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 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

Mayor Murray’s State of the City speech as prepared

2015 State of the City

Seattle Mayor Edward B. Murray
February 17, 2015
Download speech as PDF

[Introduction]

President Burgess, members of the Seattle City Council, City Attorney Holmes, and residents of Seattle.

President Obama said in his State of the Union address last month that the state of the nation is strong.

It is strong, I believe, in no small part because our cities are strong and vibrant and innovative centers of change that are helping to drive the national agenda.

And Seattle is as strong, vibrant and innovative as any city in the country, leading on issues of equity, transportation and the environment.

The diversity of our residents, the energy of our businesses, the creativity of our arts together have created a unique moment in the history of this growing city.

We are in the midst of a moment rich with opportunity to shape dramatically the Seattle of tomorrow.

Last year, we showed how progressives can work together to make government function and improve the lives of the people of this city.

This year, we will start to see the results of last year’s great successes.

In April, because of our action, Seattle’s minimum wage will rise to $11 per hour.

And in April, because of our action, we will begin increasing park maintenance and expanding park programming…

In June, because of our action, we will begin to see the largest increase in bus service in the city of Seattle since Metro Transit was created in the 1970s.

In July, because of our action on priority hire, when the City invests in infrastructure, we will also invest in local workers.

In September, because of our action, we will see three- and four-year-olds attending new City-funded preschool programs…

We must remain committed to implementing these achievements: Following through and getting it right is just as important as getting it in the first place.

But while Seattle is strong and, I believe, getting stronger, we must recognize that the benefits of our thriving city are not jointly shared.

We see inequities…

…in how we experience growth – between those who benefit from it and those displaced by it …

…in prosperity – between those who can afford to live here and those being pushed out …

…in our schools – between those who are coming to school ready to learn and are graduating on time, and those who are not…

…in public safety – between those who are safe from crime, and those who are at greater risk of crime because of who they are or where they live…

And, of course, cutting across all these inequities is the most challenging inequity of all – and that is racial inequity.

We must keep working together so that we can keep driving better outcomes on each of these vital issues.

Our city is many things, including a city of young people – nearly half of Seattle residents are younger than 35.

And so I have invited high school students from around the city to join us here.

Let us take this opportunity to welcome all of you to City Hall.

You are coming of age at a time of unprecedented growth and change in your city.

This can be exciting and energizing – and it can also be confusing and unsettling.

But it does present us right now with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to define the future of this city while each of you is beginning to define your own future.

So let us define both together.

Together, we can determine the destiny of our city to ensure that Seattle is a safe, affordable, vibrant, interconnected city for all.

[Growth and planning]

Seattle is growing faster than its surrounding suburbs for the first time in over a century.

Over the past twenty years, the City set goals for growth in designated areas, and we met have those goals: three quarters of all growth occurred in urban villages.

In the next twenty years, Seattle is expected to add 120,000 new residents.

And as we grow, our City must ensure that we become a more livable and sustainable city.

In Ballard, for example, population has increased by 25 percent in the past decade but investments in transportation have lagged far behind.

In Rainier Beach, where the unemployment rate is three times the city rate, we must plan for growth in jobs as we plan for growth in population.

So this year, we will launch a different approach to these issues as we restructure City government to meet our rapidly changing city.

As we provide plans for new density in a neighborhood, we will also provide plans for how the City will invest to ensure the neighborhood continues to thrive.

To the students in the room, take a moment and think out twenty years from now.

You will be in your mid-30s. You’re likely to have a job. A spouse. Perhaps children.

Where will you be living? Near light rail? Will it be a house with a yard? Will you be able to walk to work or to a park?

Those are the questions before us. And we want to hear your answers. Your vision for the next chapter in Seattle’s story.

This year, we as a City are asked to look 20 years ahead to envision Seattle in 2035.

The revision of our Comprehensive Plan is a chance for all of the city – for millennials, families, and seniors – to discuss and decide…

… where we should grow…

… how we can grow sustainably…

…and, as new housing and new businesses grow…

…how we will prioritize our investments.

In keeping with one of the fundamental tenets of my administration, I am putting a new emphasis on equity in planning.

Growth must be about placing without displacing.

