Month: May 2014

WSTC Metro funding poll survey results

On May 15, we began a poll on our website that asked the question:

“If you had to choose a funding method(s) to save King County Metro service only inside of the city, which do you prefer?”

The poll was located here:

This was done in response to the recent media coverage of Mayor Ed Murray’s proposal to use only car tab fees and a sales tax to fund King County Metro inside of the City of Seattle, in contrast with the previous I-118 initiative that had proposed to use property taxes instead. The West Seattle Transportation Coalition became aware of heated debates within our membership over which funding sources were best, and that they would be most willing to support.

The 5-day long online poll had 1,287 votes cast. The results are:




The WSTC has provided these results individually to Mayor Murray, and all nine members of the Seattle City Council.

The Letter to Mayor Ed Murray may be downloaded here.

Metro funding poll, May 2014

Update, May 20, 2014: 

Final poll results are available here.


On May 13, 2014 in response to King County Proposition 1 failing countywide, but passing inside of the City by 66% in favor, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced his funding proposal for preserving King County Metro bus services inside of the city only (details here on Murray’s website). Prior to this announcement, another now suspended ballot initiative was filed by the group Keep Seattle Moving. The core funding differences for the plans are this:

  • Murray plan: $60 car tab fee and a 0.01% sales tax.
  • Keep Seattle Moving plan: $0.22 per $1000 of value property tax.

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition became aware of heated debates in our membership over which funding sources were best, and that they would be most willing to support. In response, over twenty members present on our Tuesday, May 13th meeting voted unanimously in favor of this basic poll of available funding sources. All of these can either be enacted by a popular vote of Seattle residents or that the Seattle City Council and Mayor can enact as legislation without a popular vote.

The survey:

[socialpoll id=”2201268″]


This poll will be closed at noon on Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 at 10:00am.

Explanation of tax methods:

  • B&O tax (business and occupancy): “The Seattle business license tax is applied to the gross revenue that businesses earn. It is sometimes called the business and occupation tax (B&O tax) or gross receipts tax.”
  • Car tab fee: A flat rate fee added onto all car registrations in the city.
  • Commercial parking tax: A special sales tax paid when a driver parks in a commercial parking lot in the city.
  • Employee hours (head) tax: This was a city tax on businesses imposed by the City Council in 2007 and later repealed in 2009 during the Great Recession. It charged a fee to businesses for each employee and was intended to fund transportation projects.
  • Gas tax (city only): An increase in the amount of gasoline taxes charged in-city at the pump.
  • Property tax fee: A fee added to the annual tax bill for all buildings and land in the city. For example, $0.20 per $1,000 of the value of the property.
  • Restaurant & Entertainment tax: Special taxes that would be applied to entertainment, such as dining out.
  • Sales tax increase: An extra sales tax added to all eligible purchases in the city.

After being open for five days, we will publish the results of the poll and present them to Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council for consideration in a letter, and will request a public response from the chair of the City Council’s Transportation Committee and Mayor’s office.

Please take the time to read and take this basic poll.

Our next WSTC meeting:

Please join us for our next meeting on June 10th, 2014, when our guest is Washington State Transportation Secretary Lynn Petersen, to talk about the state of the Viaduct, SR99, and how it all applies to West Seattle.

We meet at June 10th at 6:30pm at Neighborhood House High Point, 6400 Sylvan Way SW, in West Seattle.

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition
Move the people.

The new WSTC Board

The WSTC last night confirmed our new governing board (click here for full profiles).

WSTC Meeting, May 2014

WSTC Meeting, May 2014

We have created a very large to-do list that we’ve been researching, studying, planning against, and are now ready to begin executing fully in through our permanent Board. Everything has been planning, research, and development up until now. If we were to issue a statement on the beginning of each project goal we’ve got lined up and in various stages of development every two weeks, it would take us until October to spin them all out.

You will start seeing updates on us tackling problems and challenging the City of Seattle, King County, Sound Transit, Washington State, and even the United States Government in the next year. What sorts of things? Here is our Current Issues page. As each item begins to ramp up it will get it’s own project page there.

