We’re at a pivotal moment in this legislative session. Last week, we had a slew of hearings and executive sessions on our priority bills, and all bills faced the cut-off deadline to be voted out of their Committees. All but one of our bills (the road usage charge) passed out of Committee! Many advocates signed in Pro across the board—which means we couldn’t have done it without you.
Outside of Olympia, there is still very important transportation work being done across the state—and nation. Read on for important news on fares, transit studies, transportation safety, and more!
Transportation Choices Coalition
WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO
Washington’s 2023 legislative session
The last you heard from us, the legislative session was just getting under way. Now, we’re approximately halfway through session, and luckily for us—thanks to your continued engagement—most of our bills are still alive:
- Ending jaywalking enforcement
- Traffic Safety for All
- Transit-Oriented Development
- Missing middle housing
- Climate planning through the GMA
The autonomous vehicles bill, which didn’t go far enough in regulating this technology, thankfully didn’t survive.
We’ve also been gleefully returning to this photo that @BlitzUrbanism took of a pet owner’s lizards on the Link light rail:
Our Priorities in the Media
“The Washington Build Back Black Alliance is one of the main proponents of the [jaywalking] repeal. Appearing before state legislators on Wednesday, group members testified that Washington’s current jaywalking models were obsolete and too harsh.
‘Something as small and incremental as jaywalking could result in egregious loss of life because we are creating these unnecessary interactions with law enforcement,’ said Paula Sardinas. ‘We think that public safety should be focused on other more serious issues.’“
“‘What the data shows is, across our state, Black pedestrians are stopped for jaywalking at an average rate four times higher than their share of the population, and around 40% of those affected by jaywalking enforcement are living unhoused,’ Campbell said.
Campbell said his ongoing research also examined the typical locations of jaywalking citations to determine if inadequate pedestrian infrastructure played a role.”
Seattle Bike Blog
“By shifting the blame for rising traffic deaths onto the victims, the concept of jaywalking was essential in establishing a dominant car culture in Seattle and across the nation.
But jaywalking laws never actually worked. People jaywalk all the time, and they always have. If the road is clear, you cross. But by making a common practice illegal, police officers are able to use it as a pretense to stop someone even if traffic safety isn’t their true purpose.”
“You don’t have to look far to find people who have been ticketed for jaywalking in American cities. Two of my colleagues eagerly shared their stories of being hit with fines during their morning commutes to Mother Jones’ offices…“
“‘Our transportation system is not safe. People from all communities across the state of Washington are being injured and killed at unacceptably high rates. We cannot be numb or complacent to this,’ said Kelsey Mesher, the Deputy Director of the Transportation Choices Coalition.“
The Spokesman Review
“As a Black man living in Spokane, I know that ‘walking while Black’ – and crossing the street while Black – can be challenging and even dangerous. Being a Black pedestrian has led to countless times in my life when police have stopped, detained, searched, arrested or jailed me.
These incidents always involve the same probable cause, ‘vehicular interference’ or ‘pedestrian interference’ (also known as jaywalking), even though no interference occurred during most of these stops. My most recent arrest for jaywalking was, in my opinion, an attempt to send a message to me as a vocal Black police accountability activist.”
WHAT’S COMING UP
Issaquah transit study open house: March 21
The City of Issaquah will host an open house to talk about the public transit system in Issaquah. What do you like about our transit system? What would you love to change? These are some of the questions the City of Issaquah will be asking the community as it develops a new Citywide Transit Study.
Please join city staff on Tuesday, March 21st, 6-8pm for an open house event at Tibbetts Creek Manor where you can speak to the project team.
Public transportation conference future format survey
WSTA is gearing up to sign contracts with Convention Centers and Hotels for the 2024 and 2025 Washington State Public Transportation Conference, Vendor Expo, and State Roadeo.
You have a unique opportunity to change the format and add value to the conference. Please take a moment to give WSTA your thoughts on the two options in the Survey. Click here to take the survey.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Sound Transit Board formally adopts $1 ORCA LIFT fares
“A person’s income should never be a barrier to traveling and accessing opportunities. By formally adopting the $1 ORCA LIFT fare we continue to reduce cost burdens for transit-dependent riders, said Dow Constantine, Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive. “This change helps individual riders while contributing to healthier and stronger communities.”
Federal Transit Administration announces funding to explore transportation insecurity that leads to poverty
“Transportation gives us the freedom our nation was founded upon,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “Without reliable and resilient transportation, more people will end up in poverty, and fewer will be able to improve their lives. This grant will improve access to jobs, food and healthcare – the ingredients to a better quality of life.”
The dangers of driving are way more normalized than we think
“People raised in a car-dominated culture are measurably more likely to accept the societal harms and inequities associated with driving than other public health threats, a new study finds — and undoing those powerful double standards will require a profound rewiring of the way we think about … everything.”
Grant expands transit options between Darrington and Arlington/Smokey Point
“Snohomish County seniors, people living with disabilities, or those who are low-income have a new transportation option between Darrington and Arlington/Smokey Point due to new state grant funding for a Lynnwood-based nonprofit.”
Three ways DOTs can help the unhoused—on and off the road
“Departments of transportation can and must do more to protect a particularly vulnerable group: the unhoused people who take shelter on and alongside American roads, a new federally-funded report argues. In a new meta-analysis funded in part by the US Department of Transportation, a team of researchers scoured hundreds of studies, all 50 states’ DOT websites, and a range of original interviews to understand how transportation officials respond to safety concerns about encampments on land that agencies own—and how they can do better.”
Hester Serebrin (she/her)
This beautifully illustrated and well-researched transportation comic tells the story of “how the built environment in the United States came to be designed for cars and what we can do about it.” It’s visually accessible, but still deeply, deeply wonky (Level of Service, anyone??). The way we get around is shaped so significantly by the history of planning, industry, and exclusion, and it’s often overwhelming to try and convey all the factors that got us to this point. Creative projects like this help communicate some of this important context in a way that gets more people engaged and understanding. Check it out!