In case you’ve got better things to pay attention to, this morning via Twitter the Seattle Department of Transportation decided to throw “Scumbag Steve” meme hats on cars rubbernecking on the West Seattle Bridge. The lookie-loo mentality led to a backup (of course it did), and the great minds behind the SDOT Twitter account decided to use the opportunity to have a laugh.
Here’s the tweet in question:
Apparently, however, not everyone laughed.
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition issued the following statement via its website:
While SDOT can at times be funny on Twitter, this joke is completely inappropriate and unprofessional. With years of cuts to bus service and decades of questionable infrastructure design, many West Seattle commuters today have no choice but to drive over the bridge to get to their jobs in a timely fashion. Instead of insulting taxpayers and voters for trying to survive, SDOT and the heads of city government should be answering today why, for decades, West Seattle’s transportation issues were overlooked. Andrew Glass Hastings, the Mayor’s transportation advisor, will be our guest in our Tuesday, May 13 meeting at 6400 Sylvan Way SW. We will have many questions for him about this, and we encourage West Seattle residents to join us in getting answers.
While it took until this morning for SDOT’s Scumbag Steve antics to inspire a backlash, it wasn’t the first time the tactic has been employed by SDOT. Specifically (as far as we can tell), it’s at least the third.
Here are two other Scumbag Steve photoshops that have appeared via the SDOT Twitter feed since April 30:
And since we’re keeping score, SDOT doesn’t limit its meme game to simply Scumbag Steve:
As SDOT’s Rick Sheridan told the Seattle Times, “Our traffic management center staff typically will use a humorous meme to highlight a problematic roadway situation. ... Our intent is not to insult motorists, rather it’s just to call out where there’s a problem, so people can make decisions about their trip.”
Anything that helps people laugh about traffic in Seattle is fine by us.
UPDATE: And ... the apologies are rolling in.