The mayor and City Council have decided to spend $1.4 million (at least) to acquire Pronto, Seattle’s little-used, 2-year-old bike-share program [“Seattle to buy and expand failing bike-share program,” Page One, March 15]. Supporters characterized the $1.4 million bailout as a “modest” investment. Here might have been other uses for this “modest” amount of money:
- It would have been enough to save the Greenwood Food Bank 26 times over. The food bank is now set to close after the city withdrew its $53,000 in annual support.
- It could have bought 583 “tiny houses” to shelter homeless people who now sleep in doorways or live in cardboard boxes. City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who voted for the bailout, has suggested that these tiny houses could be part of the city’s response to the homeless crisis.
- It could have funded about a dozen additional police officers to help the city cope with a spike in property crimes. (These property crimes include bike thefts, which have more than doubled during the last five years.)
- It could have paid for another safety project equivalent in scope to the new bike lanes on Second Avenue. National reports rate Seattle’s bike infrastructure as inadequate for a city this size.
Pronto is a symbol of the misplaced priorities of Seattle’s city leaders. They would rather squander money on toy transit projects than use limited city resources to deal with fundamental needs such as hunger, homelessness, crime and real transportation infrastructure.
Randal A. Beam, Seattle