Northgate Pedestrian Bridge Concept
Northgate Pedestrian Bridge Concept

Perhaps responding to criticism that no one understood the details of the Move Seattle levy, late yesterday SDOT released a detailed spreadsheet that explained their year-by-year spending plan.

According to Director Scott Kubly,

The plan’s allocations are consistent with the levy legislation and its specific funding categories. If the levy is approved, oversight for spending and deliverables will be provided by a levy oversight committee and the City Council, and information on large projects will be available through SDOT’s new online capital projects dashboard.

Quite sensibly, the City retains some flexibility as needs and opportunities arise. But barring any interesting developments, there are three components of the $930m plan through 2024:

  1. A steady $22-23m every year for Safe Routes, for a total of $207m.
  2. $420m for maintenance and repair, including
    • $250m for paving
    • $30m for Urban Forestry
    • $140m for bridges, with about half for seismic reinforcement, and finishing the Fairview Bridge by 2018 ($27m).
  3. $303m for “congestion relief,” various improvements to mobility and access, on which more after the jump.

Light Rail Access ($27m): the schedule envisions Northgate Bridge done by 2019, Graham Street by 2020, and the Accessible Mount Baker project by 2022. In some cases the actual schedule will of course depend on other funding sources.

Freight Mobility ($39m): $20m of this is for the Lander crossing, to finish in 2023.

Pedestrian Master Plan ($68m): For some reason, $7m for “bike spot safety” is grouped in this total.

Corridor Mobility ($169m): This is the big one, the multimodal reconfiguration of streets. The schedule suggests we’d see 23rd Ave and Fauntleroy by 2018, Madison BRT by 2019, the Burke-Gilman Missing Link in 2020, Delridge and Market/45th by 2021, Route 40 in 2022, and both Rainier/Jackson and Roosevelt/Downtown in 2023. Each of these projects averages $10.5m to complete. There’s further steady funding for signal timing, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), and $35m for “Transit Corridor Improvements.”

It’s clear from this breakdown why the Mayor had to radically grow the package from the expiring Bridging the Gap levy. A pure BtG renewal would generate about $440m, barely enough to maintain roads and bridges. Doing anything to reduce traffic deaths, make exercise safe, and make buses faster and more reliable requires a significant increase.

116 Replies to “SDOT Releases Detailed Move Seattle Budget”

    1. The Burke-Gilman missing Link probably has more money budgeted for lawyers than for actual construction. The money we’ve already spent on lawyers for the project probably could have paid for the construction many times over.

    2. Ignoring the fact that building less than 1.5 miles of trail extension, for a 27 mile trail that was mostly finished 40 years ago will take yet another 5 years: I’ve been under the impression that the Missing Link has been funded and shovel ready for a decade; does that money keep getting shuffled back into the general fund, only to have additional funding allotted every time the city sets a budget?

      1. They can’t shuffle the money back to the general fund it is already spent on lawyers to fight the lawsuits.

      2. So, this would be equivalent to a teenager, not wanting to go on the family vacation, deciding to sabotage the furnace, necessitating the reallocation of vacation funds, thus assuring that no-one in the family may go on said vacation.

      3. It’s partly (or mostly) about the abundant free parking taking up space for what would have been plenty of room for the trail. Get rid of the free parking and at least some of the opposition to the trail along Shilshole Avenue NW would evaporate. As it is, cyclists are using Shilshole–a tragedy in the making. It’s way too narrow currently for bicycles and motor vehicles to share the roadway. I’m afraid it will take a cyclist getting hit (perhaps more than once) for anything to move, pun intended, on this issue.

  1. As someone who is known for his cynicism about transportation issues in this town, let me say that I enthusiastically support this levy. This will make a huge difference in mobility in this city. For the money, I think it is a great value. Every project is sensible and the mix of projects make sense. I’m sure if I was in charge I would shift a bit of money from here to there, but overall it is a great plan. It is detailed enough to give us an idea of what will be built, while flexible enough to handle unforeseen problems.

    Here is an editorial in support of the levy which puts the Seattle Times position in context: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2015/10/19/the-times-is-wrong-a-megaproject-wont-fix-our-traffic-we-need-move-seattle/
    By the way, I subscribe to the Times and think it is a decent paper. But their editorial staff is nuts (and has been for many years).

    1. Ross I think the Times issues with the measure is more that what money SDOT has been spending has been done pretty badly. That’s also my issue personally. For example lets look at the Dexter/Westlake bike lane situation which shows what little money SDOT does have it can’t even spend right. First SDOT rips apart Dexter to put in bike lanes, which some feel made the street even more dangerous by eliminating a very necessary center turn lane and making bad sight lines in numerous places. Then only a few years later we are talking about putting bike lanes in on Westlake, which means no one will use the expensively reconfigured Dexter barely a block away due to it having two rather long (though low grade) hills. All in all SDOT just shows very little planning or vision for the most part and seems to attack things in a haphazard fashion. I think that’s more what the Times was getting at than anything else, and I actually can’t argue with that. This list is a start but it’s really just a list, not a plan.

      1. Westlake and Dexter are entirely different corridors that serve entirely different purposes. I don’t buy the argument that making both roads safe for all users is somehow a misuse of funds.

      2. How? Besides one being in theory a residential street which it isn’t in reality because of the aurora access and another being an arterial? I’ve lived in that area and rode my bike on those streets for 15 years to/from work in downtown and SLU as well as points north and the UW. The one route in that neighborhood I did not regularly ride there is across the bottom of the lake and backup Fairview, maybe did that only a few dozen times which is fortunate cause it’s worse now with the trolley induced fiasco.

        As to safe to all users while it’s anecdotal and I recognize that I was in one near accident in the first 12 years I was on Dexter and witnessed one other. Post remodel I was in one actual, one near and witnessed 4 others in the last two years. All were T-bones and all were caused by cars rushing to turn into residential areas as someone laid on the horn behind them after the center turn lane was removed. Fortunately regular riders of the corridor seem to have noticed this and are slowing down their speeds.

      3. I’ve ridden both streets regularly for a decade, and I use one or the other depending on where I want to go. Judging by the amount of bicycle traffic I see daily on both routes, I think others are making this choice as well. They are not the same corridor, and investing in the safety of users on both routes is absolutely warranted.

        Due to the rambling nature of your response, though, I think this is as much about you disagreeing with the effectiveness of rechannelizations as it is about worries of duplicated effort. If that’s the case, I’d invite you to look at the data: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2015/02/18/infographic-seattles-low-cost-safe-streets-projects-work-really-well/

      4. The point which you seem to be missing is that given the limited dollars available for bike improvements SDOT chose two largely redundant projects. Westlake provides reasonably good access to both SLU and downtown via 9th and then Bell. It is sans any hill to be friendly to casual riders and can support extensive separation far better than even what was done on Dexter for most of the route north of Valley. Traffic light changes would have been required, and Dexter did need to be repaved anyways, but the redundant dollars saved would have been much better spent on expediting other projects.

        As to Dexter actually I don’t mind the re-channelization idea at all, I strongly supported it in the design process up until I saw the extent of the elimination of the center turn-lane and realized how hazardous it would be. Simply put Dexter has to many turning cars and bumper to bumper traffic, ideally it would have lost most of it’s parking on one side to keep more of that center turn-lane. It sounds like my experience and fellow other riders doesn’t jive with the data presented in the report. While we could indeed be unique it also stands that perhaps we are seeing fewer severe reported accidents but more minor ones? It would be interesting to research further.

