Seattle announces new funding for affordable housing near transit

Mayor Ed Murray submitted legislation to the City Council this week to invest an additional $1 million in land acquisition near transit hubs for affordable housing in Seattle. The Regional Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) fund creates a regional pool of resources that will be used to secure land near existing or planned high-capacity transit.

“Supporting an equitable and affordable Seattle means creating housing options near transit that working families can afford,” said Murray. “We must make the smart investment now to acquire land near transit centers, so we can locate convenient, affordable housing as our community grows.”

Implementing the REDI fund is one of the many recommendations made by the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda committee last summer, and exemplifies Seattle’s commitment to strong regional partnerships in housing affordability issues.

“Aside from housing, transportation is a family’s greatest expense,” stated Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who promoted the allocation of City dollars for the REDI fund in the 2015 budget cycle. “Investing early on in affordable housing options near transit centers ensures we are developing our city equitably into the future.”

The idea for the REDI fund emerged from a 3-year regional planning effort, Growing Transit Communities, which concluded in 2013. The City Council authorized the $1 million in the 2015 budget and asked the Mayor and the Office of Housing to develop a Regional Compact with King County, the State of Washington, and other regional public and private partners to govern expenditure of the fund. A total of $21 million will be invested in the fund – $5 million from public sources and $16 million from private and other sources.

“Seattle, like many metropolitan areas across the country, recognizes that housing affordability is a regional issue as much as a local one,” stated Steve Walker, director of the Office of Housing. “Both Denver and San Francisco have created similar tools to acquire land for affordable housing, and have shown that this works.”

The City Council PLUS Committee will discuss the REDI fund on Dec. 1, with a vote scheduled for Dec.15.

Seattle, King County, Sound Transit and Downtown Seattle Association Announce Center City Mobility Plan

Already one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, Seattle’s center city is projected to add 56,000 jobs and 25,000 households over the next 20 years, presenting challenges for accommodating this growth on Seattle’s existing streets. Today the City of Seattle, King County, Sound Transit and the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) announced they will jointly develop a Center City Mobility Plan, focused on better connecting people and goods within Seattle’s center city to the rest of the region, while fostering an inviting center city for all.

“As Seattle grows, it is critical that we develop a coordinated transportation system,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Transit and transportation agencies from across the region, as well as major employers, must all invest and plan together if we are to meet the needs of downtown workers and residents.”

The Center City Mobility Plan is an outgrowth of efforts by the longstanding Downtown Transportation Alliance (DTA), a coalition of downtown stakeholders, local government and transit agencies focused on supporting a mobile and thriving downtown. Concentrating on an area that serves as the economic engine for the Puget Sound region, the Center City Mobility Plan will include downtown and neighborhoods immediately surrounding it—Belltown, Denny Triangle, Uptown, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, First Hill, Pike-Pine, the Chinatown/International District and Pioneer Square.

“To maintain dynamic growth in a highly developed urban environment we must maintain and increase mobility, and that takes thoughtful, thorough coordination,” said King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine. “This Center City plan will help us efficiently manage transportation systems and make the right connections for light rail, buses, bikes, and pedestrians.”

Earlier this year, the City developed Move Seattle, an integrated strategic plan that incorporates all modes of transportation —transit, cars, bicycles, pedestrians, parking and freight. The Center City Mobility Plan will incorporate Move Seattle, King County Metro’s Long Range Plan, Sound Transit 2 and a prospective Sound Transit 3. The recent passage of the Move Seattle levy also highlights voters’ interest in addressing congestion and transit issues, especially around the center city. As a first step toward creating a unified mobility plan for downtown, the City of Seattle issued a request for qualifications last week to hire a consultant to support the planning and outreach process.

“We want everyone who travels to, in and around downtown to have a great experience,” said Jon Scholes, DSA president and CEO. “As more employers and individuals call downtown home, it’s critical that the elements of our public realm work in concert – that’s everything from sidewalks and lighting to wayfinding and transit connections. This plan helps provide a framework for future improvements in downtown.”

The backbone of a future transportation system capable of serving a denser population is already taking form with Link light rail expansion to Northgate and Redmond, streetcar lines at both ends of downtown that will come together in downtown Seattle, existing and future bus rapid transit being provided on key corridors into downtown and more convenient, reliable bus service throughout the city. The plan will consider how to best integrate these services as well as incorporate the state’s current plans for the highway system and tolling, and also include consideration of future changes expected in travel innovations, needs and behaviors.

