Candidates for Mayor talk livable streets


Candidates for Mayor (L to R): Bruce Harrell, Kate Martin, Ed Murray, Joey Gray, Charlie Staadecker, Mary Martin, Mike McGinn and Peter Steinbrueck. Image: Montlaker

Eight candidates for mayor attended last night’s Livable Streets Forum, squaring off in a fierce battle of friendliness. The Seattle Neighborhood Greenways sponsored event drew a crowd of about 150 people, all presumably curious to hear how each candidate plans to make our streets more walk and bike friendly. Who can argue with safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists? Well, Mary Martin can…

Notable, quotable moments from the forum:

Steinbrueck: Wants to return to a time when kids can safely ride bikes to school. Suggests folks might be able to cross through private easements, even backyards.

McGinn: Reminds crowd he built sidewalks, implemented “Complete Streets” design guidelines, put up speed cameras near schools.

Staadecker: Wants to paint wildebeests in crosswalks to appeal to kids. More seriously, encourage schools and neighborhoods to fund their own crossing guards.

Gray: A life-long bike advocate. As Mayor, would build information system to leverage existing safe-routes-to-school research.

Murray: Funded safe routes to school program as a state legislator. Supports the Bridging the Gap levy to fund local improvement projects. Is big into chicanes.

Kate Martin: A strong Neighborhood Greenways advocate. In contrast to McGinn’s “400-year plan” to fund greenways, Martin has a 10-year plan. Says McGinn hasn’t done enough.

Harrell: Important to enrich the safety around schools, not just routes to them. Would fund Community Service Officers to help walk students to school.

McGinn: Hopes to see a total transformation of city streets by the time he’s 85.

Mary Martin: The capitalist system is in collapse. Need to free “Cuban Five” political prisoners.

Staadecker: All candidates will make great promises about improving streets, but it costs money. As mayor, would work faster than McGinn.

Gray: We need extreme action to end climate change now. Supports ADA.

Murray: Once tripped on a broken sidewalk, tore rotator cuff. We need better funding and planning.

Harrell: Suggests looking at a vehicle licensing fee and really “selling” it to the voters to raise funds, improve streets.

Steinbrueck: Mother-in-law killed at a Seattle intersection a few years ago. Would like to eliminate all bicycle and pedestrian fatalities on city streets. Neighborhood Greenways is the antidote.

Moderator: How would you allocate $100 to road repair, sidewalks, bike lanes, street trees and transit service? All candidates prioritized road repair first, except Mary Martin who dismissed the premise of the question, suggesting a public jobs program instead.

McGinn: “Stop wasting money on massive new highways.” Dings Murray: Olympia failed us by not passing a transportation package this year.

While Steinbrueck and McGinn vied for shortest pledge to complete Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan (8 and 7 years respectively), Harrell went for the cold-hard-truth approach — 25 years — suggesting it would take many hundreds of millions of dollars to complete.

Moderator: Do you support 2015 levy to fund Seattle’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans? All candidates: Yes, except Mary Martin, who wants jobs.

Moderator: Should kids play in the street? Staadecker: yes, if closed off.

Steinbrueck: We should prioritize our streets for pedestrians, bikes, transit and vehicles. In that order.

Moderator: What other cities inspire you? Gray likes nifty bicycle uphill assist things in Norway. Murray likes Amsterdam, Barcelona cycle tracks and Grafton Street in Dublin. Harrell: “Well, I’ve never been to Amsterdam and Barcelona, but I have been to Portland.”

Murray: McGinn criticizes Olympia — we need to work with Olympia.

Kate Martin: Retrofit the Viaduct and turn top deck into a park, watch sunsets.

Harrell: Portland has done a good job of driving pedestrian project costs down with efficiencies.

Steinbrueck: A student of cities all over the world, but likes New York City, San Francisco and Cambridge.

Mary Martin: “We can’t bike our way to power.” Envisions a Seattle that looks like Cuba. “We need a class revolution.”


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