Miscellaneous Municipal Matters from March

March 2022

Friends and Neighbors,

Winston Churchill once returned his dessert because “it had no theme!” Our newsletter for the month of March is also a mishmash of miscellaneous matters but, unlike the former British Prime Minister, you can’t return it because you already opened this email 😊.

So you might as well read on for multiple municipal musings: 

  • District 4: Engaging in Roosevelt, View Ridge, U District, Wallingford, Wedgwood, and more
  • Homelessness: Stats, Forum, and more
  • Public Safety: Resolution for more officers, State law fixes, and more
  • Trees: Advancing our Tree Cutter Registration Bill
  • Transportation & Seattle Public Utilities Committee: concrete update, the need for bridge bonds, a Seattle Transportation Plan, and more
  • COVID Updates: Public Health Stats, Digital Equity Grants, and more
  • Ways to Provide Input


Wallingford: Answers for the Seniors at University House

Councilmember Pedersen answers questions from constituents at the University House retirement community in Wallingford, March 5, 2022.

Earlier this month, I met in person with nearly 100 senior constituents at the University House in Wallingford and answered their questions about public safety, homelessness, and recent developments in their neighborhood.


University District: Cherry Blossoms

Our newsletters often cover the many serious challenges and opportunities in the University District neighborhood and this week is no exception. But let’s start with some upbeat news from the U District Partnership nonprofit that manages the Business Improvement Area (BIA): “The historic cherry blossoms located on the University of Washington campus were a gift from Japan and attract thousands of visitors from across the region each spring. In honor of this event, local businesses have come together to present a special U District menu featuring a variety of cherry and cherry blossom-themed food, drink, and retail specials.  Explore the neighborhood and mark the first U District Cherry Blossom Festival! Find cherry blossom lattes, special cherry beers and cocktails, pastry and noodles, shopping promotions, and more!” For more info, including participating restaurants, CLICK HERE. For an interactive description of the cherry blossom magic from the University of Washington, CLICK HERE.


Wedgwood Community Council

Earlier this month, I attended the monthly meeting of Wedgwood Community Council. We discussed transportation and economic development issues for this Northeast Seattle neighborhood.  The group is led again by Per Johnson and meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. To participate in the Wedgwood Community Council, CLICK HERE.  The current City Council boundaries split Wedgwood with north of NE 85th Street represented by Council President Debora Juarez (District 5). (There is a similar split in the Maple Leaf neighborhood.) The positive view is that Wedgwood has direct access to twice as many district Councilmembers! If you want to find your community council, CLICK HERE.


Roosevelt: Community Cleanup Crew

Councilmember Pedersen joins other volunteers cleaning up Roosevelt sidewalks and greenways, March 6, 2022.  Photo by Tom Van Bronkhorst.

I joined neighbors in District 4 for a community cleanup in the heart of the Roosevelt neighborhood, organized by the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association. Seattle Public Utilities supplied us with gloves, orange vests, trash bags, and other supplies as part of their Adopt-a-Street program. To launch a community cleanup in your neighborhood, you can email adoptastreet@seattle.gov or sign up on SPU’s Adopt-A-Street website by CLICKING HERE.

I cannot be everywhere at once with my garbage grabber, so I encourage you to use the Find It Fix It App, too. See related article below…

Find It, Fix It On Your Block

If you find trash, graffiti, pot holes, damaged street signs or other problems in your neighborhood that you believe city government should address, you can use the Find It, Fix It app on a smart phone to take a photo, record the location, and report it to City Hall. You can also call the City’s “Customer Service Bureau” at 206-684-2489 (CITY).

A recent article in the Seattle Times carefully researched by Gene Balk (“the FYI Guy”) analyzed the 230,000 submissions from residents over the past two years. District 4 residents had a relatively moderate number of requests as compared to other areas. I’m a big fan of the Find It, Fix It app, I have repeatedly confirmed that city departments use it to get things done, and I encourage you to use it. For the Seattle Times article, CLICK HERE.