Therefore, in the coming weeks I am sending a resolution to Council that recognizes race and social justice as one of the core values for the Plan.

It will call on all of us to develop new equity goals and practices, and build in public accountability through more inclusive stewardship.

And since these questions affect everyone, we will redouble our outreach efforts to ensure all voices are heard.

Evening meetings in community centers are simply not enough.

So we will conduct digital outreach, telephone town halls and find other ways to engage those deeply affected by these questions but seldom heard from – immigrants and refugees, those working evenings or those at home taking care of their families.

And this spring, I will host my second annual Neighborhood Summit to continue this citywide conversation about our major initiatives, such as…

…updating the Comprehensive Plan,

…renewing transportation funding, and

…creating more affordable housing.

[Transportation]

With a vibrant economy, our challenge is to continue creating more transportation choices for everyone, while also reducing carbon emissions.

In the year since I took office, we have made a series of moves to give Seattleites more options.

We created a legal and safe framework for taxis and rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft.

We added miles of new protected bike lanes throughout the city.

Last year, we brought in Pronto bike-share, and this year, we are funding its expansion into under-served neighborhoods.

We are allowing car-share companies like Car2Go to expand.

Last November, the voters of Seattle generously voted to tax themselves to expand bus service in this city.

This is major progress.

 

As I said in these chambers last year, this City has many worthy individual plans for bikes, freight, cars, transit, and pedestrians.

But we lack a unified, modern, interconnected transportation plan. A philosophy for how to get our city moving.

Until now.

By the end of this month, I will release a new comprehensive vision for how Seattle approaches transportation….

…a vision that integrates our many transportation plans into a single strategy that is greater than the sum of its parts, which I have named Move Seattle.

Move Seattle is a vision for growing and expanding our transportation choices to meet the needs of all users, for today and tomorrow.

We will use Move Seattle to guide our investments as we renew our transportation levy this year.

We will get the basics right by improving our aging roads and bridges and sidewalks.

And we will make the investments necessary to build a safe, integrated transportation system with an expanding variety of choices available to all.

Seattle, it bears mentioning, is not an island. To keep our city’s economy moving, we must also keep our region moving.

With Sound Transit opening two new light rail stations in the coming year – one at the University of Washington and the other on Capitol Hill – now is the time to build on this momentum.

We are working with leaders throughout the three-county region to pass authority for Sound Transit 3 in Olympia this year.

Sound Transit 3 is our path forward to build new light rail connections within the city, including to Ballard and West Seattle.

These vital connections would link our growing light rail system to Puget Sound’s largest job centers.

Together, these efforts will have profound impact on our transportation future.

But there’s no denying it: our transportation future will look different without the leadership of Tom Rasmussen on the City Council.

Councilmember Rasmussen has been a part of civic life in Seattle for as long as I can remember.

He’s been a champion for seniors, for human services, for civil rights, and for innovative transportation solutions, including our successful transit campaign this past November.

Councilmember Rasmussen, we thank you for your years of dedication to serving the people of Seattle.

[Affordability in housing]

Income inequality is real, and it’s growing in Seattle.

In 2013, the income of the top fifth of Seattle households was 19 times that of the lowest fifth.

Everyone who works in Seattle should be able to afford to live in Seattle…

Our strategies to address this challenge have included reinventing our City’s utility discount program, where we have seen a 21 percent increase in household enrollments in one year, and are on track to meet my commitment to double enrollments by 2018.

And I look forward to partnering with Councilmember Sawant to continue this important work.

Our strategies have included raising the minimum wage for workers like Malcolm Cooper-Suggs, a 21-year-old fast-food worker.

Malcolm is excited to soon be able to start setting money aside for emergencies his future.

He is doing his part – working hard to make a better life for himself. He deserves a fair wage for a full day’s work.

Malcolm is here with us today – Malcolm please stand and be recognized…

In time, our action on minimum was will directly impact the lives of over 100,000 individuals like Malcolm working in this city.

Women are disproportionately represented among those who stand to benefit from the rising minimum wage.

And there are steps the City can take to address the gender equity issues among our own employees.

With Councilmember Godden’s leadership, we will move forward on a number of initiatives this year that will help close the gender pay gap and promote women’s participation in the City workforce.