      5. First of all, the Seattle Times have lost all credibility. As I said below (https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/10/22/sdot-releases-detailed-move-seattle-budget/#comment-654683) it is sad. They used to a reasonable right of center board, but now they are nuts. If you read it often (as I do — I’ve been a subscriber for many years) you would notice this. They simply bend over backwards to justify their anti-tax position. It is simply magical thinking. Somehow the government is supposed to do more with less. Be more efficient (somehow). They never say exactly how, and ignore the reports that say when an agency is actually doing a good job — they simply blather on to justify their position.

        Meanwhile, they supported the SR 99 tunnel, a project that will cost way more than this, and deliver way less. One of the more ridiculous parts of their argument is when they defended the tunnel by claiming it would help with a trip from Magnolia to West Seattle. Bullshit! This is just plain ignorant or a lie! They imply that there will be a ramp at Western (which would help Magnolia) when there won’t be. Once they tear down the viaduct, Magnolia is screwed. So is Ballard, really. Folks will be shoved east, through Fremont, or in the case of Magnolia, Mercer.

        They make similar nonsensical arguments now. They claim that SDOT is doing a poor job. Fine, then fire the mayor! Seriously, fire him. Next time he is up, explain what what a poor job he has done. Or how about explaining what a poor job he has done now! He has been mayor for quite some time, and suddenly SDOT sucks. No mention at all of problems with them, until they ask for money. Now suddenly he and his staff are incompetent.

        Holy shit, man, it is obvious. Really obvious. The Seattle Times hates it when you raise taxes. They find any excuse to justify this argument.

        Voting no will only screw things up worse. Seriously — this is what will happen: https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/10/22/sdot-releases-detailed-move-seattle-budget/#comment-654709

        The only reason to vote no is if you think it isn’t worth spending the money on transportation. Fine. Don’t worry about traffic. Don’t worry about safety. Don’t worry about businesses dependent on getting goods from one part of town to the other. If you really don’t care about that and want to save a buck on your taxes, then vote no.

        Any other reason to vote no is just bullshit.

    2. It seems a major reason to vote for this measure is basically because the SeattleTimes is opposed to it then? I prefer things a little more substantial. From my POV the Times is wrong about the taxes, indeed it should probably be even more, but what they aren’t wrong about is less than desirable spending and poor planning over recent years. The smaller wastes, personally it’s been I think obscured by the big multi-billion dollar projects going on that are distracting everyone.

      Because of this lack of any project list, especially after the poor implementation of BTG, a small example of what I listed above I was very much on the fence and leaning toward no on this. Now I have a project list to look at finally. Of course I haven’t had a chance to completely read through it (that’s for tonight) but it’s a starting point for me to make a more measured consideration now. Really to bad it’s so late.

      And remember while 99 is way bigger, most or even arguably all of the wasted time and money on 99 is WSDOT, not SDOT.

      1. It would be just as crazy to vote for this because the Seattle Times opposes it as voting against it for the same reason. That wasn’t the point of countering their arguments, or pointing out the times they were simply wrong..

        In short, it is best to ignore The Seattle Times editorial staff in this manner. I want to be clear here, the paper itself is a decent paper, and generally does a good job of keeping a wall between their reporters and opinion pages. But the Seattle Times editorial staff has lost all credibility. They were either completely ignorant of an obvious and key part of the SR 99 tunnel (the lack of ramps at Western) or they were willing to mislead their readers. If they were willing to do that then, they are willing to do that now. Either they are ignorant or lying.

        With that in mind, it is worth checking out the endorsements: http://letsmoveseattle.com/endorsements/. Basically, this really isn’t that controversial. If the Seattle Times had endorsed this measure, I don’t think there would be any controversy at all and everyone would assume this would sail through (like a lot of Seattle levies). These are pretty common occurrences in this state. In other areas, the city council just approves the money — here, because of the limitations, we have to pass levies. My guess is that everyone involved just assumed this would pass, since it has the support of just about everyone that might be on the fence. But that changed when the Seattle Times opposed it. As the only subscription paper — the only daily — in town, of course they carry a lot of weight. If they had any credibility, it would be worth putting a lot of faith in their statements. But they don’t. If you look at the people who have endorsed this, it is basically everyone. Every city council member and the mayor. As I mentioned below, this is not typical. This is not just a case where every council member voted for it (which happens after a lot of back and forth). This is a case where every member endorses it. A lot of these folks don’t like each other (six members have endorsed Sawant’s opponent — a very unusual thing to do in this town). But they like this measure. It is endorsed by labor (of course) but also businesses. These are business organizations saying they want to see taxes go up for the businesses they represent. Do you really think that would happen if they thought that SDOT was just going to blow the money? Likewise with the other organizations.

        Finally, if this fails, it will likely simply cost us money (https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/10/22/sdot-releases-detailed-move-seattle-budget/#comment-654709). This is not a vote on who should run SDOT (that would be the mayoral race). This is simply a vote to approve money on a bunch of projects. But if it fails they will probably be back again next year. The project list might be smaller — it might be more focused on maintenance — but they will try again. If it fails a second time, we will simply have less money spent on transportation. This is not a vote for reforming the way that SDOT does business — this is a vote to give them more money to a lot of worthwhile projects.

        Any attempt at reforming SDOT will have to take a different path. I’m not really sure what that path is, to be honest. I really haven’t heard anything about any systematic failure within the organization. I know of no rating service that has downgraded them, nor any expose. It is telling to me that the Seattle Times, for example, which has an outstanding set of investigative reporters, has not run stories about big problems within the city transportation department. But if you have particular expertise in transportation issues and think they are making mistakes, then I suggest you let them know. I honestly think they like hearing about that. They’ve been fairly responsive when I’ve talked to them (I was involved in one of the Greenway groups for a while).

  2. I’m a little skeptical that building even true-Bronze BRT all the way from Westlake and Denny to Northgate can be done for $10 million. That’s a long way, and 105th between Greenwood and the curve at Ashworth is extremely constrained. There’s not even a two-way left lane for most of the distance. At Aurora the street has been widened enough to squeeze opposing mandatory left pockets, so where is there room for queue jumps? I guess you could eat into the ARCO and O’Reilly’s parking lot cater-corner at Aurora, but that would be a couple of million dollars at just one intersection. At Greenwood westbound the left lane is a mandatory left and the right an optional or continue onto Holman. The adjacent Check Cashing store has a driveway between the sidewalk and the building, so I suppose that could be taken, but that’s another $1 million or so.

    So bang, we’ve spent a third of the budget on 1/15 of the length of the line. Leary and Westlake are probably wide enough in most places to provide jumps, but what about the ship canal crossing and the two block north of it on Fremont????? Not to mention the bounding intersections at Nickerson/Westlake/Dexter and Fremont Place.

    Similar clog spots affect every one of the other routes. But especially if SDOT thinks it can rebuild Madison to the exciting plan shown in STB a few months ago from the water to MLK for $15 million it has been patronizing a dispensary too frequently.

