Friday, May 28, 2010

All Aboard WA to Hold Informative Rail Meeting in Mt. Vernon on June 12th

Our friends at All Aboard Washington will be holding an informative meeting on June 12th in Mt. Vernon to discuss rail current rail issues. The guest speakers will be Mike Pracht of US Railcar and Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island). I recommend that if you that wan to hear what is going on in rail in Washington State you attend this meeting.

Here is all the info:
Jun 12, 2010: All Aboard Washington meeting in Mt. Vernon, 10:30-2:00.
All Aboard Washington meeting in Mt. Vernon, 10:30-2:00.
Location: Il Granaio Restaurant, just north of the Skagit Transportation Center.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Reminder that Fare Changes are Coming on ST Buses June 1st

This just in from Sound Transit:

ST Express fare changes take effect June 1

First phase of Sound Transit’s simplified fare structure to begin on Tuesday

The first phase of Sound Transit’s fare changes for its ST Express bus service will take place on Tuesday, June 1.

Under the new structure, 2010 ST Express fares will be as follows for adults:

One-zone $2.00
Two-zone $2.50
Inter-county $3.00

The changes being implemented on Tuesday are the first set of fare increases approved by the Sound Transit Board in April responding to higher operating costs, simplifying the ST Express and Link light rail fare structures, and more closely aligning Sound Transit fares with other local transit agencies. These changes will also help Sound Transit recoup a greater share of operating costs from fares.

A second set of changes for ST Express and Link light rail fares will take place in June of 2011 to eliminate zone-based fares on ST Express bus routes. With that change, adult bus fares will be $2.50 for in-county service and $3.50 for inter-county service.

ST Express bus fares have increased only once, in 2005, during the 11 years the service has operated.

Details of fare changes can be found at:

I like the simplification changes that will come in June of next year. I think it will be less confusing for folks than the current zoned structure. Compared to the alternatives (like driving) $3.50 is still a great deal for travel between Tacoma, Everett, Seattle and Bellevue.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tacoma City Council to Hear Mobility Master Plan Tonight

The Tacoma City Council is taking public testimony on the Tacoma Mobility Master Plan. They need to hear from transit and bike-ped advocates that this is a great initiative that needs to be fully funded and implemented in the next decade. TCC had the pleasure of working with City of Tacoma by serving on the steering committee for the project and it really is a visionary bike-ped plan.

Here is more info from our friends at the Cascade Bicycle Club.
First, Happy Bike Month! Last Friday's Bike To Work Day was a positive day all around our region.

Do you want to channel that energy into making bicycling part of the future of transportation in Tacoma?

Come to a public hearing to include the Mobility Master Plan in the city's comprehensive plan tomorrow evening, May 25, at 5:30pm to make your voice heard. It's a great plan - but we need to tell the city council to fund it - and build it faster!

You can read more about the plan at this website.

The hearing will be held at City Council Chambers on the first floor of the Municipal Building, 747 Market Street.

Thanks for your advocacy! Together we can create a better community through bicycling.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Be a Transit Ambassador!

Blog post from Transportation Choices Coalition - Calling all Southeast Seattle residents! Do you take tran­sit or bike to get around? Want to help your neighbors try it out? We've got an exciting offer for you. In our last newsletter, we highlighted an exciting new commu­nity outreach project to help residents try other trans­portation alternatives like transit, walking and biking.

With warmer weather coming our way, our outreach will soon kick into high gear. We are in search of friendly, out­going transit advocates who live in the Rainier Valley area and who would like to be trained as Transit Ambassadors.

We've got a whole host of incentives for you and other­ residents who want to check out the transportation choices in their neighborhood. All we need is your commitment to recruit your friends and neighbors and we'll do the rest.

Using innovative, incentive-based strategies to connect transportation costs, health benefits, household savings, and the environment with transportation alternatives like transit, walking and biking, we hope to engage residents and build long-term capacity within communities in SE Seattle to advocate for transportation alternatives.

If you are looking for a fun way to engage your neighbors and friends and help spread the word about SE Seattle's great transportation options, please contact Shefali at or call us at 206-329-2336 and we'll sign you up!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bellingham Said Yes, Whatcom County Said No

The good news is the overwhelming majority (65%) of Bellingham voters support transit service. The bad news is the vast majority of Whatcom County voters outside of Bellingham voted strongly against preserving transit service.

The Bellingham Herald has a the vote breakdown at the end of a recent article discussing pending cuts to the system.

Breakdown of votes by city in the April 27 special election seeking a sales tax increase for WTA. These are preliminary numbers from the Whatcom County Auditor's Office.

Bellingham (47.4 percent voter turnout): 64.8 percent - yes; 35.2 percent - no.

Blaine (43.2 percent turnout): 45.2 percent - yes; 54.8 percent - no.

Everson (36.9 percent turnout): 31.9 percent - yes; 68.1 percent - no.

Ferndale (41.6 percent turnout): 46.7 percent - yes; 53.3 percent - no.

Lynden: (49.7 percent turnout): 30.6 percent - yes; 69.4 percent - no.

Nooksack (39.8 percent turnout): 30.9 percent - yes; 69.1 percent - no

Sumas (38.4 percent turnout): 39.4 percent - yes; 60.6 percent - no.

Unincorporated county (44.4 percent turnout): 39.3 percent - yes; 60.7 percent - no.

The debate the article focuses on is whether service should be cut less in Bellingham, which overwhelmingly supported the measure.

I wonder if this will spur a discussion in Whatcom County to shrink the service and taxing size of their Public Transportation Benefit District (PTBD). Intercity Transit in Olympia drastically shrunk their PTBD a few years ago in order to pass their last sales tax measure. As a result they have a smaller service size that has transit supportive densities. Since shrinking their PTBD they have been able to serve their community better while collecting taxes from less people. Transit agencies are often hesitant to discuss shrinking their boundaries due to the nature of their boards, which usually have elected representatives from communities that would be cut out of the PTBD if they were to shrink.

Another option to maintain bus service to transit supportive Bellingham would be to form a Transportation Benefit District. This would allow the Bellingham City Council to tax Bellingham residents with a small vehicle license fee, and buy extra service from WTA (perhaps to preserve service in the City on Sundays and evenings). Seattle has a similar arrangement and buys extra service from King County Metro

This is just a few ideas to consider as we consider the future of Pierce Transit, Whatcom Transportation, and other agencies that are on life support.

On a final note, as transit agencies across the state make tough choices about taxes and service cuts no help has come from the State Legislature or the Governor's Office. Washington State contributes less than 1% of the State's transportation dollars towards transit and gives agencies the volatile sales tax as their only option to fund operations.