Seattle Center visitors now enjoy fast, free Wi-Fi

Mayor Murray today unveiled a new free Wi-Fi service at Seattle Center. The service, which serves tens of thousands of people simultaneously, was developed in partnership with Microsoft.

“This is another step forward in our work to seek out public-private partnerships to improve Internet access in Seattle,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “More than 12 million people visit Seattle Center each year, and now they will enjoy fast, free broadband on their devices. This pilot program tests new technology that we may be able to deploy to other neighborhoods in the city.”

Seattle Center is offering two Bumbershoot passes to a user chosen at random who shares how they will use the faster service on the Seattle Center Twitter feed.

“The most obvious advantages of this technology are speed and performance,” said Dayne Sampson, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Engineering. “What will be exciting for those attending big events such as Bumbershoot is that this technology can handle more than 25,000 users at a time. That’s a distinct difference from the free Wi-Fi often found in public places.”

Previous Wi-Fi network speeds at Seattle Center supported email and basic web browsing, but bogged down when too many people used the system at the same time. The new system enables users to browse at speeds more than 5,000 times faster than the old system, enabling visitors to make Skype calls, back-up photos, and connect with events and vendors at Seattle Center. Microsoft brought in a digital fiber line capable of transmitting multiple gigabits per second.

“At Seattle Center, our purpose is to delight and inspire the human spirit, and this remarkable new Wi-Fi system will definitely serve to enrich the visitor experience,” said Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams.

The service has a new landing page with tips about how to enjoy Seattle Center and the city. Users can download a Microsoft Wi-Fi app that allows regular visitors to automatically connect to the platform at the highest possible speed.

“The new technology places Seattle at the forefront of fast, convenient, and accessible public broadband. We are grateful for Microsoft’s efforts to pilot the technology in Seattle,” said Michael Mattmiller, Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer.

In August, Mayor Murray announced his three-point plan for more and better broadband service in Seattle:

Learn more about the new Wi-Fi at Seattle Center at www.seattlecenter.com/microsoftwifi.

 

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Mayor Murray prohibits Indiana travel for City employees

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today announced his decision to prohibit the use of City funds for travel by all City employees on City business to the State of Indiana after the passage of S.B. 101. The new law, which was signed by Governor Pence on Thursday, March 26, has the potential to legalize discrimination against LGBT people and others based on religious beliefs.

“Seattleites know that discrimination has no place in our City – that’s just equality ‘101’,” said Mayor Ed Murray.

“Indiana’s S.B. 101 doesn’t reflect the values of our City. Seattle has been a leader in the fight to protect civil rights and ensure equality for all people – no matter who you are, or who you love,” said Mayor Murray. “This is why I am ordering that none of our taxpayer dollars should go toward supporting this discriminatory law. To those in Indiana today who are working hard in the fight for equality – know that Seattle stands with you as you continue your efforts to end discrimination and protect civil rights for everyone.”

To formalize the Mayor’s decision, he will be issuing an executive order next week. The order will ban City employees from work-related and city-funded travel to the State of Indiana. The Mayor will also direct all departments to conduct a review of current City contracts to identify if there are any contracts the City has with businesses headquartered in Indiana.

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Mayor Murray announces goal of 20,000 affordable housing units

Mayor Murray today directed the Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee to meet his new goal for both income-restricted affordable and market-rate units to be created over the coming decade.

Mayor Murray asked the committee to develop specific proposals that will allow the building and preservation of 50,000 housing units over in the next 10 years within the city limits. 20,000 of these must be income-restricted affordable units for individuals and families making 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) and below. 30,000 units would be market rate.

“Seattle is facing a serious lack of affordable housing options that displace families and people in this city,” said Murray. “Next week, Seattle’s minimum wage workers are getting a raise as a part of our broader affordability agenda. We need to make sure that those who work in Seattle can afford to live here.”

The increase in income-restricted affordable units is nearly a tripling of the current rate of units being built for those at 80 percent of AMI or less. Currently, income-restricted affordable housing is being built at a rate of around 700 units per year.

“As the HALA enters the last stretch of analysis and discussion of strategies, this target will sharpen our focus,” said Faith Li Pettis, co-chair of the advisory committee. “No matter your perspective, the target we’ve been given by the Mayor is an enormous number. We’ll need determination, long-sightedness and civic commitment to meet the challenge.”

The Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee was formed by Mayor Murray and city councilmembers in the fall of 2014 to develop policy recommendations for the city. The committee is made up of 28 housing experts, activists and community leaders. They will issue their recommendations to the Mayor in May.

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Mayor, City Light announce ‘Operation LED’ program to distribute up to 370,000 energy efficient light bulbs

Every residential customer of Seattle City Light can now get a free, energy efficient LED light bulb through the utility’s Operation LED campaign.

Mayor Murray kickstarted the campaign in the Chinatown International District today, handing out bulbs at Uwajimaya and Legacy House.

“Seattle is a leader in conservation, showing the rest of the world how it’s done when it comes to being green and what it means to be an LED city,” Murray said. “These bulbs will help our customers lower their electricity bills and reduce the pressure on City Light to buy additional power on the open market.”

Seattle was one of the first cities in the nation to switch its streetlights to LEDs. Safeco Field is the first Major League Baseball stadium to use LEDs for all its on-field lighting. And numerous other city icons use the energy efficient lights, including The Great Wheel, The Paramount Theatre, Starbucks and the floodlights for the roof arches at Centurylink Field.

“Our goal is to give all our 370,000 residential households a free LED,” City Light General Manager and CEO Jorge Carrasco said. “Energy conservation is our first resource of choice to meet the electricity needs of our growing community.”

While many LEDs look different than a traditional Edison-shaped bulb, they offer significant advantages:

  • They are more efficient than even compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • They last much longer
  • They start up quicker
  • And they are compatible with most dimmers.

City Light expects the campaign to generate about 3.9 million kilowatt-hours of energy savings in the first year. That’s enough electricity to power 458 Seattle homes for a year.

“Conserving energy while creating safe, affordable and comfortable homes for our residents is such a win-win for us,” said Paul Mar, director of real estate development for the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority. “We’re proud to be part of helping the City do the light thing for conservation and for seniors.”

City Light customers have several options for getting a free bulb. Visit seattle.gov/freebulb and enter your City Light account number. Online instructions are available in Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Somali in addition to English. Follow the instructions on a mailer being sent to all City Light customers with a unique code. Or call 877-606-1599 and talk with a live person to request one.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

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Duwamish River Opportunities Fund seeks proposals

The City of Seattle is seeking applications for community-based projects that enhance the quality of life in Seattle neighborhoods along the Duwamish River. Successful applicants will engage in projects to improve access to the river, support job creation and economic development, increase access to healthy food and other challenges faced by communities along the Duwamish.

“The Duwamish is our city’s river and we are committed to its future,” said Seattle Mayor Murray. “The larger clean-up effort is aimed at mitigating the effects of decades of legacy pollutants. These smaller-scale projects will help restore our community’s access to and enjoyment of the river as an important natural resource.”

This year, the City will fund $250,000 in projects. Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend a community event about the fund on Wed., April 8 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM, at Coliman Restaurant, 6932 Carleton Avenue S, in Georgetown. Applications will be accepted through May 15.

Successful projects will:

  • Be developed through a process of community engagement and participation.
  • Have a clear statement of the way the project addresses community priorities, the anticipated results, and the metrics used to measure success.
  • Build linkages among communities and involve a diversity of people and organizations; have engaged project partners.
  • Address an issue important to the success of the Duwamish River communities.
  • Be connected to the long range future of the Duwamish River communities.
  • Have a clear budget and demonstrated capacity to manage funds effectively.

For more information on the opportunity fund, including past awards, visit murray.seattle.gov/duwamish or email drof@seattle.gov.

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Murray applauds passage of cable code amendments

Today, Mayor Murray issued the following statement after the Seattle City Council approved changes to the City’s rules governing cable television services in Seattle:

“I want to thank the Seattle City Council, especially Councilmembers Harrell and Licata, for their hard work updating Seattle’s cable code. I applaud the legislation’s unanimous adoption today.

Today was an important day for Seattle with the passage of our new cable code. The revised code encourages the entry of competitive cable television providers throughout the city. Competition is the best way to help our community realize lower cable television prices and improved customer service. In addition, the code reflects our commitment to equity by requiring providers to serve diverse communities and neighborhoods.”

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Murray praises funding for Pike Place Market Front

Today, Mayor Murray issued the following statement after the Seattle City Council approved funding for the Market Front project at Pike Place Market:

MarketFront“Pike Place Market is an iconic symbol and a major hub of community life in Seattle. The Market Front expansion will expand that role for the Market and provide much-needed parking, public space, affordable housing and improved pedestrian access to the waterfront. My thanks to the City Council for helping bring this vision to reality. The City is proud to partner with the Market as we reconnect downtown with the waterfront.”

