For over a decade, the City has studied the challenges and opportunities for a truly effective transit oriented development in the North Rainier Valley. Finally, in recent months, our community is seeing real progress as SDOT has refined its Accessible Mount Baker project, and the Mayor and other City representatives have called for a real focus on an interdisciplinary solution to the challenges of a light link station area that lags behind the City. See, for instance, Bruce Harrell letter (July 8, 2015): https://towncenterfriends.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/2015-07-09-bruce-harrell-letter.pdf
While the plans for a vibrant Town Center are moving slowly forward, the actual completion of our Mount Baker Town Center depends on passage of the Move Seattle Levy. This Levy helps bring the lagging and unsafe North Rainier station area closer to the vibrant vision that the community and the City have called for.
In March 2015, Mayor Ed Murray introduced Move Seattle, his ten-year transportation vision that integrates our plans for transit, walking, biking, and freight. Move Seattle will help us meet current demands while working toward future needs as Seattle continues to grow. Move Seattle envisions a transportation system that contributes to a safe, interconnected, vibrant, affordable, and innovative city.
As part of this vision, Mayor Murray and SDOT Director Scott Kubly released a draft proposal for a new levy called The Transportation Levy to Move Seattle. The proposed $900 million levy would replace an existing levy that expires at the end of 2015.
In March and April
2015, the City reached out to communities across Seattle to get input on the draft proposal. In response to community feedback, the City revised the proposal before submitting it to the Seattle City Council in May. After briefing the council’s Select Committee on Transportation Funding in May and June, the Committee voted on several amendments, and voted to recommend the full council approve the package.
One of the amendments, sponsored by Councilmember Bruce Harrell, recognized the substantial need for infrastructure investment to make the Mount Baker station area a functional core for an urban village that remains blighted with vacant and underdeveloped lots, and dominated by unsafe and unwelcoming roadways. As a result of this amendment, the Accessible Mount Baker project has a realistic chance to complete the Town Center, and help our City and our neighborhood achieve its goals to combine density with infrastructure in an equitable and effective manner, carefully balancing the future needs for all modes of travel, and the health of future generations in a walkable City.
For more information on the infrastructure needs of our Town Center, see the North Rainier Urban Village Assessment (2015): https://towncenterfriends.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/north-rainier-urban-village-asssessment-final.pdf
For more information on the Move Seattle Levy, see http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/LevytoMoveSeattle.htm