We are also establishing an Office of Labor Standards to educate workers and businesses on how to comply with our new minimum wage law and enforce other important worker protections.

This Office in many ways is the crowning achievement of a remarkable two-decade-long career of service to the people of Seattle.

Councilmember Nick Licata, you have been a voice for the voiceless, and a tireless advocate for a more affordable city.

If, as Jonathan Raban has written, living in a city is an art, then you have brought the vocabulary of art to our ongoing efforts to make this city a better place for all…

Our next great challenge to affordability, of course, is housing.

Seattle now has the fastest growing rents among all major cities in the country.

To address this massive challenge, I worked with Councilmembers Clark and O’Brien to establish an advisory committee to take action.

As with our minimum wage task force, we have brought together people with very different perspectives who often do not agree, to work together on a definitive proposal just as rigorous as the solution we developed on the minimum wage.

Their recommendations, due in May, will help ensure people – and especially families –can live in this city no matter their income.

People including the mother I met who works downtown and lives in South King County, but spends hours a day commuting.

Hers is a common story that is often lost, but experienced by thousands of other workers across Seattle. These stories represent the true cost of a lack of affordability in our city.

I have made it clear to the members of the committee – and will reiterate here today –that we are not going to get there with a single tool.

To address our affordability challenges, everyone must play a part: from developers to landlords to nonprofits to employers to the construction industry… to City government.

That’s why I am committing 35 million dollars of City resources to enact the recommendations of this Advisory Committee.

[Education]

As we grow as a city, we cannot allow the opportunity gap between white students and students of color to persist.

Nearly 90 percent of Caucasian third graders are meeting math and reading standards in this city, compared to approximately half of African American students.

About one-quarter of African American and Latino students do not graduate on time, compared to 8 percent of Caucasian students.

We can no longer allow so many of our children to leave school unprepared for college, for work or for life.

The City has partnered with Seattle Public Schools for 20 years through the Families & Education Levy.

Thanks to the leadership of Council President Burgess, we are deepening our partnership through the Seattle Preschool program.

And there are still more opportunities to partner.

Building a school system that works for all of our children is not the responsibility of the school district alone.

It is the responsibility of all of us.

This fall, I will be convening an Education Summit to re-envision how a 21st Century urban public school system can work successfully for all students.

The City, the school district, the state, the private sector, teachers and parents – all must engage in frank and honest conversation, and unite around a shared vision.

Together, we will close the opportunity gap in our public schools.

[Economic development]

Seattle is home to one of the most unique business environments in the country.

We have a diverse economy that is creating jobs and keeping unemployment low.

Amazon continues to grow before our eyes. Weyerhaeuser is moving to Pioneer Square. Juno had a very successful initial public offering.

But we as a City lack a more focused approach to economic development.

Too often, we have rested on our luck and our geography.

In the coming months, we will be asking our local business owners:

What do we need to do to make the task of running a local business easier?

What can we as a City do to help businesses thrive?

Over the last year, we have taken some initial steps…

We held an industrial and maritime summit to explore ways to build upon Seattle’s strengths as a manufacturing center, and as a trading hub.

As a result, my budget invested in a Heavy Haul Corridor in Sodo, an essential step to help boost the competiveness of our industrial freight sector.

And we will continue this engagement to create a longer-term vision for the role of manufacturing, maritime, and trade in Seattle’s economy.

We are building our strategy to attract foreign direct investment.

We are expanding access to broadband to support start-up businesses.

Our Office of Economic Development launched an effort to help restauranteurs navigate the City, County and State regulations necessary to open and run a restaurant in Seattle.

And, we are making investments in business retention for medium-size business in growing industries.

All of these elements and more will be part of the conversation as we develop a shared strategy with the business community for how the City can play a more active role in nurturing our business environment and in creating jobs.

[Government performance]

A rapidly changing city requires a City government that can adapt right along with it.

If Seattleites are to have confidence that City Hall can meet today’s challenges they must be able to measure the City’s performance.

In September, as part of my budget, I made a promise to provide greater transparency into City government, and make more information and data accessible to the public.

And we have some results to share.

