Bridges, Tree Infrastructure, Tiny Homes, Murals and More in D4

July 2021

Friends and Neighbors,

As the summer advances, we continue to emerge from the pandemic together. Despite all the struggles, it’s great to see some smiles again. Please read on for bridges, tree infrastructure, tiny homes, murals and more in District 4!  Thank you.


Future of U District Brightens

Councilmember Pedersen joined volunteers earlier this month to paint festive murals on buildings along The Ave in the heart of our University District. Thank you, University District Partnership, for brightening the neighborhood.

Tiny Homes for Rosie’s Village Almost Done!

Councilmember Pedersen recently visited one of the factories where the tiny homes for the forthcoming U District Tiny Home Village (Rosie’s) are being constructed. While the site at Roosevelt Way NE and NE 45th Street is disturbingly bare, that’s because the tiny homes are built more quickly off site. In fact, they are almost all done!

In the photo above, Councilmember Pedersen stands with Barb, the professional and inspirational leader of the dedicated volunteers who have increased their pace of tiny home construction. Now the bottleneck is finding the land to site new Tiny Homes. This makes the creation of the Regional Homelessness Authority even more important as they work with cities throughout the region to consider how best to do their fair share to house people experiencing homelessness as we emerge from the pandemic.

The roadblocks facing my office to finalize just this one Tiny Home Village and the hurdles faced by the Chair of our Homelessness Committee (Andrew Lewis) to stand up several more villages inspired us to push for a new position to achieve faster implementation. Often a project is stuck because two different government agencies are arguing about esoteric minutiae — while people are struggling unsheltered on the streets. This position would use their oversight role to improve communications and break logjams. As stated in our proposal to the City Council’s Finance Committee, the new “Homelessness Response Project Analyst” would track and oversee the progress of local and regional government agencies as well as contracted nonprofit partners in standing up City‐funded emergency shelter assets. The new staff member would report directly to the Chair of the Select Committee on Homelessness Strategies and Investments and make their analysis available to all members of said committee. Responsibilities include maintaining up‐to‐date progress reports on all City‐funded emergency shelter assets, mapping hurdles and solutions to project completion, and fostering intergovernmental relations for completing and operating projects in an effective manner.

If you agree we need this extra push, write to the City Council at and tell the Finance & Housing Committee: Please fund the Homelessness Response Project Analyst so we can house people faster. Support the amendment by Councilmembers Lewis and Pedersen.

In the meantime, we are thankful to Sound Transit for granting the City access to this site in the U District for at least the next couple of years. And many thanks to Lowe’s Home Improvement for supporting the Tiny Home “factory” in SODO and to the nonprofit Low-Income Housing Institute for leading the effort to pull everything together, which will include professional case management to empower the residents to transition eventually to permanent housing.

Email City Council


Traffic Revisions and Pedestrian Places on The Ave

Photo from U District Partnership

Visit University Way (“The Ave”) between NE 42nd and 43rd Streets for some wonderful summer outdoor dining! This stretch of The Ave will be open to pedestrians and diners, but temporarily closed to northbound vehicles until September. You’ll also notice changes on NE 43rd to accommodate buses, bikes, and pedestrians as a gateway to The Ave and to UW from the new light rail station (opening Oct 2) at Brooklyn Avenue.


Your D4 Team “Finding and Fixing” in the neighborhoods

Look at your District 4 team showing how much they care about our district by being out in the neighborhoods fixing problems with the Find It, Fix it App!  But they can’t be in all 20 District 4 neighborhoods at once — and the power is already in your hands with your smart phone. If you see anything that needs fixing, take a photo on your phone and send it to your city government using the app today. The app routes the problem to the right department and puts it in line to get it fixed. Graffiti, broken street signs, trash, potholes; you name it, the app can get it fixed.

