Mayoral candidate Cary Moon added some meat to the bones of her transit plan at a press conference this afternoon in South Lake Union. Not far from the Mercer Mess–a traffic-choked street that serves as a testament to Seattle’s car-centric priorities, Moon outlined a more balanced vision with more priority for buses and easier and safer ways to access transit stops or final destinations by foot or bike.
With regards to Mercer Street, Moon said she’d rethink the car-focused “signal prioritization” that has increased wait times for people walking, biking, or riding transit. In her transportation plan, Moon highlighted a need to accelerate culture change at the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to achieve the mode rebalancing she imagines.
“Frankly, our city spends too much on car convenience–that’s why there are too many cars on the road,” Moon said. “We need to keep shifting the culture of SDOT towards expanding choices for people and goods, and safety for all users–and away from ‘level of service’ targets for cars. And unlike my opponent, I will always put the safety and needs of pedestrians before drivers.”
Jemae Hoffman (currently a director at Via Architecture and also an honorary founding member of Transportation Choices Coalition) complimented Cary Moon’s collaborative style, which Hoffman saw first hand as Lead for Sustainable Transportation at SDOT while working on alternatives to the Alaskan Way Viaduct with Moon.
“Cary, representing for the People’s Waterfront Coalition, was one of the most constructive stakeholders involved,” Hoffman said. “Cary articulated a clear vision for the future. She diplomatically questioned the best use of billions of public dollars, and she was always collaborative.”
Even before the new plan, the vision outlined on Moon’s website included some promising ideas.
- “Add more bus transit and protected bus lanes because when transit is fast, convenient and reliable, people use it.”
- “Make walking and biking a more viable form of transportation with a complete network of protected bike lanes and safe sidewalks.”
- “Be ready with bold solutions to keep downtown flowing when the tunnel buses come to the surface in 2019. The One Center City plan must focus on equity, on protecting the Chinatown/ID neighborhoods and on improving transit service broadly throughout the city.”
At the press conference, Moon expanded on those points.
She pledged to increase transit access not just expediting Sound Transit 3 projects in Seattle, but also expanding funding for ORCA LIFT to increase transit access for low-income adults and providing ORCA cards to “all Seattle Public School students under the age of 18 to make sure they can get to school, as suggested by Nikkita Oliver during the primary campaign.”
Moon’s transportation policies have earned endorsements from powerhouse transit advocacy organizations like Seattle Subway and the Seattle Transit Riders Union. At the press conference, Seattle Subway Boardmember Kjersti Egerdahl said Moon was best prepared to accelerate ST3 projects.
“It’s easy for a candidate to say they are pro-transit,” Egerdahl said. “Cary Moon has shown through her lifetime of advocacy that she has a deep understanding of the issues that face people walking, biking and using transit. Seattle Subway supports Cary Moon as the candidate most qualified to execute on transit that is fast, reliable, and equitable.”
— The Urbanist (@UrbanistOrg) September 27, 2017
“I am proud to be endorsed by leading transportation leaders and experts including The Urbanist, Transit Riders Union, Washington Bikes, Seattle Subway, Sierra Club, and Washington Conservation Voters,” Moon said in her press release.
Moon made a strong case she lives her values on transportation.
“I have lived mostly car-free since 1994 when I made a conscious choice to do so,” Moon said. “I use Zipcar when needed, but more often take transit and walk. (And I have a city bike that is equipped to carry groceries and can handle the Seattle terrain and weather.)”
Democracy for America’s Robert Cruickshank said his organization had made Cary Moon one of their top priority national candidates.
“It’s clear that she’s listened to the community,” Cruickshank said. “Accelerating the timeline on light rail, expanding the ORCA LIFT program, bringing a race and social justice lens to transit planning, taking a page from Nikkita Oliver, and giving ORCA cards to SPS kids–these are all commonsense things that City hasn’t done a great job with before.”
Seattle Subway is planning a get-out-the-vote event for Moon and Teresa Mosqueda on Wednesday, October 4th at 5:30pm for those interested.
Doug Trumm is the executive director of The Urbanist. An Urbanist writer since 2015, he dreams of pedestrianizing streets, blanketing the city in bus lanes, and unleashing a mass timber building spree to end the affordable housing shortage and avert our coming climate catastrophe. He graduated from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. He lives in East Fremont and loves to explore the city on his bike.