Streets for All Seattle, a coalition of over 60 local organizations pressing for comprehensive street improvements throughout the city, is hosting its kickoff party tonight at Nectar in Fremont at 7:00 p.m. Streets for All Seattle members will be joined by Mayor Mike McGinn and a host of city council members hoping to raise awareness—and money—for bike, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure projects that are, at the moment, hopelessly underfunded.

Tim Burgess
  • Tim Burgess
"The mayor unrolled his transportation funding package a few weeks ago, but we don't think it went far enough," says Craig Benjamin, spokesman for Streets for All Seattle. The mayor's proposal would bridge the Seattle Department of Transportation's $8 million budget gap, as well as provide an additional $5 million annually for pedestrian and bike improvements. "The bike master plan is still underfunded, the ped master plan is basically unfunded, and the transit master plan still includes the monorail—it obviously needs updating," says Benjamin. "So we're asking the mayor and city council for $30 million in new, dedicated annual revenue for pedestrian, bicycle and transit infrastructure to start building a transportation system that works for all Seattle residents."

Benjamin says Streets for All Seattle isn't quite sure yet how this money will be raised—one of their immediate goals is to set up community forums and hear from stakeholders around the city on how best to accomplish this—but he adds that "when you think about it in terms of what the city spends, that's not a lot of money. But it adds up. With $30 million coming in annually, within 10 years, we can make a huge difference in how our people access and use our streets."

His downfall
  • His downfall
So their long-term goal is to raise $30 million in dedicated annual revenue for street improvements, but their short term goal is drinking fund raising. Come join them tonight to hear rousing speeches from the mayor and city council members and stay to watch them compete in Jeopardy, the Drinking Game! (I'm probably lying. It's probably regular Jeopardy, just as I'm probably the only one who gets giddy at the idea of Tim Burgess taking a shot of Jagermeister each time he fails to speak in the form of a question.)

"When we talk to residents or city officials, everyone agrees this needs to happen," says Benjamin—referring to comprehensive street improvements, not watching Tim Burgess pound Jagermeister, "but it never gets done. We have world-class pedestrian and bicycle master plans in place that are equitable and fair—all they lack is funding," says Benjamin. "So our coalition is here to give city council and the mayor the support and guidance they need to do the right thing."

You can be part of "the right thing" by coming to Nectar tonight. Doors open at 7:00 p.m., three musical groups are slated to perform throughout the evening, and Jeopardy the Drinking Game! (or regular Jeopardy. Sigh.) will begin shortly after 9:00 p.m.