Loss and Hope in Seattle

Friends and Neighbors,

The Biggest Loss for Colleagues Family, Friends, Seattle

We were all devastated by the passing of our esteemed colleague and dear friend Malik Davis. For those of us who knew Malik and his passion for public service, for Seattle, and for family, we are experiencing a deeply painful sadness with this sudden loss. For me, Malik was more than just a seasoned and steadfast colleague, he became an uplifting Life Force and a trusted friend. Malik was first and foremost a devoted husband, father, and son — in his words and actions. Malik was also a courageous and constant champion for everyone in our city. Malik had an impressive career that included working for former Council President Margaret Pageler and the University of Washington. Born and raised in Seattle, Malik attended Montlake Elementary, Meany Middle School, Garfield High School, and the University of Washington. He later earned a masters degree in public administration. Struggling with how to be in a world without him, I’ll keep remembering and cherishing all the life lessons, humor, and sage advice he generously shared with me, so that I continue to feel the larger-than-life presence of Malik Davis.

(Note: This month’s e-newsletter was practically finished before we learned of this tragedy, so we made the decision to send it. If our office is relatively slow in getting back to you, please know that we’re still processing our grief of losing our colleague and friend and so we thank you in advance for your grace and patience.)

In this Month’s Newsletter:
Please click on the links below to zip to the sections that interest you the most:

  • For my previous newsletters, you can CLICK HERE to visit my website / blog. Thank you for caring enough to demand the best from City Hall.

State of the City: Combining Hard Work and Optimism

Our Mayor Bruce Harrell delivered his “State of the City” address earlier this month. Inspiring the audience with his upbeat and determined outlook, the Mayor emphasized that Seattle can once again be the envy of the nation and a city of the future when we commit to combining optimism and hard work. He previewed specific actions his Administration plans to introduce this year, which include progress on issues cited as priorities by many constituents:  increasing public safety, reducing homelessness, and revitalizing our economy.

Mayor Bruce Harrell delivers his annual State of the City Address in Fisher Pavilion in Seattle Center, February 21, 2023 (image from Seattle Channel).

Here are brief excerpts from Mayor Harrell’s 2023 “State of the City” Address:

“Today, I want to share where we are as a city, and what we must do to create the Seattle we want to see – the Seattle of the future.

My first year in office was defined by an emphasis on the essentials – a commitment to get back to the basics of good governance. Shiny things are cool; but things that work well are better.

We built our administration from the ground up – building relationships, building teams, building systems, building trust. We demonstrated our commitment to a One Seattle agenda: Working together to advance our shared values and common goals…

…Once again, we must embrace the boldness and innovation that our city is renowned for, turn policy into progress, and unite to build One Seattle together. The state of our City is that we are ready and willing to put in the hard work.”

— Mayor Bruce Harrell, February 21, 2023

In addition to the lofty vision, the Mayor’s speech included substantive sections on Revitalizing Downtown, Public Safety (5 pillars including retention / recruitment of officers), Homelessness & Housing, Transportation, and the Environment.

The Mayor’s annual assessment of our City and his vision for the near future defines priorities and drives policies.  Despite my best attempts to remain grounded, I was truly inspired by the speech. I look forward to reviewing and refining on your behalf the details of legislation and budgets from the Harrell Administration this year.

Just as important as the views of our Mayor are the views of the people.  If you live or work in Seattle — and especially if you’re a resident of our District 4 from Wallingford to Wedgwood — I’d like to know your view on the condition of Seattle.

It’s common for surveys to ask a baseline question: Is Seattle going in the right or wrong direction? But most polls are done privately and we don’t often see the results. Fortunately, there is a new poll called “The Index,” which has been tracking this paramount question for the past two years (see below for their results).

In the meantime, I’m like to hear from you:

Note: As you probably know, this online survey is not scientific, in large part, because it’s not a random sample. Nevertheless, I wanted to give you an opportunity to share your view, and we always welcome your emails to Alex.Pedersen@seattle.gov.

Since “The Index” poll started in August 2021, the “Wrong Track” response has been relatively high at around 70% of the randomly surveyed voters, though it showed a 7-point improvement (decrease) from 76% “Wrong Track” in March 2022 to 69% “Wrong Track” in September 2022. See results below.

Source: “The Index” September 20-25, 2022 survey of Seattle voters published in October 2022.

We’ll eagerly await the results from the next “Index” poll during this Spring of 2023, and I plan on sharing that new survey when after it becomes available. While there is so much more work to do to revitalize Seattle, I predict these numbers may improve again.

  • For Mayor Harrell’s 13-page glossy doc “Building One Seattle: Year One — 2022” CLICK HERE.
  • For the Mayor’s “State of the City Address,” CLICK HERE for the document and CLICK HERE for the video from February 21, 2023.
  • For Seattle Times coverage of the speech, CLICK HERE. For an editorial board critique of the downtown elements, CLICK HERE.