In addition to a long-term plan that establishes a transportation vision for 2035, the effort will create a near-term transit operations and transportation management plan by mid-2016 along with a public realm plan for enhancing the right of way to better serve residents, employees, shoppers and visitors. The plan is estimated to cost $1.5 million and is being funded by the Downtown Transportation Alliance, a partnership of King County Metro, the Downtown Seattle Association, Sound Transit and the City of Seattle.

Mayor unveils proposal to build more sidewalks in Seattle neighborhoods

Today Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Tim Burgess unveiled a proposal that increases sidewalk construction throughout Seattle by utilizing more cost-effective designs and materials. Additionally, the City is proposing to develop new public-private partnerships to incentivize sidewalk construction.

“To be a truly walkable city, we need to provide safer pathways to schools, parks, transit and shops,” said Murray. “This innovative approach stretches our dollars to meet this need across Seattle by significantly reducing sidewalk construction costs. Everyone – from schoolkids to seniors – should have the opportunity to walk their neighborhoods safely.”

Using lower-cost materials, such as stamped and stained asphalt, sidewalk construction costs can be reduced dramatically. A traditional concrete sidewalk with curbs and storm sewers can cost $300,000 per block-face or more.

Over the next nine years, the Seattle Department of Transportation is planning to construct 250 blocks of new sidewalks – both lower-cost and traditional – for the same price as 150 blocks of concrete sidewalks. The plan is contingent on new revenue.

“A lack of sidewalks in neighborhoods across the city creates dangerous situations for those who live there, especially for children, individuals with disabilities and the elderly,” said Burgess. “Several months ago, I challenged SDOT to get more creative about sidewalk production and to figure out how we can do more with the resources we have. I’m pleased that they have come up with new, more cost effective solutions.”

SDOT will install new low-cost sidewalks at the following locations in 2016:

  • North Seattle:  At least seven blocks on 30th NE between NE 130th St. and NE 137th St.
  • Southwest Seattle:  Two blocks near Arbor Heights Elementary School
  • Broadview Neighborhood:  Partnering with Seattle Public Utilities on sidewalk improvements and storm water control elements
  • Southeast Seattle:  Two blocks (locations under evaluation)

The 2016 low-cost sidewalk improvements will cost $1.5 million funded through the Sidewalk Development and Safe Routes to School programs.

The City is also proposing new public-private partnerships to help expand its sidewalk network by:

  • Making it easier for homeowners and businesses to partner with SDOT to install new sidewalks, share development funds, or hire the department to repair privately maintained walkways.
  • Improving outreach and enforcement when private entities are responsible for repairing sidewalks.
  • Leveraging development underway in Seattle to incentivize building better pedestrian environments.
  • Providing more concept plans to ensure the right pedestrian environment for specific neighborhood conditions.
  • Updating SDOT’s tools for tracking sidewalk conditions.

“Through the low-cost sidewalk program SDOT can deliver three blocks of sidewalk at the cost of one traditional block,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “This innovative and cost effective approach will help address troublesome locations where our sidewalks end.”

As part of its Pedestrian Master Plan update and commitment to eliminate all traffic deaths through Vision Zero, SDOT has an online public survey seeking input on where to prioritize future construction of new sidewalks. The survey is open until the end of November.

Mayor applauds Council passage of Heavy Haul legislation

Mayor Ed Murray praised the Seattle City Council for passing legislation establishing a heavy haul network of city streets in Seattle. The network will allow heavier cargo containers to be transported between the Port of Seattle, industrial businesses and rail yards.

“Seattle is an international gateway and trade supports our strong and diverse economy,” said Mayor Murray. “A heavy haul corridor will help freight move more safely and efficiently through our industrial center. I applaud the Council for approving a plan that will support thousands of trade-dependent jobs and businesses in Seattle, around the region, and across the country.”

The measure provides a framework to repair and build roadways within the network, calls for semi-annual safety inspections of heavy haul trucks, and aligns weight regulations with the state and other municipalities across the country. The proposal will also eliminate citations from the State Patrol to truck drivers for carrying overweight loads.

The proposed corridor will allow the Port to be more competitive with other West Coast ports, which have similar heavy haul networks.

“The Northwest Seaport Alliance thanks the Seattle City Council for its approval of a heavy haul network that will make us a more competitive international gateway and improve the livelihood of truck drivers,” said Port of Seattle Commission Co-President Courtney Gregoire. “Seattle’s heavy haul network, like others in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Tacoma, will allow freight to move more safely and efficiently through our North Harbor.”

