Mayor Ed Murray proposes an additional $12 million to implement the City’s new homelessness plan

Today, Mayor Edward B. Murray announced $12 million in new funding to implement strategies laid out in the City’s new homelessness plan, “Pathways Home,” Seattle’s Person-Centered Plan to Support People Experiencing Homelessness. This funding is sourced through a combination of new general fund dollars, additional revenue from the housing levy to support an increase to the Homelessness Prevention Program and a continuation of funding for key programs originally funded under the 2015 State of Emergency.

“By providing funding for key element of the Pathways Home Plan, I believe we can make a dramatic and visible difference in the number of people currently experiencing homelessness through a major transformation of our homeless service delivery system,” said Mayor Ed Murray.

The 2017-2018 Proposed Budget includes almost $1 million in investments that will help to create capacity to house the unsheltered families on the waitlist. These investments will fund rental assistance and one-time funding to address immediate needs to divert people from homelessness, rapid rehousing funding, as well as funding for motel vouchers for families. This also includes a $200,000 investment in domestic violence and sexual assault housing first and case management programs.

The proposed budget also includes $5 million to fund investments in new best practices, as well as to continue best practices, initially funded as part of the State of Emergency. The new investments include funding to convert an existing shelter to a 24-hour model and funding for a new navigation center, which will be a 24-hour low-barrier shelter with case management. Programs continuing from the State of Emergency investments include funding for rapid rehousing and diversion for single adults, outreach to unsheltered individuals and families, youth case management, and mobile medical van services.

To support system transformation, the proposed budget includes $1.1 million in investments for staffing and data capacity, enhancing the Coordinated Entry system and standing up the Housing Resource Center. Human Services Department (HSD) is making significant changes to their current business practices around homelessness investments, to implement Pathways Home. Performance-based contracting requires new data expertise to collect and interpret both program-and system-level data and a deeper level of expertise to actively monitor fidelity to best practice program models.

As the City transforms its homelessness investment system in coordination with All Home and King County, there is an immediate need to shelter those living in crisis outdoors.  To address this, the 2017-2018 Proposed Budget includes $2.1 million to maintain stability in shelter and encampments as system changes are made. These investments maintain the additional shelter beds and increased operating hours funded as part of the State of Emergency. The proposed budget also includes funding for a faith-based partnership to expand shelter capacity and operating support. These investments maintain stability in shelter system capacity as HSD moves toward a Request for Proposal (RFP) process for all homeless investments in 2018.

The Mayor and City Council are engaged in efforts to modify encampment cleanup protocols and examine options to provide safe alternatives to camping in public spaces, additional services and supports for people living unsheltered.  A task force has been convened to develop potential recommendations and the 2017-2018 Proposed Budget includes $2.8 million to improve coordination and outreach; increase safe sleeping locations, shelter and housing options; address public health and safety issues and the storage of belongings.

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Mayor Murray Unveils 2017 Proposed Budget

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today visited the Seattle City Council to present his 2017 City budget proposal and lay out a vision for Seattle focused on safety, livability, affordability, equity, innovation and good governance.

“We have come together to face numerous challenges, pass progressive measures and implement significant best practices and innovations,” Mayor Murray said. “Our task now is not just to show that progressives can work together to think big ideas, but to show how progressives can govern effectively to implement these ideas and get real results. This budget invests in good governance and innovation – not as isolated pockets of excellence but as our method of operations across City government.”

More about the proposed budget:

Mayor Murray’s Budget Speech, As Prepared

Mayor Murray’s 2017-18 Budget Highlights

Mayor Murray proposes additional $12 million to implement Pathway’s Home homelessness plan

Fact Sheet: Utility Discount Program

Fact Sheet: Community Center Expansion

Fact Sheet: Fire Department Proposed Budget Additions

Learn more from the City Budget Office

 

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Seattle and Vancouver pledge to build regional resilience

Today the Mayors of Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada signed a Memorandum of Cooperation committing to work together in growing their respective cities’ resilience to the challenges of climate change, seismic risks, affordable housing, and aging infrastructure.

The cities of Seattle and Vancouver share many similarities—including geography, economy, and a deep commitment to sustainability. Both cities have also recently been selected to join 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, and will soon be hiring Chief Resilience Officers to lead their efforts to ensure Seattle and Vancouver will be well prepared for the physical, social, and economic challenges of the 21st century.