Photo by Councilmember Pedersen, March 24, 2022

Note: Although King County Metro — which operates the buses and maintains bus stops — does NOT have a “Find It, Fix It” app like Seattle’s, you can still alert King County officials about County problems as I did about this broken glass at the bus stop in the U District on The Ave at NE 43rd Street.

For phone numbers, email addresses, and comment forms for various King County Metro bus issues, CLICK HERE.  This includes a comment form for bus stops where you can upload photos: CLICK HERE


Expanding Award-Winning Seattle Preschool Program in D4

The award-winning Seattle Preschool Program (SPP), which I had the honor to participate in crafting under the leadership of former City Council President Tim Burgess in 2014, continues to expand thanks to Seattle voters who increased investments in its high-quality, evidence-based approach.  This includes a new classroom in District 4 at the “Experimental Education Unit at University of Washington” which will offer “SPP Plus” (inclusive programming for children with disabilities). For more information on SPP, CLICK HERE. To apply CLICK HERE and for a list of certified SPP providers CLICK HERE.  Translated applications are available and additional language assistance is provided for those who need help by calling Seattle’s Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) at 206-386-1050 or emailing preschool@seattle.gov.

15th Avenue NE Fix Finally?

According to SDOT’s communication on March 24, “After several months of limited work on the 15th Ave NE Paving Project, crews are planning to begin completing roadway paving throughout the project area beginning as soon as next week. Crews will be demolishing and repairing portions of the roadway base panels and paving the remaining sections of 15th Ave NE: NE 73rd St to NE 70th St and Cowen Pl NE to NE 55th St. See the map below for more details.”

I want to thank cycling advocates who agreed to join me in encouraging SDOT to expedite the completion of this long-awaited multi-modal street project. Although the repaving of 15th Ave NE will benefit every mode of transportation, the project also includes bike lanes connecting travelers to schools, light rail stations, a new greenway, and across a newly retrofitted bridge that joins two neighborhoods, etc. – it checks so many boxes! For more on that project or to get email alerts about it, CLICK HERE.

View Ridge and Magnuson Park Crosswalks:

Councilmember Pedersen and new Traffic Engineer Venu Nemani met with the principal and parents at View Ridge elementary school on March 25, 2022 to discuss installation of improved lighting to alert cars to the crosswalks on NE 70th Street.  A special thanks to View Ridge parent Robert Johnson for persistently pursuing pedestrian safety improvements over the past few years.

In addition to the installation of enhanced crosswalks leading to View Ridge elementary school, we’re working with SDOT and residents of the Mercy Magnuson Low Income Housing Project to install a crosswalk across 62nd Ave NE to safely connect them to the Magnuson Park community center, which is currently under renovation to be completed this year.

Thank You Senator David Frockt / Revising District Maps

With the end of the Spring legislative session in Olympia, I’m reminded how much I’m going to miss State Senator David Frockt, 46th Legislative District leader and Seattle District 4 resident, who will “retire” from the State Senate at the end of this calendar year. 

As required after completing the U.S. Census every 10 years, legislative districts at all levels of government are re-evaluated and re-drawn to ensure the populations within each district are relatively the same size. Seattle City Council District 4 overlaps with two State Legislative Districts: the 46th and 43rd LD. For the changes to the congressional and State legislative district, boundaries, CLICK HERE. For example, Laurelhurst will move to the 43rd LD.  These changes will impact the elections this November 2022 and those who win those elections will represent those new districts starting January 2023. Changes to the seven City Council district boundaries are on a slower implementation timeline (elections in 2023 for the redrawn boundaries starting 2024) and are still under consideration by an ad hoc Seattle Redistricting Commission.


Outreach Trends: Presentation at Committee on Public Assets and Homelessness


Approximately 50% of those living unsheltered who are offered shelter do not arrive at the shelter. Source: City Council Central Staff memo, dated February 11, 2022 presented at the March 16, 2022 Committee on Public Assets & Homelessness.

