Seattle politics is pretty toxic at the moment; it seems everyone is angry about something, especially when it comes to the homelessness crisis and bike lanes.
That said, there are some important conversations happening right now that we all need to be well-informed to participate in. Here are some things you should be reading.
The draft Bicycle Master Plan Implementation Plan. In the past week, the Durkan Administration has dealt Seattle’s bike community a dual blow: backpedaling on a plan to build protected bike lanes along 35th Avenue NE, and publishing a draft update to the implementation plan for the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan that cuts back on planned bike lane construction over the next six years. Much has been said and written over the past few days on these issues; I’ve linked to the news coverage in my morning news roundups, but I won’t reiterate the major viewpoints here. Instead, here’s a pointer to the draft implementation plan that SDOT just released, along with a slide deck used by SDOT to present the plan to the City Council yesterday. SDOT is scheduled to present the plan to the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board tonight, which will undoubtedly be a tough audience.
The proposed implementation plan for the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy. Voters passed the levy back in November; the next step is for the city to write (and the Council to approve) an implementation plan. The Mayor’s Office and the Department of Education and Early Learning recently submitted their proposed plan to the Council, which has already held a preliminary discussion of potential modifications they may look at. Here’s a memo from the Council’s staff listing the key issues (Council members expressed interest in further work on all of these issues). Among the issues to be discussed further: the list of impacted groups that are targets for the programs; preschool tuition subsidies for those at the higher end of the income scale; family support services; and full-time versus part-time enrollment in college for those in the Seattle Promise program.
The Seattle Library Levy renewal. This fall, Seattle voters will be asked to approve a renewal of the Seattle Library Levy. The Mayor has submitted her proposed levy to the Council, which in the coming weeks will be discussing modifications before ratifying it for the August or November ballot. The Council will be discussing the Mayor’s proposal in committee on Monday. Here’s my analysis of the Mayor’s proposal.
The “Electric Vehicle Readiness” ordinance. The city is working on an update to the city’s development standards to require all new construction — both residential and non-residential — to add “fully wired” infrastructure for garages and other parking areas to allow electric vehicle charging stations to be easily added in the future. The logic behind this ordinance is that it’s much cheaper to put in all the wiring for charging stations when the walls are being built than it is to add it later. Here’s a presentation on the proposed bill, which will be working its way through the Council’s legislative process in the coming weeks.
A report on SPD’s data collection process and infrastructure. As part of the Consent Decree in 2012, SPD committed to improving its data-collection process to allow for ongoing monitoring, investigation and analysis of patterns of policing. Last year, SPD rolled out its new Data Access Platform (DAP), the core of its new reporting system. The Monitoring Team has been trying it out to evaluate whether it will meet the department’s needs (and the monitoring team’s). Earlier this week the Monitoring Team submitted a report to Judge Robart, in which it praised the new DAP system. It did note that there are still a few hiccups with integration of data from legacy systems, but SPD is in the process of rolling out a new records-management system and claims that once that system is operational the data-integration problems will be fixed. By the way, Judge Robart has gone quiet since all the legal briefs were filed on his review of the SPOG contract and the reinstatement of Officer Adley Shepherd; he hasn’t even scheduled a hearing to grill the parties with questions. That suggests the next step will be a written ruling from Robart, which no doubt will be thorough and diligent in addressing the issues raised. However, there is no way to predict how soon he will rule.