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Mayor lays out 10-year plan for Seattle transportation including Broadway streetcar extension, Madison BRT

“We’re redesigning streets like Broadway to provide many low-cost travel choices," Mayor Murray's plan promises

“We’re redesigning streets like Broadway to provide many low-cost travel choices,” Mayor Murray’s plan promises

"The list of new technologies impacting transportation expands every day"

“The list of new technologies impacting transportation expands every day”

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 2.09.21 PMTeeing up a ballot measure this fall to help pay for it all, Mayor Ed Murray rolled out his Move Seattle plan Monday including an “A to X” (come on city planners, you couldn’t think of two more initiatives!) roster of transportation projects being planned to make Seattle’s streets safer and more efficient by 2024. The plan includes projects with a combined budget of $835 million.

Longterm goals include a roster of safety initiatives and the target of providing “72% of Seattle residents with 10-minute all-day transit service within a 10-minute walk of their homes.”

In addition to high-level goals, there are also near-term initiatives on the roster with plans like these Central Seattle projects targeted for completion in the next three years:

  • Begin construction of bus rapid transit on Madison Street
  • Begin construction of the Center City Streetcar Connector and the Broadway Extension on Capitol Hill
  • Install 1,500 bike parking spaces over the next three years

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 1.59.24 PMEven more near-term, Car2Go is piggybacking on the Move Seattle announcement with its news that it is expanding its Seattle fleet to 750 vehicles, a 50% increase, and expanding its service boundaries in the city to cover more of South Seattle and West Seattle. Earlier this year, CHS reported on Seattle’s expansion of its car sharing program to include new providers and more cars in the city.

2015 will also see the first benefits of the voter-approved transportation district to better fund Metro bus service in Seattle.

Another near-term upgrade not included in the Move Seattle plan is the federally boosted expansion of the Pronto bike share into the Central District later this year.

With the city’s Bridging the Gap levy expiring this year, Move Seattle will require “a replacement source of funding,” the plan posted Monday (PDF) afternoon notes in its conclusion:

Seattle’s transportation funding landscape is complex. We pay for our work with a variety of different revenue sources, each with its own rules and restrictions. With the expiration of the first Bridging the Gap property levy at the end of 2015, SDOT will have about $110 million a year in ongoing transportation revenues. The largest two are SDOT’s share of the City’s General Fund and the Commercial Parking Tax, which combined represent nearly 80% of that $110 million. Other sources include School Zone Camera revenue — used to make safety improvements around schools — as well as the City’s share of the State’s Gas Tax and the $20 Vehicle License Fee.

(Image: City of Seattle)

Seattle transit funding (Image: City of Seattle)

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 1.24.35 PMAmong the Capitol Hill and Central District line items included in the vision document are several projects CHS has covered in recent months:

  • D Broadway Streetcar Extension (CHS coverage)
  • U Beacon / 12th / Broadway Complete Streets
  • N Pike/Pine Complete Street (CHS coverage)
  • K Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit Complete Street (CHS coverage)
  • S 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements – Phase 4 (CHS coverage)
  • Q Yesler/Jefferson Complete Streets
  • A 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements – Phases 1-3 (CHS coverage)

The city’s plan includes project sheets for the initiatives. Here’s the $107 million to $131 million “U” group including Beacon Hill, Broadway and 12th Ave “complete streets” —UThe planning document hangs a $24 million price tag on extending the streetcar and bikeway up Broadway to Roy and notes that the city has been “awarded federal grants for construction” of the project. “Additional local funds or partnerships will be needed to realize the project,” the Move Seattle plan reminds.

You can review the full Move Seattle plan here (PDF).

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20 thoughts on “Mayor lays out 10-year plan for Seattle transportation including Broadway streetcar extension, Madison BRT

  1. Seems interesting but what about people who still need their cars? If you can’t pronto bike there, car2go there, walk or ride the bus I guess it must not be valid in the Mayor’s mind? With “streeteries and parklet’s” plus more bike parking, BRT dedicated lanes etc…seems like Seattle has goal to be car free in 10 years? Did the Mayor address this at all in his plan?

      • I thought your very snotty comment was quite rude and unjustified. Stephanie’s question was a justifiable one, if you look at the Mayor’s plan and try to read past the cute pictures and many highlighted buzz words. The plan does have several goals that no one could object to — reduce accidents and fatalities on the road, make low cost transportation available to more people. However, as Stephanie pointed out, little here to for anyone who needs a car to get around. There’s no focus at all on better traffic flow, so we can expect even more traffic jams and irate drivers than we already have. There’s no focus on roadway maintenance, so we can expect our fairly severe pothole problems to get worse. Lots of focus on streetcars and separated bike lanes which will make traffic even worse. From what I’ve seen on Broadway, bikers don’t even use these separated lanes because they seem inconvenient and dangerous to many of us who like to bike. Many of us prefer old-fashioned 12th Avenue, actually.

