Mayor Leads Scripted U-District Community Walk

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On Saturday Seattle mayor Ed Murray continued his series of “Find It, Fix It” walks with residents of the University District. The event drew a large crowd and media presence, and wound through the neighborhood’s core with a police escort. Though named after a smartphone application that lets citizens quickly report problems like potholes, graffiti, and broken streetlights, the event focused more on projects and important figures in the neighborhood rather than infrastructure. This left little opportunity for citizens to directly engage with the mayor.

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Mayor Murray Remarks on Seattle’s Achievements and Challenges

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Mayor Murray addresses a large crowd at City Hall on Tuesday. Photo by the author.

In his annual address Seattle Mayor Ed Murray remarked on the city’s significant progress towards some of its goals and made a number of announcements about initiatives to pick up the pace on others. He also spoke at length about city planning, including the ongoing comprehensive plan update, the need for an integrated transportation policy, and funding infrastructure and affordable housing more equitably across neighborhoods. He plans to host a number of summits on social and economic issues with community leaders while increasing government transparency through new performance and budget tracking tools.

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CascadiaCast Episode 1: Ben Schiendelman

Podcast Logo_extended-01-01I’m excited to announce the start of a new podcast series for fellow urbanists in the Pacific Northwest, titled CascadiaCast. I’ll be sitting down with fellow planners, activists, government officials, and other interesting people to discuss the issues that matter to those who aspire for greater and greener cities. The details are still a work in progress and sometimes I’m awkward as hell in person, so bear with me as the series develops with your feedback! I’m also open to suggestions on people you would like to hear from or topics you want covered in depth.

TBenhe series kicks off with a great conversation with Ben Schiendelman, a software developer who moonlights as an activist and policy wonk in the realms of transportation and land use. He founded Seattle Subway and cofounded local websites Seattle Transit Blog and The Urbanist. We discussed the future of the Puget Sound, including a vision for high speed rail and the potential impacts from climate refugees, along with the prevailing political headwinds that are challenging better urban development today. Ben also shared his views on removing height limits, how Sound Transit should expand, and the upcoming Seattle City Council races.

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Seattle Adopts Aggressive Vision for Zero Traffic Deaths

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Seattle mayor Ed Murray, alongside his police chief and transportation director, announced last week the goal of eliminating all citywide traffic deaths and serious injuries by the year 2030. This formally enters Seattle into the worldwide Vision Zero movement, an idea originating in Sweden that recognizes traffic collisions can be reduced through better engineering, extensive public education, and coordinated law enforcement. Supporters of Vision Zero question why deaths on streets are acceptable, and tell local leaders and traffic engineers to accept that they aren’t. Local strategies will include lowering speed limits, redesigning streets, upgrading electronic traffic controls, emphasis on traffic police patrols, and ongoing community outreach about traffic laws and street safety.

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Posted in Biking, Policy, Roads, Transportation, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seattle Invites Tech Community to ‘Hack’ Transportation

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The City of Seattle and Commute Seattle launched a “Hack the Commute” project on Tuesday, bringing together partner agencies and local technology companies to develop tools for improving and navigating the city’s transportation network. The coalition is interested in innovations for existing apps like Pronto’s or Google Maps, entirely new commuter tools, and improving the communication and visualization of transportation data. The main event will be a weekend “hackathon” in March, with participants including everyone from local programmers and software developers to writers and project managers. The effort has the potential to revolutionize transportation in the nation’s fastest growing city.

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Seattle Bike Activists Launch Major Infrastructure Campaign

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Last Saturday a coalition of local non-profits kicked off a grassroots campaign to accelerate construction of 250 additional miles of key Seattle bicycle routes by 2025. The city already has 135 miles of bike infrastructure, and momentum is building to work faster on building a comprehensive network that makes bicycling safe for people of all ages and physical abilities. Cascade Bicycle Club and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways are leading the effort and also worked to update the city’s Bike Master Plan last year. And three city council members attended the kickoff event, indicating there is already political support. The campaign’s main goals are to pass the next transportation levy, elect pro-bike city council members, and continue advocating for priority projects.

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Civic Indicators Highlight Seattle’s Progress, Challenges

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Redevelopment around a future light rail station looms in the Roosevelt urban village. Photo by the author.

Correction: The SSNAP report has been updated to correct statistics on where Seattle residents work. 38.2 percent of Seattle’s employed residents work outside of the city, not 62 percent.

A new report by consulting firm Steinbrueck Urban Strategies, headed up by former City Council member Peter Steinbrueck, details the changes Seattleā€™s urban villages have experienced over the past 20 years. This information will be used by planners to prepare for the next two decades with the Seattle 2035 comprehensive plan update, though the study itself has some issues. This post is lengthy, so readers are encouraged to scroll to the topics that interest them.

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Posted in Demographics, Density, Energy, Event Writeup, Food, Housing, Land Use, Parks, Policy, Resources, Schools, Transportation, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments