Vote YES on Proposition 1 – Faster Transit, Safer Streets and a Better Ballard
By Lisa Quinn
Lisa Quinn is a Ballard resident and the Executive Director of Feet First, an organization promoting walkable communities.
Like you, I love living in Ballard. And like you, I’m frustrated that it’s not the easiest neighborhood to get to and from. Actually, that’s an understatement.
It’s unfair that it’s faster to take the bus from Bellevue to downtown than it is from Ballard. It’s unacceptable that it can take over an hour to take the bus from Ballard to the University District. It’s simply intolerable that it’s not always safe for our kids to walk or ride their bikes to school. As a neighborhood, and as a city, we have a responsibility to do better than this.
That’s why I hope you will join me and thousands of your friends and neighbors in voting YES on Proposition 1. Designed by a citizen panel, Prop. 1 will connect our neighborhoods with fast, reliable bus service, double the number of neighborhood repaving projects we do every year, double our city’s annual investment in sidewalks and expand family-friendly bicycle infrastructure. It will fund these investments through the most progressive tool we have as a city to fund transportation improvements.
Gas prices continue to rise and working families can’t afford to pay $4 a gallon at the pump every day. We need an affordable way to get to work, school and around the city. Our local transit system provides this option. Unfortunately, Tim Eyman-backed state initiatives have eliminated many traditional transportation funding sources, leaving our transit system in a state of disrepair.
This is why half the money (nearly $100 million) raised by Prop. 1 is dedicated to transit improvements to help buses move up to 20% faster and more reliably. Improvements like signal priority for buses, bus bulbs, dedicated bus lanes and signals that let buses jump ahead of traffic are all effective ways to help get us where we need to go easily and efficiently by bus. In addition, Prop. 1 will invest $20 million to update and expand Seattle's clean and efficient electric bus network, a serious investment in Seattle's transit future.
Right here in Ballard, Prop. 1 will fund speed and reliability improvements to the 44 bus route connecting Ballard to the University District, the 48 route connecting Crown Hill with Green Lake, the University District and beyond, and upgrade the soon to arrive RapidRide line connecting Crown Hill and Ballard to Uptown and Downtown.
For our friends and neighbors north of 85th, Prop. 1 will double the city’s annual investment in new sidewalks through a $44 million investment in our neighborhoods. The new funding will also build hundreds of crossing improvements and new pedestrian countdown signals, expand family-friendly bicycle infrastructure, and expand the Neighborhood Street Fund by nearly 50% to fund more sidewalks, safe crossings and other safety needs identified by neighborhood councils like the Ballard District Council.
And Prop. 1 takes care of the basics. The recession has caused Seattle to cut back on basic street maintenance like pothole filling. Prop. 1 will make critical repairs, improving roads for everyone whether you drive, take the bus, move freight, ride a bike or walk. Prop. 1 will double the amount of repaving projects Seattle can do each year with $59 million in dedicated funding for basic road maintenance.
In addition, Prop 1. funds all of these important investments in our future through the most progressive funding tool available. Because of Tim Eyman initiatives and state law, a flat vehicle license fee is the most progressive tool we have as a city to fund transportation improvements. When the citizen’s panel that designed this measure reached out to the people of Seattle, they heard a strong preference for funding transportation improvements with a vehicle license fee over more regressive options provided by the legislature, such as sales tax increases. In addition, a citizen panel will ensure accountability of priorities and spending of this package of transportation improvements.
Prop. 1 is our opportunity to create a better transportation future. Our opportunity to start becoming a city where we can rely on the bus to get us to work on time, the roads are smooth, we can safely cross the street and our kids can walk or ride their bikes to school. Please vote YES on Prop. 1.