        I do think we need to move to less cars and more public transportation, but I think this is a very backward looking approach to public transportation, especially the emphasis on streetcars, which are the best of 19th century technology. They are quaint and all, but if we’re designing for 2025 it should be for a world of driverless electric vehicles, with streets that have sensors in them to help with routing and traffic movement. I’m seeing projections that these cars will help us move away from the single-owner model toward a shared vehicle approach. We’re spending lots of money for a 2025 that doesn’t seem to include this sort of new technology.

        It’s true that this plan is really small compared to the truly immense amounts of money we’re spending on the downtown tunnel and Sound Transit. With the tunnel we’re planning for yesterday’s transit needs — lots of cars zooming through downtown on their way from on side of town to another (or one suburb to another). With Sound Transit we’re spending the money that should have been used to create a really great bus system and at the same time preserved some financial headroom for the new transportation technologies that are coming. This new transit plan will further exhaust financial resources, but it will also hopefully make Seattle a more pedestrian-friendly, bike-friendly place where people can ride streetcars if they want, and where hopefully buses won’t be cut any further. (I’m assuming that the city will actually use the levy we just passed to actually restore bus service to pre-cut levels, as advertised.)

        Unfortunately for people like Stephanie, the plan does not focus on improving mobility for car traffic. Potholes aren’t a focus. There’s no focus on carpooling (a low-cost way to improve transportation efficiency). There’s nothing in this plan that would help us prepare us for a world of driverless vehicles. We’re spending most of our money building tunnels, trains, and bigger freeway bridges. What’s left isn’t going to be used to make life easier for people stuck in traffic, unless they can just give up their cars.

      • Personally, I have a pet peeve with people posting snarky and ill-informed comments on stuff they didn’t bother reading. I read tons of city transportation plans from all over the country (and beyond) and this one is pretty kick-ass. Not surprised given Sam Schwartz’s company’s involvement.

        Perhaps they are not trying to improve mobility for cars (rather than for people) because increasing car capacity is an unsolvable problem for a city with a finite amount of street capacity? And the last time they tried left us with pedestrian-unfriendly signal timings like 15th, where it takes minutes to get across?

        In reality, there are no special snowflakes in Seattle who “can’t” use transit or walk places for any trips. There may be people for whom it is not (yet) presently useful.

        Like it or not, the only way cars will be sped up is by reducing their volumes. aka: better transit and bike/walk infrastructure.

        And street maintenance is on page 28.

      • Well, it was your comment that was snotty and personal, not hers. She was complaining about the fact that people like her who need cars are getting the short end of the stick in this plan.

        Hmm, one brief paragraph about street repair and one brief paragraph about “preventative maintenance” so there won’t be potholes, but it doesn’t say how that might be accomplished, on p. 28 out of a 72 page report. A brief nod, buried among all the repetitive buzz words about multi-modal transport and so forth.

        Nothing in the report about how what’s proposed would help alleviate our awful traffic. You say, all these people taking alternative types of transit will reduce car traffic — is this going to work like how the SLUT has reduced traffic in South Lake Union?

        And, if this plan is an indicator, the Mayor is uninterested in carpooling or other types of shared rides (except, of course, government owned transportation system), much less any real technical innovations on the horizon (driverless cars, sophisticated traffic routing and vehicle sharing technology) Oh, well, back to our modern street-cars!

      • My elderly parent is just such a “special snowflake.” He’s not strong enough to walk to the doctor’s office, or to the bus stop to get to the doctor’s office. We have to arrange rides for him all the time. I’ll bet there are other folks like him. And I’ll be in his shoes if I live another 20 years.

      • Bloppo: If you don’t know, Senior Services has a transportation program for seniors, to medical and dental appointments. I volunteer for this program and it’s great! Have your parent call 206-448-5740 to get registered and take advantage of this.

    • So a handful of pro-transit projects leads you to the conclusion that Seattle must have the goal of being car-free in 10 years? Does that really comport with reality? I’d check with the city’s 500,000 parking spaces first, or the new car-only tunnel being dug for $4B before I make claims like that.

      Murray is taking meaningful steps to make Seattle a multi-modal city, which up till now it hasn’t been. I do not think people realize how far the pendulum has swung in the car’s favor regarding transportation projects historically. Both in dollars and perceived importance.

      Moreover, someone who wants an easy driving experience in the city should ask themselves “What do I want to see?” Is the answer more parking spaces? More car lanes? Both of these make life WORSE for drivers because of induced demand. And they ruin the city. The things that make life easier for mass transit users also make life better for drivers. The great paradox that is lost on drivers is that taking lanes away ultimately makes traffic better and thus their experience better.

