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2022 was Seattle's deadliest year on the road in over a decade. Here's how the new SDOT director hopes to fix that

Greg Spotts comes to Seattle with a long list of priorities, and a lot on his plate. But is SDOT investing in the right areas?

SEATTLE — Six months on the job and Seattle's Department of Transportation (SDOT) director is learning his way around in a city where the commute looks nothing as it did for any of his predecessors 

Greg Spotts, who was sworn into office in September, is making mobility, safety and sustainability among his top priorities.

"I'm really trying to learn the city and embrace the city," he told KING 5's Jake Whittenberg. "I tell people I'm bringing New York directness, with a California smile."

Spotts, who does not own a car and relies on mass transit to get around, comes to Seattle after serving as executive officer and chief sustainability officer at the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services.

And he inherits a job at an especially dangerous time on Seattle streets. 2022 was considered the deadliest year on the roads since 2006. 

Spotts said he can make a difference. In part, by implementing safety changes under the City's new 'Vision Zero' program — which aims to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets in Seattle by 2030 — and accelerate the work being done to improve the city’s bridges.

Seattle just received a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to enhance safety features throughout the City.

A recent survey found around half of all commuters is still working remotely. And ridership on mass transit has dropped. 

"The pandemic seems to have broken some office workers have their habit of taking the bus, or taking light rail," Spotts said. "I hope people will give it another try. I want to apply the world's best design ideas to help Seattle become uniquely its best self."

As part of the confirmation process in 2022, Spotts submitted a list of priorities to the Seattle City Council.


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