With a backlog of over 550 lane-miles in need of major maintenance, estimated to cost $970m, and a rapidly growing city, the Seattle Department of Transportation says its 2018 budget attempts to balance the mobility needs of the city while maintaining existing streets and sidewalks.
Next year’s city budget, approved November 20, increases SDOT’s budget by a little over 5%, growing to $472.4m, from $448.4m. The agency plans on adding 31 new full-time employees, approved by the city council this summer, comprised of project management, engineers and planning and design positions.
In good news for bus riders, a last-minute proposal by Councilmember Mike O’Brien and approved by the council starts to lay a path for the use of automated enforcement of transit lanes. A report by SDOT in partnership with SPD “on the potential for using automated enforcement to reduce ‘block-the-box’ incidents and transit lane violations,” is due to the council by March 2, 2018
SDOT no longer anticipates beginning construction on the project by mid-2018. A new start date wasn’t given.
Over the last four years, the city’s funding to address homelessness has grown by 60%, bringing the city’s total spending to $63m for 2018. Roughly $1.3m of that will come from SDOT’s budget, which includes the agency’s ongoing annual transfer of $1m ($800,000 of which comes from the commercial parking tax) to Seattle’s Parks Department for the remediation of tent encampments and other programs to address the crisis. The additional $300,000 is a one-time investment of gas tax revenue to purchase equipment necessary to support the expanded citywide response to the homelessness crisis.
Next year, from the 9-year $930m Move Seattle Levy, SDOT plans on spending $7m on freight mobility improvements, $16m on bike and pedestrian safety improvements with another $7.5m going specifically toward achieving Vision Zero. Another almost $5m is earmarked for neighborhood safety projects. Also from the levy, roughly $32m will be spent next year on maintenance and repair, and over $55m is reserved for congestion relief projects.
Finally, SDOT will be purchasing an additional 2,200 in-city Metro Transit service hours and 3,157 regional partnership service hours through the Transportation Benefit District. The TBD as a whole should cost a little over $51m next year.
Other 2018 budget highlights include:
- $36.5m for Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement
- $36.4m for the Center City Connector Streetcar
- $17m for street paving and resurfacing, sufficient to pave approximately 31 lane-miles of roadway
- $13.1m to implement parts of the Bicycle Master Plan ($9.4 million for protected bike lanes, $2.7 million for neighborhood greenways, and $1 million for spot improvements to existing facilities)
- $3.4m for King Street Station tenant improvements
- $3m one-time allocation for a pilot program to automate of one of Seattle’s bascule bridges, which if successful could lead to the consolidation of bridge operators, saving the city $1m a year
- $2.86m for the Roosevelt Multimodal Corridor to accelerate funding needed to receive federal grants for the project
- $1.3m for “enhanced” IT including $528,000 to create an analytic parking occupancy model
- $1m to address landslide issues
- $500,000 for the Market to MOHAI project
- $500,000 for a one-time allocation to implement ORCA on the monorail
- $300,000 to establish a data analytics team, adding a temporary staff person and a fellowship position