    I certainly wish them well, but this budget seems seriously overly optimistic. Either it will be busted badly or the end result will be disappointingly RapidRidish.

    Hey maybe that could be a new (and more truth-in-advertising) brand for the pretty red hot dog buses. Not RapidRide, but RapidRadish!

    1. I like the idea of vegetable-themed buses. Rapid Radish line to the Rapid Carrot.

      I also think that redesigning of a lot of these chokepoints holistically – to improve access for peds, bikes, and priority bus – will have an unbelievably positive outcome for those who live around them and use them several times per day. Especially as areas that used to be suburbs become more “citified!”

    2. That’s $10 million on average per project, with total line items for Corridor Mobility at $169 million. Some corridors will cost more than others.

      1. Glenn,

        There are actual year-of-expenditure figures for each project in the spreadsheet. The 40 upgrade is $10 million; Madison BRT $15 million; and so on.

        I hope that there are “matching federal grants” available, Martin, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I doubt the FTA will survive a Marco Rubio Presidency.

    3. The City also expects many of the corridor projects to be competitive for matching federal grants, so the figures in the spreadsheet are not the full cost.

    4. Perhaps for crossing Aurora, it is sufficient to get by with signal priority. Basically, whenever there’s a bus waiting to get through, the light stays green long enough for the bus to get through.

      Of course, any signal policy that this intersection that favors the 40 hurts the E-line, so maybe there is no good solution.

      1. I think your suggestion works for Greenwood, Meridian and certainly for the minor intersections: signal priority can make a big difference. So that helps with the budget.

        But Aurora needs queue jumps. As does “Nickterlake” if they can be squeezed in.

    5. This is why it is critical that there be flexibility. This is why the opponents have it completely wrong. If you basically say you are going to spend X amount of money and build exactly project Z, you end up with a mess. Consider the SR 99 tunnel. Put aside the construction problems (AKA Bertha) for a second. The tunnel was meant to replace the viaduct. The whole idea was that if a tunnel was only a bit more than a replacement viaduct, then why not build the tunnel? Not a bad idea. You get basically the same mobility as a new viaduct, but without the noise.

      So then it was agreed that we would spend about a couple billion dollars. Fine. But then new estimates came in. Basically, you couldn’t build it for that much. So rather than go back and build something else (e. g. a new viaduct or a combination of I-5, transit and surface street improvements) they stuck with the tunnel. So now, instead of building a tunnel that will be three lanes each direction and have an exit and on-ramp on Western, it will be two lanes and not have those ramps. This is huge. Suddenly the main reason for building the tunnel (it will be a lot like a viaduct, only underground) goes away. So now, assuming Bertha actually does her job, we will get a very poor replacement for the viaduct. I can’t overstate the loss of mobility here. It is obvious that the project is a very poor use of funds.

      That is also assuming that the tunnel actually gets built. By the time the digging started, it was too late to change projects, but imagine if we started with the digging. By now we could basically cancel the thing (not put good money after bad). There would be talk about adding a lane on I-5 and adding transit — I can guarantee you folks on West Seattle would be very interested in that. But again, we lack the flexibility. We are stuck with this mess. Over budget, way over time, and it really won’t be that good when it is done.

      But these projects will be different. If it becomes too expensive to build one corridor, we do what we can, and move on. The approach is to simply deliver as much as possible — get as much bang for the buck as we can. Maybe we don’t get everything on this list, or a lot of these projects aren’t as great as we want them to be — so what? They will be a lot better than they are now, and they will be a great value. It may mean that we need a lot more money to make them great — to provide bronze level BRT, for example — fine. But at least we will have started down that road, and unlike the tunnel and unlike light rail mistakes, I can’t see it being a waste of money. These are incremental changes that feed off each other. If you build a light rail tunnel and don’t put in a station where it belongs (e. g. First Hill) you are pretty much stuck. You can’t go back and say “let’s add that station in”. If you could, we would be talking about it now. But with these changes, we can always make other improvements later.

      It really doesn’t bother me if this does over promise (and I’m not convinced that it does). I really don’t see an alternative. If this doesn’t pass, folks are basically throwing up their hands and accepting a city with horrible mobility. There is no cheaper alternative — there is no better value than the type of projects on this list and the approach towards implementing them.

      1. @RossB If you want flexibility, then don’t pay for it with a levy. I agree much of these projects are worthy, but our leaders simply do not prioritize funding transportation, and are asking for a bailout with this levy (as we typically do in Seattle).

      2. This is the only they can pay for it! There is no way they would have a levy if they were allowed to simply raise taxes. Not only did every single member of the city council vote for this, they endorsed it! The mayor too (of course). If they were allowed to simply raise taxes, they would, and it would have passed months ago (by unanimous consent).

        Don’t get me wrong — I understand the frustration. We shouldn’t be voting on maintenance. But we have no choice! This is key here. There is simply no other funding mechanism, or they would use it.

        Consider the school levies. Most of the time, a school levy just pays for “maintenance”. It just pays for teachers. Again, they have no choice. They would love it if the city council or the state just gave them the money so they wouldn’t have to have levies to pay for teachers. They would have levies for things like a new gym, or extra after school activities or things like that. But they don’t have money for the basics, so the levy pays for the basics. If it fails, teachers get laid off. It doesn’t get more basic than that.

        So what exactly would you cut to fund transportation? Other than utilities and transportation, most of the budget is public safety — are you telling me you would cut public safety? Seriously? Hell, public safety in this town is way underfunded. Most cities this size have way more police. Boston has about twice as many cops as we do. Hell, Salt Lake City has more cops per capita then we do. Salt Lake City! That isn’t exactly an area known for its high crime rate.

        Or would you shift money from health and human services to transportation? That is a good idea. More winos on the streets, fewer cops to deal with them, and nowhere for them to get help. Lovely. Oh, and if you happen to be be born into the wrong family and not have enough money to deal with basic health care or nutrition then tough. Tell your parents to move somewhere else I guess (not that you have a way to get there).

        Even health and human services is a very small amount, compared to transportation and utilities. In short, we already spend most of our money on roads and cops — there is no shifting to be done. We either spend more money fixing some of our transportation problems, or we don’t.

    1. In my household, early returns have the proposition passing with 100% of votes cast in favor and 0% opposed. And, really, that’s all I can do. Most of my coworkers live on the Eastside and the friends I have in the city don’t vote at all (they just never seem to get around to it). I’ve stuck up a sign in my yard, yelled at the Seattle Times on Twitter–except for Mike L., who genuinely seems to get it right–and participated in online, local forums.

      I genuinely hope it passes. Even though I hate this line of logic, because every Seattle resident pays property taxes eventually, I am a property owner in Seattle and I voted yes.

      1. Good for you. I contacted the campaign to get a yard sign a couple days ago and didn’t hear back. I don’t want to head out there and find out they are out of signs. I should have done this earlier of course. I also want some placards. I visited my favorite brewpub last night and was going to give them one to put in the window. Sure enough, at around five, at least a dozen bike riders strolled in for a pint. Those are the folks I really want to reach. There is overwhelming support for this from the bike community (as well as business, labor and environmental groups) but if folks forget to vote, then we could lose this one.

  3. Would this levy create jobs? If it is in some ways an extension of Bridging the Gap, if it is not approved, would people be laid off?

