Show Up for MASS Transportation Package at Council 2pm Friday

Green New Deal and Seattle Streetcar supporters drove turn out at this transportation committee hearing. (Photo by Doug Trumm)

The Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) coalition is pushing for safe streets and has a package of transportation legislation they want passed by the end of year. If the City is serious about climate action, it simply must make it easier to get around without a car since transportation emissions are by far and away Seattle’s largest source. At 2pm on Friday, August 9th, members of the coalition are presenting the MASS Transportation Package to Seattle City Council. We urge you to attend the meeting at City Hall (and RSVP on Facebook) or call your Councilmembers in support of the MASS package.

MASS is teaming up with Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Abel Pacheco to hold the briefing on the MASS Transportation Package at a special meeting of the Sustainability and Transportation Committee. MASS is asking City Council move on the first three pieces of legislation right away, with more in store for budget season stemming from MASS’s overall vision for the package. Those first three pieces are:

  1. A Bicycle Safety Ordinance: It would require that when the City does major road work, it also makes any improvements listed in the Bicycle Master Plan at the same time. If the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) doesn’t follow the Bicycle Master Plan, it must explain to the City Council and to the public why this isn’t possible.
  2. Request More Funding for Bicycle Implementation Plan: A resolution requesting that unfunded projects in the Bicycle Implementation Plan be funded, including all South Seattle projects (currently only funded for study) and two-way bike lanes on 4th Avenue in Downtown Seattle.
  3. Off-Sidewalk Bike and Scooter Parking: A resolution requesting that in 2020, SDOT double the number of planned off-sidewalk bike and scooter parking spaces (bike corrals) to ensure pedestrian access on sidewalks and continue to rebalance the allocation of street space for people, rather than just for cars. 

If you cannot attend, please take a moment to send Mayor Jenny Durkan and the nine City Councilmembers an email in support of these three measures. You can use this handy form to email them all simultaneously:

Email the Mayor and Councilmembers now!

MASS is also preparing legislation for other important priorities like pushing SDOT to add bus lanes faster, beefing up sidewalk maintenance, updating the City’s Complete Streets ordinance to make it more effective, and developing an adaptive traffic signal policy that doesn’t shortchange pedestrians.

Unfortunately, this push by the MASS coalition is all too necessary as pedestrian deaths and injuries are on the rise, climate emissions are headed in the wrong direction, and safe streets projects are being canceled, delayed, or watered down left and right. That’s why The Urbanist joined the MASS coalition. We know it doesn’t have to be like this.

Our neighbor to the north, Vancouver, rapidly expanded its protected bike network and now 10% of all trips are by bike, and streets are calmer and safer than ever. Vancouver is also one of the few North American cities expanding transit ridership faster than Seattle, which is linked to Vancouver making it easy to access transit stations. It’s all connected: protected bike lanes calm and buffer streets so sidewalks feel safer and intersections are more controlled. That encourages more people to attempt their trips without a car, and transit ridership surges too. As fewer people blast through in their two-ton cars, neighborhoods are more pleasant places to be. And, hey, carbon emissions drop. We need to unlock this virtuous cycle for the health of our cities and our planet.

We hope to see at City Hall on Friday!

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Doug Trumm is The Urbanist's Executive Director. 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.