The entire Seattle Bicycle Master Plan is estimated to cost about a half-billion dollars to implement, less than the cost of a single mile of light rail. In the era of COVID-19, we could choose to shift a tiny fraction of funds from transit toward walking and biking infrastructure to make a major impact, but that is not the choice Seattle is making.
For instance, the mayor recently cut a $750,000 plan to safely connect cyclists and pedestrians from Wallingford to the University District at the Northeast 45th Street bridge over Interstate 5. The plan is explicitly required by the Levy to Move Seattle and has no opposition. It has been the top priority of neighborhood groups for more than 10 years, and in that time 25 pedestrians and cyclists have reported being injured there.
We can change course. The Levy to Move Seattle can prioritize projects that save the lives of cyclists and pedestrians over far more expensive transit projects. Walking and biking is better than transit for people’s health, for climate change, for livability in the city and for public safety. In the era of COVID-19, it’s past time for the City of Seattle to change course.
Eric Fisk, Seattle, past president of the Wallingford Community Council