City of Seattle may be backtracking on Move Seattle projects

Nov 16, 2015, 10:45 AM | Updated: 10:59 am
The approval of a $930 million transportation levy is still fresh on the minds of voters, and alrea...
The approval of a $930 million transportation levy is still fresh on the minds of voters, and already the City of Seattle could be backtracking on its promises. (MyNorthwest file)
(MyNorthwest file)

The approval of a $930 million transportation levy is still fresh on the minds of voters, and already the City of Seattle could be backtracking on its promises.

A project that was used to help sell the Move Seattle levy is looking a bit different than what was originally planned.

The Madison Street Corridor Bus Rapid Transit project may not be getting exclusive transit lanes as was originally planned, Seattle Bike Blog’s Zach Shaner points out.

The concept design does not consider transit priority east of 18th Avenue and includes gaps in bus lanes. It was originally slated to have bus-only lanes as far as 20th Avenue. It was a design the blog calls “basically the Move Seattle poster child.” And that corridor cuts through a part of town that saw plenty of favor for the levy.

“There’s no reason for panic, but every reason for concern,” Shaner writes.

Indeed. Arguments against Move Seattle included the city’s inability to complete projects as they were originally sold to taxpayers. Take the Bridging the Gap levy, for example. That levy, among other things, promised repaving of 360 miles of roadway. The city ended up taking a step back from that goal, after the levy was approved; lowering that number to about 300. However, the amount of roadway actually repaved was about 225 miles, The Seattle Times reports.

Now, the Move Seattle levy &#8212 a more-expensive replacement for Bridging the Gap &#8212 looks like it is starting off at a similar pace. Shaner points out there could be several reasons for the change of mind on the corridor project, including the fact that transit priorities could be losing to other concerns, such as right-of-way limitations and parking garage egress. But he asks an important question: How can taxpayers expect the project will fare if the Seattle Department of Transportation can’t keep the concept design alive.

And this might raise concerns over other bus-related projects. The city committed to turning six bus corridors into RapidRide with Move Seattle funding.

The changing design could garner plenty of criticism Monday night. A Facebook page supporting high-quality Bus Rapid Transit was set up to raise awareness of the design, prior to a public meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Ave.

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City of Seattle may be backtracking on Move Seattle projects