    1. From what I’ve heard, SDOT would have to lay off 1/4 of its staff if Move Seattle fails. If a similar measured passed on a second try next year, SDOT would then have to re-hire them, which would be a significant waste.

      1. The Seattle Times editorial staff is nuts. I say this as a subscriber. They have been called out for their nuttiness many times. They are guilty of magical thinking. Somehow we should build things, but not have to pay for it. It is really sad, since the paper itself is quite good for a city this size (they have some great columnists and some really interesting feature stories). The editorial staff used to be fairly reasonable. They were always right of center, but close enough to have reasonable positions (sort of a Dan Evans style Republican view). But now they are simply reactionaries — opposing just about every tax measure, regardless of how effective it would be (or how much money it would save us in the long run).

  4. “Doing anything to reduce traffic deaths, make exercise safe, and make buses faster and more reliable requires a significant increase.”

    Except most of this money is not going to reduce traffic deaths or make exercise safe. The real safety stuff is small potatoes here – “Safe Routes” isn’t even 25% of the budget. The pedestrian master plan is not even 8%. More enforcement would be very helpful, but that isn’t provided for in this proposal.

    Moreover, we don’t know how effective these safety-related spending programs will actually be at preventing deaths. Many traffic deaths are the result of poor decisions made by road users. I sincerely doubt we can un-stupid people even with nearly a billion dollars. For example, reducing lane widths might discourage speeding, but how does it stop red-light running?

    1. Except most of this money is not going to reduce traffic deaths or make exercise safe. The real safety stuff is small potatoes here – “Safe Routes” isn’t even 25% of the budget. The pedestrian master plan is not even 8%.

      That’s why I added rapid and reliable buses to the sentence, which when combined with safety makes up something like 100% of the increase over Bridging the Gap.

      Moreover, we don’t know how effective these safety-related spending programs will actually be at preventing deaths.

      This is just pure FUD. The efficacy of these safety programs are either blindingly obvious (cycle tracks) or well-documented.

      1. Actually, it’s not. We should absolutely be funding an evaluation piece. “Blindingly Obvious” often turns out to be simply “counter-intuitive”. That we have made no attempt to measure whether these project are effective in the past, and no plan to do so in the future is a massive weakness, and will harm such project’s funding eventually.

    2. We can certainly reduce traffic deaths by not forcing people to drive. The transit portion of MSF ought to count as clearly protecting the safety of those additional riders who are induced into not driving, correct?

      Does the Northgate Pedestrian Bridge and Graham St Station not help save lives?

      1. The Northgate ped bridge may save my life, if I can make it biking around there without it long enough

      2. The Northgate Pedestrian Bridge assuredly saves lives. It’s a real pain to run across those eleventy-billion lanes of traffic.

        ;)

    3. Let’s see:

      Vision Zero — 71 million
      Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety — 110 million
      Neighborhood Safety Projects — 26 million
      Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements — 68 million

      So, basically that is over a quarter billion dollars right there. Peanuts! That doesn’t include road maintenance, which of course plays a part in safety. A biker swerves out of her lane to avoid a pothole and hits a driver. Or hits the pothole and goes down. Nor does this count improvements in transit, which of course get people of their car. Or pedestrian bridges which enable a safer route.

      But you are right to a certain extent, most of the money goes towards maintaining things like existing roads and bridges. Yeah, no reason to do that. I’m sure the bridges will just heal themselves.

      Sorry for the snarky attitude, but I really don’t understand why any sensible person would be opposed to this. This is a good balance. This allocates money for a wide range of things, some of them absolutely necessary, and some of them crucial if we want to live in a safer, more mobile city. Of course you might want money just for your particular project. If you are a biker, maybe you think they should spend a lot more on biking, instead of transit. Except that every single biking organization is enthusiastically in support of this. Or maybe you think they should spend more on transit, but again, every transit organization supports this. Hell, every city council member has endorsed this. Every single one! If you think they all love each other and agree on everything, think again (e. g. six city council members are endorsing Sawant’s challenger!). But they all agree on this — they all think this mix is reasonable and effective. I agree.

    4. 1) When someone *does* run a red light and hits someone (or something), the collision will be less deadly thanks to lower speeds. Whether the red light running was intentional or accidental, a core piece of Vision Zero policy is to ensure that common mistakes aren’t deadly.

      2) Lane reductions aren’t the only thing that SDOT typically does. They typically do a (4-lane-to-3) road diet. This alone reduces red light running by changing the way that people drive on the street. Previously, someone in a rush would have multiple lanes to choose from to get to a light sooner; at which point, they may decide to run the light. After a road diet, they only have a single lane. It only requires the person at the front of the line to stop for the line, and everyone else in line is forced to stop.

      1. 4 to 3 really does make a lot of sense. If you drive a lot (and think about driving) you realize why it works. There is less weaving. If you have two lanes to choose from, and left turns, you are constantly switching lanes. Someone turns left and doesn’t set their blinker on at the last minute — damn, get out of that lane. Back and forth you go, swearing at the other idiot drivers (and the occasional maniac that goes too fast)*. The worst situation is when a driver stops for no apparent reason. You assume that he is turning, so you shift lanes and screeeeeech! (or chugga chugga chugga with a modern anti-lock brake car)! You now notice the pedestrian. If the walker has any sense, he or she knows this game and has only stuck their head out into the lane. But either way, you feel like you almost killed someone, which would really ruin your day.

        That is why the city has basically removed all non-signaled cross walks from a four lane road. But of course pedestrians want to get across, which means of course (this being Seattle) an overly polite car will stop. Not good, not good at all (for everyone).

        Changing to three lanes changes all that. You basically get just as much throughput, because what you lose in the extra lane you make up for in reduced swerving. Two lanes each direction only works if there are very few left turns. This rarely is the case, which is why the city is doing this just about everywhere.

      2. Ross – I was nearly hit by a car in a situation similar to what you describe. I was crossing 5th Ave NE at Northgate Way. Cars turning left from westbound Northgate Way onto southbound 5th were backed up into the intersection behind a couple of stopped buses when the light turned red. I (and several other pedestrians) started crossing 5th. An SUV decided to swerve from the rightmost left turn lane to the leftmost left turn lane to get out of the intersection and nearly plowed into the group of us legally walking across. The driver seemed more annoyed than apologetic that pedestrians were in the roadway. And I would argue that an aggressive car nearly hitting a pedestrian does more to ruin the pedestrian’s day than the driver.

        What does politeness have to do with legality? Cars must stop for pedestrians in all crosswalks. It doesn’t matter how polite the driver is and how big the road is. If there is a crosswalk, pedestrians have the right to cross. And unmarked crosswalks exist even if cars pretend they don’t so they don’t have to stop. For instance, the 25th Ave and NE 47th St entrance to U Village doesn’t have a marked crosswalk. But there’s no sign prohibiting pedestrians, so it is a legal unmarked crosswalk. If someone is brave enough to try and walk across 25th Ave, they are acting 100% legally and cars are supposed to stop. That practically nobody tries to walk across because the cars won’t stop and the pedestrians have a basic understanding of physics means there needs to be more enforcement if Vision Zero is to have any teeth at all.