Lincoln High School in Wallingford: A New Championship Since Reopening

Photo from the Seattle Times. (The championship team includes the athletes pictured above: Maddie, Clemence, Zoe, and Hansa.)

Congratulations to the flag football champions of Lincoln High School in Wallingford!  As reported in the Seattle Times, “Nine Metro League teams took part in girls flag football this season, and last Saturday [February 11, 2023] Lincoln High School earned the championship with a hard-fought 32-18 win over Eastside Catholic. While it is not an officially sanctioned Washington Interscholastic Activities Association sport — yet — the victory still caused elation for the Lincoln girls. It was their first Metro title in any athletic endeavor since the school re-opened in 2019 after being closed down in 1981. The Lincoln seniors, who comprised the bulk of the team, had endured the growing pains of re-establishing athletic programs, so the trophy they received touched their heartstrings. The Lynx went 9-1, most of them blowouts, with the lone loss in the regular season to Eastside Catholic avenged in the title game.”

To learn more about Lincoln High School in Wallingford, CLICK HERE and HERE.

Libraries to Enjoy Expanded Hours in D4 and Throughout Seattle:

The “Library Levy,” a property tax renewed by Seattle voters in 2019, supplements the operations of Seattle libraries through the year 2026. The COVID pandemic 2020-2022 wreaked havoc on operations and we are only now poised to enjoy the promise of those increased taxes with branches being open for more hours across the city. For planning purposes, here are the recently announced expanded hours that will start a month or so from now.

Northeast Branch, 6801 35th Ave. N.E.
– 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
– Noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday
– Starting the week of Monday, April 3

University [District] Branch, 5009 Roosevelt Way N.E.
– Closed Monday
– Noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday
– 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
– Starting the week of Monday, April 3

Wallingford Branch, 1501 N. 45th St.
– 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
– Noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday
– Starting the week of Monday, March 20

  • For more info on the expanded hours in March 2023 throughout Seattle, CLICK HERE.
  • For current hours and more about the Northeast Branch, CLICK HERE.
  • For current hours and more about the University District Branch, CLICK HERE.
  • For current hours and more about the Wallingford Branch, CLICK HERE.

(Note: the Greenlake Branch is closed through early 2024 for a seismic retrofit and remodel.)

U District Vitality Grants:

While the deadline to apply was February 22, we still wanted to spread the good news that small businesses and nonprofits in the University District will be benefiting from this $4.8 million federal grant to clean storefronts and build out interior spaces (also known as “tenant improvements” in commercial real estate parlance). The grants for tenant improvements can be very important to prevent small businesses from being totally displaced from the neighborhood if their existing building is demolished for redevelopment.  Moving is easier said than done when you first need to renovate the interior of a different building that might not be set up for your dining or other services. The U District Partnership, the nonprofit that manages the U District’s Business Improvement Area (BIA), is commended for successfully seeking this boost in dollars for a neighborhood that has more than its fair share of urban challenges, such as graffiti, even as it undergoes a renaissance.  For more about the U District Vitality Grants, CLICK HERE.

Ship Canal Water Quality Project: Traffic Detours & Construction Noise Continue in Wallingford

During construction, you can file this mega environmental project under “Please Pardon our Progress!” Residents, workers, and businesses will experience traffic detours and noise for the next six weeks (“through early April”) due to the two related construction projects on and around Stone Way North and N. 35th Street.

(1) DETOURS: rerouting traffic to construct new pipes that will convey sewage and stormwater to the future storage tunnel. Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) calls this the “conveyance project.”

(2) NOISE: using a muffled air compressor day and night to saw and remove tiebacks in the underground garage of the Brooks Building. For just this noisy work under the Brooks Building, you can call Lane Construction’s site superintendent Eli Mathieu at 206-295-0285.

  • For more information on the construction of the Ship Canal Water Quality Project, including the important (and required) environmental benefits of storing polluted stormwater underground until it can be treated, CLICK HERE. For Wallingford info, click on “Wallingford.”
  • If you live or work in that area near Stone Way and N 35th Street, the most important thing to do is to sign up for updates from SPU: CLICK HERE.

For general questions not answered by the SPU’s website or SPU’s email updates, email SPU_ShipCanalProject@seattle.gov (to be handled by SPU’s Stephanie Secord and Keith Ward), or call SPU’s 24-hour construction hotline 206-701-0233.


Community Meeting Supports Recent Positive Efforts of Law Enforcement in Seattle

Victoria Beach, head of the African American Community Advisory Council for Seattle Police, invited Councilmember Pedersen to this month’s meeting on February 16, 2023. He met several new police recruits going through SPD’s “Before the Badge” training program. Residents in the North Precinct where District 4 is located can attend these “Demographic Advisory Councils” and can attend the North Precinct Advisory Council, which meets on the first Wednesday evening of every month.