One of the key takeaways from the homelessness outreach presentation (see line graph above) on March 16, 2022 is that half of the people living unsheltered in encampments on sidewalks, greenways, and parks still do not show up at the shelter spaces or tiny home villages provided to them. See the line graph above, specifically the two lines at the bottom of the graph which compare the REFERRALS to Shelter and the ARRIVALS at shelter: only 50% or so arrive at the shelters. Our office asked our City Council Central Staff whether those experiencing homelessness needed transportation to the shelters, but we were told that is already offered and provided as needed. To reduce homelessness in Seattle, the experts in the new Harrell Administration and, especially the new Regional Homelessness Authority, must overcome this challenge of people living unsheltered who don’t arrive at the shelters or tiny home villages offered to them.  For the Central Staff memo presented at the March 16 committee, CLICK HERE. To watch the presentation, CLICK HERE (Note: I am not on that particular committee.)


Forum About Homelessness in Northeast Seattle and the region

Sand Point Community United Methodist Church (4710 NE 70th Street) invites District 4 residents to join them Wednesday, March 30, 2022 starting at 7:00 p.m. to hear a panel discussion on Seattle homelessness and how key organizations will be working together to address this regional challenge.
Panel Members:

  • Tiffany Washington – Deputy Mayor for Housing and Homelessness for Mayor Bruce Harrell
  • Marc Dones – CEO, King County Regional Homelessness Authority
  • Jenn Adams – telling her story of experiencing homelessness
  • Sharon Lee – Executive Director, Low Income Housing Institute
  • Bill Kirlin-Hackett – Interfaith Homeless Task Force

Bring your friends and neighbors to learn how these agencies are involved in addressing our region’s homelessness crisis.  This event will be both in person and via zoom (link supplied after RSVP’ing to Bill Smith at jayhawk@coastaccess.com)

Better Data Needed on Affordable Housing

I have introduced a bill to get better data on the affordable rental housing available in Seattle so that policymakers can see the location of that beneficial housing before making additional major changes to our land use policies. Having detailed, block-by-block data on Seattle’s housing inventory is especially important as the City gears up for the “Comprehensive Planning” discussions required by State law every few years. If we truly want to expand the net supply of low-income housing, we don’t want future land use policies to inadvertently throw fuel on the fire for speculative real estate development that ends up demolishing existing affordable housing and displacing lower income neighbors. The Sustainability & Renters Rights Committee will hear the bill again and consider amendments as soon as May 6, 2022.  To read Council Bill 120284, CLICK HERE. For more on the recent history of landlord-tenant legislation in Seattle, CLICK HERE.


Mayor Harrell coordinated efforts among all levels of government on March 4, 2022 to address crime concerns in the International District and downtown as part of his “Operation New Day.“

In District 4 this month, I met with leaders of the Wallingford Chamber of Commerce, and we discussed the serious concerns about rising crime in the neighborhood. This echoes concerns I have heard recently impacting Eastlake and several areas in Northeast Seattle.

Just last week there was a tragic fatal shooting at an unauthorized encampment on the western edge of the University District in the greenway adjacent to the I-5 northbound exit near NE 43rd Street. Seattle homicide detectives are still investigating and are asking anyone with information to call their Tip Line at (206) 233-5000.  

Our office and constituents have repeatedly reported concerns with encampments growing on greenways near the highway and off ramps, and so I am urging the Mayor’s Office, SDOT, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to finalize a Memorandum of Understanding so there is better access, outreach, maintenance, and safety on WSDOT-owned greenways in Seattle. We need to bring people inside and get them the inpidualized help they need whether that’s at the Tiny Home Village we opened in the U District, other enhanced shelters throughout the region with the new Regional Homelessness Authority, or any units available in our 14,000-unit low-income housing portfolio managed by the City’s Office of Housing.

While I appreciate the Harrell Administration increasing its response to visible crime downtown, I am confident they will also ensure that other neighborhoods continue to get attention.  As we know, our City Charter Article VI, Section 1 states, “There shall be maintained adequate police protection in each district of the City.” Neighborhoods in District 4 continue to lack community policing officers who used to meet with neighbors and small businesses, identify crime trends, and build trust in the communities to which they were assigned. As SPD’s hiring plan strives to replace at least some of the 350 officers Seattle lost over the past two years so that we can more quickly respond to 911 priority one calls, I’m looking forward to the day when community policing officers can once again get out of their patrol cars and walk our neighborhoods. For several other public safety ideas for neighborhood business districts including for those in District 4, CLICK HERE for an Op Ed entitled, “Seattle’s Small Businesses Need Immediate Help from City Leaders.”


