Ryan Packer at the Urbanist has written a very detailed breakdown of the City Council’s proposed changes to the 2023-24 city budget as they relate to transportation. The proposals include both new expenses and new ideas for additional revenue.
The Council proposals not only protect the Vision Zero expenses proposed in Mayor Bruce Harrell’s budget, they would also also add Vision Zero funds and build some key projects that have faced cuts and delays in recent years.
For a quick refresher on how the budget process works in Seattle, the Mayor’s Office writes a full city budget and sends it to the City Council. The Council then has the ability to make changes before passing it into law. The Council has already conducted one round of hearings on the budget and has come up with a list of possible changes. Budget Committee Chair Teresa Mosqueda will present a Balancing Package next week, which is basically an updated draft of the full city budget that includes many of those discussed changes. There will two more hearings (9:30 a.m. November 8 and 5 p.m. November 15), then the Council will vote on any further changes before approving the budget.
The Select Budget Committee (which includes all Councilmembers) outlined their SDOT changes as of October 27 (PDF). Here are a few highlights related to biking and safe streets:
- CM Dan Strauss proposes $300K for pedestrian safety on 14th Ave NW and $500K for Ballard Ave improvements.
- CM Teresa Mosqueda proposes keeping parking enforcement in SDOT rather than moving it back to SPD.
- CM Lisa Herbold proposes $7.5M to fund the previously-shelved Fauntleroy Way remake, which includes protected bike lanes among many other changes.
- CM Tammy Morales proposes $3.6M for Home Zone and Vision Zero implementation.
- CM Alex Pedersen proposes increasing the school zone speed camera program to fund more Safe Routes to School projects.
- CM Pedersen proposes $3.6M to complete the remaining Neighborhood Street Fund projects.
- CM Pedersen proposes $1.5M for a NE 45th Street I-5 Crossing project.
- CM Andrew Lewis proposes $2.5M to restore funding for the Thomas Street Redesigned project in South Lake Union.
- CM Morales proposes $300K for improving protected bike lane barriers.
As for revenue, Councilmember Lewis has proposed a new 25¢-per-ride tax on scooter and bike share services, expected to cost $540,000 to set-up with the hopes of recovering $716,000 per year. Councilmember Pedersen has proposed increasing the Seattle Vehicle License Fee by another $10, raising it to the maximum allowed without additional voter approval. He also has some earmarks for this new money, including the 45th Street Bridge project, the Vision Zero program and bridge maintenance.
Rather than discuss each budget item in this post, stay tuned for more analysis. You should also give Ryan’s story a read for a deeper dive on each proposed change.
Am I seeing things? Why is Pedersen proposing money to complete the Neighbourhood Street Fund projects? Or increasing the school zone speed camera program to fund more Safe Routes to School projects? Is it his double personality?
The wish list may be impacted by the latest revenue forecast following this week’s Fed action to increase interest rates again; the housing market may slow; REET is used for many capital projects. Stay tuned.