Dori: Seattle mayor wants to spend $15 million on bikes while car thieves run rampant

Sep 29, 2015, 10:07 PM | Updated: Sep 30, 2015, 9:40 am


One of the proponents of Seattle's bike-share program quit and went back to the East Coast. (AP)


Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wants to ensure there is money secured for expanding a bike-share program in the 2016 budget.

Murray’s proposed 2016 budget would help the Pronto bike program grow.

If all goes according to plan, revenue from construction projects would help increase the number of bike-share stations in the city from 50 to 250, along with adding electric bikes. The mayor’s plan is to get a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The city would spend an additional $5 million to see the bike-share dreams come true.

Now all those people looking for a way to cruise down from Queen Anne don’t have to worry about the city running out of bikes.

“Seriously, that’s what the program is,” KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson said.

Here’s how the bike-share system is used, according to Dori: People rent bikes at the top of Queen Anne, they ride them downhill and drop them off at another station. After that, employees, called “bike rebalancers,” take the bikes back up the hill.

That system doesn’t seem to be too environmentally friendly, Dori’s producer, Jake, points out.

If the bike-share program is expanded, it will mean more people will have to be hired to drive the bikes around, Dori says.

But what’s more important, bike-share programs or crime? Someone informed Dori that they witnessed a car break-in recently and called 9-1-1. Unfortunately for the owner of the car, the police department didn’t have enough officers available to respond. Outside the city, police would respond within minutes. In the city, they don’t bother.

“Why?” Dori asked rhetorically. “Because we’re too busy spending $15 million on bikes for people to ride down a hill.”

Don’t worry, though, Murray wants to spend money on a lot more than bicycles. There would be money pumped into the police and planning departments, for example. The proposed budget would provide $1.8 million for cameras. The police department would grow by about 30 officers.

The budget &#8212 similar to past proposals, The Seattle Times points out &#8212 would total $5.1 billion in spending. It could help improve a city coming to terms with its growing size, while giving people more opportunities to use all the bike lanes that are being built for the less than 5 percent of people who use them.

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