the bike network
- Reporting requirements for streetcar projects and how they consider bike safety
- Improved staff capacity for revenue generation and community outreach
- Additional Safe Routes to School funding
- Millions toward other safe streets projects, such as Rainier Ave. S., Accessible Mt. Baker, and improved sidewalks