Transportation spending package addresses sites where fatal accidents took place and more

The City of Seattle took steps on June 17 to address West Seattle road safety issues among other transportation priorities as part of a $3 million spending package made possible by the Spokane Street Viaduct and 2013 debt service savings.

A list of the priorities was released by City Council Budget Committee Chair Tim Burgess and Transportation Committee Chair Tom Rasmussen.

The local safety improvements that were recommended by Mayor McGinn for East Marginal Way (the site of a truck/bike accident that killed Lance David will also include a full traffic signal at the intersection of 47th Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way (the site of an accident that took the life of Tatsuo Nakata in 2006). Additionally improvements will be made at NE 75th Street (the site of a recent pedestrian accident with multiple fatalities).

Finally funding will make possible freight mobility spot improvements, traffic signals, and other pedestrian safety and maintenance projects.

The proposed spending package adds and reallocates more than $3 million from the Mayor’s original proposal to fund safety improvements and backlogged maintenance to enable the work to begin as soon as possible. The transportation budget will be considered by the Government Performance and Finance Committee at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 19.

In a press release the City of Seattle said:

“We must fix what we have, finish what we’ve started and plan wisely for the future for all transportation modes. Our proposal will help balance these needs, which are crucial to keeping people safe and our economy moving in the right direction,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “We have a road and bridge maintenance backlog that grows by tens of millions of dollars each year. We have planning for bus and high capacity transit projects underway now that will require half a billion dollars in funding that we do not have. Our proposal is intended to ensure every City dollar that goes to transportation will be spent to meet current critical safety, maintenance and transit needs.”

“The City’s primary focus should be on making safety and maintenance repairs now and on improving transit service in critical bus corridors such as Eastlake Avenue,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.

Funding for additional automated school zone speed cameras is included in the package. The councilmembers will soon introduce separate legislation establishing a financial policy mandating that revenue from existing school zone cameras and any future ones be used exclusively for pedestrian and road safety improvements around schools.

The proposed transportation package does not include funding for a Ship Canal crossing study because Sound Transit and the Seattle Department of Transportation are conducting a high capacity transit study for the downtown to Ballard corridor now. Discussion of a ship canal crossing will follow the results of that study. The package also changes the scope of the proposed Eastlake High Capacity Transit study to focus on more immediate bus corridor improvements.

Legislation for this supplemental spending package will be introduced to the Full Council this afternoon and considered by the Government Performance and Finance Committee at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 19.

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