Today, we are launching a new tool called Performance Seattle, an interactive website found at performance.seattle.gov

Currently, nine of our departments are contributing data about how well they are meeting their goals, such as reducing traffic fatalities, reducing our carbon footprint and responding quickly to fires.

In the coming months, all City departments will set performance targets and report regularly to the public on their progress.

Today, we are also launching OpenBudget, another interactive website that presents budget data for the entire City government.

Located at openbudget.seattle.gov, it is a leap forward in budget reporting for our City.

Taken together, both of these resources will help us as a City achieve better goal-setting, better tracking, better use of data, and better outcomes.

These sites also highlight the great accomplishments of our hardworking City employees, who confront and manage complex and contentious issues each and every day.

I want to highlight the strong leadership of Christopher Williams, a long-time Parks employee who served as acting superintendent for more than four years, and is returning to his deputy role.

Christopher saw the department through a difficult time in the economy, and today, because of him, our department is stronger than ever.

Thanks to his leadership, and the leadership of Councilmember Bagshaw, we were able to secure long-term funding for Seattle’s parks and community centers.

[Public safety]

Last year in this chamber, I committed to using a data-driven approach to address our city’s complex and ongoing challenges in public safety, the paramount duty of local government.

Under Chief O’Toole, in August the Seattle Police Department launched the Seastat program, which uses data and community input to identify spikes in crime, address them, and evaluate police response.

In the fall, after a rash of robberies on Capitol Hill and in the Rainier Valley, we coordinated precinct and department-wide resources in the hardest-hit areas.

These focused efforts resulted in a 25 percent drop in robberies on Capitol Hill and a 40 percent drop in the Rainier Valley.

And after a spike in car thefts and car prowls last year, these same smart policing techniques led to a 12 percent drop in car thefts and a 16 percent drop in car prowls.

They also led to a 26 percent drop in burglaries.

This is good police work, and is the result of the dedicated efforts of our Seattle police officers.

These are early steps in addressing our public safety challenges, but they are positive steps in the right direction.

To build upon this momentum, I have set ambitious crime reduction goals for the Police Department, which are featured at Performance Seattle.

We will continue to grow and expand these strategies as we develop the best model for urban policing in the nation.

As I committed in these chambers last summer, I will provide the Council with a fuller presentation in late spring, consistent with our work to…

…ensure a safer built environment,

…foster more active public space and

…generate more economic opportunity for youth.

[Youth employment]

The fact is, the City can reduce youth crime and violence through a robust youth employment program.

In Chicago, for example, young people from high-crime neighborhoods were nearly half as likely to be victims of violent crime when they had summer jobs.

This year, we will create a Mayor’s Youth Employment Task Force to build the most vigorous youth employment program this City has seen in decades.

This program will help our young people – especially youth from our most under-served communities – develop the skills necessary to compete in the 21st Century economy.

We know what a successful program looks like.

Shawnteal Turner was in and out of juvenile detention when she attended a career fair and learned about the Youth Green Corps, a partnership between our Seattle Parks and Goodwill.

She liked learning about the environment and wanted help forming her life goals.

Shawnteal completed the program, and because of her dedication, passion and hard work, she is now working with both Seattle Goodwill and Seattle Parks & Recreation.

Shawnteal is here with other members of Youth Green Corps.

Shawnteal, please stand and be recognized…

We want to provide more opportunities like Shawnteal’s.

Our immediate goal is to double the number of summer youth served to 2,000 this year.

Additionally, Seattle was selected to receive a significant grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The staff hired with these new resources will first focus on addressing the disparities affecting young African Americans, particularly men, in Seattle.

We will align our participation in national efforts to address youth violence –including Cities United and President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper – with our local efforts, such as the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

In the spring, we will convene a Youth Opportunity Summit, working with African American and other community-leaders, experts in academia, the non-profit and private sectors to eliminate the educational opportunity gap, increase long-term employment and reduce juvenile crime rates.

[Police accountability and police reform]

Every community deserves to be served well by its police service.

Our efforts to reform the Seattle Police Department remain a top priority of my administration.

This City will continue working with the federal judge and the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice to address patterns of excessive use of force.

That is non-negotiable.

While we still have far to go, we need to acknowledge when progress occurs.

For the first time, the federal monitor has commended us for our progress. All officers are receiving consistent training. And, we are now collecting consistent, reliable, court-approved data for all uses of force.