Resolution to Allocate Police Department Savings to Replenish Number of Officers

During his State of the Union address on March 1, 2022, President Biden famously said, “We should all agree: The answer is not to Defund the police. The answer is to FUND the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities.”

To provide more context, however, the President made those remarks as part of a more comprehensive approach to community safety. He also said, “That’s why the American Rescue Plan provided $350 Billion that cities, states, and counties can use to hire more police and invest in proven strategies like community violence interruption—trusted messengers breaking the cycle of violence and trauma and giving young people hope.” He added, “…I will keep doing everything in my power to crack down on gun trafficking and ghost guns…And I ask Congress to pass proven measures to reduce gun violence. Pass universal background checks…Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”

So the President supplemented his traditional concept of police officers with other programs as well as gun safety measures. I support that holistic approach combined with deepening police reforms as part of a new contract with the police union.  When I was a Legislative Aide years ago, I helped to provide the first-ever City-funds for a gun safety study with its results still being used to help people at their bedsides at Harborview Hospital today. And what could be more upstream than programs I’ve supported such as Nurse Family Partnership (for first-time, low-income moms and their babies) and the Seattle Preschool Program. That said, our police department has lost over 350 officers and detectives in the just the past two years.

So I also strongly support Councilmember Sara Nelson’s proposed Resolution for the “development of a Seattle Police Department (SPD) staffing incentives program and stating the Council’s intent to lift a restriction on anticipated 2022 SPD salary savings to fund the program.” This effort is consistent with my public safety staffing proposal from September 10, 2021 and even more urgent as we’ve received more data demonstrating the increase in crime in Seattle.  As I said back in September, ‘We need to take swift action after losing hundreds of emergency responders including community policing officers who can help to prevent crimes and detectives needed to solve crimes. In addition to our continued investments in human services programs, I am hopeful a majority of City Councilmembers have recognized that the slowing of 9-1-1 response times, the spike in violent crime that requires investigations, and the benefits of community policing require us to keep this modest funding to retain and hire officers and detectives.” In addition, I have called for the building up of effective alternatives to traditional emergency responses for certain behavioral health cases and requested implementation specifics from the Executive departments due later this year. For the specifics of that request, approved already by the City Council and seeking to incorporate the best practices proven to work in other jurisdictions, CLICK HERE. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel or get distracted by half-baked half-measures – we just need to get it done.

To apply to become a Seattle police officer, CLICK HERE.


State Legislation Refinements: Public Safety

Photo credit: AP/Ted S. Warren

In the first few months of each year, we endure a roller coaster of activity in Olympia as our Governor, State Representatives, and State Senators work hard to introduce and debate legislation with many failing to pass prior to their tight deadlines. The state government’s legislative session ended March 10, so here are some relevant highlights of bills that would clarify public safety policies Seattle:

As reported in the Seattle Times, “Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Thursday [March 17, 2022] rolling back part of the state’s sweeping police reform legislation from last year after law enforcement and key Democratic lawmakers agreed the original bill went too far. The measure, House Bill 2037, makes clear police can use force to stop people from fleeing temporary investigative detentions, known as Terry stops. Officers said restrictions passed by lawmakers in 2021 had left them unable to do so, meaning potential suspects could simply leave… Rep. Jesse Johnson, the Federal Way Democrat who sponsored House Bill 1310, said restricting the ability of police to detain fleeing suspects was unintentional… Earlier this month Inslee signed two other bills fixing parts of last year’s police reform package [HB 1719 and HB 1735]. One made clear officers may use force to help detain or transport people in behavioral health crisis, while the other corrected an oversight that seemed to inadvertently prohibit police departments from possessing certain less-lethal weapons.”

