What's the best way to get the Weekly to cover an event they'd otherwise blow off? Schedule it at the managing editor's bus stop. This is what happened this morning, however inadvertently, as I scrambled to catch the 8:52 bus at Delridge and Myrtle. There, in place of the standard stray Home Depot cart, shattered deuce-deuce of cheap malt liquor, and grizzled looking laborer waiting for the 120 was a gaggle of schoolchildren, news cameras, ex-Weekly political scribe George Howland (who now does p.r. for the city, and who stage-managed the event), Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom (who also bears the distinction of being my journalism teacher at Blanchet High School, which ought to make him feel pretty damn old), and what looked to be the entire Seattle City Council.
The purpose of the event was to unveil the council's plan to devote $3 million to a "Strategic Pedestrian Safety Initiative," the guts of which are described thusly: ?The Council?s putting money into stairwells, and that stairwell leads up to Sanislo," says Howland, referring to a stairwell near the bus stop which cuts through a ravine to a nearby elementary school named after Captain Stephen Sanislo. "They??re going to have speed vans in school zones, with police officers inside them that take a photo of your license plate and mail you a ticket, like the red light cameras. And the third thing is improvement in arterials: Neighborhoods will get a staffer at SDOT to help them make proposals to improve their arterials.?
While the programs Howland mentions constitute the more innovative portion of the $3 million set-aside, fully half of that amount is being budgeted for new sidewalks and sidewalk repair. To this end, the municipal convoy would have been just as well-served to have met me at my doorstep on 18th Ave. SW a couple blocks to the southeast, where there are no sidewalks. SDOT, take note -- and hook me and my neighbors up.