Last year, I worked with Councilmember Harrell, the Community Police Commission, the Office of Professional Accountability and City Attorney Pete Holmes to develop reforms that will bring greater fairness, independence and transparency to the police discipline and accountability process.

Chief O’Toole and I have already implemented some of these reforms to ensure that disciplinary appeals are handled properly and efficiently.

This spring, I will introduce legislation to implement the remaining reforms.

All together, our comprehensive efforts will change the experience between our police and our community, and rebuild public trust.

They include…

…improved recruitment of a more diverse police force…

…significant training in de-escalation tactics and bias-free policing…

…extensive reporting and data-collection to identify potential misconduct…

…a streamlined complaint process for Seattleites to report issues …

…increased civilian oversight of every aspect of the police discipline and accountability system…

…and significant new transparency to instill public confidence and ensure that incidents of misconduct are not swept under the rug.

These changes are essential elements in our ongoing effort to create the best model for urban policing in the nation.

[Conclusion]

This is a historic moment in America and in Seattle as we confront the issue of race.

We must acknowledge how far we have come, but this is the side of the mountain, not the summit.

The poet Maya Angelou said:

“History despite its wrenching pain,

Cannot be unlived,

and if faced

With courage,

need not be lived again.”

It will take courage to address the deeply troubling issues of policing and race in this country.

It will take courage to acknowledge that the police are often at the receiving end of the failure of other systems to address race…

…failure in our education, criminal justice, foster care, mental health and political systems.

On the night of the Ferguson Grand Jury decision I pointed to the results of those failures.

… African Americans are incarcerated at nearly 6 times the rate of Caucasians…

… Homicide is the leading cause of death of young African-American men …

… 40 percent of African Americans will fail to graduate on-time from our high schools — or at all — …

…the numbers for Latinos, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans are hardly better.

To the young people here, everything I have spoken about today, everything we have accomplished this past year…

…pre-k, the minimum wage, transit, priority hire, parks and community centers, police reform, summer youth employment…

…they are the response of the people of this City to addressing the issue of race and inequality.

But much work remains and it will not be easy. It is time to begin again to climb that mountain.

It is time for Seattle to talk with each other about how we heal the wounds of race.

Maya Angelou goes on in her poem to say.

“Lift up your eyes upon

this day breaking for you

Give birth again

To the dream.”

 

Thank you.

Mayor delivers ‘State of the City’ address

State of the City 2015

In his “State of the City” address before the Seattle City Council today, Mayor Ed Murray dedicated $35 million in City funding to support affordable housing in Seattle, doubled the City’s commitment to summer youth employment and unveiled government performance and budgeting websites to bring new transparency to City departments.

The mayor cited 2014 advances in city policy on minimum wage, parks funding, transit, preschool and other issues, underscoring the need to deliver these initiatives in 2015.

“Last year, we showed how progressives can work together to make government function and improve the lives of the people of this city,” said Murray, “We must remain committed to implementing these achievements: following through and getting it right is just as important as getting it in the first place.”

After raising the minimum wage, Murray called housing “our next great challenge to affordability.” The mayor and city council launched a work group of housing experts last September, which is developing a slate of policies to support affordable housing for individuals and families across the income spectrum.

The mayor is reserving $15 million from the Seattle Housing Levy and $20 million in incentive zoning funds to implement the recommendations of the Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee, which are due in May.

The mayor today unveiled Performance Seattle, found at performance.seattle.gov, a government performance website where the public can review city department goals and track outcomes. The site is launching with nine departments, and others will be added throughout the year. The public will also have better access to information about city finances through OpenBudget, located at openbudget.seattle.gov.

The mayor invited high school students from around the city to attend the speech, noting that they “are coming of age at a time of unprecedented growth and change” as Seattle grows faster than surrounding suburbs for the first time in over a century.

After increasing the city’s commitment to summer youth employment by 50 percent last year, the mayor pledged to double it in 2015 to 2,000 jobs.

The City is revising its Comprehensive Plan this year to guide the development of housing for 120,000 additional city residents over the next 20 years. The mayor committed to digital outreach, telephone town halls, a second Neighborhood Summit and other ways engage the public in the process. In the coming days, the mayor will send a resolution to Council that recognizes race and social justice as one of the core values for the Plan.