      3. @Larry — The situation you described is a bit different in that it is a marked crosswalk with lights. There are walk signals there. But it is very similar in that an inpatient driver swerved out of the way of a car and then almost hit pedestrians. In other words, that intersection is actually managed properly, yet there are still idiots that are a danger to everyone. Northgate, no less! There are always plenty of people around there. Where is a cop when you need one? (The guy should have been forced into hours and hours of traffic safety class).

        By the way, 5th NE is a terrible road. It is literally deadly for pedestrians. The problem is that it is way too wide and people treat it like a four lane road (it is four lane at that intersection, but then is essentially two lane).

        Anyway, the situation I’m talking about is something like 130th, between Aurora and the freeway. This is a four lane road. So far as I know, the city has removed all non-signalled crosswalks on roads like that. If you see a crosswalk, there is a traffic light. The situation I described is too dangerous. They really don’t want people crossing in places like that (and in some cases they put up a sign saying you can’t). For example, there used to be a crosswalk on N. 36th, where Greenwood intersects. But they removed it. If you try and cross there, you can get a ticket.

        As far as politeness goes, the law states that every intersection where it is legal to cross should be treated like a crosswalk. If a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, then you are legally obligated to stop. But it is my understanding that you don’t have to stop until the pedestrian has left the curb. Quite often, the pedestrian doesn’t want the car to stop. I sometimes look away from traffic, as if I waiting for someone (or a bus) instead of trying to cross the street. I do this for a number of reasons (e. g. I am not in a hurry and can see a huge gap if I let this car go, a big truck is climbing up the hill and I don’t want to have him come to a complete stop, etc.). But if I step one foot onto the street, then the car (legally) must stop. If you are legally allowed to cross on a four lane road (130th at Ashworth) but there is no crosswalk, I don’t think you are really doing the pedestrian any favors by stopping before you are legally obligated to. This is what I mean by being “too polite”. If I’m trying to cross there (or on a similar street) then I don’t want a car to stop. That is just more dangerous. When I put my foot on the street, though, that is a different situation and the driver has to stop (by law).

      4. @RossB

        According to SDOT, drivers are supposed to stop for pedestrians who are waiting to cross the street at any crosswalk, marked or unmarked.

        http://sdotblog.seattle.gov/2014/09/12/crosswalk-law-1-0/

        In practice, it seems like most drivers don’t stop. I try to stop when I am driving, but it gets hard when people are hanging out on the sidewalks, waiting for rides, etc., especially at night.

      5. So many pedestrians, so little time.
        The good old “PNW stroll”.

        The pedestrians there are as inconsiderate of multi-modal interaction as many cyclist in Seattle.

        Jaywalking is rampant at that intersection, and cycles are too short for drivers.

        The problem is… that area is growing up, as far as a modern city goes.

        It’s transitioning from Auto Dominated… to High-Density Walkable, but hasn’t figured out how to get from here to there.

        Eye contact, situational awareness from ALL involved will help with that transition.

  5. I’ve heard the opposition speakers. The claim that Move Seattle is a mish-mash is primarily concern trolling, and false. They just don’t like the project list. And they are suing to hide the project list. Grand hypocrisy!

    They don’t like the fact it does stuff for bikes, bus ROW, and pedestrian safety. They want the City to prioritize moving motorized single-occupant vehicles, not moving people. The battle lines in this campaign are as simple as that.

    If you want to vote No because your favorite pedestrian, bike, or transit project is not on the list, (a) voting No won’t get you that project; and (b) you probably haven’t read far enough to find your project, or it is something expected in ST3, which complements this ballot item.

    1. That’s certainly not the reason anyone I know is opposing it… And they just released the list above, so that doesn’t even make sense.

    2. I opposed it because it was using Levi money as a maintenance tax which is just bad practice. Notice how with the breakdown above it gives over half to maintain existing infrastructure. So really it’s not about the bikes or bus prioritization over cars at all. It’s about the fact that we already have rising property taxes due to the assessments sky rocketing the value of our homes, and the city says that the increase in revenue from this is not enough, we need to raise tax rates on top of that to maintain what we already have. A small amount of that actually goes to useful new projects.

      So with that in mind, I also live in an area of the city that does not benefit whatsoever from the project list. There’s no new RapidRide+ going into where I live and the buses I currently take are slower than every other mode of transportation including SOVs. So from that perspective, not only does this increase my tax burden which is already getting higher, but it does nothing to help me (yes it’s selfish).

      So really masking this as a car/bike, car/walking, car/transit issue isn’t helping.

      1. But you may move in the future. If you see the value in the project list, but are voting no because it doesn’t help you today, then that’s totally insane. You have no idea where you’ll be in a decade.

      2. The fundamental issue is whether we need the maintenance and infrastructure. Yes we do. The city doesn’t have enough money for it or it would be doing it already. Your property-taxes handwaving doesn’t do anything productive because it considers revenue in a vacuum without reference to how much is needed. The city is severely constrained in the types, amounts, and purposes it can raise taxes for; that’s why many “basic” things are funded by levies. If Move Seattle went into the general fund, it would displace other important services. Also, other states support their metropolitan areas directly through transit funding and other urban spending — because those areas generate the most jobs and tax revenue. Washington state doesn’t. It funds a rural level of services, and items of statewide (suburban/rural) interests in the city (e.g., I-5, 99, 522, Cascades, but not commuter rail). Urban services the city has to pay for itself, and because general revenue is so limited it requires levies.

        If you’re concerned about what the city and county are spending their general funds on, then look at that, and decide for yourself if it should defund some things, push them to levies to make room for other essentials. If you think it’s inefficient, identify the inefficiencies. (And union wage is not an inefficiency.)

      3. So, let me get this straight. You oppose the levy because you don’t think the city should have a levy to pay for maintenance projects. Seriously?

        Really, how exactly is that supposed to work? How are they supposed to pay for maintenance projects? What is your plan if this fails, or do you have one? Is the city just supposed to let stuff collapse? Is is supposed to let stuff deteriorate and then spend twice as much to fix it later?

        Wow. Every few years since I’ve been a kid, the Seattle Public Schools (like every city in this state) has a school levy. It pays for, well, maintenance. It pays for teachers, janitors, principals and the like. When it fails, they fire teachers. I agree, we shouldn’t have to vote for this sort of thing. It should just be part of the regular budget (agreed upon by the city). But that doesn’t mean you vote no! Holy Cow!

        What does that accomplish? Really — again I ask, what do you think will be accomplished by voting no?

      4. You do know that Eymen initiatives force us to use levies to do maintenance, right? There’s no other options – either you give up your newly found principle, or you accept crumbling bridges. There’s no middle ground.

