Wednesday, June 30, 2010

First Hill Streetcar - Broadway Visualization

WSDOT is not the only agency with amazing new visualization and animation tools. SDOT has produced some new illustrations and an animation that provide an enticing preview of life with a streetcar on Broadway in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.

YouTube transfer, courtesy the Stranger.

What may actually be more interesting in the animation than the streetcar itself (after all, we do have one real life streetcar line in Seattle already) is the cycle-track that will be integrated into the project. Seattle's first cycle-track is coming early next year on Dexter Ave, but the Broadway Streetcar animation is a great illustration of how it'll look in practice on another important Seattle bicycle passageway.

The First Hill Streetcar was funded through the Sound Transit 2 plan passed by regional voters in 2008. Through an interlocal agreement, SDOT agreed to manage the planning and construction of the project. Construction begins late next year with the line entering service two years later in late 2013. One question that remains is whether the line, which starts in Pioneer Square, will terminate at the Light Rail Station at Denny, or proceed to the north end of Broadway at Aloha or Roy. Advocates for the North Broadway extension, including Transportation Choices, believe that by utilizing some of the ST2 funding to complete preliminary engineering and environmental work for the extension now, the city and Sound Transit will be in a good position to leverage federal dollars for the actual construction of the extension.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Liveblogging JTC Transit Funding Study

Today is the first stakeholder meeting on transit funding and the state role in public transportation.  This stakeholder group will oversee the transit funding study that is underway at the Joint Transportation Commission and was funded by the 2010 legislature.  It looks like TVW is here but the program is not being shown live, although there will most likely be a video available online at a later date.

The meeting is underway and the first hour has been dedicated to introductions around the table. The transit systems introductory comments have focused on lack of stability in funding with the current system.

The main web page for this study and stakeholder group can be found here:  On that page a link of study participants is linked.

Intros are over and the consultants are going over this presentation

The four overall themes the consultant garnered from one on one interviews (page 5) are:
1-One size does not fit all
2-Focus on the big picture
3-Meeting state goals

There was a robust discussion on the value (or lack of value) of park and rides.  The private carriers discussed challenges they face when they can't access park and rides.

Now they are discussing the timeline and process of the group which can be found here:

I also got confirmation from TVW that a video of the meeting will be online probably by tomorrow.

The consultants are now getting more into the details of the current state role in public transportation.  They are mainly discussing the interactions between local transit, state DOT and the FTA. I can't find this set of slides online.

Consultants are discussing the current ways the state is involved in public transportation. There isn't much new here.  Bascially the state directly pays for a couple of important programs (HOV lanes, some limited rural intercity bus programs, Amtrak Cascades) and has some grant programs for transit such as the regional mobility grants.  They are also discussing the state authority that allowed the creation of Public Transportation Benefit Districts (PTBAs) and the associated funding options that PTBAs currently have.

The consultants also dedicated a slide to other state policies that are directly related to public transportation but won't be addresses directly in this study.  Those include the Growth Management Act (GMA), Commute Trip Reduction (CTR), and the Greenhouse Gas and VMT reductions acts that have been passed in the legislature.

Major focuses of the study going forward will be:
-Public Transportation as a tool to achieve other state policies
-Urban v. Rural diffrences
-Role of WSDOT
-Unfunded public transportation needs (which the consultant called the 800 pound gorilla in the room)

Consultants are now presenting on the details of current funding for public transportation and unmet needs.

Current public transportation services they identify are:
-Public transit agencies
-Human services transportation programs
-State supported programs (directly supported and grant programs)
-Private operators
-Business sponsored services

There was a lot of discussion about the loss of sales tax revenue for transit agencies.  Rep. Liias suggested that issues between a short term funding gap versus a long term look be teased out, because if we don't find a bridge to help the current transit funding crisis we won't be able to have a long term conversation.

Conversations have moved onto how to craft performance measures for public transportation.  Metro is discussing the performance measures development process they are going through at the regional metro task force.

The last section of today's meeting is dedicated to what other states are doing in terms of their involvement with public transportation.  The presenter used to work in public transportation at the state DOT in California.

Some highlights:
-Maryland is the largest transit operator in the state.  Is the direct owner and operator of local bus, commuter bus, and paratransit service.
-Virgina's state role is largely capital.  Most of its funding allocations are boiled down to six performance measures for the agencies in the state.
-Texas does almost nothing at the state level.  The leave with all of the responsibility and the authority including the annual planning responsibilities.  Very hands off approach in terms of development and funding of local transit.

