He has his own idea for how the trail could go partially along the rail line as planned and partially on Leary, and he seems determined to push for that despite overwhelming support for the city’s planned, designed and funded route currently tied up in the courts. Almost nobody in Seattle wants to reopen the Missing Link process and argue about it all over again. Over the past two decades, generations of Seattleites have argued about everything there is to argue about, and then some. We just need to build the compromise design we have and move on to other needs.
I know a lot of you can’t imagine voting for someone who, after decades of arguing over every inch of this trail, won’t support the city’s plans to complete it. I don’t blame you.
Unfortunately, his opponent Heidi Wills doesn’t have a good position on the Missing Link, either. She continues to talk about building an extraordinarily expensive and impractical elevated trail. Sure, at first it sounds fun and all to be up high, but the idea immediately falls apart under any scrutiny. It would cost tens of millions of dollars that A: We don’t have budgeted and B: If we were to find would be better spent on other vital bike network gaps with real life barriers to overcome (like waterways, busy rail lines or freeways). Spending that much money to get over a barrier that is purely political makes no sense. Really, an elevated trail is a distraction that would never happen. It’s an excuse to continue failing to complete this gap and make the area safe for biking and walking.
Wills says she supports dedicated bike lanes generally and talks a big game about walking safety.
But beyond all that, Wills already lost this job once following a corruption scandal. I am surprised she has made it this far, since I don’t see how people are so quick to trust her after that. She had her chance on Council, and I don’t see any particularly convincing evidence that she has gone above and beyond to earn another one.
If you somehow manage to ignore the Missing Link, Strauss is great on transportation. He also has had a scary personal experience that informs his strong support for protected bike lanes, as he writes on his campaign website (PDF):
“I know as well as anyone the importance of a connected network of protected bike lanes – I was once hit by a driver and nearly killed while cycling. Cycling in traffic – and even in bike lanes without protective barriers – is intimidating to all but the most experienced cyclists and is unsafe for everyone, including drivers. Creating separate, protected lanes increases ridership – the Second Ave bike lane saw over 4 times as many riders after it was upgraded to a protected lane – and makes biking for work and recreation a viable option for many more Seattleites.”
I take Strauss at his word on this. Unfortunately, that means I also have to take him on his word about the Missing Link. Given the options, I think Strauss is still the best choice. And at least in theory, the Missing Link shouldn’t need to go to the Council again. And even if Strauss really wants to stop it, he would need to convince a majority of the Council to side with him. Of course that’s not impossible, but it’s a pretty tall order.
So elect Strauss.