The Port of Seattle is contributing $250,000 towards start-up and implementation costs for 2016 and 2017. To offset the anticipated impacts of allowing heavier trucks, the Port will contribute between $10 million and $20 million over the next 20 years towards roadway repair and reconstruction within the network.

Commercial drivers will be required to purchase a $200 annual permit for transporting loads up to 98,000 pounds. The fees collected from the permits will be used to administer the program, including a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer.

A map of the proposed routes can be found here.

FAQ for New Office of Planning and Community Development


The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) is a new office that will support the Mayor’s vision of building thriving communities with a mix of amenities, open space, transportation, utilities, affordable housing, and economic opportunity. This new office will work across our City departments to assess community needs, prioritize resources, develop a vision for how our neighborhoods grow and develop, and ensure that we are coordinating and implementing our plans with a cohesive vision. We are excited about the work ahead. This FAQ provides further details about how the new office will improve planning coordination across the City.

FAQ for New Office of Planning and Community Development

  1. Why are we creating a new executive Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD)?

The City of Seattle is growing rapidly. By 2035, Seattle is expected to have 120,000 new residents and 115,000 new jobs. While these factors support our robust economy, some residents are concerned with how growth has affected their neighborhood character; others are concerned about displacement or traffic congestion. As a result, the Mayor recognizes that to build thriving communities with a mix of affordable housing, open space, transportation, utilities, and economic opportunity, the City must have one office that will help truly integrate planning and community development.

While the current Department of Planning and Development (DPD)—to be renamed the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI)—manages site-specific land-use planning and permits new development, current ownership of the City’s vision for comprehensive planning and implementation at the neighborhood and city level often is unclear and distributed across multiple departments. By restructuring how the City plans and then implements those plans, the intent is that City departments will be more strategically aligned to deploy resources to meet current and future needs. Our goal is to accommodate growth while maintaining a high quality of life for all and improving equity in the City.

  1. What are the key divisions of OPCD and what are examples of their work?

OPCD will be comprised of three divisions and two commissions:

  • Director’s Office
  • Research and Analysis Division
  • Planning and Implementation Division
  • Seattle Planning Commission
  • Seattle Design Commission

The Director’s Office will manage OPCD and provide leadership and support in the areas of finance, community engagement, administrative assistance, and communications with Councilmembers, staff, and constituents. The Director will be a member of the Mayor’s Cabinet.

The Research and Analysis Division will inform long-range planning activities. This division will assess best practices research, and assemble and present data on growth, equity and other issues to help guide decision-making and support the planning and investment priorities. This Division will directly inform the work of the Planning and Implementation division. Examples of their work may include:

  • Working closely with capital department liaisons to align long-range capital planning investments;
  • Coordinating with the City’s revenue team, economists, the fiscal and capital manager within CBO, Citywide GIS, and staff liaisons from capital departments to support work on equitable growth analysis and community investment strategies;
  • Establishing criteria for neighborhood priorities;
  • Developing GIS resources to monitor and track citywide capital investments; and
  • Monitoring and updating the Comprehensive Plan and tracking citywide growth and development.

The Planning and Implementation Division will develop, update and implement plans and citywide initiatives, as informed by the Research and Analysis Division. Given its focus on planning and implementation, this division will develop and implement plans, and align City investments to enhance community benefits. Examples of their work may include:

  • Leading cross-departmental efforts supported by staff liaisons from other City departments to develop community plans and citywide initiatives for implementation;
  • Coordinating with the Department of Neighborhoods on outreach and engagement;
  • Implementing key planning recommendations including the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA); and
  • Managing a capital subcabinet to align capital investments.

The Seattle Planning Commission will remain an independent body that continues to advise the Mayor, City Council and City departments on broad planning goals, policies and plans for the physical development of the City.

The Seattle Design Commission will remain an independent body that promotes civic design excellence in capital improvement projects that are located on City land, in the City right-of-way, or constructed with City funds, and will continue to advise the Mayor, City Council, and City departments on the design of capital improvements and other projects and policies that shape Seattle’s public realm.

  1. What are the biggest challenges that this new office will address for the City? How will this new office accomplish this task?

OPCD will support the Mayor’s vision of building thriving communities with a mix of amenities, open space, transportation, utilities, affordable housing, and economic opportunity. To help achieve the Mayor’s vision, there are three core challenges that this new department must address:

  1. Current ownership of the City’s vision for comprehensive planning and implementation at the neighborhood, regional, and city levels is distributed across multiple departments;
  2. Departments have identified that the lack of comprehensive information about where projects are being planned often results in project plans, implementation, and capital investments of departments being misaligned; and
  3. Departments prioritize budgets and resources differently, which can result in competing priorities and less focused use of resources.