“The challenges of addressing deeply complex issues like climate change, aging infrastructure, affordable housing, and inequity are better met when working in partnership,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel to come up with solutions, we are partnering to share lessons learned, support one another on our resilience journeys, and solve problems together.”

“Vancouver and Seattle are economic leaders built on innovation, diversity, inclusion and a commitment to sustainability,” says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “I’m looking forward to building on our strong partnership with Seattle to deepen our collaboration and drive progress toward stronger resilience, tackling climate change, housing affordability, social connectedness and emergency preparedness. Vancouver and Seattle will be stronger for supporting each other as we build healthy, liveable and sustainable cities.”

With the number of people living in urban areas rapidly increasing, the 100RC Network was established by The Rockefeller Foundation to help cities prepare for the impacts of urbanization, globalization, and climate change. As members of the 100RC Network, Seattle and Vancouver gain access to funding that will allow each city to hire a Chief Resilience Officer to lead their respective resilience building efforts along with additional tools and technical expertise to help them become more resilient to physical, social and economic challenges.

“The regional collaboration forged in this MOU is an impressive step for two of the newest members of the 100 Resilient Cities global network,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “We look forward to working with both Mayor Murray and Mayor Robertson — along with their soon-to-be-named Chief Resilience Officers — as the cities forge new approaches to managing risk and opportunity in their cities, and use their work to catalyze a regional commitment to urban resilience.”

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Mayor Murray, Councilmembers applaud unanimous adoption of secure scheduling legislation

Council unanimously (9-0) adopted Secure Scheduling legislation today, adding stability and predictability to Seattle shift workers’ hourly incomes and schedules. The legislation, developed collaboratively between Mayor Ed Murray, Councilmember Lorena González and Councilmember Lisa Herbold, is intended to address retail and food service employees’ unpredictable working conditions by requiring employers to provide workers with a good-faith estimate of hours upon hiring, provide work schedules two weeks in advance, and requires compensation for workers if their hours are changed or if they’re asked to work back-to-back shifts that prevent adequate resting time.

“Seattle once again is taking concrete steps to address income inequality,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Secure scheduling helps working families, young people, students, and workers of color by providing stability and clarity to their work schedule. I would like to thank our progressive community of businesses, labor, and to Councilmembers Lorena González and Lisa Herbold for helping create more equitable workplaces and healthier lives for workers.”

The legislation adopted today extends to retail and quick or limited food service establishments with more than 500 employees worldwide, and full service restaurants with more than 500 employees and 40 full-service restaurant locations worldwide. Among key provisions of the proposal:

  • Employers must give employees their schedules 14 days in advance.  If an employer adds hours, the employee is paid for one additional hour of “predictability pay”
  • If an employee is scheduled for a shift and sent home early, the employee is paid for half of the hours not worked
  • A good faith estimate of workers’ hours are to be provided upon hire
  • Employees have a right to decline any shift added to their schedule within two the two week notice period without fear of retaliation from their employer
  • If the gap between a closing and opening shift is less than 10 hours, an employee is entitled to be paid time-and-a-half for the difference (addressing so-called “clopenings”)
  • The “access to hours” measure requires that employers give notice and offer hours to qualified current employees of new, additional hours available before hiring additional staff.
  • On-call protections measure, whereby employees will receive half-time pay for any shift they are on-call and do not get called into work

Beginning in March of this year, City policymakers conducted extensive outreach in the business and labor community to gather information on best practices, challenges, and scheduling needs of both workers and employers. For six months, City staff led roundtables with business and labor leaders, visited workplaces, and separately met with business owners, scheduling managers and individual workers to better understand how schedules are created and the impact unpredictable scheduling has on workers’ lives.  Since March, 17 stakeholder meetings took place, and the Council’s Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee met over a dozen times to review and refine the legislation.

Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 8, Citywide) said, “For the last 10 months we have been working to craft legislation that gives workers not only Secure Schedules, but also secure incomes. As we work to make Seattle a city that welcomes workers of all incomes, all backgrounds, and in many languages, this legislation moves us closer to a truly equitable community.”