For more about SPD staffing and crime rates, you can view February’s newsletter by CLICKING HERE.


Finally, Results for Trees!

Maria Batayola, speaking in District 4 in September 2021, chairs the Beacon Hill Council and serves in other environmental leadership roles. She and many other urban forest conservationists consider tree infrastructure as integral for environmental justice and have been pushing the City of Seattle for several years to do more to protect the mature trees that provide health and environmental benefits. 
Photo by Amy Radil,

Thanks to the ongoing advocacy from urban forest conservationists and other environmentalists, the City Council’s Land Use Committee unanimously recommended the bill I drafted to increase the accountability and transparency needed to protect Seattle’s trees by requiring anyone seeking to cut down or heavily prune mature trees to register beforehand with the city government.

Council Bill 120207 Council Bill 120207 requires “tree service providers” (such as arborists and tree removal companies) to be on Seattle’s new public registry by no later than November 10, 2022. To get on the new public registry, tree service providers must be not only licensed and insured contractors but also have credentials and expertise grounded in the International Society of Arboriculture (either on staff or on retainer). Until they are approved for the public registry by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI), contractors will be prohibited from removing or heavily pruning trees. Repeated violations will result in removal from our list, penalties, and prohibitions from conducting tree service activities. This increased transparency will enable government officials and the general public to hold companies and inpiduals accountable who violate the City’s current and future tree protection ordinances.

This legislation finally ends the ‘wild west’ of tree cutting in Seattle and is a small but mighty step toward protecting the health and environmental benefits of mature trees in our Emerald City,” said Councilmember Alex Pedersen (District 4 Northeast Seattle, Wallingford, Eastlake).As heat waves and flooding increase with the climate crisis, we need to get serious about protecting our priceless tree infrastructure, and Council Bill 120207 delivers the foundational accountability and transparency needed as we work to deliver a more comprehensive tree protection ordinance later this year.

My office originally crafted the bill which was co-sponsored at introduction by Land Use Chair Dan Strauss, whose support was vital to facilitate passage through the Council’s committee system.  

In addition to widespread support from dedicated urban forest conservationists, a statistically significant survey conducted by the Northwest Progressive Institute in 2021 showed that 75% of Seattle voters support “requiring tree care providers (arborists) to meet minimum certification and training and register with the city.”

Council Bill 120207 was originally introduced October 18, 2021, heard in the Land Use Committee February 9, 2022, amended at Land Use Committee March 23, 2022, and will ideally be adopted by the full City Council, March 29.  At the March 23 Committee, Councilmembers adopted Substitute Bill 1 from Strauss and Pedersen, adopted Amendment 4 by Strauss, rejected Amendment 3 by Pedersen, and unanimously adopted the bill as amended. (There was no Amendment 2.)

Note: Council Bill 120207 is separate from the wider-ranging proposal crafted by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI). We have heard several concerns about that other department-generated proposal, which my office is still reviewing. SDCI’s proposed materials, including their proposed ordinance (which is not yet formally introduced) can be viewed by CLICKING HERE. But, in the meantime, we are eager to pass Council Bill 120207.

For the ongoing saga of trying to enact stronger tree protections, CLICK HERE.

To encourage Mayor Harrell to sign the registration bill into law, click the button below:

Email Mayor Harrell’s Office: Sign the Tree Service Providers Bill


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

Thank You, Concrete Drivers, for Returning to the West Seattle Bridge

An ongoing contract renewal dispute between 300+ drivers of concrete mixing trucks and their employers has stopped work on many large projects that rely on concrete, but truck drivers thankfully agreed to return to the West Seattle high bridge this month.

I want to echo this week’s remarks from West Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold with whom I have been working closely to fund and monitor the restoration of this vital regional bridge: “Earlier this week—March 23rd—marked just over two years since the closure of the West Seattle Bridge. I want to take a moment to acknowledge how difficult this has been for residents and businesses on the peninsula and Duwamish communities.  Getting the bridge open as soon as possible remains a high priority for all of us.  The need to obtain the specialized concrete that can hold more than 20 million pounds of force and sustain that strength for decades, has been the key issue impacting the schedule. The return of concrete mixer drivers to work at some companies has provided an opportunity to source concrete needed to guide and anchor steel cables needed for the West Seattle Bridge repair. I appreciate the willingness of concrete mixer drivers to return to work [on the West Seattle High Bridge], despite the strike not being resolved.”

