How Seattle Measures Success

efficiency of street by mode switchAs some of you may remember, a few years ago we worked to improve the Seattle Comprehensive Master Plan. This plan is the one that is legally required by the State of Washington’s Growth Management Act, and all Seattle’s plan are supposed to fit under it. I like to call the Comprehensive Plan the One Plan to Rule Them All, but that’s because I’m a Lord of the Rings fan…
Anyway, we were attempting to get Seattle to redefine how it measures the success of it’s transportation system away from an antiquated car based system that defined success as how empty roads are (yes, really. V/C is the volume of cars divided by the capacity of the roadway, and busier is worse) and instead adopt a measure that corresponded more with our other goals as a city – health, climate, equity, safety, etc. So, what we suggested and the city agreed to look into a “multimodal level of service” that would define success as a the % trips not being taken by single occupancy vehicles. The new goal would reduce the SOV % in all parts of the city. While the targets may not be as visionary as we would like, it is fairly bold for such a technical document that has to hold up in court, and will make a real difference in how our government views the potential impacts of development projects, which will ultimately result in increased investment in walking, biking, and transit facilities.
In short, the new rules will require developments in more car dependent places to make investments in things like sidewalks, bike lanes, and bus passes to encourage more people to walk, bike, and take transit.
It’s been a while since our original advocacy, but excited to announce that the proposal was passed through the City Council Policy and Planning Committee, and will go to the mayor’s desk in January!

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 5.51.21 PM

Thanks to everyone who advocated, donated, or volunteered to help make this change possible. Together we have taken another step towards a city where everyone can get around safely and comfortably.
Gordon Padelford