 

Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park) said, “Unpredictable work schedules disproportionately affect women and especially women of color. This legislation will provide adequate notice of schedules, the right to rest between shifts, predictability pay for additions to the schedules, and access to hours to existing part-time employees. This is an important step forward for the workers of Seattle in balancing the needs of business with the lives of workers.”
Mayor Murray and Councilmembers also felt it essential that employees retain their ability to swap shifts or accept additional hours. Under the new regulations, employers are not expected to offer one hour predictability pay when an employee requests a change to their schedule; when an employee finds replacement coverage for hours through an employee-to-employee shift swap; or when an employer provides notice of additional hours through mass communication and receives a voluntary offer to cover the available hours.

Seattle is the second municipality in the nation to adopt Secure Scheduling regulations, after San Francisco.  Several other cities are considering Secure Scheduling laws, including Albuquerque, New York City and Washington DC.

 

The legislation adopted today will now to be delivered to Mayor Murray for his signature. The legislation will take effect July 1, 2017.

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Mayor Murray, Councilmembers Announce Update to North Precinct Plan

Today, Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmembers Tim Burgess, Debora Juarez and Lorena González announced that the City will review the proposed new North Precinct facility, citing concerns around equity, cost and community needs. The City will follow a recently-passed Council resolution and conduct a Racial Equity Toolkit review of the proposed precinct, and review key design elements that increased the project cost. While the North Precinct serves 40 percent of the city and building a single precinct would save the city money and allow for a central training and community engagement location, other options for serving the area, including the likely more costly route of building multiple precincts, may be considered.

“The building proposed by my predecessor would address a growing need to replace the North Precinct, but clearly the public continues to have concerns about the estimated costs,” said Mayor Murray. “While we have had extensive discussions and planning, it is clear we need to reconsider the plan as proposed and ensure we are meeting the needs of the community with what we build. As I have said, if this project inhibits our ability to continue strengthening the relationship between our community and our police, then we would revisit it.

“I remain committed to replacing the aging precinct in North Seattle and am prepared to consider multiple design options, if it is determined that is the best path for the community.”

A resolution, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Burgess, Juarez and González and passed by Council last month, called for the RET analysis, and given the length of time for the review, the City will not move forward with implementing the project at this time. Additionally, the time while the RET process is being completed will be used to review other aspects of the project, including the number of facilities and overall cost.

The City still strongly believes there is a need for a new police facility in North Seattle and remains committed to replacing the current building. The original funding plan for the project included a mix of cash financing and almost $100 million in bonds. Given that the project will not move forward next year, the 2017 budget will not seek authority for this borrowing. However, approximately $15 million of the originally identified resources will be set aside in the budget to help address future project costs.

“The current North Precinct police station is a failing facility that needs to be replaced,” said Councilmember Juarez. “The nearly 300,000 residents plus students, hospital visitors, local businesses and customers living, working and recreating in the North End deserve a cost-effective proposal that is responsive to the federal consent decree and guided by the Racial Equity Toolkit. As the representative of District 5, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to slow this down and do it right.”

“We listened. Based on what we have heard from a wide variety of community members, and the Council’s review of the cost projections, we want to take another look at the component parts of the building and even redesign some of them in an effort to lower the cost,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “Sometimes it is important to pause and reconsider a decision. That’s what we’re doing here with this project.”

“I continue to believe that the existing North Precinct must be replaced to meet the needs of North Seattle residents and the operational needs of North Precinct officers,” said Councilmember González However, after reviewing hundreds of pages and hearing from a wide variety of community members, it is clear that we must take a step back from the North Precinct project. This is the only way the City can have a meaningful impact on the design and significantly reduce the cost of a new police precinct. Hitting pause to re-evaluate the costs of this project is the only acceptable path forward if the City is truly committed to using our finite resources responsibly.

“We need to explore establishing an Expert Review Panel that would be charged with fiscal oversight of this project. We also need to explore contracting a project manager with deep experience in delivering complex, public safety facilities and public financing models.

“Since mid-August, I have continued to hear from a variety of community members who continue to express the need for increased police resources in North Seattle but have concerns regarding the cost, design and scope of this proposed precinct. That input, the cost and my growing concerns about the prior lack of project oversight and public process, has lead me to the conclusion that the only responsible next step is to return to the drawing board.”

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City of Seattle, Seattle Housing Authority and Seattle Public Schools announce new Home from School partnership pilot

Today Mayor Ed Murray announced a new partnership between the City of Seattle, the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to provide stable housing for SPS families with school-age children, ensuring an uninterrupted school year and educational consistency. This partnership will begin as a pilot project at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School this year, where 17 percent of the students are homeless or unstably housed.