      I’ll take the bus lanes and the streetcars and the bike parking, thank you.

      • And in other news, the majority of Seattle streets are full of potholes and have degraded so much that the infrastructure now needs to be replaced. That also has an effect on safety.

  2. Ballard and West Seattle rail lines by 2025?! So near, yet so far away. Crossing my fingers that both are possible in Sound Transit 3!

  3. I pour your beers and I drive. Sorry.
    I work on the hill but do do not live there. I own a house that requires me to drive.
    Not everyone lives within walking distance to their job. As strange as it may seem not all who work on the Hill Live There.
    Not everyone who enjoys the hill lives there and we are not all from Kirkland or Bellevue.
    This anti parking is not just about transit it is also about my ability to pay bills.
    I can transfer three times twice a day spend two plus hours each way on transit and be lectured each way about how my job is responsible for the $15.00 min-wage.
    For the record most service people do not want it.
    The lack of parking is costing me on average $25.00 a day to drive at 20min. commute or $7.00 transit and two hours each way. It is sad that I should have to consider leaving a job of 8 years just because I do not live within walking distance.

    there is more to this story than this blog is reporting.
    Capitol Hill is more than those who live between Melrose, Pine and 15th

    • The plan is built on a 10 year timeline, at which point there will be a comprehensive regional rail system.

      I don’t understand the point of your post that there isn’t “enough” parking – it sounds like you’re able to find parking every single day – you just have to pay what it actually costs? Why should our city scarce funding be spent $50,000 per parking space and give it away for free?

      I’ve read every word, and I think it’s a really fantastic plan. You may not like that our city’s deliberately and thoughtful chosen priorities focus on our community’s safety, health and livability, rather than converting our neighborhoods into freeways and surface parking — but they’re the right priorities.

      Cities work best when they’re designed for the people who want to live and work there, not for the people who want to drive through them. We have many other places in the Puget Sound for that.

      (And as noted above, we’re spending billions on new freeways in the region – this is a pittance in the transportation bucket.)

      • “The lack of parking is costing me on average $25.00 a day to drive at 20min. commute or $7.00 transit and two hours each way. It is sad that I should have to consider leaving a job of 8 years just because I do not live within walking distance.”

        That’s obscene. You should be up in arms that bus service isn’t better vs looking to get your car into Seattle everyday.

        Seriously, I’ll have to move off the hill soon and I’m not looking at any place that doesn’t have bus service every 20 minutes and a straight shot downtown.

        If your neighborhood doesn’t you should put on your civic ass kicking shoes and make it happen.

    • Ok. You’re a city planner with a magic wand. What do you do to make the finite streets we have accomodate the 10s of thousands of new residents Seattle is expected to receive in the next decade? We need to accomodate these modes because there’s no other way.

      Those who want to keep or increase street parking and also bemoan traffic delays. We cannot have our cake and eat it too. And it WILL payddividends for the few times you do chose your car, because unlike now there will actually be appealing options for others.

    • Move closer to work. Seriously. You’re paying a whole lot of money for that car, gas, parking, and maintenance. You can surely find better housing that allows you to drop the car, while still not costing as much as Cap Hill housing.

      You don’t necessarily even need to move into Seattle proper. Just live close enough to walk or bike to a fast bus line (remember, 3-4mi by bike is *nothing*, and it’ll get you in great shape). For example, Sound Transit’s 512 will get you from Lynnwood Transit Center to downtown Seattle/SLU in 28 mins. from there it’s another 20min walk up the hill, or use Pronto to get there in 10 mins (faster coming down the hill, obviously), or get your own bike, or take one of the many bus options.

      The time spent walking or biking will extend your life and make you feel better. The time spent on the bus can be used for useful activities like reading, listing to podcasts, etc. The time you spend driving will only shorten your lifespan (lack of exercise + stress), and makes the world worse for everyone. Yourself included.

    • I’ll never understand why people complain about their commute and feel a certain entitlement.

      “I own a house that requires me to drive”

      You either:

      a. Sell the house and move closer to your job
      b. Quit and get a job closer to where you work

      Problem solved.

  4. I can’t wait for the Capitol Hill light rail station to open. I’m hopeful that it will provide an easy commute to work so I can leave my car at home, enjoy a nice 10 block walk and have the opportunity to mingle with others as I make my way to and from home. My car ride is nice but its isolating and I don’t get exercise. I’d take the bus today but what takes 10 min to drive takes 50 on the bus.

    I’m not a fan of the patchwork design of our mass transit options but at least the city is finally focusing on them. Better late than never and nothing.

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