Mayor launches effort to name Seattle's "Dirty Dozen"
Nickels calls on people to nominate the citys worst transportation headaches
SEATTLE- Mayor Greg Nickels today called on the people of Seattle to stand up and nominate their choice for the worst transportation problems in Seattle. After all the nominations are considered, the mayor will announce the citys Dirty Dozen biggest transportation headaches.
"Everyone has their pick for the worst arterial street, bridge, sidewalk, bike path gap, street sign, graffiti tagging spot or faded crosswalk in the city, Mayor Nickels said. Now is your chance to weigh in and tell me what really gets under your tires - or your feet.
Currently, one-third of Seattle's bridges need major repair or replacement, and two-thirds of Seattles primary streets are past their intended life. Furthermore, one-third of city sidewalks are in poor condition, and most of the city's 586 retaining walls are in desperate need of replacement or repair.
The problem is clear, Nickels said. The challenge is where to start. Send us your nomination and well make sure the Dirty Dozen go to the head of our fix-it list.
Seattle residents can enter and submit as many nominations as they like. Nominations can be delivered online, via e-mail or over the phone. For information on how to enter, go to www.seattle.gov/transportation/btg_dirtydozen.htm, call 684-ROAD or send an e-mail to email@example.com. Nominations will be considered as the mayor develops his Dirty Dozen list. The winners will be announced on July 13.
On May 22, Mayor Nickels unveiled a 20-year plan to eliminate Seattles $500 million transportation maintenance backlog and make investments in major transportation projects, such as fixing the Mercer Mess. The plan addresses mounting problems over the past 35 years from declining transportation investments and deferred maintenance. The mayors plan is before the City Council for review and consideration for placement on the fall ballot.
We are traveling on borrowed time, said Nickels. City crews work hard to keep our roads and bridges safe for motorists, cyclists, pedestrians. But at some point people have to face facts. We need to repair or construct sidewalks so our children can get to schools. We need to speed up transit moving through the city to improve congestion. We need to improve bike safety and pathways. And we need to start rebuilding our streets and bridges.
The mayors package will eliminate the current $500 million backlog in transportation maintenance projects. If approved, projects the city would fund include:
Installing or replacing 80 pedestrian signals annually
Improving or constructing sidewalks at 60 schools
Rebuilding 400 lane miles of Seattle roadway
Doubling the amount dedicated for road resurfacing
Repairing or rebuilding seismically vulnerable bridges
Completing Seattles urban trail network
Replacing 17,000 street name signs
Removing graffiti from traffic signs within 48 hours
Increasing street sweeping in neighborhood business districts
The mayors transportation initiative will also provide money for major projects, such as widening and rehabilitating the South Spokane Street Viaduct, constructing a South Lander Street Bridge, and improving the Mercer Street corridor. In addition, the proposal would renovate King Street Station as a transit hub, and improve numerous transit and traffic corridors, including Aurora Avenue North, First Avenue South, Northgate Way, Montlake Avenue, Greenwood Avenue North, Rainier Avenue South, West Seattle/Fauntleroy, and 15th Avenue Northwest/Elliott Avenue West.
Our citizens understand the need, said Nickels. This backlog has been growing for far too long and the public is tired of half measures. Its time to get our roads working again and create a better link between funding and those who use our roads.
The mayor's 2006 Transportation Initiative proposes to raise $65 million in the first year through a levy lid lift, a commercial parking fee, and a business transportation tax.
The levy would cost the owner of a median-valued Seattle home about $195 the first year. The commercial parking fee would levy 10 percent fee on motorists using commercial parking lots, and generate approximately $13 million annually. The business transportation tax would levy a $25 fee for every full time equivalent employee, and generate approximately $5.5 million dollar annually.
The city has faced declining dedicated transportation funds over the past 35 years. Because of court decisions, citizen initiatives, and the state's funding formula, dedicated transportation revenue has fallen 66 percent -- or $13.1 million this year from $37.5 million in 1995.
We need to cure our ailing transportation system, not just address the symptom, such as filling potholes, Nickels said. It is time to make our Pothole Rangers the Maytag repairmen of Seattle.
To find out more about Mayor Nickels 2006 Transportation Initiative, visit http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/issues/streets/.
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