Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Transportation benefits districts in Washington state

From "Proposed Burien levy would pave way to bike-friendly future," in the Seattle Times:

The small city of Burien is a few strides in front of its neighbors, by proposing to build sidewalks and bike lanes using a $25 car-tab fee.

The proposed two-year levy, on Tuesday's ballot, could be renewed every couple of years to build follow-up routes, until as many as 20 bike and pedestrian routes crisscross the whole city, Mayor Joan McGilton said. ...

Burien is using recent changes in state law that help cities set up a "transportation benefit district." Cities and counties may impose a car-tab fee of up to $20 without going to the ballot, or up to $100 with a ballot measure.

McGilton says City Council members went beyond $20 to ask for $25, because they want political buy-in from voters. "We need to know what our community wants to do," she said. "We think it's a good test case." The car-tab fee would raise nearly $600,000 a year, the city estimates.

A lot of motorists complain about using gasoline taxes or other fees on automobiles for pedestrian and bicycle improvements.

On the other hand, you could argue it is a form of reparations for the negative impact on the walking and bicycling environments that has been created as a result of focusing transportation planning on accommodating automobiles often at the expense of walking and bicycling and quality of place.

Note that the proposition failed miserably.

Sadly, that doesn't surprise me. Automobile drivers far outnumber walking and bicycling proponents.

Seattle though offers a different example, the "Bridging the Gap" bonding referendum passed a few years ago, and it provides upwards of $365 million for pedestrian, bicycling, transit, and road improvements.

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