Voters have approved the Move Seattle levy, a $930 million dollar project aimed at improving our city’s infrastructure, which has grown notoriously unreliable as roads have aged and our population has exploded. At $279 per year for the average city home, Move Seattle is a heftier levy than most property tax increases, but it will fund some vital improvements to our city’s buses, sidewalks, crosswalks, and roadways.
School zone safety improvements
School zones will be some of the first areas to be improved by construction projects funded by Move Seattle. At the moment, school zone improvements have mainly been funded by a program called Safe Routes to School, which funnels the fines from school zone speed cameras into safety improvements around local schools and encourage children and parents to walk or bike to school. Move Seattle will begin its improvements to safety with “spot projects” like new sidewalks, speed bumps and better marking at intersections around schools.
A public transit push
Move Seattle will also be making major improvements to transit corridors, with the eventual aim of encouraging commuters to take new, speedy transit options like RapidRide buses. Some lanes will be made transit-only, increasing the incentive to take the bus instead of crawling along in rush hour traffic. Traffic signals will also be changed in some areas to give buses priority. The levy will also fund new sidewalks near popular bus stops and bigger bus stops that will allow multiple buses to load passengers at the same time. These improvements will take some cars off the road as people elect to commute by bus, and they may help cut down on bus accidents caused by unwieldy buses sharing lanes with cars and bikes.
Safer routes for cyclists
Bike safety is a big issue in Seattle right now, and Move Seattle will fund the installation of 50 miles of protected bike lanes. It will also add parking for 1,500 bikes and complete the “missing link” of the Burke-Gilman trail.
Good news for pedestrians
When improvements are finished, pedestrians will have access to 150 blocks of new sidewalks. 225 blocks of broken, damaged and unsafe sidewalks will be repaired. Pedestrian crossings will be improved with better signage, and crossings that were damaged by flooding will be rebuilt with improved drainage. A bridge will be built at Northgate Station that will allow pedestrian and bike traffic to safely cross I-5. Pedestrian walkways will also get prettier, with $20 million designated for urban forestry to replace diseased trees.
Cars won’t be left out of improvements
Although many of Move Seattle’s improvements are aimed at getting commuters out of cars on congested roadways, drivers will benefit from safety improvements too. Lights will be retimed in corridors to improve the flow of traffic. The traveler-information network will be expanded, with new overhead signs and an online service to warn drivers about crashes, dangerous conditions and unexpected delays. Trees will be pruned to improve the visibility of signs. Some streets that have been identified as particularly dangerous will be improved.