For the free app, CLICK HERE. If a problem is not fixed soon enough, email it to us at Montlake Bridge Repairs, Closures, and Detours in August

It’s time for our Washington State Department of Transportation to repair the deck of the Montlake Bridge. I’m thankful that our State government is focused on repairing State-owned bridges and I have been urging for over a year our own Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to do more to care for our City-owned bridges that are aging and suffering from neglect, as noted by the bridge audit I obtained last year.  Repair, though, often means temporary closures and, in the case of the Montlake Bridge, WSDOT needs to close the bridge for a full month, from around August 9 to September 3. Pedestrians will still be able to cross the bridge, and boat traffic will be able to pass through. Transit has come roaring back as we emerge from the pandemic. Our District, of course, already benefits from the light rail station at Husky Stadium. Buses will have alternate routes; please use King County Metro’s trip planner (CLICK HERE) and service advisory webpage (CLICK HERE). For more on the State bridge repair project, including maps of vehicle detours, CLICK HERE.



Still Pushing to Protect our Infrastructure

In extreme heat, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) uses water to cool off our steel bridges. Here is a flusher truck performing the job in Summer 2020. (Photo from SDOT.)

As you know, I’ve been calling on City Hall to prioritize bridge safety, after I ordered an independent audit of all City-owned bridges early last year. Due to the continuing deterioration of our bridges while some City government leaders prioritize other projects, I will be unable to support our next City budget (to be adopted this Fall for 2022) — unless it increases funding for the safety and sustainability of our aging bridges. With our city’s geography defined by waterways and ravines, bridges connect us and are vital for all modes of travel and for our economic recovery. Right now the Mayor’s Office is crafting their budget proposal which she will deliver on September 24. I am hopeful her budget proposal will have additional funding for bridges, so we can avoid any more emergency bridge closures.


Fairview Avenue Bridge Reopening!

Rendering of the Belvedere viewpoint. (Source: SDOT.)

Here’s a bridge project we can all celebrate! This weekend we will finally re-open the Fairview Ave N Bridge! The rebuilt bridge will finally re-open to vehicles on Sunday, July 25 and SDOT is inviting folks to celebrate by walking or biking across the bridge on Saturday, July 24. The Fairview Ave Bridge is a vital North-South arterial connecting Eastlake (and neighborhoods north) to thousands of jobs provided by many Seattle-based employers in South Lake Union and our downtown core. CLICK HERE to read information from SDOT about this project, and CLICK HERE for a Seattle Times article.


Join the Seattle Freight Advisory Board!

Photo source: Port of Seattle

Recruitment for the Seattle Freight Board is underway. They are seeking new members interested in the efficient movement of goods to help make decisions on topics such as competing demands for streets and curb space, freight capacity, and air pollution. Consider applying if you represent a business, organization, or agency that is involved in the transport of goods or depends on efficient movement of goods in Seattle. The Freight Board is looking for representatives of various modes, types of freight, and areas of the city. They encourage Black, Indigenous, and other people of color; people with disabilities; bicultural and bilingual candidates; youth and seniors, and LGBTQ candidates to apply. You can read more on the SDOT blog (CLICK HERE) and CLICK HERE to apply!

For optimal results, I believe we need better coordination and integration when planning and funding the various modes of mobility so that, together, we consider transportation solutions holistically rather than divided into separate competing silos such as bikes, freight, cars, pedestrians, and transit. A holistic approach is especially important as Seattle considers the results of the Move Seattle property tax levy for transportation projects and what is needed to earn the confidence to renew that source of funding when it expires in 2024.

If you are interested in joining a transportation advisory board, but are not interested in working on freight movement, stay tuned for opportunities for other transportation-focused advisory boards.


Interested in serving on Seattle’s Community Surveillance Working Group?

The seven-member Surveillance Working Group advises the Seattle City Council and Executive on matters of surveillance technology from a community perspective. There is currently an opening for a Community representative, a City Council approved position for a three-year term. Per the Seattle’s Surveillance Ordinance, at least five members of the Working Group shall represent equity-focused organizations serving or protecting the rights of communities and groups historically subject to disproportionate surveillance, including Seattle’s diverse communities of color, immigrant communities, religious minorities, and groups concerned with privacy and protest.

