On Other Blogs Today: Seattle is Not a Good Bike Town, Kate Martin is a Brainy Candidate, and Whole Foods is in Trouble
1. Transportation Issues Daily has some surprising news: Seattle is being lapped by other cities when it comes to building bicycle infrastructure. Moreover, what we've got doesn't look so good to bike advocates.
In a post that features paragraphs like this (bolds and italics theirs)...
Hasn’t Seattle been on a bike-lane building frenzy in the recent years? Sure, Seattle has tripled its on-street bike lanes to 78 miles since 2007. At that rate it’s only a matter of a decade or so before Seattle matches Portland’s 320 miles of bike lanes...
TID puts the brakes on the conventional wisdom that Seattle is a bike leader.
Here's how the provocative article starts out:
To hear some people, Seattle is overrun with bicycle lanes and activists. Across the city, bicyclists are pedaling rampant, pushing aside car and truck drivers, increasing congestion and decreasing safety, and ruining the economy. And those people say it won’t get any better, because Seattle has a Mayor who actually bicycles and seemingly doesn’t care about cars. But in reality, pro-roads, anti-bicycling folks don’t have a lot to complain about.
By the numbers, Seattle is a still a pretender when it comes to bicycling. That’s right: one of the nation’s greenest, liberal, transit-friendly cities has fallen behind even cities like car-crazy Los Angeles.
2. Mayoral candidate Kate Martin wasn't allowed to participate in the CityClub mayoral debate yesterday (she hasn't raised enough money, among other CityClub standards), but you can hear a Q&A with her—she's one of the race's wonkier, better informed candidates—on KUOW's Weekday show yesterday (go to the 10:30 mark.)
In addition to noting her white paper answers at forums, we've given Martin the mike before (on the fast food strike and on her top issue, education). And she's the only challenger so far to respond to our request to lay out a specific legislative To Do list.
Kate Martin is the only challenger so far to respond to our request to lay out a specific legislative To Do list.
We asked for three legislative proposals she'd outline, if elected, in her first state of the city. The brainy Martin emailed us this list:
Viaduct Park Legislation:
Preserve upper deck of viaduct for an elevated park from Pike Market to Pioneer Square.
Stagger Back Legislation:
Instead of staggering hours forward for bars to make things “safer”, stagger them back so that places that over-serve or create drama have to close 1 hour earlier for 1 year when they’re cited. If they’re cited more than once, then close 2 hours earlier for 1 year and then 3 hours earlier for 1 year and so on. The 1 year starts over every time they’re cited.
Transit / Freight Priority Route Legislation:
De-congest bus routes, street car routes and freight routes by limiting access to vehicles in order to keep Seattle moving.
Fair Utility Rate Legislation:
Charge all residences the same utility rates so that single occupant units don’t continue to receive cheap water and ½ price electricity while families and groups without their own per person personal meters pay out the ear.
Overtime Reduction Legislation:
Create sustainable strategies to reduce overtime to below 2% of labor + decouple pensions from overtime.
Smart Policing Legislation:
Require police management (sergeants, lieutenants, captains) to be bilingual and to have a college degree with a major in an area relevant to the work.
Fair Share Low Income Distribution Legislation:
Avoid creating monocultures of poverty by avoiding unsustainable, unhealthy, unsafe and unfair to everyone concentrations through improved planning and legislation.
And she added, responding to something she'd told Erica about before, that Erica liked: "And yes, definitely ORCA Tabs Tax and more flexibility for how we use the planting strips as well."
3. West Seattle Blog has a comprehensive story on Mayor Mike McGinn's decision to oppose Whole Foods request for an "alley vacation," bureaucratic speak for giving a private company exclusive use of public property—for their megaproject on Fauntleroy Way SW.
McGinn believes the big-box style project doesn't meet the city's agenda or serve the public benefits standards—such as promoting walkability—that would justify the alley vacation.
Nor is the mayor happy the Whole Foods is non union, another strike against meeting the city's goals—in this case, providing living wage jobs.