The meeting is wrapping up leaving these questions on the table:
1-Revisit; is the state focused in the right areas?
2-Asses; Are there areas that the state should be considering?
3-Looking Forward; What does this mean for how performance is measured?

Update, a video of the meeting is now online:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cascade Bicycle Club and Enviros to Legally Challenge PSRC's Transportation 2040

Cascade Bicycle Club, Futurewise, and the Sierra Club filed a complaint last Wednesday to block the adoption of T2040, the Puget Sound’s next 30-year transportation plan. While the fight will be long and costly, they find it necessary because T2040 fails to meet benchmarks for reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions. The organizations assert that by not meeting these environmental benchmarks, The Puget Sound Regional Council is not meeting their state mandate emissions reductions.

Polling shows that American's want more options when it comes to transportation. Suit proponents claim that T2040 makes attempts to provide options, but continues on in the business-as-usual pattern, creating places that are only accessible by car. Cascade Bicycle Club's research shows that the plan will exacerbate health disparities, increase rates of obesity and chronic disease, social isolation, and the number of people killed and disabled in crashes.

Surely it will be interesting to watch how this law suit takes shape in the month ahead. Stay tuned as we’ll keep you informed on updated developments.

For more information, check out the announcement from Futurewise.

Panel Discussion on Seattle Bicycle Commuting

Want to hear what the mayor, SDOT, Metro and more have to say about bicycle commuting? Then, join Commute Seattle for a panel discussion about the importance of bicycle communting to downtown Seattle. Speakers include Mayor Mike McGinn, Sandra Wood from SDOT, Chuck Ayers from Cascade Bicycle Club, and Ref Lindmark from King County Metro.

The event will be July 14th (that's a Wednesday) from 11:30am to 1:15pm in Seattle City Hall, Bertha Knight Landes Room. RSVP to

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Attend a Meeting, Learn about how Washington Legislature could help Public Transit

Currently less than 1% of funding in Washington goes towards public transit. Are you interested in what Washington State Legislature is going to do to support public transportation? Well, you're in luck.

The Transit Advisory Panel, made up of members from the House and Sentae's Transportation Committees, is hosting a meeting Tuesday, June 29, at Sound Transit's Ruth Fisher Board Room, at Union Station from 9am-12pm.

They will be revealing study results of "Identifying the State's Role in Public Transportation," which could set the table for transit being included in a future state funding package. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Safe Routes to Schools Funding Cuts?!

In todays world, children need a safe way to travel to school. Safe Routes to Schools provides programs to ensure that all children can get to school safely.

Unfortunately, Hose Republican Whip Eric Cantor has targeted SRTS under his YouCut program. Safe Routes to Schools is one of five programs that could possibly lose funding if we don't stop it.

Take 3 minutes out of your day and ask your Member of Congress to vote against cutting funding to SRTS. Click, put in your zipcode, fill in your address, and send a quick email.

Thank you so much.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ahh, Technology. Add Our Facebook Pages

Facebook has taken over by storm, and yes, we've been swept up as well. Transportation Choices has their own Facebook page, and we would be oh so pleased if you would show your support by "liking" us. It's super simple, and you'd receive even more information about transportation in the Puget Sound area than you already do from this blog. Here's the link!!/pages/Transportation-Choices-Coalition/47469157422

We also have a page for our On The Move program, so if you've signed up for that (you know if you did), then "like" this page as well:

Thanks so much for showing your support.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thanks to ALL OF YOU: Seattle's Greenest Bluegrass Band Million Dollar Nile to Donate $1,000 to TCC Tonight!

Thanks to all of your votes Million Dollar Nile, Seattle's greenest bluegrass band who is opening for the paperboys tonight, is donating $1,000 to Transportation Choices Coalition.

With the help of our facebook fans and members and press from Publicola and the Seattle Transit Blog we got the most votes to win the donation (almost 900 votes). 

THANK YOU so much for your support.

See you tonight at the Tractor Tavern at 9pm?

Publicola also has the scoop.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sound Transit Enters the World of Transit Oriented Development

Tomorrow morning (Friday) at 11:00am Sound Transit will host a public ribbon cutting celebrating the completion of their first transit oriented development project at the Federal Way Transit Center.

