Editor’s note: A system problem on Saturday reset the site to Sept. 7. We’re re-posting this as a significant number of commentators had chimed in. So far, though, I haven’t figured out a way to restore the comments.
Turns out sidewalks – or the lack thereof – are indeed a major issue here. Safety aside, at the Maple Leaf Summer Social we had a Realtor tell us sidewalks are a big consideration for home buyers.
Much of Maple Leaf, north of about Northeast 92nd Street, lacks paved sidewalks. That’s also true of much of north Seattle.
Sidewalks may turn out to be a key issue in new moves making it more expensive to license a car here, by a potential total of $80 per vehicle.
Last month car license fees were raised $20 by the King County Council to pay for additional transit. No public vote was taken.
A little later in August, the Seattle City Council voted to add an additional $60 to the tabs, and put that hike on the November public ballot. That money is aimed at transit, cycling and pedestrian projects, but none of them are specified, as our news partner The Seattle Times pointed out in its thoughtful piece “Seattle’s $60 car tab fee: where it could go.” The official release from the council, acting as something called the Seattle Transportation Benefit District, is here.
That Seattle Times story quotes David Miller, an active member of the Maple Leaf Community Council and longtime sidewalk advocate, as saying: “Seattle taxpayers deserve more specifics for their $20 million a year.”
Miller is working with one of two groups opposing the fee hike this time around. His group, Sidewalks and Streets for Seattle, points out:
Elementary school children across much of north and southeast Seattle have to walk in the middle of the street to get to school because of a lack of sidewalks. Sidewalks deserve a higher priority than this measure gives them.
In comments on an earlier Maple Leaf Life post on the issue, Miller wrote in part: “The consistent message I get from Maple Leaf residents is sidewalks and transit, sidewalks and transit.”
The other opposition group is Citizens Against Raising Car Tabs.
The Seattle P-I.com’s Joel Connelly has written a piece pointing out that Proposition 1, as the Seattle car tab hike is called, “is going to see an actual campaign with real-life opposition, unlike many other taxes and levies promoted in recent years by the city’s activist interest groups and political elites.”
The election is Nov. 8. The original ballot title, saying Prop. 1 would fund “transportation facilities and services benefiting the City of Seattle, including: street and bridge repairs,” has been changed after opponents noted none of the money is earmarked for bridges, according to this story in the Times.