The new department will address these core challenges by:

  • Assessing neighborhood needs, and identifying opportunity areas and priorities for neighborhood development and implementation;
  • Ensuring that department priorities are aligned with the Mayor’s priorities and the goals of the comprehensive plan;
  • Ensuring that Council priorities are also in alignment and reflected in policies, regulations and budget resources; and
  • Establishing, vetting and executing implementation plans.
  1. How is this new office different? How will it operate with other departments to ensure that Seattle will plan holistically and meet future needs?

We recognize that in the past, the City of Seattle has reorganized various departments and established new offices to coordinate and strengthen City planning services. While some past efforts helped, they were not sufficient. The current era of unprecedented growth and development only underscores the need for a truly coordinated planning office that will strategically address current and future challenges.

OPCD is a priority for the Mayor; and the team working in OPCD will have the significant task of planning comprehensively to support both current and future residents. The new office must work closely with all City departments to establish strong communication, align work plan priorities, leverage resources, and develop tangible implementation plans that address neighborhood needs. OPCD will work with other City departments to accomplish tasks that include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Assessing neighborhood assets and needs, the impacts of growth, and strategies to support more equitable development;
  • Identifying opportunities and establishing priorities for community development;
  • Focusing on implementation by identifying capital investments, strategic partnerships, assets, and equity issues that are consistent with City objectives;
  • Staffing a Capital Subcabinet to ensure that short- and long-range department plans drive capital investments and leverage city resources effectively to address community needs;
  • Collaborating with the Mayor, City Budget Office (CBO), and Council to ensure that City goals are aligned with proposed priorities and resources; and
  • Ensuring significant planning activities and development projects are reviewed to ensure alignment with community development priorities.

In addition, some examples of interdepartmental coordination work led by OPCD may include:

  • Aggregating data that defines where capital investments are planned by Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), Seattle City Light (SCL), Seattle Parks and Recreation, and other capital departments to align and leverage strategic priorities;
  • Aligning area plans, Urban Design Frameworks, transportation plans, and community development strategies; and
  • Coordinating with SPU and SCL to plan for adequate infrastructure in water, sewer, drainage and power when new development occurs to ensure sufficient capacity.
  1. What parts of DPD (to be renamed to SDCI) will change? How will different components of DPD work together?

The planning functions that oversee comprehensive planning, area planning, and community development, as well as the Seattle Planning and Design Commissions, will be moved to OPCD and restructured to develop and promote integrated planning and community development. The other core regulatory functions of DPD will remain in DPD, which will be renamed to SDCI.

We also recognize the importance of the close relationship between the divisions currently in DPD. OPCD will continue to work closely with the regulatory component, as it would with all other departments to facilitate and implement comprehensive planning. For example, because the regulatory function manages the permitting process, OPCD will work closely with the regulatory side to help monitor current, future, and potential development to identify and assess capital investment needs in neighborhoods, regulatory changes that may be warranted, etc.

  1. Who are liaisons and what will be their role?

To strengthen interdepartmental coordination, staff from City departments will work with OPCD as subject matter expert “liaisons” to facilitate cross-department coordination. Such staff will remain in their home departments and will work within OPCD to ensure that OPCD has sufficient department expertise and remain coordinated with department priorities. As a result, liaisons may take on the following roles:

  • Work with OPCD planners by providing guidance and recommendations on department priorities, planning efforts, and capital projects to ensure cross-department alignment and project implementation;
  • Serve on a Capital Subcabinet led by OPCD to guide long-range planning and capital investment decisions;
  • Communicate emerging issues and priorities of their home department; and
  • Identify additional subject matter experts within their home departments when necessary.
  1. Who was involved in the creation of OPCD?

As a new office with the primary objective of strengthening coordination across all departments, it was critical to Mayor Murray that multiple departments help to shape and frame the scope and mission of OPCD. In June, Mayor Murray announced an Executive Order directing all City departments to work with the Mayor’s Office, DPD, CBO, and the Seattle Department of Human Resources (SDHR) to develop OPCD.

  1. How will this change be implemented? What is the timeline? What will be the impact on the City budget?

The legislation and budget changes to implement OPCD will be sent to City Council with the 2016 Proposed Budget at the end of September. The total proposed budget for OPCD in 2016 is $7.9 million, all supported by the General Fund. This includes $6.6 million that currently supports existing functions within DPD and $1.3 million in new resources. City Council will review and hold hearings on the proposed budget and legislation as part of their budget deliberations in October and November. The final vote on the 2016 Budget legislation package is expected in late November. All adopted changes will be effective January 1, 2016.