If you are interested in serving on the Surveillance Working Group, please submit your application and a copy of your latest resume online. Under “Which Boards would you like to apply for?” select Community Surveillance Working Group. Thank you for your interest in this position!


Success Taming Utility Bills

When I ran for office, I pledged to focus on a back-to-basics, fiscal responsibility issue that few in the political arena focused on because it lacked razzle dazzle: utilities. But as we focus on “affordability,” we know utility bills are a big portion of our family budgets and business expenses.  Utility bills are also regressive, because lower income households pay a much higher percentage of their income on utilities than do higher income households. A key focus as I chair our Transportation & Utilities Committee is to ensure our large, city-owned utilities are managing their budgets to provide relief to everyone’s utility bills. Thanks in large part to the hard work of the General Managers of Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle City Light, we are succeeding.

This past week Seattle Public Utilities announced more good news: SPU is again LOWERING their  rate increases for the next few years. Under the previous strategic plan, SPU estimated that customers would see an average annual rate increase of 5.2%. With our persistent focus on affordability, however, SPU was able to lower that to 4.2% with a new strategic plan.  Now we are able to soften rates further to an average annual increase of only 3.9% — much closer to the rate of inflation. For the Seattle Public Utilities presentation at our committee with these and many more details, CLICK HERE.

Similarly, Seattle City Light average annual electric bill increases proposed for the next few years have been reduced from 4.5% to 3.5%. For the City Light presentation at our Committee, CLICK HERE. From City Light’s presentation, here is a comparison of prior and current strategic plans’ rate increases.


Safer Walks: Winning a Pedestrian Safety Grant for Aurora Ave

Photo source: SDOT.

Washington State has awarded SDOT a $1.5 million grant to conduct a planning and design study for the Aurora Ave N corridor! SDOT has already dedicated $500,000 to study this corridor and design safety upgrades. Planning work will begin in 2022 and will align with the Aurora Reimagined Coalitions community-driven visioning process.

We know we have much more work to do to meet Seattle’s Vision Zero safety goals. While crashes in 2020 decreased compared to 2019, the reduction in fatalities was disturbingly minimal, considering the decrease in vehicles on the road and SDOT’s ongoing work to improve traffic safety. Thank you to SDOT Director Zimbabwe and his team for joining us earlier this month to share more about this effort. Data show we should focus on making Aurora Ave N (State Route 99) and Rainier Ave S safer. CLICK HERE to review the presentation.


Take SDOT’s Street Cafes Survey

Due to the COVID pandemic, outdoor seating for restaurants and bars was provided special consideration, including reduced fees and allowance to occupy more right-of-way space. More than 200 businesses used the program and they and many customers liked the results so much they asked the Council to extend the program. The Council did so, extending it through May 2022.

Now the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is conducting a survey “to find out how the Safe Start permits worked for them and gather ideas as we consider how we might improve our programs for the future.” SDOT will use the results to update its guidance for businesses. If you want to take the survey, CLICK HERE; the survey is open until August 15, 2021. For more background and information from SDOT CLICK HERE.


Internet for All and Winning a Trailblazer Award!

The City of Seattle’s Information Technology department, utilizing the Internet for All plan and Resolution, which I sponsored and the Council passed, earned a Digital Inclusion Trailblazer designation from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA).

While our high-tech city needs to do much more to address the digital divide, this Digital Inclusion Trailblazer designation recognizes our important recent efforts — including our Internet for All action plan. Our Internet for All initiative launched last summer spurred additional short-term and long-term efforts to connect low-income residents to affordable and reliable internet so they have access to jobs, education, medical services, and other vital needs. This national recognition confirms Seattle is on the right track and encourages us to achieve greater results from our digital equity network.

To read more click on the following link: City of Seattle named Digital Inclusion Trailblazer – Tech Talk



Wildfire Smoke: The recent extreme heat wave reinforced the need for “cooling centers.” We had our Parks Department open a cooling center in Magnuson Park (Building 406) because the community center is getting ready for a renovation. Wildfire smoke from Canada requires similar preparations.

