Thursday, June 30, 2011
What can you do about this? Write a letter to the King County Council telling them to pass the congestion reduction charge, which would stop the cuts. You can click here and submit it online. It only takes a minute.
Make your voice heard and stop the cuts!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The map highlights roads with wide lanes, paved shoulders, designated bicycle lanes, and shared-use trails. Enjoy!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
“King County has a choice of cutting 17 percent of our transit service—taking the system back to 1996 service levels—or preserving current service levels" by enacting the congestion fee.
All meetings will start at 6:00 p.m. and will be held in Kirkland, Seattle and Burien. We encourage everyone in King County to attend one and make their voices heard!
Wednesday, July 6
Kirkland City Council Chambers
123 Fifth Avenue
Tuesday, July 12
King County Courthouse, Council Chambers,
516 Third Avenue
Thursday, July 21
Burien City Council Chambers
400 S.W. 152nd Street
All meetings start at 6pm
More info at http://www.kingcounty.gov/council/news/2011/June/LP_treemtgs.aspx
Tacoma Link will operate until 12:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 29, to accommodate crowds attending the Britney Spears concert at the Tacoma Dome. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m., with pre-event activities starting at 5:00 p.m.
Sound Transit buses, Link light rail, and Sounder trains will operate on regular weekday schedule.
Riders can sign up to receive automatic e-mail service alerts for Tacoma Link, ST Express, Sounder Seattle-Everett, Sounder Seattle-Tacoma, or Central Link. Rider Alerts can inform you about special service to events, alert you to holiday schedule changes, and help you plan your trip around inclement weather.
CONTACT: Kimberly Reason-(206) 689-3343 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, June 24, 2011
Linda Gehrke spoke on behalf of the Federal Transit Administration. She reminded the crowd that the restoration of King Street Station has been ongoing since 1996. She spoke of the Obama administration's support for livable, sustainable communities, which led it to approve funding for Jackson Plaza.
Lorne McConachie spoke for the Pioneer Square Preservation Board. He discussed how transportation has been a huge part of Seattle's history since its inception, including the Yukon gold rush and the transcontinental railroad.
There was a good turnout, the sun eventually came out, and all the speakers were enthusiastic and proud of the plaza.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Friday June 24th, 10:30am – 11:15 am.
King Street Station, 303 S Jackson St, Seattle
Linda Gehrke, Deputy Regional Administrator, Region 10, Federal Transit Administration
Lorne McConachie, Chair, Pioneer Square Preservation Board
Leslie Smith, Alliance for Pioneer Square
TCC testified in favor of the ordinance with suggestions to strengthen it down the road by removing some of the exceptions. It is great to see more and more cities adopting complete streets across Washington State!
More at MyEdmondsNews.com.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The EIS presents the preferred alternative - a six lane corridor from I-5 to Medina that includes two general-purpose lanes and one transit/HOV lane in each direction. The option includes 1,400-foot-long Montlake lid with bicycle and pedestrian paths that connect the Arboretum, the Bill Dawson Trail and McCurdy Park, and a second Bascule Bridge across the Montlake Cut. The option preserves a space between the west approach bridge structures that could accommodate potential future light rail to connect to the University Link light rail station. The preferred alternative has a 14-foot-wide bicycle/pedestrian path across Lake Washington and a stormwater treatment facility.
Throughout the development of SR 520 plans, we have consistently focused on the need for a robust transit mitigation plan for the construction phase followed by a funded transit plan for the corridor once the bridge becomes operational. A fully funded transit plan is reliant on flexible use of tolling revenue to fund transit and other alternatives to driving across the bridge. We have also advocated for variable tolling to manage congestion on the corridor. Here are some preliminary thoughts about transit interests in the final EIS.