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Mayor Murray’s statement supporting smoking ban in Seattle parks

The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners today announced plans to host a public hearing regarding a proposed change to the Parks Code of Conduct which would prohibit smoking in all public parks in the city of Seattle. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement about the proposed smoking ban:

“Residents of and visitors to our beautiful city deserve to fully enjoy every amenity our parks have to offer, including fresh air and a clean, sustainable environment. We know the dangers of secondhand smoke, particularly for those with asthma and allergies, and we know that cigarette litter is abundant and harmful to our environment, especially for the wildlife that inhabit it. Waste from cigarettes leach arsenic, cadmium, lead and other toxins into our soil and water streams and damage ecosystems. This ban just makes sense for our community. It is the right thing to do for Seattle.”

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Mayor Ed Murray Names Capitol Hill LGBT Task Force

Mayor Ed Murray announced a task force today to develop recommendations to create a safer environment for LGBT people in Seattle and to specifically address ongoing issues on Capitol Hill.

LGBT people have reported increased violence, verbal harassment, and bias crimes on Capitol Hill and other Seattle neighborhoods. Hate crime statistics from SPD show a rise in bias crimes between 2013 and 2014.

“Capitol Hill is an eclectic neighborhood that is attracting more businesses, residents and visitors every day – and it’s the neighborhood I’m proud to call home,” Mayor Ed Murray said. “I am eager to hear their recommendations to improve safety on Capitol Hill and citywide while making everyone feel welcome – regardless of who they are or who they love. This issue is important to me both as the Mayor, and as a longtime resident of Capitol Hill.”

The Task Force will look at how the City of Seattle can constructively work with community members, businesses and organizations to increase safety and LGBT visibility in Capitol Hill and citywide – as well as to honor the history of the neighborhood.

The Task Force will be made up of the following people:

Louise Chernin, GSBA
Michael Wells, Capitol Hill Chamber
Marxa Marnia, LGBT Commission Co-chair
John Bailey, Amazon
Kelly Stonelake, Facebook Creative Shop
Raven E. Heavy Runner, Northwest Two-Spirit Society Acting Co-Chair
Luzviminda “Lulu” Carpenter, LGBT Commission
Kris Hermanns, Pride Foundation
Brady Walkinshaw, Legislative Representative, 43rd District
Elayne Wylie, Gender Justice League
Shelley Brothers, Wildrose
Kristen Wieliczka, Director of Civic Engagement for Seattle University Student Body
Mineth Elman McClain, Director, Public Safety, Seattle Central Community College
Josh Castle, Community Organizer
Jim Ritter, Seattle Police Department
Michael Renner, Seattle Police Department
Sina Ebinger, Seattle Police Department
Jared Brayton Bollenbacher, Social Worker
Marcos Martinez, Entre Hermanos
Jesse Gilliam, Ingersoll Gender Center, Council Staff
Shannon Perez-Darby, Northwest Network of LGBT Survivors of Abuse
Monisha Harrell, Equal Rights Washington
Lauren Mathisen, Capitol Hill Community Council
Danni Askini, Gender Justice League
Rodney Jarreau Greene, Quare Arts Program
Darrell Goodwin, Dean of Students at Seattle University
Melinda Giovengo, Youthcare
Shaun Knittel, Seattle Gay News
Michael Andrew, Pride at Work

Co-Chairs are Josh Castle and Monisha Harrell.

“The group we have assembled has a proven track record of success,” Mayor Ed Murray said. “We have not seen a coalition like this since the marriage equality campaigns. Clearly our work was not finished when we won in November 2012. There are still people in this world who believe LGBT people should be denied the most basic human right, the right to live without fear of violence because of who you are or who you love.”

 

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City proposes Transportation Levy to Move Seattle

Transportation Levy announcement

Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly today outlined details of a nine-year, $900 million Transportation Levy to Move Seattle.

Transportation Levy At-A-Glance-ProposalThe draft levy proposal would help fund the priorities that Mayor Murray announced earlier this month with Move Seattle, his 10-year transportation vision that integrates the city’s long-term plans for walking, biking, driving, freight and transit into a comprehensive strategy.

“This levy recognizes we have needs that we must address now, including street maintenance, sidewalk repair and bridges at risk in the next earthquake,” said Mayor Murray. “We must evolve our transportation system with affordable, convenient travel options that work for everyone. We will build for the future, to provide people more transportation choices and help freight move, even as our city grows.”

