Seattle and King County are making major transportation investments. It is the duty of the Council to ensure these investments are effective and efficient in planning, producing, finances, and time. Successful transportation investments must minimize impacts on traffic flow, housing, and the environment while meeting requirements for timeline and budget. As a Councilmember, I will hold the Council, Departments, and contractors accountable for any and all shortcomings. In order to properly manage our transportation infrastructure, we must measure it.
We need clear, informative data on transit and bicycle ridership as well as foot and vehicle traffic, then we need to use those data to make educated investments. We need to understand the potential primary, secondary, and tertiary impacts of projects – including impacts on business, other departmental functions (i.e. emergency response), and long-term development. Currently, there is insufficient (if any) interdepartmental communication in the planning process for transportation projects. A top priority of my time in office will be developing a long-term infrastructure plan.
In District One, that means focusing on Sound Transit 3 to secure the best light rail option, protecting community spaces, protecting businesses and historical buildings, and monitoring the completion of the Lander Street Overpass. Our neighborhoods also need expanded bus routes, less troublesome traffic choke points, safer pedestrian access, and other basic improvements. With meaningful input from residents, I will fight to focus resources on innovative and data driven ideas that move our city forward safer and greener.
As it stands, transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Costs associated with transportation also account for nearly two-thirds of the average household’s energy costs. Through incentive and grant programs, we can accelerate the electrification of our modes of transportation. Using policy and investment in new technologies, we can capitalize on our region’s innovative tendencies and significantly and rapidly reduce our GHG emissions.
On Council, I will fight for further investment into electric vehicle infrastructure through public-private partnerships. These investments will expand charging and rideshare programs to increase equitable access to zero-emission transportation alternatives. I will also work with my colleagues at City Hall and partners at the County level to expand electrification of City fleets and mass transit.
An area for us to maintain, and perhaps improve upon, our successes is micro-mobility. Transportation options like electric bicycles have proven excellent options for those looking to travel shorter distances throughout Seattle. Transportation is not just about moving people to different parts of the City, it is also about moving people within the City. Improving these alternatives has the potential to better connect people with public transit, reduce reliance on private cars, and reduce GHG emissions. This industry is only beginning; we should be ready to make the most of it.
The more we are faced with rapid population growth, the more dire our need becomes to move residents along our existing transportation networks. Demand for transportation options will only increase, but we must ensure we meet this demand with effective, efficient, safe, and sustainable supply. Having the data necessary to measure the overall costs and benefits of our options is critical to project management. To accomplish data collection efforts, we must work with mobility providers to create tools that allow us to analyze data. Our analyses will help us understand and oversee programs and projects, constructing a holistic view of our transportation systems.