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This past Tuesday, Mayor McGinn launched the Walk Bike Ride initiative alongside Streets for All Seattle; I missed the kickoff because I was chairing the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee. The initiative is a multi-year effort to fund projects and programs promoting walking, biking and riding transit in Seattle. This effort confirms what we’ve known for a long time – that smart investments in alternatives to single occupancy vehicles pay off in the long run through more cost effective and accessible transportation, and fewer impacts to climate change and our natural environment. Despite facing a budget crisis, we need to continue to work with the Mayor to identify ways to fund these smart transportation investments while maintaining other essential services to the people of Seattle. It never seems to be a good time to invest in sidewalks, bike infrastructure and transit, but if we can find hundreds of millions of dollars for freeway projects during this recession, we need to show the political will to find hundreds of millions of dollars to meet the essential needs of the people of Seattle.
The initiative work will include:
- Updating the transit master plan,
- Aggressively focusing existing resources on early implementation of projects improving of pedestrian and bicycle amenities,
- Public engagement to identify needs and target future resources
- Protecting and expanding transit, and
- Developing a budget for 2011-12 with these priorities in mind.
I look forward to working closely with my colleagues and the Mayor as this plan develops to ensure we adequately prioritize dollars based on our values to reduce our environmental impacts while creating more livable communities.