The $900 million Transportation Levy to Move Seattle would:

  • Seismically reinforce 16 vulnerable bridges and eliminate the backlog of needed bridge spot repairs, meeting a critical safety need
  • Repave up to 250 lane-miles of arterial streets, minimizing future maintenance costs and improving safety for all travelers
  • Repair up to 225 blocks of existing sidewalks and improve curb ramps and crossings at 750 intersections throughout the city, making it safer and more comfortable for people of all ages and abilities to walk
  • Invest in 12-15 corridor safety projects, improving safety for all travelers on all of the city’s high-collision streets
  • Complete 9-12 Safe Routes to School projects each year, improving walking and biking safety at every public school in Seattle
  • Fund a targeted freight spot improvement program, improving mobility for freight and delivery vehicles
  • Complete 7-10 multimodal corridor projects, redesigning major streets to improve connectivity and safety for all travelers
  • Optimize traffic signal timing on five corridors throughout the city each year, improving traffic flow
  • Create seven new high-quality bus rapid transit corridors, providing convenient and affordable travel choices for more people

“The current levy has helped us pay for many important transportation projects, but there is much more to work to be done,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. “The Council will review the proposal and place the final package on the fall ballot after holding public hearings and after receiving public comments and recommendations.”

“This draft proposal supports basic improvements to our streets, sidewalks and bridges while making targeted investments to address the wave of growth Seattle is experiencing,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “The funding proposal also aims to create a safer system that provides residents more high-quality, low-cost travel options. I look forward to the public discussion to come and encourage everyone’s participation.”

“Transportation Choices is excited to see a bold transportation vision for Seattle to give people more choices to get around,” said Shefali Ranganathan of Transportation Choices. “Investing in our streets, sidewalks, bike lanes and freight corridors will keep our growing city vibrant and connected.”

“Our overextended transportation systems all too frequently leave our patients and employees stuck in traffic or stranded at their bus stops, as full buses pass them by,” said Betsy Braun of Virginia Mason. “We are pleased to see that Move Seattle goes beyond maintaining the transportation infrastructure we already have, and proposes growing our transportation systems to meet the booming regional demand.”

“This levy proposal makes the right investments in our transportation system and in local jobs,” said Monty Anderson, Executive Secretary of Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council. “These local construction projects will support hundreds of middle-class jobs and help local residents work in their own communities. It’s a win-win.”

The Transportation Levy to Move Seattle includes meaningful accountability, including measureable outcomes so the public can track the progress of projects. An online “dashboard” where SDOT will chart its performance will bring enhanced transparency. The city will continue the strong legacy of accountability on the use of levy funds with a public oversight committee.

“Seattle’s expiring levy has been very successful in making our sidewalks, bridges, stairs, trails and streets safer for all users in every community in the city,” said Ref Lindmark, past-chair of the levy oversight committee. “With the mayor’s new “Move Seattle” initiative and the renewal of the levy this fall, we have the opportunity both take care of our basic transportation infrastructure and realize our vision of Seattle as a great place to live, work and play.”

Before Mayor Murray submits the levy proposal to the Seattle City Council in May, SDOT will seek public input on the draft proposal to ensure that it is informed by community priorities. A feedback survey, detailed proposal information, and a full public outreach calendar are available online at www.seattle.gov/LevytoMoveSeattle. In addition to briefing close to thirty community groups, SDOT will host three community conversations in late March to engage the public and ask for feedback on the proposal.

Schedule of Community Conversations

Saturday, March 28, 10 AM – 12 PM
New Holly Gathering Hall
7054 32nd Ave S

Monday, March 30, 6 – 8 PM
Roosevelt High School
1410 NE 66th St

Tuesday, March 31, 6 – 8 PM
West Seattle High School
3000 California Ave SW

After incorporating feedback from the public, the Mayor will submit the proposal to the Seattle City Council in May 2015. The City will need to submit a final levy proposal to King County by early August for it to be on the ballot in November 2015.

This proposal would replace the current nine-year, $365 million Bridging the Gap transportation levy that expires at the end of 2015. The Transportation Levy to Move Seattle would be paid for through a property tax that would cost the median Seattle household, valued at $450,000, approximately $275 per year. By comparison, the cost to the median household for the Bridging the Gap levy was about $130 per year.

Press conference video

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