The Home from School pilot will offer assistance to families to find a stable home, get back on their feet and keep their children at Bailey Gatzert all year. To accomplish this goal, SHA will contract with a service provider to provide outreach, enrollment, and pre and post-move support, including services such as housing research, assistance with barriers to leasing and connecting families to neighborhood resources and services.

“The Home from School partnership is the kind of direct problem solving, innovation and risk taking we need to get our most vulnerable families on the path to stable home and futures.” said Mayor Murray. “For a city and state as wealthy and successful as Seattle and Washington, we cannot accept the reality that thousands of school aged kids are homeless. Through this partnership, we can work to ensure students and their families have a place to call home and an opportunity to succeed.”

More than 80 percent of students at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School qualify for Free and Reduced Priced Lunch and a significant number of these students have experienced complex trauma including housing instability and homelessness. The 2014-2015 student turnover rate for Bailey Gatzert Elementary School was 31 percent.

“This pilot complements Seattle Housing Authority’s long term commitment to redevelop the Yesler Neighborhood.  SHA is in a unique position to positively impact school stability by providing long-term affordable housing options in the neighborhood for families experiencing homelessness, allowing continuity in their neighborhood school,” said Andrew Lofton, Executive Director of Seattle Housing Authority.

“The district is seeing a dramatic increase in the number of students experiencing housing instability.  Ensuring uninterrupted educational opportunities for our students is a priority and foundational to their academic success. We are excited to be expanding our partnership with Seattle Housing Authority and the City to address this need,”  said Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland.

 

Participation in the program will be voluntary and priority will be given to families experiencing homelessness. This pilot initiative will begin at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School in the Yesler neighborhood, but if results are promising SHA may in the future expand the initiative to different schools in different neighborhoods.

Seattle Public Schools: Seattle Public Schools is committed to ensuring equitable access, closing the opportunity gaps and excellence in education for every student.

Seattle Housing Authority
The mission of the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) is to enhance the Seattle community by creating and sustaining decent, safe and affordable living environments that foster stability and self-sufficiency for people with low incomes. SHA provides long-term, low-income rental housing and rental assistance to more than 30,000 people in the City of Seattle. SHA owns and operates approximately 8,000 units at nearly 400 sites throughout the city. SHA also handles more than 10,000 Housing Choice Vouchers, enabling low-income residents to receive rental assistance throughout the Seattle housing market. Approximately 13,000 SHA residents are elderly or disabled and about 9,500 are children. SHA, a public corporation established in 1939, is governed by a seven-member Board of Commissioners, two of whom are SHA residents. Commissioners are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. More information is available at seattlehousing.org.

 

 

 

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Mayor releases plan to guide growth, investments in U District

After five years of community engagement and more than 90 public meetings, the City of Seattle today released the plan for growth and coordinated public investments in the U District. As the neighborhood continues to change rapidly, today’s announcement will guide future density for affordability and livability.

“This is an exciting day for the U District as we roll out our shared vision for the future of the neighborhood,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Over the last five years, hundreds of U District residents have contributed their opinions on how to build a more livable, walkable neighborhood as Sound Transit light rail comes to the community. And for the first time, all new development will contribute to affordable housing. Together we can shape a U District that reflects our values.”

With the Sound Transit’s U District Link light rail station opening in 2021, the City’s plan focuses future housing and employment density in areas with excellent access to the transit station.

The plan’s proposed zoning changes respond to community priorities for rigorous design standards that requires new public spaces, attractive buildings, and active street fronts. New incentives will encourage sidewalk improvements, space for social services, and childcare centers in private development. Other incentives will help preserve historic buildings and the pedestrian shopping district of the Ave.

“The University District has such a unique character – our students, faculty, and staff of the University bring a vibrant diversity to the community, and the neighborhood’s access to public transit, jobs, and local businesses make it an attractive place to live,” said Councilmember Rob Johnson. “But due to the pace at which Seattle is growing, we need to take bold and critical action to ensure that it remains an affordable place to live.

The proposed zoning changes here in the University District are the result of a four year process which has involved over 90 meetings and hundreds of participants. I want to thank everyone who, through their hard work and their feedback, has gotten us to this critical milestone today.”

As the neiaffordable-housingghborhood grows, Seattle’s new Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) ordinances will require all developers of multifamily and commercial buildings to build or fund affordable homes.

