Cascade helps Seattle pass complete streets ordinance
Region's largest city joins growing movement
April 30, 2007 -- On Monday April 30th, by a 9-0 vote, the Seattle City Council passed a complete streets ordinance, affirming the city's commitment to routinely build streets that serve all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, motorists, and the mobility impaired.
Building on the inclusive values of its Transportation Strategic Plan and Comprehensive Plan, the Seattle complete streets ordinance is a legal commitment to never leave bicyclists and other transportation modes by the side of the road. Cyclists, walkers, transit users, the mobility impaired, and everyone who is part of the 37% of Americans who cannot or do not drive will now be included in street plans, with a few exceptions: limited access facilities like freeways are exempted from the ordinance, as are roads where there is no current or predicted need for specific nonmotorized accommodations. The Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation can also waive the complete streets requirement based on her personal judgment.
Cascade Bicycle Club was central to the passage of complete streets in Seattle. Beginning four years ago, staffers from CBC and the Bicycle Alliance of Washington met with community groups and City Councilmembers to build momentum for such a bill. In 2006 we reached out and formed a coalition with the Bicycle Alliance, Allied Arts, the Sierra Club, Feet First, and Transportation Choices Coalition. Together, this group met with City Councilmembers and pressed the Mayor's office for a statutory commitment to transportation planning equity. Now, after four years of work by the transportation advocacy community, SDOT, the Mayor's office, and City Council members and staff, the City of Seattle has joined a growing group of cities and states who recognize, in law, that in order to build livable and sustainable communities we must accommodate all transportation modes safely and equitably. Cascade Bicycle Club will continue to work with cities across the region wishing to pass complete streets, building momentum for eventual state and federal policies.
We at Cascade Bicycle Club wish to extend our thanks and congratulations to everyone who contributed time and energy to the passage of this legislation. Thank you.
Watch the Seattle City Council pass the complete streets ordinance
Watch the Seattle Department of Transportation describe complete streets (followed by a Transportation Committee discussion)
Read the text of the ordinance
"Complete streets" is the concept that our public roads should be designed for all users, including pedestrians and bicyclists. Designing roads to accommodate active transportation will ease congestion, reduce pollution, and improve public health. It is also the right thing to do. Our roads are a public asset, and complete streets legislation will insure that one group of users is not unfairly favored over another. Cascade Bicycle Club supports complete streets, and we are actively working to implement such laws in cities and towns here in the Puget Sound region. If you are interested in learning more about complete streets, you can find the Compete Streets Coalitions web page listed on our links page.