  6. I’m convinced that SDOT has lost its way in dealing with mobility after seeing what a horrible mess Broadway has become. Just throwing a bunch of cash at contractors doesn’t make things better.
    This is a fairly narrow arterial to begin with, and stuffing sharrows, parking, streetcars, buses, delivery trucks, cars, and the occasional breakdown vehicle all in a couple of GP lanes is total NUTS. I predict Broadway becomes one of the slowest streets in the city – to be avoided at all costs.
    Look overhead as you drive down Broadway, with its maze of wires and switches for 2 separate transit systems. What could possibly go wrong with that, even with off wire capability. Downed wires shut the street down too!
    Having a few parked cars remaining along this narrow street just pandered to shop owners, when finding alternative off-street parking would have made so much more sense, both from ROW utilization to the safety of doors opening onto vehicles passing, and the slowness of people showing how inept they are at parallel parking.
    FHSC will run, held together in this spiderweb of conflicting interests, but not very efficiently, resulting in anemic ridership forever.
    Move Seattle’s billion in taxes buys a lot more of the same logic. If the city is really serious about moving citizens, it will claim ownership of it’s ROW, and declare that a parked car is a poor use of that space, while finding alternatives for business and homeowners along those corridors that are critical to keeping the arteries from plugging up.
    Maybe it’s time for a good Cardiologist to become Director of Transportation

    1. Broadway was never intended to function as a freeway – but so what – the very things that make Broadway relatively slow – relatively narrow street, stoplights at every block – make it a good environment for non-motorized access. A good chunk of the transit riders who currently endure Broadway on the 49 will soon be able to avoid the mess completely by switching to Link.

      1. 12th Avenue is the automobile street if you want to get through faster. Broadway is a destination street, so it inevitably has a lot of cars stopping there and slowing down traffic. The argument that the cycletrack should have been off Broadway is reasonable, but it’s done now, and there is the counterargument that bicyclists want to be on Broadway which is the main street and their most likely destination and is more interesting to look at while you’re riding through. Eliminating all street parking is going to be fiercely resisted, so it’s better to compromise on eliminating some street parking in exchange for other things. As for transit getting stuck in traffic, that’s an excellent reason for a north-south route to bypass Broadway, for instance to reroute the 60 or 9 “Express” to 12th-John-Broadway-10th-UDistrict.

    2. The thought ever occur to you that they don’t want Broadway to run cars. Like the City Connector, Broadway will one day become a carless corridor. My guess is when they put the Aloha extension in and add the new market.

      1. Yes, that crossed my mind. Broadway can lead the list to ‘carless’ right after 3rd, and then 1st, 45th, Madison, etc. The problem is that mode shift away from cars by 2040 only goes down a few percent (PSRC), while the total number of cars and VMT’s continue to grow.
        Gridlocked motorists on remaining arterials make for cranky voters.

      2. As the long as the gradual changes coincide with the emergence of millennials and urbanization I think the crankiness will be tempered.

      3. I could really care less how slow driving down Broadway is in car, as long as there are adequate options in the form of sidewalks, bike lanes, and Link to bypass it.

    3. Blame ST, not the city. Besides, Kurby inherited that mess. The streetcar on Broadway was Sound Transit’s idea, and the existing streetcar was built before the current administration got there. They deserve some of the blame for continuing with the project, but really very little.

      Their babies are things like Madison BRT and Eastlake BRT. The fact that they clearly rejected a streetcar on Eastlake shows that they have become a lot more sensible. If things go as well as they have so far with both of these projects, they will be huge. Madison BRT is likely to have a bigger impact on mobility for the Central Area (Capitol Hill and places south and east) than the light rail line,* despite the fact that it literally runs right under their feet. Hard to imagine that a project that cost millions will be better for an area than a project costing billions, but consider that the BRT cuts right through the heart of that area. It will connect 23rd, Seattle U and Pill Hill with downtown. That is huge.

      Consider, for a second, the bus restructure that obviously has been viewed unfavorably by folks in that part of town. Now consider a bus that can quickly and frequently get you on that corridor. Suddenly a lot of restructures make sense. You don’t need the 43, because you can quickly get from anywhere on 23rd to the BRT (via the 48). This will get you downtown much faster than if you transferred at CHS (like this) or stayed on the bus. Now run the 11 from Madison Park up to 23rd, but instead of going on Madison, head on Thomas to Group Health and then CHS. Now folks in Madison Park have a very fast ride to downtown (with a very easy transfer) or a one seat ride to Group Health and a simple transfer to Link. You’ve also increased the frequency on Thomas and who knows where the 11 goes from there (maybe it becomes another 8). In other words, with very little effort, it is really easy to come up with a restructure that actually improves the lives of most people in the area. That is what having multiple stops on a fast mass transit vehicle does.

      Basically, I hate the streetcar, and I think they are being way too passive in allowing it to continue. But overall, with their BRT projects, they seem to be doing everything right, and it will make a huge difference in this city. This vote, for example, has absolutely no money for a streetcar (thankfully).

      *I want to be clear here — I’m talking about improving the live of folks in that part of town, not the city overall. Obviously Link to the U-District is huge overall and much more important than Madison BRT. But because there is only one station between the UW and downtown (and that station is inconvenient from a bus standpoint) Madison BRT will have a bigger impact. Bus as I mention, the Madison BRT will actually complement the light rail line (in ways that the streetcar won’t).

      1. RossB for Mayor, right after Matt for Mattmobiles ™, and d.p. for shoutouts that needed to be said with vigor.
        I agree with your assessment of Madison BRT being a game changer provided it doesn’t end up looking like a gypsy parade from all the baggage littering a clean street, curb to curb. Sluggish streetcars along Broadway, feeding a couple of escalator portals at CHS, with everyone else moving at walk speeds will really hamper Link to live up to its expectations in the Central District.

    4. I predict Broadway becomes one of the slowest streets in the city – to be avoided at all costs.

      Yes, exactly! Broadway is a classic city “high street” and has no business being a through arterial. The city is (belatedly) realizing this and applying traffic calming and transit investment to it.

      In the best of all possible worlds, it would be car-free.

      1. except it’s the only N-S arterial for cars that doesn’t detour around parks in the Central District, except for 23rd. Bertha II anyone?

      2. But Broadway doesn’t go through south of Yesler. Given that, I’d say 12th (which similarly goes through on one end) is at least as good.

      3. But the transition from Broadway onto Boren is very smooth, as it is at most a 45 degree turn, and Boren eventually becomes Rainier Ave S, so while the street names change, there is a very clear corridor from Rainier all the way through to 10th Ave E, of which Broadway plans a key part.

      4. Thank you Pete.
        It’s intuitive to transition from Rainier to Broadway as you describe, until the the road starvation diet starts on the south end, then you’re stuck. It’s highly counter intuitive on the north end to jog over to 12th on Aloha, before the mess starts. I suppose big flashing overhead signs on either end could warn motorists about the
        ‘Clusterfuck Traffic Revisions Ahead’.

    5. There are two good projects not explicitly mentioned that I hope the agencies fund: the Rainier Beach transit center and the Yesler Way electric trolleybus overhead. The former would connect the south end of Rainier Avenue South with the South Henderson Street Link station and provide an off-street layover. it was suggested by the community. Rainier is a corridor line on the Move Seattle map. Madison BRT is fruit high up in the tree and hard to get; it is difficult to move frequent transit through freeway interchange choking traffic. the Yesler Way overhead is fruit much easier to pick; let’s do it first. Routes 3 and 4 serve Yesler Terrace, Harborview, two Swedish campuses, SU, and Garfield; they carry many more riders than routes 11 and 12. Yesler Way is free of I-5 congestion. Let’s do Yesler first.

  7. “Pedestrian Master Plan ($68m): For some reason, $7m for ‘bike spot safety’ is grouped in this total.”

    Martin, I think you read it wrong. It’s $68.2m for the Ped and Bike Improvements category of Congestion Relief, with $60.9m going to the Ped Master Plan Implementation subcategory and $7.3m for the Bike Spot Safety Improvements subcategory. It would be good to correct this in the post.

