A recent letter to the editor of the Highline Times by an opponent of the Sidewalks and Bikes Levy made some not-quite-accurate statements about the projects.
It’s clear that the opponents of the Sidewalks and Bikes Levy will try to confuse voters with an array of unrelated accusations in order to get them to vote “no.” However, they won’t address the central question that voters must decide in this vote: are we willing to pay a little bit more (7 cents a day more) in order to have safe walking and biking routes in our city? I hope the voters of Burien will see through the attempts to confuse and say yes.
I’m happy to announce that Washington Conservation Voters, the statewide political voice for the environment, has endorsed the Burien Sidewalks and Bikes Levy!
WCV stands up for policies that reduce carbon emissions and build better cities, and they are one more strong environmental voice joining us to say that Burien can do better when it comes to transportation.
Passing this levy will take funding for pedestrian and bike projects away from the ups and downs of the city’s biennial budget process and will make sure that we keep moving ahead with projects. It will keep pedestrian and bike projects from competing for funding with other city priorities, like parks, roads, and public safety.
WCV recognized this and gave us a strong endorsement. Thanks, WCV!
If you’re interested in helping secure more data that can be used to back up efforts to improve bike and pedestrian facilities throughout Washington state, including here in Burien, consider signing up to participate in Washington’s first statewide bike/pedestrian count, organized by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Cascade Bicycle Club (an endorser of the Burien Sidewalks and Bikes Levy!). Follow this link to sign up.
In Burien, there are still 19 shifts that need to be filled, including several that adjoin the proposed improvements from the Sidewalks and Bikes Levy. If you’re not able to contribute financially, this is a great free way to help out.
Believe it or not, the November 3 election is a mere 6 weeks away, and Safe Sidewalks Now is picking up the pace. We’re getting ready to order our yard signs, and the number we order is contingent on how much money we’ve got in the bank.
Passing the Sidewalks and Bikes Levy will help Burien take a big step forward in building a walkable, bikeable, livable, and “green” city, and it will spur other suburbs throughout the region to pick up the pace on their own bike/pedestrian projects. It will advance the goal of building “Safe Routes to School,” enabling kids to safely walk and bike to school.
But we can’t do it without your help! Please make a contribution (see info in the sidebar) or share your endorsement in the comments.
One of the most important reasons to vote YES on the Burien Sidewalks and Bikes Levy is the fact that it will provide safe routes to school for students at Cedarhurst Elementary School. Cedarhurst, at 611 S 132nd St, is near the intersection of the two projects funded by the levy, a walking and bike path on 8th Ave S and sidewalks and bike lanes on S and SW 136th St. These projects will enable kids from throughout the neighborhood to walk and bike to school on these two busy arterials without having to content with arterial traffic.
Safe routes to school are increasingly a hot topic, garnering interest from groups as diverse as public health advocates, urban planners, and education groups. The Federal Highway Administration has a Safe Routes to School program, as do state and local transportation departments nationwide. Promoting safe routes to school is now, as of 2009, an official goal of Washington state law.
Here’s why it matters. Enabling kids to walk and bike to school safely helps them develop an active, healthy lifestyle that means they are more likely to stay active and healthy into adulthood. It saves their parents time and money often spend shuttling their kids to and from school and extracurriculars. It saves school districts money on transportation, which is consuming an ever-larger slice of the limited money available to educate kids ($630 per pupil per year on average in Washington). It reduces fuel consumption and air pollution. Most importantly, it keep kids safer and makes them less likely to be involved in a car accidents.
Safe routes to school keep kids healthier and safer and are easier on parents and on school districts. Providing safe routes to school is a smart investment that will provide dividends many times over.
Our big neighbor to the north, Seattle, is moving ahead with the adoption of its own updated Pedestrian Master Plan.
As Slog and the PI both note, Seattle’s plan for building sidewalks and other pedestrian improvements may be encumbered by the lack of a dedicated revenue stream for implementing the Pedestrian Master Plan. Burien and Seattle both have ambitious lists of projects to make getting around by foot and bike easier. But these projects must compete with varying other city priorities, like roads, police, and parks.
By securing a dedicated revenue stream for pedestrian projects, Burien will be a big step ahead of where we are now and a big step ahead of Seattle. We’ll make big progress on our to-do list, as opposed to the very slow progress we are making today. One more reason to vote YES on the Sidewalks and Bikes Levy!
Plan to make Seattle more walkable approved by City Council
Will there be money in tough times to follow through?
By CHRIS GRYGIEL
The City Council on Monday approved the city’s pedestrian master plan, a resolution that advocates for spending up to $15 million a year in the future to make Seattle a more walkable city.
“This is a huge milestone,” said Councilmember Sally Clark. “This is about recognizing that transportation is truly multi-modal in Seattle.” …
City Council members are hopeful that when Mayor Greg Nickels presents his budget for 2010 later this month that it will include significant money for making the city easier to navigate on foot.
Seattle, like many governments, is facing budget problems. The city’s estimated operating deficit for next year is $72 million.
Many advocacy groups and elected officials are supporting the Sidewalks and Bikes Levy.
Some advocate for better community health and support the campaign because it enables Burien residents to adopt more active and healthy lifestyles.
Some advocate for the environment and support the campaign because it enables people to utilize new modes of transportation, like walking, biking, and transit.
Finally, our elected officials and the 34th District Democrats just want to make Burien a better place in general.
More endorsements are on the way. If you endorse, let us know in the comments!
is also one of the most important. We need some (not much!) money in order to help get the word out about the Sidewalks and Bikes Levy–for yard signs, mail pieces, and other voter contact.
We’re very grateful to those who have contributed already. Safe Sidewalks Now has raised $250 since receiving our first check a week ago!
We will need around $1000 in order to get the message out. Anything you are able to contribute would go directly towards the most effective ways to reach out to voters that we can afford. Our most immediate need is to produce yard signs.
If you are able to contribute, please do so today. The election is just 57 days away, and ballots will start arriving in mailboxes in about 40 days!
Checks should be made out to Safe Sidewalks Now and mailed to 615 SW Ambaum Blvd #204, Burien, WA, 98166. Please include your job title, employer, and your employer’s address, so we can meet the Public Disclosure Commission’s reporting requirements.
Anything you are able to contribute will help. Thanks!
More than just a pleasant amenity, the walkability of cities translates directly into increases in home values. Homes located in more walkable neighborhoods—those with a mix of common daily shopping and social destinations within a short distance—command a price premium over otherwise similar homes in less walkable areas. Houses with the above-average levels of walkability command a premium of about $4,000 to $34,000 over houses with just average levels of walkability in the typical metropolitan areas studied….
This research makes it clear that walkability is strongly associated with higher housing values in nearly all metropolitan areas. The choice, convenience and variety of walkable neighborhoods are reflected in housing markets and are the product of consumer demand for these attributes. The nation’s urban leaders should pay close attention to walkability as a key measure of urban vitality and as impetus for public policy that will increase overall property values – a key source of individual wealth and of revenues for cash-strapped governments in a tough economy.
This further shows how everyone in Burien benefits when our city becomes more walkable, not just those who will directly use the pedestrian and bicycle facilities created by the Transportation Benefit District. Walkable communities are livable, sustainable, desirable communities!
Hat tip to City Parks Blog.
Thanks to TCC for letting us write a guest post on their excellent blog!
The post is titled Creating Safer and Healthier Suburbs, Starting in Burien. As you might expect, the focus is on the importance of this specific project towards getting more and better transportation options all over the Puget Sound region. Check it out!