1. Transit mitigation plan for the construction phase
The final EIS did not alleviate our ongoing concerns that a plan for transit mitigation is not complete and not addressed in the EIS. The EIS responds to our request for a transit mitigation plan and funding, in saying, “This [transit mitigation] will be part of the overall construction traffic management plan that will be developed in conjunction with more detailed construction plans.” We are eager to see these plans and ensure that a robust and funded mitigation plan will be implemented.
2. Funded transit plan for the corridor which includes flexible use of tolling revenue to fund transit and other alternatives to driving across the bridge
We are pleased that the preferred alternative will include 3+HOV lanes. These lanes will accommodate both transit and carpools, and will help the expected 500-600 buses that will run across the bridge each weekday, operate at consistent speeds and reliability. Yet, we still have concerns that funding for the transit plan is not adequately addressed in the EIS. With the imposition of tolls and more predictable travel times on the corridor, transit usage will increase dramatically. We think that tolling revenue is an obvious source to fund adequate transit service and transit mitigation.
Currently flexible tolls that would allow toll revenue to be used for transit operations are not authorized by the legislature for this project. In response to our comments in the supplemental EIS, WSDOT states, “Redirecting tolling revenue to support transit service would require legislative changes that are unlikely in the foreseeable future.”
There is some money for transit on 520 that has been authorized. New transit facilities were funded through the federal Urban Partnership Agreement, and operating funds are being collected through property tax authorization, but more money is needed to fully implement the plan and ensure that reliable and affordable transit options are available to address economic justice concerns that come with high bridge tolls.
It is concerning that there is still no clarification where funding for the additional transit service will come. Given the current financial crisis of King County Metro and Sound Transit, increased funding for planned transit service is necessary, and if funding for this service cannot come from toll revenue, where will this increased funding come from in this time while transit agencies budgets are severely hurting? WDSOT points out that increased transit is planned, funded or implemented through the King County Metro’s Transit Now! Program, but this program is currently not bringing in the revenue that it expected because of the dip in sales tax. The state leadership must step up to ensure that the increased transit service planned for the preferred alternative can become a reality.
Furthermore, the final EIS states that because of new investments in transit services across SR 520 and rideshare and vanpool options fewer low-income populations would be adversely affected by the toll than previously assumed, because there are now more affordable alternatives to paying the toll. According to guidance that WSDOT received from FWHA, this minimizes the effect of the toll on low-income populations, coupled with the fact that everyone will benefit from a safer bridge. The analysts concluded that there would be no disproportionately high and adverse effect as a result of the toll, and therefore no mitigation is proposed. The problem with this finding is that it relies on full funding for the transit plan.
3. Variable tolling to manage congestion on the corridor
We have continually advocated for variable tolling for the 520 bridge and this option is at risk and may be prohibited if Tim Eyman gets his way. Eyman has filed an anti-tolling initiative (I-1125) and is colleting signatures for a full vote of the people in November. I-1125, backed by Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman, attempts to accomplish many things. It would require that the legislature sets tolls, not the Washington Transportation Commission, and any changes to the tolling would have to occur through the political process. It would prevent light rail across I-90, by pushing a section that requires that transportation taxes and tolls only go toward highway building purposes, and it would end variable-price tolling. If this measure goes to the voters, and if it passes, it will severely hamstring the ability to raise revenue to build the replacement and control congestion on the corridor. Everyone will be watching closely to see if this will go to a vote of the people in November. If this passes, our concerns about transit and 520 will grow deeper and more urgent for deliberate action to ensure that transit is fully funded through this transition and on the new 520 bridge.
Route 603 trips serving Lacey Transit Center will now be called Route 605.
(Route 603 trips not serving Lacey will still be Route 603)
Route 603 now has an additional southbound departure from 10th and Commerce at 8:05am and an additional northbound departure from the Olympia Transit Center at 6:30pm.
Route 605 has an additional northbound departure from the Olympic Transti Center at 6:30am and an additional southbound departure from 10th and Commerce at 8pm.