After expanding transportation options in 2014 with Uber and Lyft, Pronto bike share, car-share services and additional bus transit, Seattle will renew its expiring transportation levy later this year. The mayor announced a new unified transportation strategy, called Move Seattle, which will map out future infrastructure improvements to be funded in the next levy.

The levy will fund maintenance of existing roads, bridges and sidewalks, and make additional investments “to build a safe, integrated transportation system with an expanding variety of choices available to all,” said the mayor.

Seattle will continue to seek authority in Olympia needed for further expansion of Sound Transit’s light rail system to Ballard and West Seattle, even as the Capitol Hill and University of Washington stations come on line within a year.

Calling public safety “the paramount duty of local government,” the mayor noted Chief Kathleen O’Toole’s implementation of data-driven policing and how it is beginning to yield results. After a spike in robberies and property crimes, the department refocused precinct and department-wide resources to the hardest-hit areas. As a result, robberies dropped 25 percent on Capitol Hill and 40 percent in the Rainier Valley. Similarly, property crimes like car thefts, car prowls and burglaries have declined.

“Every community deserves to be served well by its police service,” said Murray. “Our efforts to reform the Seattle Police Department remain a top priority of my administration.”

The City continues to implement reforms to support police discipline and accountability. The Seattle Police Department has already made changes to the disciplinary appeals process, and the mayor is sending more reforms to the council in coming weeks. The mayor committed to additional changes at the department to rebuild the public trust, including:

  • recruitment of a more diverse police force;
  • continued training in de-escalation tactics and bias-free policing;
  • improved data-collection to identify potential misconduct of officers;
  • a streamlined complaint reporting process;
  • increased civilian oversight of police discipline and accountability; and
  • increased transparency in incidents of officer misconduct.

“These changes are essential elements in our ongoing effort to create the best model for urban policing in the nation,” said Murray.

In his address, the mayor renewed his call for shared responsibility to address the persistent educational opportunity gap between white students and students of color. The City partners with Seattle Public Schools through the Families and Education Levy and, beginning this year, through the new Seattle Preschool Program. In 2015, the mayor will convene an Education Summit to discuss solutions to inequities in academic opportunity and the resulting gaps in student math and reading scores and graduation rates.

“We can no longer allow so many of our children to leave school unprepared for college, for work or for life,” said Murray. “Together, we will close the opportunity gap in our public schools.”

The mayor concluded with a call for a renewed community conversation on the many challenges of racial inequity in the City and across the country. The mayor will convene a Youth Opportunity Summit in the spring to work with African-American leaders and to eliminate the educational opportunity gap, increase long-term employment and reduce juvenile crime rates.

“We must acknowledge how far we have come, but this is the side of the mountain, not the summit,” said Murray.

The mayor’s complete State of the City remarks as prepared are available here.

Video of the speech

Murray statement on Senate Transportation Revenue Proposal

Mayor Murray issued the following statement on the statewide transportation package introduced by the State Senate today in Olympia:

“I am pleased that Senate leaders have acknowledged the need for new revenue to fix our state’s transportation system and proposed a transportation package that will actually raise these new dollars.

Today’s proposal is a good first step, but it can be better. While it’s encouraging that the Senate proposal includes regional taxing authority to expand Sound Transit’s light rail system – I will continue to fight for the full local taxing authority requested by the region. I also believe that the package can go farther to support local freight projects such as the Lander Street overcrossing in Seattle’s SODO industrial area.

Being an economic lifeline for the region, the inclusion of funding for the Westside of SR-520 is good news for Seattle. The multimodal funds in the proposal will also benefit the City as we update our infrastructure to provide more transportation choices for our growing population.

As the legislature debates this proposal and negotiations continue, I am eager to work with lawmakers and the Governor in a bipartisan, bicameral way to improve the measure and hammer out an agreement that will get Washington – and Seattle – moving.”

$470,000 in matching funds offered for technology projects; applications due March 19

Apply now 000024468147XSmallThe City of Seattle invites community organizations and nonprofits to apply for nearly $500,000 in funding to increase digital equity. The Technology Matching Fund awards are matched by the community’s contribution of volunteer labor, materials, professional services or funding.

