The best part* about last night's Streets for All Seattle kickoff fundraiser at Nectar was the massive 40-bike capacity rack parked out front. It was packed. Other bikes were chained to trees and smaller racks down the block.

"The rack was provided by Cascade Bicycle Club," said Craig Benjamin, spokesman for Streets for All Seattle. "It filled up faster than expected. We should have brought more."

It shouldn't be striking to see so many bikes chained in one public place, but it is. Benjamin says that will change if Streets for All Seattle meets its goal of raising $30 million annually in new, dedicated revenue to make roads more accessible to bike, pedestrian, and transit use.

McGinn, talking and gesturing
  • McGinn, talking and gesturing
Mayor Mike McGinn, who spoke at last night's event, agrees with the need for change—and making people see that this change is vital for Seattle's growth. "People have a certain vision of what the future should be," he said, like a good job, access to parks, a nice place to live. He said comprehensive transportation system is key to this vision, but most people don't think of it as an means to an end. For example, he said, "Maybe you shouldn't have to buy a car to get a job."

City Council President Richard Conlin also rallied for change. "These are tough budgetary times," he said, but "they're also times of opportunity. Time to think about when people don't have much money, walking, biking, and transit are the modes the have to use."

This might be stating the obvious, but then obvious hasn't gotten get much funding. Which is why "we have to put our money on the table now," says Benjamin.

Streets for All Seattle hasn't yet counted the money raised at last night's event. The next step is to meet with residents and stakeholders over the next couple months and talk about future funding options for these projects because, in the end, "We're just a group of people who think that walking, biking, and riding should be the most important ways to get around Seattle," says Benjamin.

*The worst part was when City Council Member Tim Burgess refused to do shots of Jagermeister with me. He said he was too old and it tasted like shit. I agreed. He still wouldn't do it. Also, Jeopardy was entirely too sober. City Council Member Sally Clark ended up winning it all a T-shirt.