Six Fatalities in the Last Week Shine Light on the Need to Increase Safety with Larger Transportation Levy

In a shocking surge of deadly collisions, six people have been killed while traveling on our streets in the past week:

  1. A 70-year-old woman was killed on May 23rd while a passenger in at 4th Ave S and S Washington St in the C-ID neighborhood. 
  2. A 19-year-old man was killed on May 23rd while driving on Aurora Ave N at 137th St in the Haller Lake neighborhood.
  3. Stephen Willis, a UW Medical Assistant, was killed on May 23rd while walking on Aurora Ave N at Northgate Way in the Licton Springs neighborhood. 
  4. A 30-year-old man was killed on May 24th while walking on Boren Ave at Olive Way in the Denny Triangle neighborhood.
  5. A 63-year-old woman was killed on May 26th while walking on 12th Ave S at S Weller in the C-ID Neighborhood.  
  6. A 78-year-old person was killed while driving on May 29th on MLK Jr. Way S at Rose St. 

While investigations into each case are ongoing, what can be said now is that we are not making sufficient progress on Seattle’s Vision Zero goal, to eliminate fatal and serious injury collisions. At Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, we believe the next transportation levy, which will be on the Seattle November 2024 general election ballot, must take bold steps to invest in safe streets improvements to get this safety crisis under control. The levy is currently with the Seattle City Council for review and amendments.

All of the recent fatalities have occurred on what SDOT identified as the "high injury network"

A recent scientific poll conducted by Change Research has revealed that a significant majority of Seattle voters are in favor of a larger transportation levy that prioritizes increased investments in safety, sidewalks, and transit. The poll showed robust support for increasing investment in these areas by growing the currently proposed $1.45 billion levy to $1.7 or $1.9 billion.

Key findings from the poll include:

  • 79% of respondents support a larger levy with increased funding for sidewalks, safety, and transit.
  • When presented with three options—$1.7 billion, $1.9 billion, or a smaller/no levy—54% preferred the $1.9 billion levy, which includes substantial additional investments:
    • Building 180 more blocks of sidewalks.
    • Improving transit on two more bus routes frequently experiencing delays.
    • Implementing safety improvements on five more high-crash corridors.
    • Completing thousands of additional safety, mobility, and maintenance improvements.
  • 25% supported the $1.7 billion levy, which proposes $250 million more in improvements compared to the mayor's plan.
  • Only 21% opposed both options, indicating a preference for a smaller levy or none at all.

Despite exposure to negative messaging that criticized the Seattle Department of Transportation's (SDOT) past stewardship and highlighted affordability concerns, voter support remained strong. The detailed cost information provided to respondents included the total dollar amounts ($1.7B and $1.9B), cost per $1,000 of assessed property value ($0.64 and $0.72), and the estimated additional monthly tax for the median homeowner ($27 for a home valued at $866,000).

"These results demonstrate that Seattle voters are eager for bold investments in our city's transportation infrastructure to keep everyone safe and build more sidewalks,” said Gordon Padelford, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Executive Director. “The City Council should listen to Seattle voters and increase investments in safety and sidewalks before sending it to the ballot this fall."

The Mayor's current proposal of $1.45B is a good start but in the face of this newly released polling alongside significantly higher construction inflation costs cited by City Central Staff, Seattle City Council now has the opportunity to expand the levy to meet needs before it heads to voters this November

Seattle City Council is currently reviewing and amending the Seattle Transportation Levy. The Council will then vote on the levy during the July 2 committee meeting.

Join us and fellow advocates for the last scheduled public hearing on the Seattle Transportation Levy on June 4, 4:30 PM at City Hall.

We'll be speaking up about the need for increased investments in safety, sidewalks, and transit.