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MASS transit: Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition forms to push for faster, smarter street investments

A bike rider resorts to the sidewalk to navigate busy Boren (Images: CHS)

The community has taken the lead in shaping protected bike lanes on Pike and Pine — and a coalition of community groups is taking the lead in calling on Mayor Jenny Durkan to “transform” Seattle’s transportation system. Meet MASS — Move All Seattle Sustainably:

Seattle needs to dramatically transform its transportation system for multiple reasons— many of which are already reflected in Seattle’s adopted goals. Our Climate Action Plan calls for carbon neutrality by 2050, and transportation is 60% of our current emissions; the recent IPCC report reminds us of the catastrophe awaiting us if we do not act immediately to reduce carbon emissions. Vision Zero calls for zero traffic deaths or serious injuries by 2030. In addition, our streets in the urban core are already failing to move people and goods adequately, equity and access to jobs require lower-cost options for people to get around, and our city’s overall economic health depends on a safe, green, and equitable transportation system.

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The MASS coalition brings together groups including the Sierra Club, the Transit Riders Union, Cascade Bicycle Club, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Seattle Transit Blog, and the Urbanist, which wrote about the coalition here.

“All of us are united around pushing the City to follow through on transportation promises, whether Move Seattle pledges or the Bike Master Plan or the Pedestrian Master Plan,” the Urbanist announcement writes.

The group forms as the Seattle City Council is set to pound out changes in Durkan’s proposed $5.9 billion city budget. Tuesday night brings a public hearing on the proposal.

Included in MASS’s letter to the mayor calling for a better allocation of the city’s Department of Transportation spending plan are a few line items related directly to Central Seattle and Capitol Hill:

  • Prioritize people walking at intersections . Adaptive signals have prioritized cars at the expense of people walking. Ask – budget: Council should place a proviso on the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) budget stipulating that no funding shall be released to increase the number of adaptive signals, or similar technology, until it can measure and mitigate delays to people walking
  • Home Zone Pilot. Home zones use traffic calming measures like diverters to limit and slow traffic on residential streets without sidewalks, creating people-centered places for people of all ages to play, relax, and get around safely. Ask – budget: Fund a home zone pilot at $350,000 for one year. Budget could be reallocated from ITS (which took money from pedestrian budget earlier this year)
  • 23rd/24th Avenue. RapidRide upgrades might be delayed, but we shouldn’t wait to paint bus lanes for Route 48, especially in the four lane sections of 23rd/24th Avenue where speeding is rampant and collisions far too commonplace. Ask – leadership: Paint bus lanes on 23rd/24th Avenue.

CHS reported here on plans for RapidRide on the 23rd Ave corridor. In September, the Seattle Transit Blog reported any implementation of the speeded bus line will likely be delayed over funding issues. Meanwhile, RapidRide on E Madison also has faced delays — and a few speed bumps — but remains on track for a 2021 start of service.

Other Hill specific investments like speeding up the First Hill Streetcar through Broadway remain on the back burner. Work is underway, however, on the projects to improve safety along the Thomas and John corridor.

The Seattle City Council will hold a public hearing on the 2019-2020 budget proposal Tuesday night beginning at 5:30 PM (PDF) at Seattle City Hall.

The Pike/Pine Protected Bike Lane Community Design Workshop, meanwhile, takes place Thursday night on Capitol Hill:

Pike/Pine Protected Bike Lane Community Design Workshop


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