WSTC joins Mayor’s Advisory Committee to find SDOT Director

Marci Carpenter

Marci Carpenter

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSTC) is happy to announce that we have been invited by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s office to have a representative of the WSTC on the Mayor’s Community Advisory Committee to find a Director of Transportation for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). The Director of Transportation reports to the Mayor and has management oversight of more than 750 employees and an annual operating budget of more than $400 million.

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition will be represented by Marci Carpenter. Carpenter is a West Seattle resident and current interim board member of the WSTC. Carpenter has extensive experience in transportation advisory roles. In the 1980s and 1990s she helped to develop the Transportation Master Plan for the Boulder Valley in Colorado, chaired a group that helped implement that multi-modal plan, worked on creating one of the nation’s first employer-based bus pass systems and negotiated with the University of Colorado for a similar student pass program. Carpenter also served on Boulder’s City Transportation Board and conducted public meetings, with a focus on implementing a citywide sidewalk completion program.

The Mayor’s initiative and other committee members are listed here:

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition is a Peninsula-wide organization working to address transportation and mobility issues for Seattle’s largest constituency. We represent up to 100,000 people living and working in the 10 square mile area between the Duwamish River and Puget Sound.

Our next monthly meeting is tonight, Tuesday, April 8th, at 6:30pm at High Point Neighborhood House at 6400 Sylvan Way SW (east of 35th & Morgan) in West Seattle. Our guest tonight is the Seattle Department of Transportation to discuss upgrades and improvements to our major capital infrastructure such as the West Seattle Bridge, fixing deficiencies related to entering and leaving our peninsula and all areas west of the Duwamish River.

The full agenda is here:

The WSTC is also happy to release our own group’s response to the Mayor’s survey on the future SDOT director:

What are the qualities, skills, abilities, and experience you think are important in order to succeed as the next Seattle Department of Transportation Director?

1. The director should have extensive experience in managing a city with a variety of terrain, topography and weather challenges, such as hills, snow, rain, extensive waterways, and bridges.

2. The director should have skills in managing multiple competing constituencies on the community and elected levels.

3. The director should have experience dealing with incredibly large and disruptive construction projects, having successfully and measurably implemented plans to mitigate their impact.

4. The director should have experience and managing and reducing substantial maintenance backlogs.

5. The director should be committed to transparency.

What are the 3-4 key challenges or opportunities facing the SDOT Director in the next several years?

1. The mitigation work that will be required in and around the Viaduct, tunnel, seawall, and new waterfront.

2. Rectifying longstanding and unresolved weaknesses in transportation planning for Seattle communities that are isolated geographically from the urban core.

3. Developing a cohesive, unified, and single transportation plan that integrates and blends all modes of travel.

4. Expanding transportation options in the city at a time when our population numbers are rapidly expanding year over year.

What are the 2-3 things SDOT (the department) does well?

1. The Safe Routes To Schools program.

2. Engaging with the community when asked to and on their own initiative, and in the course of a given project. SDOT is always open to a given dialogue and this should continue.

3. Optimizing roads when asked to and for safety improvements.

What are 2-3 things SDOT the department) can do to improve?

1. Maintaining an online, searchable public record of all outstanding approved projects current and future, funded or not, and to create a full listing of our current city transportation backlog.

2. Work much more aggressively to optimize traffic flows, such as traffic light optimization during commuting hours and for buses.

3. Developing and prioritizing transportation issues related to geographical boundaries.

For the city’s transportation system as a whole, what is working well and what needs to be improved?

1. There is no obvious and detailed single long-term vision of where we are going. There are individual master plans for various modes of travel, as well as neighborhood plans. The individual plans exist, but there is no obvious, single and holistic vision of where we should go in total. Where is the Seattle 2035 plan for transportation, and funding for it?

2. There is no clear view of what has been done, what is going on, and what is up coming for SDOT. The Fire Department has their Real-Time 911 page and the Police have online reports. For SDOT, with its backlogs and workload, where can the average citizen or group find all outstanding, pending, and future work in a given area, with timeline estimates until completion? Where is the online SDOT repository — not project pages, but a total list of everything pending, and for how long it’s been pending?

This letter is available as a PDF here: WSTC SDOT Director Search Letter April 8th 2014

Updated: April 8, 2014 — 7:34 am
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