This is Sound Transit first major foray into transit oriented development.  This land was surplus land after the construction of the expanded Federal Way Transit Center.  They developed the land in a public-private partnership with the Korean Women’s Association.  The mixed-use facility, located at 31621 23rd Ave S., will provide rental housing for 61 low-income residents, a residential unit for an onsite manager, and 3,125 square feet of office space for the organization. 

Here is more from the Sound Transit Release:

Three years ago, Sound Transit sold a portion of the land it acquired for construction of its Federal Way Transit Center to KWA through a competitive application process. It also granted KWA $25,000 in pre-development monies to assist in securing funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the King County Housing Program, the City of Federal Way Community Development Block Grant Program, and other agencies to design and construct the $18 million facility.

“The Korean Women’s Association’s Senior City represents the ideal in TOD partnerships,” said Sound Transit board member and King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer. “Throughout the project’s development, Sound Transit staff advised KWA contractors on the design of an attractive, accessible, eco-friendly facility that will serve as an outstanding model for future TOD projects. We value our collaboration with the KWA and look forward to serving its residents, clients and staff for years to come.” 

Sound Transit’s policy to link land use with transit planning, design and implementation dates back to 1996, when the agency adopted the Sound Move Regional Transit System Plan. Sound Transit works closely with jurisdictions throughout the region to promote land uses around transit facilities that encourage people to ride transit and rely less on automobiles. The agency’s commitment to TOD was reiterated when voters approved Sound Transit 2 in 2008.

Sound Transit’s collaboration with the Korean Women’s Association is the first in a series of planned TOD projects.  The duo-tone, concrete and corrugated metal structure was designed to complement the Federal Way Transit Center, and is in accordance with Enterprise Communities Green Communities criteria and the State of Washington Evergreen Standard.
This is the first of many of TOD partnership projects that Sound Transit will be involved in.  I'm optimistic its a good sign of what's to come.

Pictures Courtesy of Sound Transit

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

KUOW Conducting Informal Light Rail Poll

KUOW is conducting an informal poll in order to gather information on people's perception of Sound Transit's new light rail system.

Go here to fill it out and make your voice heard:

On a personal level I'll add that the new system I think is a real pleasure to ride.  Its fast and incredibly easy to use.  The best news; it is just the start of what to come!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pierce Transit Open Houses to Discuss Draft Alternative Plans

Pierce Transit is evaluating its 30-year old structure and services. Help them plan for the future!

Join Pierce Transit for an Open House to discuss service changes through draft Alternatives 1 and 2. Last fall, Pierce Transit started reaching out to riders and the general public. They heard that transit's top priorities should be connecting people to jobs and meeting basic life needs for those who depend on Pierce Transit. In March and April, they took draft plans out to the communities, based on available funding. After hearing comments in public meetings and through surveys, online, phone and mail, Pierce Transit refined potential plans. The refined plans are now available. More information can be found at

Pierce Transit Open House Location and Dates:

* BONNEY LAKE: June 2nd, 5:00-7:00pm, Bonney Lake Senior Center, 19304 Bonney Lake Blvd., Bonney Lake 98390; Served by Route 407

* PARKLAND/SPANAWAY: June 3rd, 4:30pm-6:30pm, Pacific Lutheran University, East Campus (Gym), Corner of 121st S and Pacific Ave, Tacoma 98447; Served by Routes 1, 45, 55, 204, 410, 444

* PUYALLUP/SOUTH HILL/SUMNER: June 7th, 4:30pm-6:30pm, Kalles Junior High School (Commons), 501 Seventh Ave SE, Puyallup 98372; Served by Route 402

* LAKEWOOD/UNIVERSITY PLACE: June 8th, 4:30pm-6:30pm, Pierce Transit Training Center, 3720 96th St SW, Lakewood 98499; Served by Routes 48, 300

* TACOMA: June 9th, 4:30pm-6:30pm, The Evergreen State College (Commons), 1210 6th Ave, Tacoma 98405; Served by Routes 1, 16, 28, 57

* GIG HARBOR/KEY PENINSULA: June 10th, 4:30pm-6:30pm, Civic Center (Council Chambers), 3510 Grandview St, Gig Harbor 98335; Served by Route 100

In addition, consider attending a Public Hearing that will be held by the Board of Commissioners on June 14th and formally comment on the alternatives as they may have major impacts on the community where you reside or work. Comments on the final alternatives are encouraged and may be submitted in person or in writing.

Public Hearing on System Redesign Alternatives
June 14th, 4:00pm
Pierce Transit Training Center
3720 96th St SW, Lakewood 98499
Served by Routes 48, 300