The City estimates that the MHA requirements that come with greater development capacity will create hundreds of new affordable homes. Without the proposed zoning changes that trigger MHA requirements, Seattle’s existing incentive zoning programs are projected to yield only an estimated additional 20 income-restricted homes built by private developers.

“As an organization that provides housing for low-income people every day, Bellwether is very excited to see the passage of this important legislation,” said Susan Boyd of Bellwether Housing. “By implementing MHA, we can create high quality, affordable homes for more low-wage working families in neighborhoods like the University District – close to great schools, great public resources, and rich job centers.   Funds from the MHA’s predecessor, the Incentive Zoning Program, is what made our 133-unit Arbora Court project in the heart of the University District possible. MHA implementation in the U District will expand the capacity to create affordable housing like this in the U District and across the City.”

Through the existing Housing Levy and incentive zoning programs, the Office of Housing recently has funded 182 new affordable homes the U District, 49 of which have already opened.

The University of Washington has been engaged in the plan as an active partner in the future of U District. The City and University continue to discuss their shared interests in improving connections to the new Burke Museum and the rest of the campus, expanding faculty and employee housing, creating jobs, providing additional childcare and creating a new public plaza adjacent to the light rail station.

“UW is proud to be a partner with the City of Seattle and the U District community in making this Seattle’s best neighborhood,” said UW Vice President Randy Hodgins. “The UW has sat shoulder to shoulder with City staff and U District residents to review and shape the ideas that have informed Mayor Murray’s proposal. We believe it’s the way to ensure the growth that’s coming will produce the great, inclusive neighborhood our students, faculty and staff want.”

As the neighborhood grows, the City of Seattle has made, and will continue to make, significant investments in the U District:

  • New parks and open space to serve the neighborhood, including upgrades at University Playfield, the new University Heights Plaza, the Christie Park expansion, and the future park on the Portage Bay waterfront.
  • A network of new bike lanes on 11th Ave NE, Roosevelt Way NE, NE Campus Parkway and NE 40th
  • Expanded sidewalks on NE 43rd connecting the light rail station to the Ave and campus.

“University Heights partners with the City of Seattle to ensure that everybody has a place to play, learn and grow in the U District regardless of their age, ability or economic status,” said Maureen Ewing, Executive Director of University Heights Center. “With the support of the City, we have saved our historic building from demolition, increased open space in the U District and are currently expanding arts and cultural opportunities that are accessible to all.”

The City is also expanding social service and public safety partnerships to make the U District more welcoming and safe for families and students:

  • The University District Partnership’s Clean and Safe initiative helps address vacant properties, graffiti and trash, making the neighborhood safer and more pleasant.
  • The Mayor will seek to expand his Youth Employment Initiative with the local non-profit ROOTS to build a “shelter to employment” program for homeless youth.
  • The Seattle Police Department and University Police continue to deepen their collaboration to support neighborhood safety.

“The City has played a critical role in this neighborhood’s plans for renewal,” said Kristine Cunningham, Executive Director of ROOTS. “ Once divisions and short-term thinking hampered our capacity to affect real change.  Now we are supported to combine diverse views and tackle the social, economic, and housing issues in the U District.  It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve made real progress.

Mayor Murray will transmit U District legislation to City Council next week.

 

 

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Mayor’s statement on Seahawks players’ tribute

Today Mayor Ed Murray made the following statement on the Seahawks players’ tribute:

“Sports are often the place we turn during times of tragedy, to be inspired not just by athletic feats, but the way a group of people comes together as a team toward a common goal. In Seattle, we did that again today, as we commemorated the 15th anniversary of 9/11 before the Seahawks played their season opening game.

“Before the game, the group of young men in Seahawks uniforms showed they also understand the impact they have on the community around them, taking a stand against injustice in America by showing a force of unity. In the same way we go to them in our time of need, we must listen to these young men now, particularly these young men of color. They are honoring those lost 15 years ago, and all of those who have fought and died for our country by challenging our country to live up to its promise here at home. The principles of justice, fairness and equality that our flag represents are what matters, far more than the symbols. On this hallowed day, we are reminded that we always have work to do to ensure those principles are true for everyone in our country.”

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Mayor Murray statement on Pathways Home, Poppe report

Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement on today’s announcement of Pathways Home from the Seattle Human Services Department, and the release of the reports from Barbara Poppe and Focus Strategies:

“For the first time, our community has a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the present state of our homeless system and a set of recommended actions for how we achieve real system transformation. The information presented in both the Barbara Poppe and Focus Strategies reports is long-awaited, and there is no question that much of it is uncomfortable to hear.