For the latest on SDOT’s repairs of the West Seattle Bridge, CLICK HERE.


Time is Wasting Away to Issue the Bonds to Fund Bridge Safety

The aging University Bridge stuck in the upright position November 12 and 13, 2021 blocking ALL modes of travel (buses, bikes, cars, pedestrians) and preventing North Seattle residents from their jobs in South Lake Union / downtown, and cutting off Eastlake from North Seattle and the University of Washington. (photo by Councilmember Pedersen)

As Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee, restoring the West Seattle Bridge is just the beginning.  I would like the new Mayor’s Office to confirm that it shares my priority to take concrete action (pardon the  pun) to ensure Seattle’s fragile bridge network is safe and open to connect our communities and keep our economy moving. Rather than words, I want to see the Harrell Administration issue up to $100 million in bonds authorized by the City Council in November, so we can tackle the bridge projects from the list SDOT produced in 2021, complete the Ballard Bridge and Fremont Bridge seismic upgrades promised to voters who narrowly approved the Move Seattle levy in 2015, AND strengthen the University Bridge, 2nd Avenue South extension bridge, and other bridges ranked poorly by the citywide bridge audit I ordered. So far, it seems to be business as usual which means more neglected infrastructure and lost opportunities to create construction jobs, all while interest rates and the cost to the taxpayer will increase. 

To encourage Mayor Harrell to issue the bridge safety bonds, click the button below:

Email Mayor Harrell’s Office: Issue Bonds Soon for Bridge Safety

Hasty Repeal of Bike Helmet Law?

Earlier this month, the Board of Health repealed King County’s Bike Helmet law (which repeals it from Seattle) without waiting for alternatives to be implemented first, such as maintaining the requirement for children. Several Board of Health members said they wanted to end the law because data showed that people of color were disproportionately more likely to be confronted by law enforcement about a bike helmet violation. At the same time, other public health officials are concerned because helmets are proven to increase safety and bike lanes are no substitute for head protection. “This rollback weakens our ability to make that clear message to families and riders,” said Dr. Beth Ebel, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “This is the critical safety measure, the most important safety measure that can be done to protect you.” I’d like to commend King County Councilmember Jeannie Kohl-Welles for voting against the repeal, in part, because safety alternatives should have been implemented first. For the Seattle Times editorial entitled, “Dropping Bike Helmet Law Is a Wrongheaded Decision,” CLICK HERE. The ed board stated, “Public health demands both a law that can reinforce safety measures and the ability for everyone in the community to ride without worry they will be unfairly targeted. Getting rid of the law is easy, working on ways to guarantee equitable enforcement is hard.” For where to find free or low-cost helmets in King County, CLICK HERE.

Making Electric Vehicles More Affordable

I really appreciated the recent column by Naomi Ishisaka entitled, “Electric Vehicles Shouldn’t Be Just For Rich Folks.” Here are some excerpts: “Transportation is the largest source of climate pollution in the state, so I was encouraged to learn about Gov. Inslee’s December proposal to provide incentives up to $7,500 for the purchase of EVs. It would have provided $5,000 for a used zero-emission vehicle as well…There was also an additional $5,000 rebate for low-income people. But once again, the Legislature was unable or unwilling to get it done…Expensive EVs like Teslas will continue to dominate until we can make owning an EV comparable in cost to owning a gas-powered car, which means we have to stop punting the problem to the next Legislature and stop the half measures that won’t get us close to meeting the climate goals we desperately need to meet — for the sake of our long-term survival… We should not be the only state on the West Coast with no EV rebate to make more moderately priced EVs like Bolts or Leafs accessible — even Texas has one. As a state that is supposedly a national climate leader, we can and should do better.”