Statement after Council advances Move Seattle

Today Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after the Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to advance the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle:

“Thank you to the City Council for its work to advance Move Seattle. We are one step closer to providing more transportation choices, addressing critical safety issues and improving congestion. As we renew our levy, it is essential that we develop better multi-modal corridors to serve buses, cars and freight. Seven new bus rapid transit lines will speed commuters through our densest neighborhoods to work and school. And we must address ongoing street and bridge maintenance priorities, invest in new sidewalks and build out our bicycle master plan.

“I appreciate the Council’s priority of funding for Safe Routes to School, an issue I first championed as a legislator many years ago. The levy’s accountability measures further strengthened by the Council will also bolster confidence that our investments will yield solid results.

“A unanimous vote by the Council in committee sends a great signal to Seattle residents. I’m looking forward to Council giving its final approval and sending the levy to the voters. We’re ready to get to work.”

Seattle Celebrates Largest Metro Expansion in 40 Years

Today Mayor Ed Murray, King County Executive Dow Constantine and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen celebrated increased King County Metro bus service in Seattle. The increased service riders now enjoy are a direct result of Seattle residents passing Proposition 1 in November 2014. The first increase went into effect in early June with more services coming in September.

“Thanks to Seattle voters, we’re one step closer to getting the transit system the City wants and needs,” said Murray. “Expanded transit options helps us grow our economy, reduces traffic and protects our environment. Residents and visitors are now seeing more bus service, reduced overcrowding and increasing reliability.”

Proposition 1 allowed the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and King County Metro to add 9,000 service hours per month in June and will add 9,000 additional hours per month this coming September. These new hours will be added to both weekday commute and off-peak periods, enhancing services to 85 percent of in-city routes. In total, 223,000 bus hours will be added annually to existing bus service.

“Metro’s record ridership—nearly 121 million last year—shows the strength of our economy and a transit service that adapts to constant growth and change,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “By putting more service on the road in partnership with the city, and making it accessible to those who need it most through ORCA LIFT, we ensure that transit works better for everyone.”

SDOT’s route improvement identification process was designed to meet the demands of a growing city and an always-on economy that requires trips for work, shopping, recreation, and other purposes outside of traditional commute hours.  The new transit is the equivalent of more than 50 buses operating 12 hours per day, 365 days per year.

“As a regular rider of the Route 41, I am enjoying the benefits of added transit service during my daily commute,” said transit rider and North Seattle College employee Darryl Johnson. “By using funds provided in Proposition 1, this expansion is improving bus rides of everyone who works or studies at our college.”

In addition, in-city transit is now more accessible for everyone, and more affordable for low-income residents through King County’s ORCA LIFT program, which provides up to a 50 percent discount on fares for income-qualified riders. Starting this summer, in addition to enrolling people in the Utility Discount Program, the Seattle Human Services Department will also be able to connect eligible people in Seattle to a variety of affordability resources including the $20 car tab rebate program and the ORCA LIFT card.

“Transit is often the only option for many of our lower-income residents,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. “Especially when combined with the new ORCA LIFT card, the additional service that is now available makes transit more viable, reliable and affordable for Seattle’s low-income communities.”

In total, the route improvements expand Seattle’s portion of Metro’s system by approximately 15 percent. They are funded through a combination of car tab fees and a 0.1 percent sales tax that will annually provide $45 million over the next six years.

“I enjoy working with Metro because it is a great job and I get to be part of a team providing an essential community service to King County,” said Metro Bus Operator Eric Jones who carries afternoon commuters on the 28 Express from downtown to Ballard and North Seattle. Eric was hired earlier this spring as part of Metro’s recent hiring blitz to implement new service in the city of Seattle.

Seattle routes with added, restored or revised service, or adjustments to improve on-time reliability: 1, 2, 5, 5E, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15E, 16, 17E, 18E, 19, 21, 21E, 24, 25, 26, 26E, 27, 28, 28E, 29, 31, 32, 33, 37, 40, 41, 43, 44, 47, 48, 49, 55, 56, 57, 60, 64E, 66E, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74E, 76, 83 Night Owl, 99, 120, 125 and the RapidRide C & D lines. In addition, the Proposition 1-funded Regional Partnership program is helping fund new commuter Route 630 from Mercer Island into Downtown.