“As a city, Seattle is known for technology and innovation, yet too many residents do not have sufficient internet access or the skills necessary to participate fully in today’s economy,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “This funding leverages the resources of the community by matching time and funding.”

The Technology Matching Fund has been in existence since 1997 and this year the City has $470,000 available for matching awards of up to $30,000 each to community groups and nonprofits. The deadline to apply is March 19, 2015.

The funding will be awarded in July to organizations who will improve digital equity by connecting traditionally-underserved populations, empower residents with digital literacy skills, and encourage diverse communities to use technology for civic participation.

Application materials and more information are available at www.seattle.gov/tech/tmf/.

Two workshops will be held for those interested in applying for the matching funds. The free workshops will provide an overview of the grant program, explain how to apply and detail characteristics of a successful application. First time applicants are encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, Feb. 10: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
2100 Building, 2100 24th Ave South, 98144

Thursday, Feb. 12: 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Solid Ground, 1501 N. 45th St, 98103

Interpretation and accommodations are available upon request by calling 206-233-2751 or emailing communitytechnology@seattle.gov by February 6.

Murray applauds priority hire, car share passage

Today, Mayor Murray issued the following statements on legislation passed by the Seattle City Council:

Mayor Murray on priority hire:

“I salute the entire City Council and the leadership of Committee Chair Sally Clark as our city adopts strong priority hire legislation based on my proposal from last September. This win is an important piece in our shared agenda to make Seattle more affordable and equitable for all communities. When we invest in our community centers, streets and city buildings, we must also invest in the people of our community. This ordinance not only helps someone land a family-wage job, it also opens the door to training and support that can launch a construction career. This partnership benefited from much work from faith leaders, trade unions, community advocates, contractors, apprenticeship programs and others who envision a more prosperous Seattle for all.”

Mayor Murray on expanded car sharing:

“I applaud our City Council for unanimously passing my office’s proposed expansion of car sharing permits in Seattle. This is another step in making Seattle a more livable and interconnected city for those who don’t own vehicles.  This legislation also provides important resources for us to assess the benefits and impacts of car sharing in Seattle. I especially would like to thank Transportation Chair Councilmember Tom Rasmussen for his work on this issue.”

Murray proposes more pedestrian zones to strengthen local business districts

Pedestrians

Photo courtesy of SDOT

Mayor Murray has sent to City Council a plan that will help foster vibrant business districts in neighborhoods throughout Seattle. Changes have been proposed to encourage more commercial businesses that support compact and walkable communities, while allowing flexibility in design to better meet the changing needs of our neighborhood business districts.

“These proposed changes will help ensure active storefronts in our neighborhoods and more design flexibility to accommodate a range of business types,” said Murray. “This helps minimize vacancies in some commercial areas but also helps to provide better access to the goods and services our local communities rely upon. Promoting pedestrian zones just make sense – a more walkable Seattle is good for the economy, good for the environment and good for public health.”

A key element of the proposal is an effort to identify, encourage and protect pedestrian-oriented commercial street fronts in neighborhood business districts by evaluating where additional pedestrian zoned areas are appropriate. The pedestrian zone designation serves to identify neighborhood business districts where active commercial use would be required at street-level. In neighborhood commercial zones outside of these areas, a wider range of uses is allowed at street level including a broad range of commercial, residential and live-work properties.

This proposal provides recommendations on those areas and includes modifications including:

  • Rezone 39 neighborhood commercial areas around the city to add or expand a pedestrian zone designation;
  • Expand the list of allowed active street-level uses;
  • Modify design review departures available in pedestrian zones for ceiling height, transparency requirements and residential uses at street level;
  • Clarify the transparency requirements to specify that transparent areas must allow views into and out of the structure at eye level;
  • Add a standard to require overhead weather protection along 60 percent of the building facade for new development along a Principal Pedestrian Street;
  • Eliminate waivers to minimum parking standards specific to pedestrian zones; and
  • Add standards for live-work units.

More convenient, more reliable, less crowded: Major boost coming for bus service in Seattle

To ease bus crowding and improve reliability, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine are moving forward with a major contract to expand Metro Transit bus service in the City of Seattle.