  • A poll of our membership of their preferred funding methods to save bus service in-city.
  • Getting the Lander Street overpass.
  • Mandating published transparency from SDOT, KCDOT, and WSDOT on funding and prioritization of all projects.
  • Obtaining a 4th or 6th Avenue busway to the Spokane Street Viaduct.
  • Addition of BRT-type capacity to the West Seattle Bridge/SR99 interchange.
  • Development of an emergency transportation access plan to West Seattle with short term and long term components.
  • Working with King County on improvements to bus service in our area.
  • Working with Sound Transit on bringing Light Rail and true Bus Rapid Transit to the West Seattle peninsula.
  • Working with WSDOT on dedicated mitigation funding and ferry issues.
  • Working with the US Government on bridge openings affecting the peninsula.
  • Outreach and recruiting more members and member groups to join the WSTC — our strength comes from unity.

If we have to or are forced to, we’ll do whatever it takes for all of that. Our duty in the WSTC is to our membership: West Seattle first. We’ve been neglected for a long time. That status quo is no longer acceptable and never will be again.

“There are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.”

– Thomas A. Edison

Mayor’s bus funding plan is tomorrow, and his transit policy advisor joins us tomorrow night.

It’s been an unusually and surprisingly busy month, for local transportation news:

Tomorrow night at 6:30pm, Mayor Ed Murray’s transportation and transit policy advisor, Andrew Glass Hastings, joins the West Seattle Transportation Coalition to discuss all this and a wide array of West Seattle related transportation issues.

Join us at Neighborhood House High Point, at 6400 Sylvan Way SW in West Seattle, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

Full agenda:
Facebook event page:
Google Maps to our meeting:

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 WSTC Agenda

Here is the agenda for our next meeting. Our guest is Andrew Glass Hastings, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s transportation policy advisor.

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 WSTC Agenda.

This meeting will be 6:30pm to 8:30pm at High Point Neighborhood House, 6400 Sylvan Way SW in West Seattle. Please enter at the rear plaza to the large meeting room.

The Facebook event for this meeting is here:

6:30-6:40: Welcome, Introductions, Community news, Updates.

6:40-6:55: WSTC Board member confirmations.

  • Position 1: Joe Szilagyi
  • Position 2: Amanda Kay Helmick
  • Position 3: Michael Taylor-Judd
  • Position 4: Deb Barker
  • Position 5: Vicki Nelson
  • Position 6: Alon Bassok
  • Position 7: Tod Rodman
  • Position 8: Marci Carpenter
  • Position 9: Ray Krueger
  • Position 10: Martin Westerman
  • Position 11: Open

Details on each member:

6:55-7:00: New business from the Membership.

7:00-8:00: A discussion with Mayor Ed Murray’s Transit and Transportation Advisor, Andrew Glass Hastings, about a variety of critical transportation issues. Some of the topics will include:

  • With Prop 1’s failure on the county level, what is Mayor Murray’s plan now for bus service in the city?
  • What is the Mayor’s plan to keep Viaduct Mitigation money coming for West Seattle now that Bertha will be offline for over a year?
  • If an earthquake shuts down the bridges, what is the city’s plan for us?
  • What year will the Lander Street Overpass be opened?
  • When will the Chelan intersection bicycle improvements and the E Marginal cycle track be finished?

8:00-8:15: A first discussion of the proposed Friends of Transit “Plan C” to fund King County Metro in-city only with property taxes. Details:

8:15-8:30: Brainstorm topics for our June 10th meeting with guest Washington State Secretary of Transportation, Lynn Peterson.  Including the Viaduct and tunnel, and how it affects West Seattle:

8:30: Adjourn.

Join us on our mailing list here:

Join us on Facebook here:

Next meeting: Tuesday, June 10, 6:30pm with guest Washington State Transportation Secretary and WSDOT head Lynn Petersen.

WSTC statement on the Scumbag Steve incident

The Seattle Department of Transportation posted this on Twitter today, on their @seattledot account. It’s a reference to an Internet meme known as “Scumbag Steve“. The short version of it is that if you’re wearing one of the hats, you’re a deplorable person doing deplorable, socially unacceptable things.


While SDOT can at times be funny on Twitter, this joke is completely inappropriate and unprofessional. With years of cuts to bus service and decades of questionable infrastructure design, many West Seattle commuters today have no choice but to drive over the bridge to get to their jobs in a timely fashion. Instead of insulting taxpayers and voters for trying to survive, SDOT and the heads of city government should be answering today why, for decades, West Seattle’s transportation issues were overlooked. Andrew Glass Hastings, the Mayor’s transportation advisor, will be our guest in our Tuesday, May 13 meeting at 6400 Sylvan Way SW.  We will have many questions for him about this, and we encourage West Seattle residents to join us in getting answers.

Click here for the May 2014 WSTC meeting agenda.

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