Seattle is growing fast and there are simply too many cars for our city streets. Traffic jams are bad for the economy and the environment, unsafe for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians, and take precious time away from our families. Car traffic also is our biggest challenge on meeting our climate goals.
Our region has been trying to catch up to its transportation needs for decades. As Mayor, I will work with regional and state transportation agencies to develop an integrated transportation system that enhances our environment, provides quality and convenience for people, powers our commerce, and serves every corner of our city with mass transit. But I will not forget the basics that are so important to our ability to get around right now; I will energetically address the maintenance backlog on our infrastructure, such as streets, bridges and sidewalks.
As we grow and see more residential density in parts of the city, it is imperative that we provide more safe, efficient and well-connected transportation choices that make it easier and safer for Seattle residents and those who work or visit here to get around on foot, by bike and via mass transit. Providing transportation options and lowering barriers to access is also an important way to increase access to educational and economic opportunities and to address social equity. As Mayor, I will aggressively pursue an equitable transportation agenda that will increase mobility and reduce our carbon footprint by giving people reliable alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles, including:
More Transit, Sooner
Ridership on light rail has dramatically increased with the addition of the Capitol Hill and University District stations, showing that when public transit is more efficient and convenient than driving people will opt for transit. We must continue to make public transit more convenient and accessible to those who visit or live and work in and around Seattle. As Mayor, I will:
- Accelerate light rail expansion by working with Sound Transit to expedite the planning, design, permitting and delivery of the Ballard and West Seattle extensions while ensuring inclusive community involvement in the process. I will bring people together to get decisions made on route and station details, and leverage all tools at the City’s disposal to speed up the Light Rail expansions to Ballard and West Seattle.
- Make this city’s investment in Metro pay off by making bus service and RapidRide Plus more frequent and reliable through redesigning corridors, eliminating traffic bottlenecks, optimizing signal timing, improving connections to Link Light rail stations, and having better pedestrian access to transit hubs.
- Work with U.S. Senator Patty Murray and other members of our Congressional delegation to secure the entire $75 million in federal funding needed to build the Seattle streetcar project that will increase pedestrian use of 1st Avenue through the heart of Downtown, improving vehicle traffic and making the street safer.
- I will fight every effort by the Trump Administration to cut off funding for light rail and other critical transit projects.
- Improve bus service and access by working with Metro to explore options for making bus fare free for all young people under 18 years old, and for increasing bus service hours in Seattle to better serve late-night workers who tend to make lower wages. Ideally, I would like to see a 24/7 transit system in Seattle.
- Work with employers to expand Commute Trip Reduction incentives to companies with as few as 20 employees (as has happened in Washington, DC, New York and San Francisco), to provide ORCA and ORCA LIFT passes, vanpools, and other strategies that encourage mass transit use.
Our population is growing rapidly, which means more people are trying to get around every day. Safety must be a top priority for how we think about and operate our transportation system. Our streets have been designed with only the car in mind. We need to shift the paradigm and create a balance for the needs of all users of our streets, especially those on foot and bicycle. It has become common practice to make safety improvements only after traffic incidents have occurred. My goal will be to make improvements that prevent accidents.
- Direct city resources to help make our neighborhoods safer and more walkable for all residents by investing in much-needed upgrades to sidewalks in underserved communities, providing sidewalks that have been promised for decades, increasing handicap ramp improvements, crosswalk striping and lighting, and making busy streets and intersections safer for everyone.
- Strengthen enforcement of new speed limits and studying the impact of those speed limit reductions to develop a more comprehensive plan for the design of safer city streets.
- Improve our city’s bike network with specific emphasis on bike safety measures, including better traffic signals, and lower speed limits, to physically separated and protected bike lanes.
- Improve the Bicycle Master Plan and the Center City Bicycle Network by convening key partners from the advocacy community, local neighborhoods and businesses.
— Jenny Durkan