Timing was perfect for Sustainable West Seattle‘s transportation-focused community forum last night – this is another pivotal time for our region, trying to envision the future through a cloud of present-day problems, like budget cuts that threaten transit even as more people try to move away from cars.
The main room at the Senior Center of West Seattle held a sizable crowd for the forum – but in case you weren’t there, we recorded the entire forum on video, two hours broken into three pieces of about 40 minutes each, all included in this story. Top clip has SWS’s Brian Allen introducing the event before introductory remarks from each panelist: West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who chairs the council’s Transportation Committee, moderated the forum and answered questions, as did panelists Chris Arkills, the transportation expert on King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s team; Martin Duke from Seattle Transit Blog, Brice Maryman from SvR Design, and Peter Hahn, director of SDOT. (As you’ll hear Rasmussen joke, Hahn would’ve been excused if he had been fidgety, with his department having triggered its Snow/Ice Plan.) For the second 40 minutes, the panelists quizzed each other a while, then moved on to answering audience questions:
The clash of economic reality and transportation needs was a recurring theme – Arkills, for example, had dire warnings of looming Metro cuts, if “a sustainable funding base” is not found. And then there were those who just wanted help cutting through the thicket of information to find out what’s really happening with major projects right now:
You’ll have more opportunities ahead to speak out about transportation in our area – for example, as King County’s Arkills reminded attendees, Metro will start a new process this fall of opening the entirety of West Seattle’s bus-route network for discussion – looking ahead to the RapidRide era that’ll start in fall 2012, do other changes need to be made to serve the peninsula better? As for the city, Mayor McGinn mentions a West Seattle light-rail line now and then – will that turn up on the ballot sooner rather than later? And watch the City Council – SDOT’s Hahn said part of the Transit Master Plan will go to Rasmussen’s committee this Friday (watch here for that agenda). Also watch the community-association meeting announcements we feature here, since agencies like WSDOT, SDOT and Metro often make the rounds of those meetings with presentations on current and future topics.
(P.S. We don’t know yet how soon they’ll turn it around, but Seattle Channel was on hand recording last night’s forum on video, too.)