Women in Public Safety Recruiting Events

SPD has ramped up efforts to recruit new officers as well as to lure lateral hires from other jurisdictions. SPD also strives for a more perse workforce. At the African American Community Advisory Council, I conferred with one of SPD’s recruiters who is currently focused on recruiting women to law enforcement. She is working hard to advertise their next “Women in Public Safety Career Fair.”

  • When: March 11, 2023 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Where: Garfield Community Center, 2323 East Cherry Street, Seattle, WA.

More Info: email SPDrecruiting@seattle.gov

Crime Stats Confirm What Many Constituents Already Knew: Violent Crime is Up and Property Crime is Up When Comparing 2022 and 2021

We know it’s prudent to question statistics and to understand the trends and assumptions underlying those numbers. It’s human nature to look for trends that support your own view of the world and, of course, I also need to check my own temptation to do that. Please let me know if you think I go astray here!

As explained below, in the case of the 2022 Crime Report, it seems it’s all about which time periods a person chooses to compare.

Bottom-line:  Based on my review of the data from several different angles, annual crime is up (which I’ll explain below). At the same time, other local officials are highlighting positive points in time. Regardless, I know many of us look forward to the Harrell Administration completing a crime prevention plan with metrics and timelines that strive to lower crime rates to pre-pandemic levels in the wake of being down 400+ officers and detectives. That plan would ideally not only accelerate retention and recruitment (as we expect a net gain of only 18 officers over the next two years), but also to implement long overdue alternative responses, to add another police precinct in North Seattle to lower response times, and to expand use of technology such as security cameras.  I also support our Public Safety Chair’s call to expand the evidence-based public health program that intervenes at the hospital bed of gunshot victims, so that victims older than 24 are served as well.

To the small business that’s been the victim of broken doors, stolen products, graffiti tagging and to the parents, teachers, and children who hear gunshots a block from their school, policymakers jousting over statistics doesn’t make them feel safer and it doesn’t prevent crime.

I understand why the Chief of Police or other leaders might want to highlight positive elements (e.g., the most recent few months). Based on my review of the data and my feedback from constituents, however, I have a more cautious view of these crime stats.

2022 vs. 2021: This is an annual report, so I believe it makes sense to compare 2022 with 2021. In that case, both violent crime and property crime are up approximately 4%, which means nearly 2,000 more crimes were recorded in 2022 vs. the previous year. That’s not good.

“5-Year Weighted Average”: During our Public Safety Committee meeting on February 14, 2023, our Chief of Police attempted to expand on a new statistic: a 5-year weighted average. The concept is to give more weight to more recent years. Using SPD’s math, 2018 is multiplied by 1, then 2019 by 2, then 2020 by 3, then 2021 by 4, then 2022 by 5 and that’s pided by 15 (because 1+2+3+4+5 = 15). Arguably, it’s arbitrary to pick 5 years and it’s arbitrary to add that much weight to each year. But let’s try it. The annual report mentions a 5-year weighted average only once: “Aggravated Assault and Motor Vehicle Theft were significantly high in 2022 when compared to a five-year weighted average.” That’s not good. Oddly, the Chief tried to apply a 5-year weighted average to claim that violent crime is going down.  But violent crime is clearly higher in 2022 than in all the previous years for which statistics are available (see line graph). So how did he claim violent crime was trending down when the data shows it going up? He focused on the last 3 months of 2022 as well as the “year-to-date” (“the first month and a half” which would be January 2023 and two weeks of February). Here’s his argument: those are the most recent months.

Year-to-Date: The year-to-date comparison is problematic for a couple of reasons: (1) January 2022 was among the worst Januarys for violent crime and the “5-year weighted average” gives that year a lot of weight, which would naturally make the 2023 year-to-date look better. (2) The data from the first two weeks in February 2023 was so recent on February 14 that it might not include all the crimes – officers are still completing the paperwork and/or SPD data analysts are still reconciling and uploading it.

Most Recent Month (January 2023 vs previous Januarys): City officials implying January 2023 was a relatively safe year is problematic because January 2023 saw five homicides, which is the 3rd highest number of homicides of the 15 years available on the crime dashboard (2008 and 2020 were the worst with six homicides each).

Oct/Nov/Dec: Comparing the last 3 months of the year (October, November, December 2022 vs. those same months in 2021 and the 5-year “weighted” average) was probably the Chief’s best case for grasping a positive trend among the rest of the gloomy data. Those last 3 months of 2021 were horrible and so those 3 months of 2022 definitely saw fewer violent crimes (see line graph below. This is tempered, of course, by the results for the entire calendar year with violent crimes up 4% compared to 2021 and up 19% compared to 2019.