I highlight this not to criticize our Washington State Legislature — which had its hands full this year and actually accomplished an impressive amount in a short legislative session — but rather to emphasize the need to make electric vehicles more affordable even as our region expands affordable public transit with more buses and light rail.  In addition to ample rebates to make electric vehicles affordable, I’d also like to see more electric vehicle charging stations — why not require at least one electric charging area at every gas station?

For Naomi Ishisaka’s entire column in the Seattle Times, CLICK HERE.

An Integrated “Seattle Transportation Plan,” Transit, Bridges, and More

Photo credit: King County government

Seattle Transportation Plan: Earlier this month, my Transportation Committee heard from the Seattle Department Transportation (SDOT) regarding their outreach and engagement strategy to forge a “Seattle Transportation Plan” (STP) that will finally integrate the separate plans for various modes of travel (such as transit, freight, car, bike, walking). This should build upon that past work rather than discard it, but also update it and makes sure we are connecting with sufficient numbers of lower income and other marginalized populations.  According to SDOT, it will be a renewed vision for the future of Seattle’s streets and public spaces. Working together and listening to what Seattle residents and businesses need, we can improve how people and freight move safely around the city. For the Seattle Transportation Plan webpage, CLICK HERE. People who live, work, and visit Seattle are encouraged to fill out a brief online survey, sign up for email updates about the plan, and learn more.  Online surveys can, unfortunately, sometimes attract organized interest groups that flood it with their favored responses. I have asked SDOT to make sure they conduct a statistically significant survey so that we know not only what the majority of residents actually want with their transportation dollars, but also the transportation needs of marginalized residents.

Transit: Although a recent article in the Seattle Times highlighted the pandemic-related decline of transit ridership in the region, I am still confident this is temporary and public transit will rebound and increase, even as many area workers convert to a hybrid schedule with some working at home. I believe our shared goals are to reduce carbon emissions for our environment and to reduce hours stuck in traffic away from our families, so a combination of encouraging both transit ridership and hybrid schedules can be a win-win. We can make smart investments in bus ridership with our Seattle Transportation Benefit District, renewed by voters in November 2020.

Bridges:  Ideally, the outreach and analysis for the Seattle Transportation Plan will also consider the importance of multi-modal bridges that connect our communities and economy – when bridges are stuck or shut down due to lack of attention and maintenance from the Mayor’s Office / SDOT, they strand everyone, as we saw with the 2-year saga of the West Seattle Bridge. Last November, Council gave to the new Mayor the authority to issue up to $100 million in bonds to address safety issues with Seattle’s network of bridges and we await their decision on how to address this in light of the 2020 bridge audit showing major problems with our bridge infrastructure.

For the presentation at my Committee, CLICK HERE. For questions about the development of the Seattle Transportation Plan, please email SDOT at STP@seattle.gov.


Volunteer Opportunities

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) asked us to circulate this opportunity: Are you passionate about transportation issues facing Seattle? Do you want to help shape the future of transportation in the city? SDOT is seeking volunteer community members for the following advisory boards and committees:

  • Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee
  • School Traffic Safety Committee
  • Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board
  • Seattle Freight Advisory Board
  • Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board
  • Transit Advisory Board

Applications for volunteer positions are being accepted until Sunday, April 10. Apply through the City Clerk’s website by CLICKING HERE. You can apply to multiple boards at the same time.  For more information, please visit SDOT’s blog post, by CLICKING HERE.


Parking Rates Updated

Our Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is applying its thorough ongoing analysis to adjust on-street parking rates on Monday, March 28, 2022 to help keep parking spots available for customers in commercial areas and in neighborhoods throughout Seattle. Overall, on-street parking rates in Seattle are remaining at or below $2 per hour at 95% of locations and times. Parking rates are remaining unchanged or decreasing in over half of the neighborhoods and times of day. For SDOT’s blog post detailing the changes and locations, CLICK HERE. As compared to the parking rates since June 2021, the afternoon rates in Roosevelt and the U District starting this week will increase by 50 cents and $1.00 per hour, respectively.