View the All Aboard infographic or visit for additional information.

Mayor presents revised Transportation Levy to Move Seattle

Move Seattle press conference

Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Mike O’Brien and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly today announced details of the City’s revised nine-year Transportation Levy to Move Seattle.

The revised Levy to Move Seattle reflects community priorities expressed in nearly 8,000 comments received during numerous public meetings, coffee hours and an on-line survey that followed the release of the draft levy proposal in March.

“This levy reflects the needs of our communities and improves the day-to-day realities of getting around our city,” said Mayor Murray. “Over the past several weeks, the people of Seattle told us that safety is the top priority. We will invest more in transit reliability and access, improved connections to light rail, and making it safer for people of all ages to walk in Seattle.”

The revised levy proposal, which Mayor Murray will submit to City Council next week, would fund $930 million in investments over nine years – $30 million more than the draft proposal released in March. The additional funding committed to transportation comes from the projected increase in assessed value due to new construction. The cost to taxpayers ($275 annually for the owner of a median valued home) would remain the same as proposed earlier.

In response to community feedback, the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle now includes:

  • $110 million – an increase of $35 million from the initial proposal – to build new sidewalks in high-demand areas and pilot alternative street designs that making walking safer and more comfortable in residential areas without sidewalks.
  • An enhanced focus on improving transit in seven high-priority transit corridors, while at the same time adding multimodal improvements that benefit people walking, biking, driving and moving goods.
  • Increased funding for small neighborhood priority projects focused on safety and connectivity.

“The proposed package reflects the priorities and projects that I have heard are important to our neighborhoods including the Lander Street overpass for the SODO area and the Fauntleroy Way improvement project, which is an important part of the neighborhood plan and which is designed and ready for construction,” stated Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Chair of the City Council Transportation Committee.

Roughly 5,300 people shared their transportation priorities through an online survey, and the City also spoke with residents through three open houses, three stakeholder roundtables, an online meeting, more than 30 community briefings, six neighborhood coffee hours, and participation at nine neighborhood farmers markets.

“Our many conversations about the proposal show that Seattleites care about transportation. It impacts each of us daily, whether you walk, drive, bike, use transit, or move goods around the city,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “The revised levy proposal is a comprehensive package that aims to meet the needs of our city today and tomorrow.”

The revised proposal was unveiled at 14th Avenue S and Beacon Avenue S, the site of a recently completed safety project funded by the Bridging the Gap transportation levy that expires this year. The project improves safety for children at a nearby elementary school, and also makes it safer to access neighborhood businesses and the light rail station. The Levy to Move Seattle would fund Safe Routes to School projects for every public school in the city, with an emphasis on those schools that need safety improvements the most.

The levy would help fund goals outlined in Mayor Murray’s 10-year transportation vision, Move Seattle, which integrates the City’s long-term plans for walking, biking, freight and transit into a comprehensive strategy.

The Seattle City Council will need to submit the proposal to King County by early August for it to be on the ballot this November.

Visit the Levy to Move Seattle webpage to stay up-to-date on the levy proposal:

Seattle Mayor Murray’s statement on House Transportation Proposal

Mayor Murray issued the following statement on the House’s release of a transportation package yesterday:

“I continue to be encouraged by the state legislature’s recognition of our state’s dire need for transportation investments.

The package released yesterday by the House of Representatives under the leadership of House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn builds on what the Senate passed a few weeks ago. The inclusion of funding for the westside of 520 is good news for Seattle. The House proposal also invests $1.29 billion in multimodal funds, which is a nearly $500 million improvement over the Senate package. I will continue to tirelessly advocate for increasing the funding allocation for the Lander street overcrossing, because it is crucial to improving freight mobility in Seattle’s SODO industrial area.

The House package correctly acknowledges the critical importance of Sound Transit 3 funding authorization at the $15 billion level. Sound transit needs this full authority to continue to meet the tremendous public demand for expanding light rail to reach regional destinations including Everett, Tacoma, Downtown Redmond, while also providing additional capacity within the City of Seattle with connections to Ballard and West Seattle. Anything less than full authority would rule out voter consideration of some of those priorities.

Finally, I was pleased to see that the House removed the restrictions placed by the Senate on our collective efforts to address climate change.  I thank the House for recognizing this, and also for removing the sales tax exemption.

I remain eager to work with lawmakers and the Governor in a bipartisan, bicameral way to ensure that a transportation package reflective of our values is passed and signed into law this session.”

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 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