More info at http://www.intercitytransit.com/ and http://www.piercetransit.org/.
Innercity Transit has a full article on these changes at http://intercitytransit.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/olympia-tacoma-express-service-changes-effective-june-12/.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
1. What two or three key features does a transportation system need, regardless of mode, to make Snohomish County competitive for job creation?
2. Describe the importance of a good transportation system with limited or no congestion to employers including new businesses locating here, those currently located here, and those considering expansion here.
3. Discuss the transportation industry as a job creator, of both direct and indirect jobs, including the provision of transportation service, movement of freight, and construction of projects.
The members of the panel will be:
· Steve Holtgeerts, Hogland Transfer Company, Inc
· Rich White, The Boeing Company
· Troy McClelland, Economic Alliance Snohomish County and Port of Everett
· Dave Johnson, Executive Secretary of the Washington State Building and Construction Trades.
The panel will be held Monday June 13th at 10:30 in the Jackson Board Room (8th Floor of the Drewel Building). Even if you can't make it, they'll be streaming the meeting on their website and posting the video after, so you can watch it anytime. Just click on this link:
Click on "Public Works Committee" near the bottom of the page in the Archives section.
Then a list of meetings will appear and you can choose the video for June 13, 2011, 10:30.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
It is challenging to talk about long term visions for transit service in the midst of painful service cuts, but this Community Transit Op Ed does a good job at it I think. Clearly with all of the needs for much more transit service in Snohomish County, not less, it is imperative that the Legislature provide agencies like commute transit options (locally approved non-regressive taxing authority) other than long term cuts.
In the meantime, Community Transit is stating fallen revenue from reduced sales-tax funding during the recession as a reason for proposed cuts in 2012.
How do you think cuts in bus service will affect your future employment scenario? Do you have ideas on how Community Transit can plan their future service?
If you are interested in knowing more about changes to Community Transit service in 2012, please attend and open house and to give the agency input.
Edmonds Community College, Snohomish Hall, Room 304
20000 68th Ave W, Lynnwood
Tuesday, June 7, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Monroe High School
17001 Tester Road, Monroe
Wednesday, June 15
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
3201 Smith Avenue, Everett
Wednesday, June 22
10 a.m. – noon
Arlington Boys & Girls Club
18513 59th Avenue NE
Thursday, June 23
5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Many of these scheduling changes are cuts to service as a cost cutting measure as Sound Transit faces a multibillion dollar ST2 hole. Some of them are just modifications and one or two are actually increases to service.
The big changes of note:
Route 510 and 511 to Snohomish County are going to be eliminated on Sunday and replaced by the 512, which will be a combined run that will be slower especially between Everett and Seattle. This change is only for Sundays (thankfully).
Midday weekday service on the 554 will go from every 15 minute to every 20 minutes between Seattle and Issaquah.
The Burien to West Seattle portion of the under-performing 560 will be eliminated except for weekday commute hours.
The 577 express between Federal Way and Seattle will get additional service to help with overcrowding issues between two of King County's (and probably the state's) strongest transit markets.
The whole list can be found on page two of the current transit guide and more background can be found here.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
The hallways are packed as the meeting, which was scheduled to start at 3pm, has been in executive session for 45 minutes due to discussion of a legal matter.
Once the public board meeting starts the Community Transit board will be briefed on 3 alternative cuts proposals. Like many transit agencies across the state Community Transit is facing massive cuts and layoffs due to declining sales tax revenues. With 15% cuts last year & the proposed cuts coming out today the total cuts will equal approximately 35% (about the same level at Pierce Transit's current cuts). Unlike Pierce Transit, Community Transit is maxed out on their state allowed sales tax rate at .9%.
I will post live here as more details come out about the cuts proposals at today's board meeting, which hopefully will start soon!
4:15: An hour later the board is finally back in public session. First up they took public testimony. One guy testified and said that they should sell all of their buses and run a private car rideshare transit system.
