Meanwhile, City Council transportation committee head Mike O’Brien is pushing for a more immediate effort to complete new protected bike lanes on Pike and Pine with money from the Washington State Convention Center expansion.
Both efforts come as Seattle seeks to ease congestion in its core and cut the some 6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions created every year in the city.
Durkan’s proposal calls for “the development of a congestion pricing strategy to ease mobility through the downtown core” as well as creation “of more energy efficient and carbon neutral buildings.”
The Seattle Times reports that the only thing for sure at this point is a study to sort out where and how congestion tolling could work in “downtown neighborhoods.” While no major U.S. city has employed street tolling, examples from around the world include areas where entire roadways or specific lanes are tolled. Other strategies have created “cordon tolling” where vehicles are charged a certain amount to enter specific areas of a city. In London, tolling occurs in the central city’s “Congestion Charge Zone” where vehicles are charged during business hours around £11.50 per day — or $16. The city employs a Ultra Low Emission Discount for cars that meet environmental standards.
The study will need to include assessment of how any tolling will change driving and parking in neighborhoods near downtown including Capitol Hill.
UPDATE: Durkan’s proposals include:
- Improving mobility through congestion pricing in the upcoming years. At the conclusion of a new SDOT-led study, the City will develop a strategy over the next few years to address congestion and transportation emissions through pricing, coupled with investments in expanded transit and electrification in underserved communities.
- Electric vehicle readiness ordinance for new construction. Mayor Durkan will transmit legislation requiring the inclusion of electric vehicle infrastructure in new construction or renovation that includes parking.
- Green Fleet Action Plan update. Already a national leader in building a clean energy fleet, the city will update the Green Fleet Action Plan to phase out the use of fossil fuels in all fleet vehicles.
- Ride share and taxi fleet electrification. The City will work with stakeholders to develop recommendations for electrifying all rideshare vehicles and taxis in Seattle.
The mayor also rolled out two initiatives related to green development:
- Creating the City’s Most Sustainable Buildings. Announced by Mayor Durkan in her first State of the City, this pilot will offer additional height and floor space incentives for up to 20 major renovations in urban centers for significant upgrades in energy and water use, stormwater management, and better transportation efficiency based on the standards to create carbon neutral buildings.
- Energy Efficiency as a Service (EEaS). Expand City Light’s successful, first in the nation, pay-for-performance energy efficiency pilot program to eliminate barriers that keep building owners from investing in deep energy efficiency upgrades.
And two more to address existing buildings and homes:
- Oil to heat pump conversion. Develop a funding strategy to accelerate the transition of 18,000 homes from heating with oil to an electric heat pump, including financing the switch for low-income residents.
- Extending and expanding municipal building energy efficiency program through 2025. Currently on track in meeting the 20 percent by 2020 goal, Mayor Durkan will nearly double the funding through 2025, aiming to cut energy use and carbon emissions nearly 40 percent in our buildings.
Meanwhile, council member O’Brien Tuesday renewed a push for protected bike lanes connecting downtown to Broadway as part of Seattle’s Center City network designed to create more and safer biking infrastructure and lanes downtown. “I expect SDOT to come to the table soon to discuss how they are working towards a Center City bike network as soon as possible, and what they plan to implement this year,” O’Brien said.
The proposed public benefits package from a planned vacation of city right of way for the expansion of the convention center includes millions for the Pike and Pine lanes that would connect to “the existing bike lanes on Broadway and 2nd” and form “the spine of an all ages and abilities bicycle network.”
Concepts being considered for protected bike lanes on Pike and Pine have included adding protected bike lanes only to Pine or turning Pike and Pine into “a couplet of one-way streets” with one-way bike traffic and one-way motor vehicle traffic spread across both streets. $10 million is currently earmarked from the benefits package to support the project.
A SDOT representative said Tuesday the department wants to execute Pike/Pine bike improvements as soon as possible and is awaiting funding from benefits package.
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