      1. Good question. But the Bike Spot Safety Improvements is not under the “Ped Master Plan” subcategory. You make it sound like bikes are stealing $7.3m from peds in your post.

      2. “Safe Routes” means the Safe Routes to Schools program, which limits the corridors where it can be invested. Not every needed bike safety improvement is necessarily on the way to a school.

      3. Isn’t “safe routes” specifically for schools and the routes to and from them? I believe there are other bike safety areas that don’t qualify.

  8. $207M for “Safe Routes to Schools” is one of the dumber parts of this levy. This is one of the few areas of SDOT’s budget that currently has a dedicated funding source, and they can’t spend the dollars fast enough on projects. The restrictions to fund a project with this money is actually really tight.

    So I find this line item difficult to understand. Either there isn’t a need for the money… or SDOT must be intending to ease the restrictions on spending the money.

    To be clear, I would love to see more spending going to pedestrian safety in our city. However, if they’re planning to relax restrictions in order to fund more projects, then they’re not actually promoting “Safe Routes to Schools” and they’re misleading the public. And this Levy seems to do quite a bit of that.

    1. It’s not Micky.

      First of all, you’re reading the document wrong. The Safe Routes to School program only gets $7 million from the levy which complements an expected $41 million from camera revenue and grants. The “safe routes” category includes all walking, biking, and safety improvements in general.

      Secondly, the Safe Routes to School program could use significantly more funding to help kids at the over 100 public schools who are required to walk when they live within 1-3 miles of their school – there is a lot of sidewalks, crosswalks, crossing lights, etc that need to be built. The price tag for actually making it safe for all kids who live within the SPS walk zones to walk or bike to school is significantly higher than is what being allocated – but, of course, there are lots of competing needs. http://seattlegreenways.org/move-seattle-transportation-levy/

  9. I feel this is too little too late: there was an opportunity with the levy mailing we received in the last week at our domiciles to provide more informative and education information, such as the detailed budget vs. a lot of colored lines with zero information and treating us like a bunch of 3rd graders who don’t understand budgets or spreadsheets. If there was ever a time to provide the voter and taxpayer a good first impression (or even a better second impression) it was then, not waiting for better information after many people complain.

    Something doesn’t smell right with the SDOT and this levy, and I’m voting no.

    1. That’s some pretty deep truthiness thinking. Because they didn’t send you a specific breakdown (which was already available in the levy), you’re going to vote no? That’s sooo truthiness.

    2. I really don’t understand your reasoning. This has been out for a long time: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/LevyFactSheet62915.pdf

      What more do you really need to know? I can’t help but think that SDOT got more granular because ignorant, selfish voters wanted to know if it really meant they would build something in “their” neighborhood. I’m not accusing of being one of those voters, but I really don’t understand the logic behind voting no.

      OK, I can understand it if you simply don’t want taxes to go up for any reason. Or if you feel like investing in our transportation infrastructure (including maintenance!) is a bad idea. If you really don’t care about mobility in this town, then I would vote no. But most of the arguments against this are contradictory, or like yours, nonsensical.

      Seriously, you are voting no because they didn’t run a good campaign? You would have voted yes if they had released this sooner? I honestly don’t know what you mean by that.

    3. Any public agency that wasted money printing and mailing spreadsheets that no one would read is the one you should be suspicious of. That would be pretty much the worst outreach campaign ever, and show a lot of incompetence.

      If you want to nerd out on the spreadsheets with the rest of us nerds, they are available online. Have fun!

  10. The levy would be a lot easier for me to swallow if SDOT committed to building MUTCD-compliant infrastructure with the money. I realize the geography of Seattle introduces some complications at times, but at least for bike infrastructure, the strategy seems to be to ignore federal standards when convenient, and hope for the best. These standards exist for a reason! If we want to experiment with new ideas, there’s already an official mechanism in place for doing so… but SDOT doesn’t seem to be interested in applying for permission.

    I support the GOALS of the levy, particularly with regard to transit. I just have a hard time with the way SDOT actually implements the plans at the street level.

    1. What are the differences and why do they matter so much? Does every other state follow MUTCD? What about other Washington cities? Maybe Seattle has a reason for not doing so, and it would be worth asking them what it is.

      1. Concern trolling. Happens on the Seattle Bike Blog all to frequently. MUTCD is usually a laggard in terms of innovation, although there are some exceptions (around clear signage, etc).

      2. You can call it trolling all you like, but that kind of response is just poisoning the well and doesn’t advance the discussion. Presumably we’re on the same page here: we all want safe, effective infrastructure. I happen to think that safety comes from consistency and evidence-based analyses rather than infrastructure design that uses me as a guinea pig. That’s one of the main purposes of MUTCD. And yes, MUTCD can indeed feel slow and cautious sometimes, which is exactly why I mentioned that there’s a provision for experimentation. SDOT ignores that, for reasons that aren’t clear.

        I’m not sure what other states and cities have to do with the discussion. I don’t live in those places, nor are they asking for my tax money.

      3. Is it MUTCD that requires arterials to be as wide as freeways with 12′ lanes and deep intersection curves that require pedestrians to turn several steps sideways to get to the crosswalk? Because that’s what made many other cities so pedestrian hostile.

      4. MUCTD is very problematic. It’s not as bad as the FHWA Guidelines, however. Those are finally being reformed as we speak. MUCTD will probably follow.

      5. No, it’s not the Seattle manual. The things I’m talking about aren’t in Seattle. The suburbs are more like it with wider streets, such as northeast Kent, but the deep intersection curves aren’t in Pugetopolis, they’re in some other cities.

      6. Mike, the document you are thinking about is the AASHTO Green Book (link to a table referencing the Green Book as the book itself isn’t free). MUTCD as the name suggests only concerns itself with traffic control devices, not the geometric design of the roadway.

        As to the city building federally compliant bike facilities, the FHWA gave cities the flexibility to use the NACTO guidelines. They also have a page about bike facilities and the MUTCD. It looks like bike boxes are still experimental but there are several other major cities like Chicago, New York and San Francisco that went ahead and implemented them anyway without prior approval to experiment from FHWA.

    2. So vote for someone else for mayor. Seriously, if you really think that the folks in charge don’t know what they are doing, vote for someone else. But please don’t vote no because you think that it will lead to a better outcome. I can guarantee you it won’t lead to what you want. No one will wake up the next morning and think “Damn, if only we had MUTCD compliant standards!”. Oh well, we’ll do it better next time and then try and pass this thing.

  11. I generally like the plan, but there’s one item in there that is going to make me vote ‘no’ – another RV station that makes Link’s weakest link even crappier. It turns our S-bahn, Regionaltag, RER (almost and soon to be) gold plated system into SLUT+ for an annoying section between the airport and CBD. The RV has great ‘local’ service, it’s called Metro.

    1. You’re voting down a whole package of diverse improvements because Westlake-airport trips will go from 39:00 to 39:20? Talk about a litmus test. In any case, there are competing visions for Link, and RER is only one of them. Other taxpayers think Link should have more stations. The problem with Link is they’re trying to fufill multiple levels of service in a single line. Given that, it’s inevitable that it will fulfill some levels of service better than others, and because the segments are diverse it will fulfill different levels of service for different trip pairs!

