On Saturday, seven of the nine registered District 3 Seattle City Council candidates participated in a mobility-focused forum co-hosted by The Urbanist. As in the District 5 Mobility Forum hosted by the same coalition, D3 candidates generally had broad agreement about the need for safer streets, connected sidewalks, and transit upgrades, but the devil is in the details, and that’s where disagreements certainly did arose.

For example, support was mixed on completing the Center City streetcar to connect Seattle’s two orphaned stub streetcar lines. Alex Hudson, Efrain Hudnell, Andrew Ashiofu, and Ry Armstrong all confirmed their support Saturday and in previous interviews with The Urbanist. However, Joy Hollingworth, the candidate tied to Mayor Bruce Harrell in the race, said the streetcar was not a high priority for her, suggesting an equity lens may behoove the City to focus on road safety in the South End, cleaning bus stops, and adding bus service instead. Computer engineer Shobhit Agarwal and public defender Bobby Goodwin similarly opposed completing the streetcar, saying the money would be better spent elsewhere.

The First Hill Streetcar rolls down Broadway next to the street’s protected bike lanes. It could go all the way to Pike Place Market and beyond with the Center City Connector extension. (Doug Trumm)

Agreement was fairly strong about removing the I-5 off-ramp on Olive Way in order to improve safety and calm the pedestrian-heavy, crash-prone thoroughfare. The exceptions were Agarwal and Goodwin, who had concerns.

Candidates mostly agreed about getting armed police officers out of traffic enforcement and leaning more heavily on design interventions to limiting speeding and traffic cameras, but Bobby Goodwin disagreed, suggesting armed officers were needed to stop reckless driving and other more intense traffic infractions. “A camera is not going to stop that kind of behavior,” Goodwin said, suggesting interactions with armed police would. After Goodwin explained his position, Hollingsworth also walked back her position, noting she had recently been on a ride-along with a police officer.

“I’m in the middle on that and would need to do more research regarding how many traffic stops we do, how many DUIs, and those things,” Hollingsworth said.

The Solidarity Budget coalition has pushed the City of Seattle to civilianize parking enforcement and traffic enforcement and move it out of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and over to the Seattle Department of Transportation of another department. The Seattle City Council did vote to make the move with parking enforcement in 2020, but SPD neglected to do the necessary paperwork, botching the handoff and costing the City $5 million in forfeited parking fines. City Council then returned parking enforcement to SPD in 2022 out of a sense of convenience and perhaps resignation.

Check out the forum video for more insights and stances from the candidates.

The D3 forum took place at Seattle Labor Temple and was moderated by Marcus Harrison Green, founder of the South Seattle Emerald. The event was streamed on Zoom and posted to The Urbanist’s YouTube. It was the second in a series of mobility-focused forums put on by a collective of local advocacy organizations.

Hosts of the Mobility Forum series include: 350 Seattle, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587, Cascade Bicycle Club, Disability Rights Washington, Puget Sound Sage, Seattle Subway, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Seattle Transit Riders Union, Transportation Choices Coalition, The Urbanist, Transportation for Washington, Teamsters 117, Washington Bikes, Washington Council of the Blind Advocacy Committee, West Seattle Bike Connections, and Duwamish Valley Safe Streets.

The Seattle Mobility Forum series concludes today in District 1 at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and again will be posted to The Urbanist YouTube page after the fact. Register for the Zoom link or in-person ticket. The District 4 Mobility Forum scheduled June 12 was canceled in solidarity with striking University of Washington researchers.

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Doug Trumm is publisher 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 in 2019. He lives in East Fremont and loves to explore the city on his bike.