Murray and Constantine today sent the Seattle City Council and King County Council a proposed three-year, $120 million contract to increase bus service, renewable for an additional three years.

Funding for the new service comes from the Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition 1 ballot measure approved by Seattle voters in November. The measure will raise an estimated $45 million a year for six years by collecting a 0.1 percent sales tax increase and a $60 annual vehicle fee in the City of Seattle.

“By adding more than 200,000 more hours of bus service annually, we can ensure that transit expands along with our growing city,” said Mayor Murray. “This voter-approved investment in additional service will help make transit a better choice for everyone in Seattle, and is the first major expansion of bus service in our city in almost a decade.”

“Reliable, all-day bus service is the key to keeping our region’s economy moving forward, and this expansion will relieve overcrowding and delays so our riders can get to their schools, jobs, and services,” said Executive Constantine. “Our task now is to keep working to bring service in the rest of the county up to the new standard that Seattle is setting.”

Under the terms of the proposed contract, Seattle residents would see expanded bus service beginning in June and then again in September. As proposed, the City of Seattle would purchase from Metro additional peak, off-peak, weekend, and night service totaling 223,000 annual service hours in 2015. Planned service improvements draw from needs identified in Metro’s Service Guidelines and Seattle’s Transit Master Plan, and include significant investments in top priority routes that are chronically overcrowded such as the RapidRide C and D Lines serving West Seattle, Downtown and Ballard.

Under the city contract, the voter-approved funding will:

  • Add new buses to all 16 Seattle routes that are chronically overcrowded
  • Fix the schedules of all 48 routes that are chronically unreliable
  • Add frequency to 34 high-demand routes
  • Regularly provide detailed ridership and performance data

The City of Seattle also included $3 million dollars in a partnership program for jurisdictions who are interested in sharing the cost of service for routes that connect with the city. In addition up to $2 million dollars will be used to increase access to Metro Transit’s ORCA LIFT program, its new reduced fare for low-income riders to be implemented in March.

The Seattle Department of Transportation’s new Transit Division, working collaboratively with Metro Transit, will provide oversight to ensure that Seattle’s investments are supporting improved service in Seattle on the City’s highest-priority routes.

Executive Constantine created the framework for the proposed transit service contract last year when he initiated the Community Mobility Contract Program. The City of Seattle is able to contract directly with Metro Transit for service using this program. The Community Mobility Contract Program is intended as a bridge to keep buses on the street until the state legislature provides a sustainable funding tool for local transportation needs.

Seattle hires new SDOT Transit Division director

Today, Mayor Ed Murray, along with Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly, announced the appointment of Paulo Nunes-Ueno as the new SDOT Transit Division director. Joining the department’s executive team, Nunes-Ueno will lead a newly created SDOT division focused on addressing the city’s and region’s current and future transit needs.

“It’s critically important that we deliver expanded transit services efficiently and cost-effectively after Seattle voters said yes to Proposition 1,” said Murray. “We’re stepping up to work with Metro to identify the routes and increased service that will roll out this summer. The new Transit Division will help ensure that we get the most from our investment.”

In this new position, Nunes-Ueno will lead a team of transportation professionals focused on delivering safe, efficient and cost-effective transit solutions for Seattle. This division will be responsible for four main areas:

  • Transit policy, planning and procurement
  • Transit design and construction oversight
  • Transit operations and interagency coordination
  • Mobility options and parking programs that support transit.

Nunes-Ueno will also provide subject matter expertise to SDOT leadership, the Mayor’s Office, the City Council and other City departments.

“Making transit better helps everyone who lives in, works in or visits Seattle,” said SDOT Director Kubly. “With the creation of a new Transit Division and the hiring of Paulo Nunes-Ueno, we will have the right team in place to guide our short- and long-term transit efforts. He is a strong hire due to his success at Children’s Hospital, where his transit and commute trip reduction work resulted in sixty percent of employees walking, biking or taking transit.”

Nunes-Ueno joins SDOT after having served as the director of Transportation and Sustainability for Seattle Children’s Hospital, and manager of King County Metro’s Commute Trip Reduction Services Project/Program. He will start at the City on December 17 and will receive annual salary of $144,500.