      The fundamental problem for Des Moines, Federal Way, and Tacoma is their further distance from downtown compared to Shoreline, Lynnwood, and Everett, and the lack of major destinations (urban centers) in between comparable to north Seattle. The Rainier Valley detour and surface MLK add to that, but even without them the south end would still be at a disadvantage. The detour and surface are minor factors overall. Given that we can’t make it as fast as the north end or eastside even without those, we might as well make it into a better local, which means adding the Graham station.

    2. You’d vote against Prop 1 because it creates a much needed LR station in an underserved area?! o_O. Pretty much every transit advocate is for the Graham Street station – this blog, seattle subway, TCC and more.

      1. What part of living in an urban village and walking to the train don’t you understand? Or getting off the train and walking to your job or a business or cultural activity. Or having a continuous urban area spanning multiple stations where everybody in the area can walk to a station? It’s obvious that Seattle will have more pedestrian-friendly urban villages than anywhere else, and will have the most ridership per capita. So we should maximize its potential. Zipping to Everett or Federal Way is not the only important thing in the world.

    3. Just kicking buses out of the tunnel, in and of itself, will allow Link to easily make up the time for stopping at Graham St.

    4. I think you have it backwards. Link is best suited to serve areas like Rainier Valley. The fact that it also connects to Tukwila is just a nice addition for Tukwila, an area of far less density and a very long ways from town. If you really wanted to serve areas like Tukwila directly, you wouldn’t have built light rail, you would have built commuter rail. Far fewer people would ride it, of course, but it would be a lot cheaper to build. But light rail has never been used successfully to tie together far flung suburbs, because it would be a crazy waste of money. Light rail is meant to connect areas that are close together (areas of at least moderate density). When done correctly, it leads to much higher ridership and much lower operating costs. In short, it is a much better value.

      This station is long overdue, and will increase ridership in the entire area. Eventually the number of people who will benefit from this station will far outnumber those that are hurt by it (and those that are hurt by it, as Mike said, are only being asked to spend an extra few second getting to their destination).

  12. If this fails, there are two likely outcomes:

    1) They try again in next year, a general election year. I think they are already wishing they had waited a year, but they didn’t expect The Seattle Times to be such idiots.

    2) They try again next year, but the budget is focused more on maintenance. There are some things here that really need to get done. Bike paths, light rail stations, pedestrian improvements, safe routes to school are all nice and everything, but if bridges and roads don’t work, the city is screwed. I know this is heresy on a board like this, but I guarantee you that every mayor, no matter how “progressive”, feels that way. If the trucks can’t deliver the goods, you’ve strangled commerce. If you strangle commerce, you are in big trouble. This sort of approach is rather common. If a school levy doesn’t pass, the board usually comes back with a smaller levy. They lay off a bunch of teachers (the new ones) and maybe kill after school activities (the kids will find something to do, like improve their graffiti skills) but they still come back with another levy — a much smaller one. Oh, I remember the days.

    Anyway, both of these things are terrible in the long run. The first means that you end up firing a bunch of people, then trying to hire them back the following year. That costs a lot of money. The second ends up costing a bunch of money, too. Delayed maintenance means you end up spending more money later. It really doesn’t work out well. The Seattle Times is simply being irresponsible (again). If this fails it will ultimately cost us a bunch of money, and we will have worse outcomes as a result.

    If you are voting no because this has some project (or lacks some project) then you are just cutting off your nose to spite your face. No one said this is perfect, but this is exactly what this city needs right now. It should be obvious to anyone who tries to get around town that it isn’t easy, and this set of projects will make it easier. It may not be flashy, but it will be significant, and it will end up saving us a lot of money in the long run.

    1. Next year ST3 will be on the ballot. The cities and agencies try to space the spending measures so that there’s not too many at once, or two of the same kind of thing.

      1. I agree, I’m sure this is why they have it this year. But if this fails, they will ;put it out next year. This is too important. They will try again next year (especially since ST3 is likely to fail). I mean it is nice and all to try and help Sound Transit pass their measure, but when push comes to shove you have to focus on the projects that will deliver the best value for your city.

      2. Ross, I guarantee you that no city levy will be on the ballot in 2016, especially since a no-vote on Move Seattle indicates anti-tax sentiments of residents.

        ST3 is in real peril if Move Seattle is defeated. We’ll have to work even harder on ST3 if Move Seattle fails.

      3. I would be very surprised if they don’t try again. Here is why:

        1) I think they were overconfident in this race. This really is a no-brainer. I don’t think they expected any controversy. If you look at the endorsements from business, labor and environmental groups as well as the full support and endorsement from every city council member, it just looks like an easy win. If one city council member expressed any of the concerns mentioned here and opposed this measure, there would be a very different campaign. But they didn’t, because this is so obviously good. But then the Seattle Times opposed it. This changed everything, and I think caught them by surprise. Thus the last minute campaigning to try and convince the folks that still believe The Seattle Times editorial staff is honest and sane. If this fails, they will blame the campaign and simply try again.

        2) Off year elections favor more right wing voters. These are the voters more likely to be swayed by The Seattle Times as well as voters who oppose property taxes. It is quite common to simply try again in a general election year if a tax measure fails in an off year election.

        3) I would expect this to be scaled down. This is another common technique if the first proposal fails. This is no guarantee of success, of course, but a common, reasonable approach. This would make a lot of sense for this measure. This Bridging the Gap measure is bigger than the last one, so it is reasonable to assume that some voters might support a smaller tax bill.

        The city does not feel like this levy is a bonus. A huge chunk of the money here is for maintenance. They can’t wait five years (for the following general election). If this fails, trying again next year would be their best chance of success.

  13. No one in this whole long thread seems to have considered the League of Women Voters position against Prop 1 — that this is the wrong way to fund transportation projects, as the last Seattle park proposal was funded. One person suggested that Eyman-laws have made it too difficult to fund things traditionally, so this levy is required. The League doesn’t seem to think so, and they’re hardly a conservative bunch — they’re just trying to stop us from going down a slippery slope of putting forth and passing property tax levies for funding all kinds of things we didn’t used to fund.

    That said, I may still vote for this because we need all these projects. But we are funding them the wrong way, regardless.

    1. Does the League suggest any alternative funding sources? Without that, I can’t really deem their objections worth consideration.

      1. I agree, Tom. Long term, we need another way. But street and sidewalk maintenance, and bus service, can’t wait for Olympia to get its head together. We need this levy now to move Seattle forward until a more sustainable funding method is permitted.

  14. And here’s what the League of Women Voters said… “The League’s good government positions state that levies should be used for capital projects, not maintenance. Frequent sequential levies demanding more tax revenue from those with and without financial means to pay for them is not a reliable way of funding,” Clark continued.
    “As we look into the very near future and see even more levies on the horizon pushing homeowners’ property taxes to unmanageable levels, we are concerned about the ability of even relatively well-off Seattleites to remain in their homes. The League of Women Voters feels that the city needs to go back to the drawing board and address these concerns before another such measure is presented to the voters.”

    Not all property owners can handle ever-increasing levies. The divide between owner and renter is a bad stand-in for a divide between rich and poor. And poorer owners will start to rebel against ever-increasing levies.

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