The Chief’s optimism about those 3 months, though, did not include answers to basic questions: Why were those 3 months promising / what can we learn from them, and what’s the plan for how to do more of whatever might have been successful?

2022 vs. Pre-Pandemic (2019):  Because we want crime rates to decrease in a meaningful way, I think it’s important to focus on how crime is trending compared to 2019, which is the most recent pre-pandemic year — before the department lost more than 400 officers. As you can see, both 2021 and 2022 had more violent crime and property crime than in 2019. Notably, the 49,883 total crimes in 2022 are 17% more than the 42,483 crimes in 2019.

Response Times Dangerously Longer in North Seattle: The department highlighted SPD’s citywide response time to Priority One calls (e.g., violent crimes in progress), which showed “no significant change” from a median of 7.5 minutes to 7.2 minutes citywide. But, in response to questions about our district at the Public Safety Committee, the Chief acknowledged that response times increased in the North Precinct to 9 minutes (which is 25% higher than the citywide average). To me, this is additional evidence that our city’s largest geographic area (comprising 40% of Seattle), is overdue for a second police station so that officers don’t need to speed from their current base near I-5 at North 103rd Street. For points of reference, that lone police station is five miles to Magnuson Park to the east and five miles to the Nordic Heritage Museum to the southwest. No wonder response times in the north end dangerously exceed 7 minutes.

Seeking the Plan to Reduce and Prevent Crime: I asked Chief Diaz for a crime prevention plan and he said, “Right now we are drafting two things. One is an internal strategic plan that our Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives is drafting. We actually have been working with the Mayor’s Office on an overall public safety plan for the City and I think that it includes a lot of different conversations when it comes to dual dispatch system, etc.” [alternative responses]. He also referenced the SPD Recruitment Plan announced in July 2022 and some efforts at retaining existing officers. (You can listen to the Chief’s answer on the Seattle Channel video; fast-forward to 1:41:51.) We look forward to evaluating the Harrell Administration’s formal public safety plans as soon as they are ready.

More Info on Crime Trends:

  • For the 2022 Crime Report, CLICK HERE.
  • To watch the Public Safety Committee presenting the Crime Report, CLICK HERE.
  • To view different points in time or to focus on a certain part of the city or types of crimes, CLICK HERE for the SPD’s online dashboard.
  • For Seattle Times coverage of the crime report, CLICK HERE.
  • To report a crime online, CLICK HERE.

Time To Bring People Inside ASAP from Encampment Next to Public School

Unfortunately, Governor Inslee’s Office is saying they don’t anticipate the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) being successful in bringing people inside from the dangerous I-5 Ship Canal Bridge encampment for another couple of weeks. Located on Washington State DOT property along 5th Ave NE (westside of I-5) at NE 42nd Street just one block from John Stanford Elementary School, this encampment has been the scene of multiple violent crimes, shootings, and fires. KCRHA has a multi-million dollar contract from the State Department of Commerce to address encampments with WSDOT on State properties. Here’s what I told KOMO News last week:

“I think the response from the responsible agencies is insufficient. To clean up trash around the area is not sufficient. We need to bring people inside. There is available shelter — it does not have to be the high-end version of permanent supportive housing in every case…[In addition], our [Seattle] Office of Housing and some nonprofits have some vacancies available. We need to have better coordination. There is space for people. It’s not a lot, but enough for the 20 people who are overnight at this encampment,” Pedersen said.

For my recent interviews on KOMO News about this location, CLICK HERE (Feb 15) and HERE (Feb 17).

I want to thank the parents and principal of John Stanford Elementary School for their ongoing demand for action at this dangerous encampment.  If you want to email your local officials to bring people inside and restore this State government property to safety, here are the email addresses of relevant officials:

You can request better results at the I-5 Ship Canal encampment (NE 42nd Street at 5th Ave NE and Pasadena Place NE) by contacting several of the key officials:

  • Marc Dones, CEO of KCRHA
  • Roger Millar, WSDOT
  • Brian Nielsen, WSDOT
  • Ron Judd, WSDOT
  • Lisa Brown, State of Washington Department of Commerce
  • Noha Mahgoub, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Inslee
  • State Sen. Jamie Pedersen (43rd Legislative District)
  • State Rep. Frank Chopp (43rd Legislative District)
  • State. Rep. Nicole Macri (43rd Legislative District)
  • Washington State Patrol
  • cc: Tiffany Washington, Deputy Mayor for Housing & Homelessness


  • For my critique of the new 5-year plan from KCRHA, CLICK HERE.
  • The Seattle Times editorial board recently shared their concerns about the unrealistic cost of KCRHA’s plan (CLICK HERE).
  • To comment on KCRHA’s plan, CLICK HERE.


