Seattle's News Elixir

Today's first loser: Neighborhood bike projects.

The Seattle Bike Blog reports that Seattle Department of Transportation Traffic Engineer Eric Widstrand has left the department to head up the Los Angeles office of Sam Schwartz Engineering. Widstrand, as we've reported, has been a vocal proponent of so-called "road diets"---projects that add lanes for bikes and turning lanes to roads while eliminating one lane of car traffic. Widstrand's last day was July 5.

Today's second loser: South King County residents.

King County Council member Julia Patterson told PubliCola last month that she isn't committed to supporting a temporary $20 fee to pay for transit, on the grounds that it wouldn't benefit her council district. "We have a lot less to lose with those [Metro] cuts than Seattle districts," Patterson said. "I’d be asking my people to pay $20—my poor and working-class people—to subsidize bus service in wealthier Seattle districts."

But Patterson didn't hesitate to ask Seattle to subsidize her district back in 2008, when she supported increased countywide funding for a flood-control district that primarily benefits her council district, an area she called "the economic lifeline of the state of Washington."

That parochial math---opposing legislation because it fails to provide an immediate economic benefit to your district---might make sense in the short term, but it could hurt Patterson's constituents in the future when council members consider whether to pay for projects that benefit her district.
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