“This is especially true for the thousands of people who are living without a roof over their heads. Our current system does not adequately respond to their needs, and is not effectively helping them exit homelessness. That system, of both funders and providers, also fails to put the many selfless people who work tirelessly to make a difference in a position to succeed in moving people into permanent housing.

“We can no longer wait to take action, so today, we are changing course. These reports represent both a dramatic challenge to our City, and an urgent call to action. Our focus must be on achieving better outcomes, and taking action that makes a visible and significant reduction in the number of people sleeping outside, and Pathways Home is our way to achieve this essential goal. Pathways Home is a robust, actionable plan that our Human Services Department will begin implementing immediately.

“I want to thank Barbara Poppe and Focus Strategies for the invaluable insight they have given us for how we can best make progress on what is among the most critical issues facing this city. And I thank my Human Services Director, Catherine Lester, for leading our team in making this plan a reality.”

Details of today’s announcement can be found at www.seattle.gov/homelessness.

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Mayor Murray, U.S. Senator Murray and U.S. Senator Cantwell applaud $45 million grant for Lander Street Bridge project

Mayor Ed Murray, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell today applauded the approval of $45 million in federal grant funds for the City’s South Lander Street Bridge Project. After a 60-day congressional review period, the US Department of Transportation finalized its FASTLANE Grant Program’s recommendations with the Lander Street Project receiving the largest grant award in Washington state.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) project seeks to construct a long sought after bridge on South Lander Street over the railroad tracks between First and Fourth Avenues South in Seattle’s SODO district to improve traffic operations, freight mobility, and safety. The project especially supports mobility for the local manufacturing sector, promoting middle class, family-wage jobs that support economic vitality in the Puget Sound region.

“The South Lander Street Bridge project is critical for creating a safer, more mobile SODO neighborhood for cars, pedestrians, and bicycles in this key freight corridor,” said Mayor Murray. “This project has long been identified as a high priority, with Seattle voters approving $20 million in dedicated funding through the Move Seattle levy in 2015. Thank you to Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for their leadership at the federal level and the U.S. Department of Transportation for contributing to this important infrastructure project that will promote safer mobility and protect family-wage jobs in the industrial heart of Seattle.”

“This investment will produce real results—not only for the city of Seattle, but for our entire state’s economy,” said U.S. Senator Patty Murray. “I’m proud to see the federal government being a good partner to our state and our communities, and I will continue to push for investments that help our transportation systems become safer, more efficient, and able to meet the demands of our 21st century economy.”

“Washington state’s economy and regional jobs depend on being able to move freight quickly and efficiently,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. “At Lander Street alone, Washington state loses $9.5 million a day in economic activity because of train, truck, and urban traffic congestion. By addressing this bottleneck, we will speed up freight movement to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, fuel our export economy and generate significant job growth.”

South Lander Street is an essential east-west corridor serving Port of Seattle freight, commuters, pedestrians, and bicyclists, as well as King County Metro buses. Every day, South Lander Street is closed for more than 4.5 hours due to rail traffic, impacting approximately 13,000 vehicles that use the street daily. More than 16 percent of those are buses, trucks serving the Port of Seattle or vehicles supporting local manufacturing.

The new bridge will provide safe connections for 1,400 pedestrians daily, primarily traversing between the SODO light rail station and area employers. This project will remove all at-grade access to the tracks at that location, completely eliminating the safety risk. In the past five years, three fatalities have occurred between trains and pedestrians there and an average of 485 track violations occur daily as cars, pedestrians and bicycles cross the tracks when the safety gates are deployed.

The new Federal FASTLANE Grant Program was created by Senator Cantwell as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and passed by Congress in late 2015 to fund critical freight and highway projects across the country.

The $45 million grant award, combined with $20 million from the City’s Move Seattle Levy and contributions from other grants and funding partners, brings the City within $40 million of full funding for the $140 million Lander Street project. The new four-lane bridge will provide a reliable east-west connection for all modes of traffic, improving safety and mobility in the area. The project will break ground in early 2018, pending receipt of remaining funding.

For more information about the South Lander Street Bridge Project, please visit www.seattle.gov/transportation/lander_bridge.htm.

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