You can help make 2018 a bike-friendly budget year
The City of Seattle’s budget process is well underway. Scrutinizing a city budget isn’t always the most flashy role for advocates — our Senior Policy Director Blake Trask once described it to me as “eating your broccoli.” His metaphor is spot on: Ensuring our priorities are funded or monitored through the budget process keeps bicycle advocacy healthy and on track for the years ahead.
Here are a few of the bike-related budget items Cascade and our partners are advocating for this year:
- Transportation Equity Program — Reliable and affordable transportation is linked with health and economic opportunity. Councilmember Mike O’Brien has requested to add a full-time staff position to SDOT’s Transportation Equity Program, increasing its capacity to include bicycling in this important work.
- Bike Theft Resources — Bicycle Security Advisors and Bike Index have put forth a bold legislative agenda to address bike theft, including improved reporting and investigations, public education, voluntary registration and database integration. Councilmember O'Brien has requested $10,000 to be included in the budget for Seattle Police Department to begin this work — a small start with big potential.
- Georgetown-South Park Trail — Duwamish Valley Safe Streets, an active and visionary Seattle Neighborhood Greenways group, has rallied major community support to fund the preliminary engineering, design and outreach for a 0.45-mile multi-use path between Georgetown and South Park. Councilmember Bruce Harrell is making this $600,000 request.
- Study local diversion due to tolling on SR 99 — Questions around how the new SR 99 tunnel will impact traffic congestion downtown remain. We do know that it is critical to keep downtown streets prioritized for transit, biking and walking, so this budget item would allow SDOT to hire a consultant study on local diversion (overflow traffic in downtown) due to tolling on State Route 99 and plan ahead.
- Summer Parkways — Summer Parkways closes down major streets to vehicle traffic and opens them up for families to walk, bike and stroll car free. These events help shift our car-dominant paradigm and allow us to reimagine what our streets could be if we allocated space to people over cars — we could have street markets, community performances, urban parks and more. This program is at risk of being cut, so Councilmember Rob Johnson is asking to add $150,000 to SDOT to restore funding for the Summer Parkways Program
- Examining speed and reliability on existing streetcar lines — A Statement of Legislative Intent, or SLI, submitted by Councilmember O’Brien will ensure that SDOT examines speed and reliability recommendations for the South Lake Union and First Hill streetcar lines. This is important for improving transit service overall; however, we’d like to ask that Council does not forget about examining bike safety improvements along the existing lines including how to fund them.