Mayor Durkan announced her 2021 budget proposal on Tuesday, with cuts in many departments due to COVID-19 and, in the case of Seattle PD, a push from the council and the community to redirect spending elsewhere.
One of those elsewheres will be SDOT, which is inheriting SPD’s parking enforcement division along with its ~$15m annual budget. But even with parking enforcement moved over to the SDOT ledger, the department would still have an $85m funding gap on a $608m budget. Director Zimbabwe will present the new budget to council later today.
The Center City Connector is still on pause, but the Northgate pedestrian bridge over I-5 is still funded. Also new is a $100M bond(!) to help with West Seattle Bridge repairs. Madison BRT is also full steam ahead, having received a green light from the FTA’s project management oversight consultant as well as $35.8M in funds from Sound Transit (part of ST3).
What was once a bold vision for 7 multimodal corridors has unfortunately been pared back significantly. As Dan wrote last week, Metro’s deteriorating finances mean that the only in-city RapidRide routes currently funded are the G line (Madison), the H (Delridge) and the J (which we used to call Roosevelt-Eastlake but now won’t even reach Roosevelt).
Here’s the Mayor’s full SDOT budget proposal for 2021. This is a proposal to council and they will surely have plenty to say about it. SCC Insight produced a chart showing revenues by department. Note that SDOT takes one of the largest cuts of any department shown. That could change, however, if the STBD renewal passes next month.
Moving parking enforcement out of SPD is overdue. Read this great article on Seattle Bike Blog or listen to this 99% Invisible episode on police and traffic enforcement if you want to learn more about the ill effects of police and traffic enforcement. The agencies ought to move all right-of-way enforcement issues over to SDOT. Not only does it reduce the chance of unnecessary armed interactions with police, but it better aligns incentives. Enforcing bus-only lanes, for example, is SPD’s responsibility but it never seems to rank very high on their priority list.