2nd Substitute House Bill 1110: Improved, But Still Preempts Seattle Density Decisions with Short-Sighted Give-Away to Townhome Developers?

I have faith in Seattle’s ability to craft its own comprehensive land use and zoning updates without Olympia imposing cookie-cutter statewide mandates on our unique city. HB 1110 / SB 5190, which would preempt significant decision-making authority of local jurisdictions for zoning density, passed out of their respective Housing Committees in the State House and the State Senate.

As requested by industry lobbyists, these statewide requirements would, unfortunately, pre-empt Seattle’s land use authority without any meaningful amendments to prevent displacement or to require additions of affordable housing. The bills would weaken legislation adopted in 2021 to prevent and/or mitigate displacement [RCW 36.70A.070(2(e)-(g)], making it more difficult for Seattle to address the shortcomings of the City’s Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program adopted in 2019 and greatly in need of updating.

(For an alternative view in favor of these land use/zoning bills, CLICK HERE and HERE.)

Fortunately, the bill that passed the Appropriations Committees in the House added the following important language: Section 3(3): “If a city has enacted a program under RCW 36.70A.540, subsection (1) of this section does not preclude the city from requiring any development, including development described in subsection (1) of this section, to provide affordable housing, either on-site or through an in-lieu payment, nor limit the city’s ability to expand such a program or modify its requirements.” (emphasis added)

That important last-minute amendment should prevent Seattle from losing more than $45 million annually for low-income housing currently generated by our Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program. It also enables Seattle, if it chooses to take such action, to expand or modify those requirements to obtain even more affordable housing (defined in the bill as 60% of area median income for rental housing and 80% AMI for homeownership).

The bills advanced to the State House Rules Committee and the State Senate Ways & Means Committee.

CALL TO ACTION:  In addition to asking State policymakers, “Don’t preempt / undercut Seattle” with HB 1110 / SB 5190 (“missing middle housing” as described above), encourage them to reject bills that could accelerate the loss of tree canopy in Seattle: the proposal for splitting lots (HB 1245 / SB 5364).

You can write to your State legislators in the 43rd and 46th Legislative Districts (which cover the same geography as Seattle City Council’s District 4) and to the leaders and Seattle reps on the committees reviewing these bills:




For the full list of members of each committee, click on State House Committee on Appropriations and  State Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

Honoring Our Local Decision-Making Process for Seattle:

Dozens of North Seattle residents gathered earlier this month to discuss the future land use, housing, tree protection, and transportation policies at a community input meeting organized by Seattle’s Office of Community Planning & Development. Photo by Councilmember Alex Pedersen.

Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) recently made available the public comments they compiled from their community meetings on the upcoming update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan.  For OPCD’s report, CLICK HERE and HERE. For OPCD’s general website on the Comp Plan process, CLICK HERE.  I believe we should let this robust local process unfold, rather than allowing our State legislators to undercut it with statewide cookie-cutter legislation.


(This is the Committee currently chaired by Councilmember Pedersen, so we provide extra information on its issues.)

To distribute the workload of city government, each of the nine Councilmembers chairs a committee. The Committee I chair (Transportation & Seattle Public Utilities) meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall (and on Seattle Channel), except during the two-month budget review season in October and November. Meetings in March will include reports on how to prevent traffic fatalities (Vision Zero) and SDOT’s plans to keep bridges safe and open (including the Ballard Bridge, Fremont Bridge, Spokane Street Swing Bridge /West Seattle “low” bridge, and the University Bridge).

Reducing Traffic Fatalities: Vision Zero

SUMMARY: During his confirmation process last summer, Greg Spotts committed to a “top-to-bottom” review of the “Vision Zero” traffic safety program. Director Spotts followed through and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) published the review — along with initial strategies — last week.

Here are some key excerpts:

“While Seattle’s streets are some of the safest in the United States, we still see more than 10,000 crashes a year, resulting in an average of 28 people losing their lives and 180 people seriously injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For comparison, in 2019 cities of similar size like Denver and El Paso had 61 and 69 traffic deaths respectively.

“On his first day on the job, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Greg Spotts, with Mayor Bruce Harrell’s support, issued a call to action for a top-to-bottom review of our Vision Zero efforts…Vision Zero is part of an international movement, shifting the approach of traffic safety to focus on the most effective ways to reduce harm while creating a culture of care and dignity for all travelers.

“The top-to-bottom review considers the effects the pandemic had on streets locally and nationally, uses data analysis to show where to focus investments and what actions to take, identifies internal challenges holding us back, and makes 12 recommendations. One problem identified was inadequate funding. We are pleased that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) recently announced its decision to award Seattle $25.6 million in Safe Streets and Roads for All Implementation (SS4A) grant funding, allowing the City to invest in over 100 intersection safety projects. More than 90 percent of the projects are within underserved community census tracts in Seattle. Seattle was one of only 37 jurisdictions nationwide to receive an implementation grant” (page 2 of the Overview).

