Rules for robot deliveries? …Regulating electric scooters? …Photo enforcement of traffic violators? These are just a few of the bills down in Olympia this year. A reminder that state legislation profoundly shapes the future of transportation. Several bills promote a low carbon emission future for transportation. Low carbon fuels, electric car bills, and more… And since transportation is the biggest part of our carbon footprint, it is vitally important to pass strong laws in this area. Here’s one we think is important for both climate and community safety (blog posts on other bills will follow):

HB 1793, and its Senate companion SB 5789, give local jurisdictions the authority to install traffic enforcement cameras at intersections and bus lanes. The city can then ticket cars “blocking the box.”  These cars not only snarl traffic, they also make the crosswalk dangerous.  We must protect pedestrians — often kids on their way to school and people in wheel chairs. Crossing the street should not be a perilous ordeal See this remarkable video! 

This same bill would ensure that our bus lanes are used by buses only. Reliable, frequent buses are key to Seattle’s transit system, and functional bus lanes are a key to getting this right. The timing is good too. Right now lots of energy is going to creating a first class transit system in Seattle. We have the only major growing bus system in the country, so we must be doing something right.  Plus, of course, light rail is a huge success. Both light rail and RapidRide buses are half way through their build-out.  

Imagine a transit system that serves all Seattle neighborhoods so reliably, cheaply, quickly, and comfortably that transit really competes with cars. Imagine what kind of Seattle that will be — more transit means more people walk their neighborhoods, we all breathe cleaner air, we bike more, and we virtually eliminate the biggest wedge in our personal carbon emission piechart! And this bill is a vital part of getting us there.  

The weather has brought a little pause in Olympia — committees are scrambling, but this bill soon heads to the House Transportation Committee. Committee members contact information is here. If you only want to make one call contact, Chair Jake Fey, and let him know that you want this bill passed out of committee. If you can do more contact the Democrats on the Committee, it’s very likely we’ll need the democratic caucus to hang together…

Sample Script:

Please support HB 1793 and pass it out of the committee.  This bill protects pedestrians, reduces traffic congestion, and promotes reliable bus service. It makes our city more comfortable, especially for the transit dependent communities, and it promotes transit options and lower pollution . Thank you.