For an article on how to prepare, CLICK HERE.  For an article on how to protect pets, CLICK HERE.


Preserving Trees:

The record-breaking heat wave that scorched Seattle not only reinforced the health and environmental benefits of our urban tree canopies, but also laid bare the climate change disparities that lower income households suffer when our city government continues to approve the removal of more trees.

Even if you’re not a “tree hugger,”  the extensive benefits of trees are compelling. Trees capture harmful carbon and provide cooling shade as temperatures rise with climate change. During the rainy season, Seattle’s trees absorb polluted runoff to protect Puget Sound and Lake Washington. Trees deliver public health and mental health benefits.

The bigger the tree, the better. The saplings planted at new real estate developments don’t provide the same benefits as decades-old conifer trees.  Recent articles in the Seattle Times, New York Times, National Geographic, Nature Conservancy, and scholarly journals confirmed large trees can mitigate harm in overheated neighborhoods, underscoring the need to urgently protect Seattle’s large trees while we still have them.

For years, we have waited for city government departments to establish stronger laws to protect Seattle’s large trees. While we wait, city government continues to allow real estate developers to dismantle the environmental infrastructure of our urban forest. If we want to equitably retain the health and environmental benefits of trees and keep calling ourselves “The Emerald City” within the “Evergreen State,” we must quickly perform three tasks.

First, we need our Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection (a City department under the direction of the Mayor) to stop approving the removal of exceptional trees until the Durkan Administration finishes the overdue stronger tree ordinance for the Council to consider. Many have called for a brief moratorium on the removal of Seattle’s exceptional trees to spur the finalization of a stronger Director’s Rule and tree protection ordinance.

Second, we need to make sure the new law passed by Council actually protects trees without loopholes. The last time an ordinance was proposed, it would have made things worse by accelerating the loss of tree canopy.

And third, we need a more appropriate local agency to protect Seattle’s trees. It’s too difficult for SDCI because that department is funded by fees from real estate developers, many who believe they can make more money by removing trees — even though trees can actually increase property values and reduce cooling expenses.

The scientific evidence is strong: the more trees, the more resilient we are to climate change, including extreme heat. Trees are vital environmental infrastructure, not just amenities. After years of delay, City Hall must quickly implement stronger tree protection laws to retain our disappearing urban forest, to support the health of our residents, and protect our low income and frontline communities. Let’s save Seattle’s trees before it’s too late.

If you agree City Hall needs to do more to protect our exceptional trees, let the Mayor and the head of SDCI know:

For more on the need for tree protections, CLICK HERE.

Email the Mayor



National Night Out, Tuesday, August 3

Learn more about crime prevention and register your block for the annual “National Night Out” neighborhood connections by  CLICKING HERE.  If you’re hosting one in District 4 and would like our office to visit, please email us at



City Council Meetings on the Internet

Listening: Even though City Council is not currently holding meetings in person in order to follow public health guidelines, you can still follow along by listening on your computer or phone by CLICKING HERE. You can also listen on your phone by calling 253-215-8782.

Commenting: You can also submit public comment by sending an e-mail to me at or to all 9 Councilmembers at Please remember to add “For City Council Meeting” in the comments. Now you can also phone into the meeting to speak directly to the Council live. For the instructions on how to register and call in, CLICK HERE. Sign up begins two hours prior to the meeting start time.


Virtual Meetings with Your Councilmember Pedersen

I continue to schedule virtual in-district office hours, so we can chat by telephone or via Skype. Please continue to sign up through my website or by CLICKING HERE so I can hear your ideas, concerns, and requests. You can also just send an e-mail to

For previous e-newsletters, visit my blog by CLICKING HERE.

We are getting through this together, Seattle!

With gratitude,




Councilmember Alex Pedersen
Seattle City Council, District 4
Email: Find It, Fix It 

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