STATS: Each victim in a traffic-related fatality is a tragedy. In 2022, those killed in traffic-related incidents were 16 pedestrians (57%), 8 people driving, and 4 people biking or on a scooter. These percentages are similar to the previous eight years with pedestrians, on average, comprising more than 50% of traffic-related fatalities. In 2022, the total number of traffic-related fatalities was 28 as compared to 30 in 2021, 25 in 2020, 26 in 2019, 14 in 2018, and 24 in 2017. The average over the past eight years is 24 fatalities. The number of fatalities among people experiencing homelessness has more than doubled for 2022 and 2021 as compared to earlier years.

“With a new Mayor and SDOT Director, we now have concrete plans to improve the safety strategies to buck the negative statewide trend and substantially reduce traffic fatalities in Seattle. I appreciate the Harrell Administration proactively combining this top-to-bottom internal review with an initial boost in federal dollars for solutions. I believe Seattle should more quickly expand automated camera enforcement because we know it works and more quickly bring people inside because those experiencing homelessness have been collision victims at an alarming rate. I look forward to expediting any legislation needed to implement these strategies for improved safety in Seattle.”

– Councilmember Alex Pedersen, Chair of Transportation Committee

“Every Seattle resident should be able to feel safe getting where they need to go. This review and the concrete actions that follow reaffirm our One Seattle commitment to safety, as we work relentlessly to get back on track to reaching our Vision Zero goals. We’re transforming our streets to promote walkability and a people-first transportation system, one rooted in safety and equity, where neighborhoods most impacted and historically underserved receive the support and improvements they deserve.”

– Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell

“On my first day as SDOT Director, I commissioned this top-to-bottom review to identify how we can strengthen the Vision Zero program to save lives. The findings and recommendations in the review will help SDOT prioritize safety across our entire agency, with a focus on underserved communities, pedestrians, cyclists, and people with mobility challenges. Our five early momentum actions, coupled with implementing $30 million in projects funded by the federal Safer Streets grant, will create safer and more welcoming neighborhoods and boulevards.”

– Seattle Department of Transportation Director Greg Spotts

NEXT STEPS: Here are five initial strategies the Harrell Administration wants to implement as soon as possible:

Regarding one of SDOT’s recommendations above: While we were closely following a bill in Olympia that would have restricted right turns on red lights across the state, those bills did not advance. It’s my understanding, however, we do not need the State law to change to restrict right turns on red lights in  Seattle in many cases; it’s an update that our City Traffic Engineer with SDOT can implement and adjust based on input and analysis.

Two of the points mentioned in the report are going to be important focal points for me this year: expanding automated camera enforcement and quickly bringing people inside.

I look forward to expediting any legislation needed to implement these strategies for improved safety in Seattle. SDOT is currently scheduled to appear before our March 7, 2023 Committee on Transportation & Seattle Public Utilities to discuss their review of the safety program, the federal grant, and their recommendations as well as answer questions.


  • For the Harrell Administration’s February 23, 2023 announcement on Vision Zero, CLICK HERE.
  • To read the top-to-bottom review of the Vision Zero safety program, CLICK HERE.
  • To provide feedback on SDOT’s top-to-bottom review and proposals, CLICK HERE.
  • For SDOT’s Vision Zero website, CLICK HERE.
  • For Seattle Times initial news coverage of the City’s Vision Zero announcement, CLICK HERE.
  • For an initial reaction to the top-to-bottom review by Councilmember Tammy Morales, CLICK HERE. The highest percentage of traffic fatalities occurred in South Seattle and so I will continue to collaborate with her office to make sure those geographic areas get the most attention.

Mayor’s Comments on Transportation from “State of the City Address”:

Here are the Mayor’s transportation comments from his “State of the City” Address, February 21, 2023, which emphasizes the need to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries:

“I want to talk about transportation. An area where we have seen trends go in a wrong – and tragic – direction is traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

“In the Seattle we want to see, no one should have to worry about being hurt or killed by a crash or collision. This is why we’ve recommitted to strategies that protect vulnerable users as we work towards our aggressive Vision Zero goals of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries – aiming not for what is easy, but for what is right.

“In the coming days, we will share alongside SDOT Director Greg Spotts early actions we’re taking to get back on track with this goal. In our administration we lead with people, and we lead with safety.

“It’s for that reason that we worked hard to receive a $25 million grant from President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg to implement safety improvements in underserved neighborhoods.

“With help from our federal delegation, we were successful because we centered equity and a clear plan.

“Councilmember Tammy Morales has been a strong voice for pedestrian and cyclist safety in South Seattle and across the City – I look forward to working with her to make these investments real.

