Transportation Levy Wins and Losses

Following months of advocacy, we’ve reached the end of the Seattle Transportation Levy drafting process. Before this moment passes and we shift focus to next week’s approval vote and ultimately to the Seattle voters who will have the final say on the levy this November, we wanted to pause and thank over 1,700 people who used our form email to push Council towards a bigger and bolder levy and the many more who wrote emails, made phone calls, and gave public comment virtually and in person at City Hall.

SNG transportation levy advocates for more sidewalks, bike infrastructure and transit

A special thank you to the Mayor and Council, especially Councilmember Morales and Moore who rose to the occasion to call for investments in our sidewalks, bike lanes, and connections to transit.

Although the Council voted down Councilmember Morales’ proposal to increase the size of the levy to $1.7 billion to invest more in sidewalks, bike lanes, and safety projects, the final Seattle Transportation Levy proposal is better than what voters were presented with when the proposal was initially unveiled in the spring.

Thanks to the energy and advocacy of Seattleites who want to make all city streets a safer place to walk, bike, roll, and take transit we have some things to be excited about should voters approve this levy in November.


While the $1.55 billion is only about half of what Seattle needs in the next 8 years to reach its climate goals and reach Vision Zero, the Mayor and Council added $152M of funding towards our direct asks, about 75% of the total increase to the package. This will fund vital projects over the next 8 years to make every neighborhood a great place to walk, bike, and live.

5 Big Wins Worth Celebrating

  1. $66.5 million for a new people streets and public spaces program for the first time in Seattle's history, including $10 million for pedestrian lighting to increase visibility and safety at night, and a study to Lid I-5, an important next step to provide more public land and urban freeway mitigation.
  2. $145 million in funding for sidewalk construction and repair, a 75% increase over the Mayor’s initial proposal in April. This will build 350 blocks of new sidewalks over the next 8 years. This is less than we were pushing for, considering Seattle’s 11,000 blocks of missing sidewalks, but still increases Seattle’s rate of new sidewalk construction by over 40%.
  3. $133.5 million for bike safety. While the list of promised bike routes is disappointingly short, this funding represents an increase over the inflation-adjusted Move Seattle Levy and will build critical bike projects including N 130th St, Beacon Ave S, and S Henderson St.
  4. $39.5M million for a new equity-focused program for neighborhood-initiated safety projects. This program was crafted and proposed by SDOT’s Transportation Equity Workgroup to highlight and prioritize community ideas and will increase the equitable distribution of safety-focused spending.
  5. $70 million for Vision Zero, including safety projects on all of Seattle’s top 5 most dangerous streets: Aurora Ave N, Martin Luther King Jr. Way S, 4th Ave S, Rainier Ave S, and Lake City Way.

Improvements We'll Continue Fighting for Going Forward

While we're disappointed Council rejected some of the improvements we were pushing for to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility for people of all ages and abilities on our streets, we're celebrating the progress we made and will continue to push for more going into the fall's budget cycle.

Most pressing is continuing to advocate for a shift in Seattle’s car-centric transportation network to one that provides people with safe and convenient options for people to walk, bike, roll, and take transit. While some of the repaving and bridge repairs approved in the Seattle Transportation Levy proposal support conditions for people not driving, actual improvements to bike and transit routes along repaving projects will still be funded out of those individual buckets, not the repaving bucket.

Our chief secondary concern is a cut to transit spending. Instead of funding bus lanes and queue jumps to make transit faster and more reliable, Council chose to fund a poorly-defined line item called “transit passenger safety.” Councilmember Saka described this $9 million as being for “transit safety personnel, from civilian navigators to armed officers.” This goal is undefined in the legislation and goes against whatKing County Metro has said is a top concern for its riders.

We will continue to push for true rider safety, which requires a comprehensive approach including street-level improvements like bus stop lighting, creating calm and safe streets for riders to get on and off buses, and frequent and reliable service that makes transit a safe and attractive option for all ages and abilities.

We stand with Whose Streets, Our Streets (WSOS) in opposition to funding for the Council's vision of transit safety. Armed officers don’t belong on our buses. Our transportation system thrives when it's connected to housing, healthcare, businesses, and community services.

A Commitment to Keep Fighting

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways remains committed to a future where all of Seattle is a great place to walk, bike, roll, and take transit. We’ll continue to advocate for this future as the Seattle Transportation Levy heads to the ballot and beyond.