Now CT staff is discussing previous layoffs at the agency up to this point. Since the recession they have laid off 108 staff . Those layoffs have been proportionally distributed between union and non union staff (meaning that the non union staff makes up the same percentage of the agency numerically than it did before the layoffs at 24% of the people in the agency).
4:24pm: Sales tax revenue in 2011 is pretty much flat since 2010 levels... at least it is not following. CT's budget is also being strained due to increasing fuel costs.
And now there is a presentation on how the agency can hedge fuel...zzzz.
4:50: finally getting to the presentations on the cuts alternatives. Yay!
This seems a little counter-intuitive to be able to do both...
Goals of the service change in all alternatives:The Three plans are:
-Maintain at least basic geographic coverage
- Frequency reduction across the board with service 6 days a week
- Frequency reduction with some Sunday service added
- Route modification based more on productivity
All three plans eliminate the last two hours of service at night ending bus routes at by 9:30 or 10pm. All three routes also cut some UW Seattle service, which has very high productivity numbers.
Alternative one reductive of frequencies:
On weekdays (Saturday frequency reductions would be drastically worse):
-would take 15 min service down to every 30 minutes during not peak hours
-30 minute routes would go to 60 minutes
-60 minutes would go to 90 minute frequencies (with 120+ frequencies on Saturdays).
Alternative Two, reduction of frequencies with additional skeletal Sunday service:
-Similar to alternative 1 with more cuts needed Monday - Saturday to free up hours for Sunday. Saturday service would be cut severely more, weekday midday non-peak hours with reduced frequencies would be extended by an hour.
Alternative 3, Route alternative network running Monday-Sat:
-Routes would become more efficient by straightening the bus routes, would double up routes on high frequency corridors with high ridership.
-frequency reductions on all of the routes especially high ridership routes would be much less severe.
-Saturday cuts are much less severe with this alternative.
-Seattle commuter service would be significantly streamlined and altered for money saving purposes (less one seat rides) to save money while maintaining access. North, East, and South county commuters would have a commuter feeder routes to CT and ST express buses serving park into Seattle. Some of the South County connector routes would actually be new service.
That concludes the rundown of the alternatives. Asking the board for question and approval to roll out publicly with outreach plan (even though the alternatives are now public since they were presented at the board meeting).
It is proposed that these cuts are implemented in the Feb 2012 service change.
The board moved forward with putting out the alternatives to the public, didn't have any questions about the proposals, and they gave statements on their initial thoughts to the initial plans. All of the board comments were fairly benign and didn't dive into details of plans.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
“Washington State is being forced to make tough budget decisions and needs to find ways to reduce costs by shifting more of our existing transportation funds toward road repair. This will create jobs today, give our state the quality roads we need and save us dollars in the future,” said Rob Johnson, Executive Director of Transportation Choices Coalition. “To get Washington moving again, we need to prioritize Washington’s spending decisions to focus on safety and repair first.”
More information about the high cost of delaying road repair, how other states invest their transportation dollars to cut costs and what leaders can do to address these concerns is available in the full report, at www.smartgrowthamerica.org/repair-priorities.
Here is a list of all of their open houses starting next week! Please go and make your voice heard.
Public Process Schedule
Open House meetings:Mountlake Terrace Library, Large Meeting Room
Address: 23300 58th Ave W, Mountlake Terrace
Date: Monday, June 6
6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Edmonds Community College, Snohomish Hall, Room 0304
20000 68th Ave W, Lynnwood
Tuesday, June 7
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Monroe High School Performing Arts Center
17001 Tester Road, Monroe
Wednesday, June 15
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Everett Station, Weyerhaeuser Room
3201 Smith Avenue, Everett
Wednesday, June 22
10 a.m. – noon
Arlington Boys & Girls Club, Community Room
18513 59th Avenue NE, Arlington
Thursday, June 23
5 p.m. – 8 p.m.