“In this time of change, we must transform our streets and neighborhoods to be places where walking is encouraged and multi-modal transportation is safe. Where our sidewalks are vibrant, and we pursue exciting new options such as outdoor dining, retail, and street cafes, which Councilmember Strauss has championed time and again in partnership with our office.

“A transportation system where there is thoughtful calibration and collaboration with our freight, maritime, and small business partners, and where we prioritize infrastructure improvements for the nearly 280 bridges we own, inspect, maintain, or operate.

“It was my honor to help get the West Seattle Bridge repair across the finish line – an incredible effort of One Seattle teamwork that reconnected our city, including for 100,000 West Seattle residents.

“Now, we are focused on partnering with Sound Transit to deliver Light Rail to West Seattle, to Ballard, and right here to Seattle Center as part of Sound Transit 3 – the largest transit expansion effort in the country and largest infrastructure project in our city’s history.

“In the Seattle we want to see, neighbors and visitors will be able to take fast, reliable transit to make memories at Memorial Stadium or at Climate Pledge Arena, and watch a Storm, a Kraken, and yes, one day, a Sonics game…”

— Mayor Bruce Harrell, February 21, 2023

Does Inspector General Audit Jeopardize $14 Million Provided to SDOT?

The Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) earlier this month published an audit report titled, “DOT’s Oversight Is Not Sufficient to Ensure the City of Seattle Meets Requirements for Managing Federal Transportation Funds.” While the Inspector General was asking for improvements from the federal department, this audit could jeopardize up to $14 million for a few transportation projects managed by the City. This audit report expressed concerns about the delays and indecision regarding the so-called “Center City Connector” streetcar project (currently in a re-design phase) and asked whether the U.S. DOT should reinvest $3.8 million elsewhere. The audit report also sought more supporting documentation regarding $9.9 million among six FTA grants for three projects: one FTA grant for streetcar maintenance, one FTA grant for the bus rapid ride G-Line project currently tearing up / re-configuring / re-paving Madison Street, and four FTA awards for the Seattle Monorail (which is operated by a separate entity but received FTA and City funds for a recent renovation).

I spoke directly to the Inspector General’s Office after their report was published and they confirmed that the U.S. DOT must resolve the concerns by December 31 of this year (2023).  I have invited SDOT to a March meeting of our committee on Transportation & Seattle Public Utilities to have them explain their plans to encourage the federal government to keep those dollars in Seattle.  In case any technical auditing support is needed, I’ve asked our City Auditor to be at the table with SDOT. (The City Auditor reports to the legislative branch of city government and so it helps to provide independent and constructive oversight of executive departments, as needed.)

  • For the Inspector General’s 46-page audit of U.S. DOT, CLICK HERE.  See Recommendations #11 and #13 for funding that could be jeopardized.
  • For the Inspector General’s website that tracks the status of their recommendations, CLICK HERE.
  • For the initial coverage by the Seattle Times on February 9, 2023, CLICK HERE.

More Potholes Filled in 2022 Than in the Past 5 Years!

Councilmember Pedersen filling a pothole in the U District, February 2022.
(Doing my best to look a bit better in a hardhat than Michael Dukakis looked in the tank. Maybe not, though — Google it and you decide!)

In 2022, your City crews filled 23,000 potholes — the most potholes filled in the last 5 years. Your Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) strives to fill potholes within 72 hours of receiving a request, but it can take longer after lengthy winter storms.

To report a pothole:

For more about SDOT’s 2022 record-breaking success in filling potholes, CLICK HERE.

City of Seattle Resumed Late Fees for Traffic Tickets

Beginning January 30, 2023, the Seattle Municipal Court resumed late fees for traffic-related tickets, including for street parking and enforcement cameras. As you may recall, the fees for past-due tickets were suspended early in the COVID pandemic. Approximately 350,000 unpaid parking, red light camera, and traffic tickets could be impacted.

  • For information on paying tickets and other options you might have, CLICK HERE.
  • For coverage by the Seattle Times, CLICK HERE.

Seattle Transportation Plan: Next Phase of Public Engagement

The forthcoming “Seattle Transportation Plan” (STP) will serve as an updated basis for the city government’s “commitment to building a transportation system that provides everyone with access to safe, efficient, and affordable options to reach places and opportunities,” according to our Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). The Plan will finally connect and harmonize the separate, disjointed plans for transit, freight, bikes, and pedestrians. SDOT is leading this effort and needs your input! SDOT is developing the STP with 3 phases of community engagement and recently completed phase 2.  For the presentation on this at my committee meeting on February 21, 2023, CLICK HERE for the PowerPoint.

