What's Happening in the 2024 Seattle City Budget


This fall, advocates like you rallied across Seattle, giving public comments and writing to elected officials to push for a city budget that aligns with your values and priorities.

Together with the Seattle Solidarity Budget coalition, we pushed for a slate of nine Seattle Solidarity Guarantees. The coalition hosted a number of educational and advocacy events including a large launch event on Sept 9 and a rally outside the public budget hearing at City Hall on Nov 13. We held a Vision Zero demonstration at City Hall where 22 people read the names of those who’ve been killed by traffic violence this year and stood for a minute of silence in front of the City Council.

Yesterday, the City Council finalized the 2024 Seattle City Budget. After a tough year with low revenue projections, next year’s budget includes some wins and setbacks for people walking, rolling, and biking.

A Black woman in a dark blue hijab sits in a power wheelchair waiting to cross S Henderson St on a sunny day. Photo Credit SDOT.

Exciting Wins

  1. Safe Streets Projects Advancing! Funding for projects that communities have been advocating for years that make it easier and safer for us to move around to schools, transit, and business districts.
    • Funding for Accessible Mt Baker after 8 years of delays! $1.4m towards repurposing the northern lane on Mt. Baker Blvd for a multi-use trail/school street connecting Franklin High School to Mount Baker Station.
    • Traffic calming for S Henderson St! $2m to reconfigure S Henderson St in Rainier Beach to make it safer and more comfortable for people walking, rolling, and biking, as well as additional funding for a community planning process. The street would connect Dunlap Elementary, South Shore K-8, Rainier Beach High School, and Alan Sugiyama High School to Rainier Beach Station.
    • Funding for Thomas St. This critical east-west walking and biking route between South Lake Union and Seattle Center will increase transit accessibility and decrease vehicle reliance for events.
    • SDOT Staff for the Home Zone program! Several years ago, we successfully advocated for the city to trial a Home Zone pilot program. Now, 1.5 new full-time employees at SDOT will ensure this successful program continues to holistically create traffic-calmed neighborhoods, especially in areas with no sidewalks. Learn more about Home Zones here.
  1. Public Space for People! $150k for the Ballard Ave Café Street and $300k for street activation at Mount Baker Station and in Rainier Beach.
  2. Winter Storm Recovery! $2m increase in winter storm response funding so that people (especially disabled people, elders, and those who walk, bike, or take transit) are not stuck at home for weeks after a snow or ice storm.

A photo of a school zone speed sign next to a photo of a row of kids walking down the sidewalk wearing colorful jackets.

Automated Enforcement Doubled

The City Council allocated $480k to double the automated school zone speed camera program they approved last year. This move has ups and downs.

Upside: Automated cameras are both a more effective means of speed enforcement and less prone to bias than police officers. Unlike other automated enforcement programs in Seattle, revenue from these tickets funds street projects that help kids walk and bike to school safely.

Downside: Camera enforcement comes with its own set of equity concerns, and represents a MASSIVE increase in punitive enforcement in Seattle.

Whose Streets? Our Streets! conducted BIPOC-focused community outreach and policy research and released a report with 15 detailed recommendations on how Seattle can balance safety and equity considerations. Thanks to that advocacy, SDOT created an equitable citywide distribution of cameras and implemented warnings for all first-time violations. We will continue to advocate for ways to make the program more equitable, including developing a policy to prioritize physical traffic calming to slow speeds, mitigating the disproportionate impacts of fines, and addressing surveillance concerns.

A still from the Select Budget Committee public hearing showing a crowd of people holding flowers and white signs with names of people who have been killed in traffic crashes in 2023.

Disappointing Setbacks:

  1. Cuts to Vision Zero and ADA Accessibility. City Council approved a $1.4m cut to the School Safety Traffic and Pedestrian Improvement Fund. SDOT has promised to complete projects currently in progress by backfilling with Vision Zero and ADA accessibility funding.

    229 people have been killed in traffic crashes since the City of Seattle committed to Vision Zero, including 25 just this year. The Vision Zero program has strong safety and equity filters, putting money towards projects that save lives. Yet it is chronically underfunded, despite advocate pressure.

    ADA accessibility, which was also cut last year, primarily funds sidewalk curb cuts throughout the city. This cut in public funding means that new curb cuts will primarily be done by private developers, and will be concentrated in wealthier neighborhoods with a lot of new construction, ignoring the many neighborhoods where curb cuts are needed most.

    We will continue to push to make Seattle an accessible city for all.

  2. Anti-homeless sidewalk construction? Council approved a proviso of $150k, representing 22% of the citywide funding for building sidewalks on residential streets, to enable a sweep of a homeless encampment in Greenwood. We support sidewalk construction everywhere, but at our current funding rate, Seattle has 1600 years worth of sidewalks to build. We cannot afford to prioritize that funding at the whim of council members – we need to allow SDOT to build sidewalks where they’re needed most to improve pedestrian access and safety.

    Seattle Neighborhood Greenways works to make our streets and public spaces safe and welcoming for all. It does not help our mission when the city justifies removing people from their only shelter claiming an obstruction that does not exist, or pits advocates against each other by justifying sweeps with new pedestrian or bike infrastructure.

  3. Increased Street Surveillance. Services were cut to pay $1.5m for ShotSpotter, a program that increases surveillance on our streets and does not reduce gun violence. Other cities are fighting to end ShotSpotter contracts after police have harassed and jailed innocent people because of a flood of false alerts. This program will make our shared public spaces more hostile for people walking around on our public streets. Learn more about ShotSpotter here.

  4. No New Progressive Revenue. The Mayor and Council failed to pass new progressive revenue to address the $218m budget deficit anticipated in 2025, setting us up for an extreme austerity budget next year. This lack of action threatens vital services and programs and jeopardizes the JumpStart spending plan, which requires investment in affordable housing, the Green New Deal, and more.

Learn more about the Solidarity Budget coalition wins and setbacks in labor protections, mental health support, emergency response, policing, and more.

A hand-painted sign reads "Thank You!!" with hearts painted in red on a blue background.

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

We continue to push for our safety, equity, and sustainability goals to be reflected in the Seattle City Budget.

Get involved with Seattle Neighborhood Greenways by volunteering with us or donating to support our work!