Who’s the best District 5 candidate for biking and safe streets?

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Seattle City Council Districts map.As noted in our previous posts, Seattle Bike Blog is not doing official endorsements this primary. Instead, I’ll be going district-by-district, posting videos from the MASS Coalition’s transportation forums along with a roundup of transportation-related endorsements and other notable news items and thoughts.

Couldn’t at least one of those great District 4 candidates have lived just a few blocks further north?

The District 5 race leaves a lot to be desired. Incumbent Debora Juarez has not drawn a high quality challenger, it seems. Juarez gave good, though not inspiring, answers to Lester Black at the Stranger (be sure to check out the spreadsheet of responses), which is more than I can say about the other candidates who bothered to respond.

Juarez has somehow managed to publicly stay out of the 35th Ave NE bike lanes fight, though her lack of support for the project, which crossed into her district, is itself saying something. The mayor’s last-minute decision to cut those bike lanes has proven to be a huge mistake, and her lack of advocacy for SDOT’s designed and contracted plan has resulted in a more dangerous street in her district and a gap in her district’s bike network. Folks who live in D5 and ride a bike could really have used her help standing up for them.

The Urbanist notes in their non-endorsement that “In her questionnaire, Juarez refused to side with safety advocates pleading with the city council to save lives on NE 35th Avenue. She insisted the concerns of business owners and landowners must be given extra weight no matter how late in the process or badly needed the safety upgrades are.”

But she says the city should be building more bike lanes and providing more funding for bike improvements. She has helped work on home zones and says she supports safer streets and Vision Zero. That’s all great to hear. 35th, though, was a solid test of her true commitment to safe streets, and she failed it.

I just wish there were a challenger in this race who could press her on these issues. But there doesn’t seem to be.

Here’s a look at some endorsements:

The Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition did not hold a transportation and housing forum for District 5. But you can hear each candidate give general statements in this cool Seattle Channel online voter’s guide.

This post is also a chance for you all to share your thoughts and promote your favorite D5 candidates in the comments below. Did I totally gloss over or miss something important? Let me know in the comments below. If you work for a campaign, you are welcome to participate, as well. Just please disclose which campaign you work for.

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12 Responses to Who’s the best District 5 candidate for biking and safe streets?

  1. daihard says:

    I can’t bring myself to support Debora Juarez in any way. As you pointed out, she refused to support the safety advocacy for 35th Ave NE. Not only that, she has expressed her anti-bike stand more than once in conversations with District 5 Community Network members. I’d consider John Lombard much more suitable as D5 Council member.

  2. todd says:

    John Lombard is the best choice. At the debate I went attended he was the only candidate that acknowledged the city messed up when they redid 35th. He also has a detailed plan on his website to make Aurora Ave safer for everybody.

  3. Randy says:

    Debora Juarez is no friend of those who want more bike lanes — despite what she may claim on candidate questionnaires. On the Nextdoor neighborhood blog, opponents of the 35th Ave NE bike lanes have thanked Juarez for her help in blocking construction of that essential safety infrastructure. The “C is for Crank” blog on city politics includes an item from Sept. 30, 2018, in which Juarez suggests that bike lanes in District 5 aren’t used much; are too costly to build; and are not as high a priority for her as curbs.

    • daihard says:

      That’s very useful information, Randy. Thanks!

    • Yesler says:

      The reason why Juarez doesn’t have many challengers is because she represents her district. Most of her district still does not have curb, gutter, and sidewalk. Since virtually everyone in the district walks at some point during the day, that’s an important issue.

      We hear a lot of talk about the urgency of completing the BMP. At this rate, the Pedestrian Master Plan will take something like a millennium to complete, give or take a few hundred years. It is not unreasonable to stand up for people who walk around on two legs–which again is a fairly large constituency.

      https://crosscut.com/2018/11/unwilling-wait-1800-years-sidewalks-seattle-residents-experiment

      • daihard says:

        The issue I have with Juarez is not the fact she supports safer streets for pedestrians, but the fact she actively refuses to support safer streets for people on bike. The 35th Ave NE fiasco is a good example. The final design puts people on bike and on foot in danger, but Juarez refused to stand with other council members such as O’Brien and Gonzalez to question Durkan’s decision – quite possibly because she looked at the problem as a bike safety issue, not a people safety issue.

  4. RossB says:

    The Seattle Transit Blog endorsed Juarez. Actually, it doesn’t give endorsements exactly. It is more like the Municipal League, in that it ranks candidates. She got an excellent ranking; Mendez and Lombard were ranked fair; Ann Davidson-Sattler was poor.

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