Note: SDOT’s public engagement thus far has centered on how inpiduals prefer to travel around town, so it lacks emphasis on what we all need: freight.  We all need access to food and consumer products, i.e., what freight delivers to, from, and throughout a big city – especially an international city with a major seaport upon which the entire State relies. Fortunately, SDOT’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping process acknowledges freight and the basic need to transport cargo vital for sustenance and our economic sustainability.

Learn more about the STP and share your ideas in your preferred language:

If you need translated materials, please call (206) 257-2114.

ይህ መረጃ እንዲተረጎምልዎ የሚፈልጉ ከሆነ እባክዎ (206) 257-2114 ይደውሉ።

如果您需要此信息的翻譯版,請致電 (206) 257-2114。

Si necesita esta información traducida, llame al (206) 257-2114.

Nếu quý vị cần có bản dịch thông tin này, vui lòng gọi số (206) 257-2114

Hadii aad u baahan tahay macluumaadkan oo turjuban, fadlan la hadal (206) 257-2114

이 정보의 번역본이 필요한 경우, (206) 257-2114 으로 전화하십시오.

እዚ ሓበሬታ ክትርጎም ትደልዩ እንተኾይንኩም፣ በበዛኹም ናብ (206) 257-2114 ደውሉ፡፡

Akka odeefannoon kuni isiniif turjumaanamuu barbaaddan, maaloo (206) 257-2114 kana irratti bilbilaa

ប្រសិនបើអ្នកត្រូវការបកប្រែព័ត៌មាននេះ សូមទូរស័ព្ទលេខ (206) 257-2114 ។

หากคุณต้องการคำแปลข้อมูลนี้ กรุณาโทรไปที่หมายเลข (206) 257-2114

Technology Matching Funds Available

As a small but mighty effort to advance Seattle’s Internet for All Resolution, the annual application for digital equity grants up to $45,000 from the City of Seattle is now open for organizations looking to help close Seattle’s persistent digital pide. This year, the City is offering a grand total of $545,000 in Technology Matching Fund (TMF) grants.

The required Community Match is 25% of their funding request with cash, time, or other contributions. Awardees will be notified in July 2023. Projects must be completed by August 2024.

“Our vision for One Seattle includes being a leader in digital equity so that every resident has the skills and tools needed to access opportunities in today’s online world,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “The Technology Matching Fund is critical to ensure no one is left behind, investing in community-driven efforts to bridge the digital pide and keep our communities connected.”

TMF projects aim to increase internet access and adoption through digital navigator services, digital literacy skills training, devices and technical support, and access to the internet.

Applications will be accepted through the City’s FLUXX portal grant system at www.seattle.fluxx.io. Applicants will need to create an account to apply. To meet with a Digital Equity Program staff member and discuss their application, applicants can submit an optional preliminary application due March 13. Final applications are due by April 17, 2023. If you have questions about the application, face any barriers to applying, or need technical assistance, please email communitytechnology@seattle.gov.

Interested applicants can attend online Information Sessions to learn more about the process and ask questions. Links for the virtual meetings are available at www.seattle.gov/digitalequitygrants. To learn more about the Technology Matching Fund, visit the City of Seattle Digital Equity Funding Opportunities site.

Ways to Provide Input

Your city government has made it a bit easier for residents to report an issue. New improvements launched in November 2022 to the City’s Find It, Fix It mobile app will make it easier to report an issue, track reports, and view your service requests on anything from a pothole to an abandoned vehicle.

City Council Meetings on the Internet

Viewing & Listening: You have a few options to view and hear Seattle City Council meetings. To view Council meetings live on Seattle Channel, CLICK HERE. You can also listen on your phone by calling 253-215-8782.  To view the recordings of City Council meetings that have already occurred, CLICK HERE.

NEW IN 2022:  Our City Council meetings moved to Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. Even after returning to in-person meetings, the public will still be able to call in their comments at City Council meetings – this is an important upgrade for public input. I would have supported moving our main Council meeting to the evenings to make it easier for people with day jobs to visit us, but the technological upgrades now enable anyone to call into the public comment periods. We also updated our City Council Rules and parliamentary procedures to improve the efficiency of the City Council by enabling Councilmembers to focus their work on city government business rather than on Resolutions on other issues such as international affairs.

Commenting: You can submit comments to me at Alex.Pedersen@seattle.gov or to all 9 Councilmembers at Council@seattle.gov. For the instructions on how to register and call in to a meeting, CLICK HERE. Sign up begins two hours prior to the meeting start time.

Meetings with Your Councilmember Pedersen: In Person Again!

In-person office hours on Friday afternoons are back to Magnuson Park’s Building 30 conference room at 6310 NE 74th Street, Seattle, WA 98115, just a couple of “blocks” into the park’s main entrance. You may 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 alex.pedersen@seattle.gov.

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: Alex.Pedersen@seattle.gov
Phone: (206) 684-8804
Find It, Fix It

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