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Who’s the best District 7 candidate for biking and safe streets?

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

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.

Now, District 7. Right off the bat, we gotta talk about the Magnolia Bridge. Every candidate supports replacing this bridge, but the most popular idea among candidates is a “one-to-one” replacement of the car-centric freeway-style viaduct, which is complete nonsense. This would cost upwards of $420 million, a price tag that is simply not justified by the relatively small number of households it would serve. Investing in car-centric freeway infrastructure is also not in line with our climate goals. Our city has massive transportation challenges in quickly-growing parts of town and in lower-income areas that have long been neglected.

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In order to make a Magnolia Bridge replacement make sense, it’s going to need to be paired with some major changes in the area, including a lot more housing and transit. So while all candidates support replacing the bridge, there are some differences in how they talk about it.

For example, when Andrew Lewis talked about his support for the bridge during the MASS forum, he also talked about it as a way to serve an increase in housing in the neighborhood.

“I think as we start having these conversations about densifying in Magnolia Village, densifying up at 34th and Government, it makes a lot of sense to replace the bridge,” said Lewis. He also talked about the transit service the bridge carries.

Michael George talked about replacing the bridge “the way it should be, which is with a lot of affordable housing.”

Jason Williams said he supports a one-to-one replacement (again, total nonsense), but then talked about adding more housing: “If we’re gonna add density in places like Magnolia. If we’re going to in other neighborhoods throughout the area then we need to make important infrastructure investments.”

Jim Pugel at least mentioned transit and suggested that neighbors he’s talked to would support a toll to help pay for the bridge.

Lewis and Williams both told Lester Black at the Stranger they support increased funding for bike projects (be sure to check out the spreadsheet of responses). Pugel was iffy. George did not respond.

Here’s a look at some endorsements:

  • Transit Riders Union: No endorsement
  • The Stranger: Andrew Lewis
  • The Urbanist: Michael George
  • Seattle Transit Blog: No endorsement yet UPDATE: Michael George rated excellent
  • Seattle Subway (PDF): Andrew Lewis and Jason Williams

Below is the video from the Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition’s transportation and housing forum for District 7 (conversation about biking starts at 56:00, followed by the Magnolia Bridge question). Rooted In Rights not only produced the video, they also created this handy transcript (.txt)

Here are the candidates’ scorecards from Transportation For Washington:

Table of candidate responses to a list of transportation questions. See link for PDF version, though it does not seem optimized for a screen reader. If I find an accessible version, I will update the post.

You can also 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 D7 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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4 responses to “Who’s the best District 7 candidate for biking and safe streets?”

  1. Cory Streater

    It does appear to come down to either Andrew Lewis or Jason Williams. Between the two, only Jason discusses cycling on their issues page, where he states: “We need to prioritize safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Any break in a network renders the entire network unsafe. That’s why we need to complete the bike master plan.” I wish one of the two cycled more frequently.

  2. Peri Hartman

    I recently had the opportunity to meet Jim Pugel. I need to say he is a very good listener and pleasant to meet with. Yet, it’s difficult to see where he stands on issues. Maybe he hasn’t made up his mind or maybe he is too politically sensitive to say much. Don’t know.

    He does seem to understand the need for bicycle infrastructure and that, delaying it simply to allow a more car-centric system stretch out further, will only make the transition more difficult and more expensive. I think there is the possibility he could advocate for doing more now. I just wish he would publicly say so.

  3. Nathan Dickey

    Seattle Transit Blog has rated Michael George as “Excellent”, Naveed Jamali as “Good”, Williams, Pugel, Lewis, Donaldson, and Burrus as “Fair, and Kerner, Lipscomb-Eng, and Harper as “Poor”.

  4. Fish

    Just don’t vote for Lipscomb-Eng. I emailed her asking why she was opposed to bike lanes and she wrote something back basically saying that since SDOT doesn’t keep our bike lanes clean, cyclists never use them, therefore there’s not use in SDOT building more bike lanes…I could only surmise from this comment that she doesn’t get out much.

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