Plastic Bags: Another Option for Recycling

While Seattle Public Utilities made the tough, but prudent decision a long time ago to stop accepting plastic bags that clog and damage their recycling machines, another option is being piloted at 10 grocery stores throughout King County. The grocery store accepting the plastic bags closest to District 4 is just west of Wallingford at Marketime Foods, 4416 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103. For a Seattle Times article with more information, CLICK HERE.


For the latest official data from King County Public Health, CLICK HERE or use this website: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/daily-summary.aspx

Thanks, in large part, to our relatively high vaccination rate, COVID cases and hospitalizations in Seattle continue to remain low. (This snapshot was as of March 24, 2022 for the city of Seattle.)

  • To register to receive the vaccine or booster in Seattle, CLICK HERE. Information is also available in Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
  • For the most recent information on combating COVID from King County Public Health, CLICK HERE.
  • If you need language interpretation, help finding a vaccination or testing site, or ADA accommodation, call the King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Capital Access Program

The Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED) is investing $8 million of economic recovery funding to connect small businesses – including those in District 4 — to operating capital. The new Capital Access Program will lower the cost of Washington State Small Business Flex Fund loans for eligible small businesses by paying down 25% of the loan principal. 

  • Small businesses can borrow up to $150,000 with 4% interest to use on business expenses such as payroll, rent and utilities through community lenders.
  • Application closes on 4/8/2022 at 5:00 p.m.
  • For the website to apply, CLICK HERE.
  • Information and application assistance is available in multiple languages, including Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese.


Digital Equity Grant Funding Opportunities 

Here is a summary from the Mayor’s press release: On March 14, 2022, we announced more digital equity funding opportunities for non-profits who work to close the digital pide in our community. Applications are now being accepted for the 2022 Technology Matching Fund (TMF) grant cycle as well as for the newly created Digital Navigator Cohort that I helped to launch as part of last year’s budget decisions. 

This year, $620,000 will be available to community organization’s digital equity projects through Technology Matching Fund grants of up to $25,000 for qualifying non-profit organizations in Seattle.

The new Digital Navigator Cohort Grant program responds to the inequities brought about by the pandemic. Through community conversations, digital navigators emerged locally and nationally as trusted guides to assist in technology support and foundational digital skills.  $250,000 has been funded into a cohort of community organizations to be able to offer the digital navigator program through grants of up to $50,000.  Unlike the Technology Matching Fund, the Digital Navigator Cohort does not require a community match. 

“The Technology Matching Funds and the new Digital Navigator Cohort grants allow our community to continue to flourish with their creativity and innovation. Digital equity is central to my vision for One Seattle where everyone can access the tools and opportunities that ensure no one is left behind,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell.

“We must do more to address the disparities the COVID crisis laid bare in our communities and that includes bridging the digital pide, as called for by our City’s bold Internet for All Action Plan,” said Councilmember Alex Pedersen, who led efforts to have City Hall increase funding for internet access for low-income residents. “Thanks to the groundwork of community groups and Seattle’s IT Department, we can leverage additional funding so that more vulnerable residents have reliable and affordable technology that connects them to education, jobs, health care, and hope.”

The deadline to apply for both funding opportunities is May 13, 2022. To learn more about the Technology Matching Fund, Digital Navigator Cohort, or the new applications system, visit the City of Seattle Digital Equity Funding Opportunities site by CLICKING HERE.

Ways to Provide Input

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.

NEW IN 2022:  Our City Council meetings moved to Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. Even after we return 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 to enable calling in will still enable more of the public to participate even with meetings remaining in the daytime.  We also updated our City Council Rules and parliamentary procedures in hopes of improving the efficiency of the City Council, including enabling Councilmembers to focus their work on city government business rather than international affairs.

Commenting: You can also submit public comment by sending an e-mail to me at Alex.Pedersen@seattle.gov or to all 9 Councilmembers at council@seattle.gov. Please remember to add “For City Council Meeting” in the comments. Now you can also phone in to 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 Webex. Please continue to sign up through my website or by CLICKING HERE so I can hear your ideas, concerns, and requests. I hope to return to in-person office hours Friday afternoons in May 2022.  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
Find It, Fix It

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