At a Tuesday morning press conference from the last timber-supported bridge in Seattle – a 500′ long structure that carries Fairview Ave E into South Lake Union – Mayor Murray formally kicked off the Move Seattle campaign effort. Flanked by a diverse coalition of interests including Transportation Choices Coalition, Puget Sound Sage, the Downtown Seattle Association, and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber, Mayor Murray repeatedly hit themes of access, equity, Vision Zero, and investment to sell the $930m levy that would supplant the expiring Bridging the Gap Levy.
Later that evening at Spitfire Grill for the campaign kickoff, Mayor Murray, SDOT Director Scott Kubly, DSA President Jon Scholes, and TCC’s Shefali Ranganathan energized a surprisingly raucous crowd while appealing for donations of time and funds. Proving that Seattle’s penchant for lovable nerdiness knows no bounds, Peddler Brewing Company’s Haley Woods took the mic and said that reading the project list filled her with literal tears of joy, prompting Mayor Murray to quip (paraphrased), “If only I’d known when I was back in the legislature that transportation project lists could bring people to tears. That makes me want to hang out with you.”
Opposition to the levy is scattered but also relatively well funded, with names such as Eugene Wasserman and Faye Garneau leading the Keep Seattle Affordable opposition campaign, for which Garneau alone has contributed $50,000 (90% of total contributions). Prior to last night’s kickoff, the Move Seattle campaign had raised $32,750, with the Downtown Seattle Association, Urban Visions, and Urban Renaissance Group kicking in 75% of that. It’s clear that the general public has not engaged much with the proposal yet, on either side. As with any campaign, they are seeking donations and volunteers for phonebanking and doorbelling.
So what’s in the levy and what does it mean for you? The levy is substantially the same as when we last reported on the proposal, with some tinkering around the margins. The project list is visionary and expansive, strongly investing across all modes and in all council districts. City leaders have spoken of a ‘growth dividend’ made possible by higher home values and a growing population, permitting a funding level that is nearly triple Bridging the Gap while still keeping the median additional tax burden to $12 per month. The $930m levy will be leveraged by $285m in current appropriations and an estimated $564m in external funding such as grants, leading to a $1.8B project list.
Project highlights after the jump.
“Congestion Relief”/Transportation Choices ($799m)
- “Rapid Ride Plus” Corridors: Move Seattle would identify, design, and construct BRT-style improvements on 7 corridors:
- Madison BRT (new dedicated route)
- Fairview/Eastlake/Roosevelt/Northgate (new dedicated route)
- Rainier Ave S (Route 7)
- Westlake/Leary/24th/85th/Holman (Route 40)
- Market/45th (Route 44)
- 23rd Avenue/Pacific/15th (Route 48)
- Delridge (Route 120)
- Complete the Burke-Gilman Missing Link
- Plan pedestrian connections between East Wallingford and the future UDistrict Link Station
- Optimize traffic signal timing on 5 corridors per year
- $10m contribution towards a Graham Street Link Station
- $15m contribution towards the Northgate Pedestrian Bridge
- $2m for the Accessible Mount Baker project
- 150 blocks of new sidewalks, again with an emphasis on transit corridors
- 1,500 new bike parking spots
- $20m contribution toward the $130m Lander Street Overpass
Safe Routes ($369m):
- 50 miles of protected bikeways
- 60 miles of neighborhood greenways
- $2m set aside specifically for bike improvements near Mount Baker Station
- 9-12 Safe Routes to School projects each year
- 12-15 Corridor Safety Projects
- Increase crosswalk marking repainting to every 4 years
- 225 blocks of sidewalk repair, with a focus on connecting neighborhoods to frequent transit
- 750 curb ramp improvements
- $26m set aside for neighborhood priority projects
Maintenance and Repair ($611m)
- 180 lane-miles of arterial repaving
- 70 lane-miles per year of spot paving
- Seismic reinforcement for 16 bridges
- Replacement of the Fairview Avenue timber bridge
- $34m to design bridge replacements, with a $10m set aside for near term bike/ped improvements, likely for the Ballard Bridge.
There is much more in the full project list, as Attachment A of the original legislation. Read it here.