Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reminder: Blog Has Moved

Just a reminder, our blog has officially moved to our new blog page:

Please add our new blog page to your feed as I will be shutting down this blog within the week.

Thank you for sticking with us as we update and improve our technology and communications.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The blog is moving!

Having you seen our fancy new website yet? If not you need to go check it out ASAP.

Part of our 21st century website is that we have the blog integrated into the home page. 

Blogger has been good to us, but that means it is time to say goodbye.  Please adjust your feeds and readers to our new blog page:

I'll leave this page up for a few more days, slowly move over some older most read posts, and then we'll fully shut off the blogger page and move to our new integrated blog page.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We welcome four new board members including former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels

Transportation Choices Coalition Board of Directors welcomes four new members. Joining TCC’s board are Greg Nickels, Genesee Adkins, Josh Kavanagh and Pearl Leung. 

“People are looking for an affordable alternative to driving roads that are increasingly in disrepair and paying high gas prices. But we’re cutting transit service as demand is going up. TCC is in a great position to push for meaningful reform in our transportation system, making sure it works for everyone and gets Washington moving again,” said Kathleen Huckabay, TCC board president and former Sammamish City Councilmember. 

“TCC is really fortunate to have such an outstanding class of new board members to help us succeed. They bring a wealth of experience and skills that will bolster the organization’s ability to fulfill our mission of advocating for reform and real transportation choices for everyone.”

Serving three year terms, the four join TCC as it is poised to help Washington state step up to the challenge of enacting meaningful reform to transportation policy and making critical investments in our infrastructure to give people transportation choices and keep our state moving forward.

“I’m honored to join TCC’s board. As Mayor, we worked together to expand light rail, tackled Seattle’s transportation maintenance backlog, and wrote complete streets legislation,” said Greg Nickels, former Mayor of Seattle. “I’m looking forward to the next set of transportation challenges facing our state, ensuring that we provide long-term funding to meet the growing demand for transit service and that we make smart investments to build great communities.”

TCC will welcome the new board members at their annual event ‘What Choices Look Like’ Thursday September 22nd from 5:30 – 7:30pm at EM Fine Art Gallery – 410 Dexter Avenue North in Seattle. At that event TCC will also be launching their new website and logo as part of a complete rebranding of Transportation Choices.

Below are short bios on the new board members:
Genesee Adkins is the Director of Government Relations for King County Executive Dow Constantine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Rochester. She is the county’s chief lobbyist in Olympia on state legislative issues and oversees the county’s federal priorities and lobbying in Washington, DC.

Josh Kavanagh is the Director of Transportation at the University of Washington where he oversees the U-PASS transportation demand management program (transit, ridesharing, & active transportation), on-campus shuttles, parking, and fleet management. He serves in national and regional leadership positions with the Association for Commuter Transportation and International Parking Institute. He holds an MBA from the University of New Mexico.

Pearl Leung is the Community Relations Manager at Vulcan, Inc, where she is responsible for the development and implementation of public outreach strategies and education of Vulcan projects and initiatives. She holds a Masters in Urban Planning from UW and also is a commissioner of the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.
Greg Nickels was the 51st Mayor of Seattle serving from 2002-2009. During his tenure as Mayor, he was both a local and national leader on climate change, creating the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, which now boasts commitments from over a 1,000 Mayors representing 86 million Americans. In 2008, Nickels spearheaded the effort to pass an $18 billion expansion of light rail to build out a 52-mile system in the Puget Sound region. Most recently, he has served as a Public Delegate (citizen ambassador) of the United States to the 65th General Assembly of the United Nations.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today is Don't X Out Public Transit Day

Today is a national day of action asking Congress not to X out Public Transportation.

The day is of action is focused on what the real world local impacts would be to transit systems if the proposed House Republican cuts went through in a future transportation bill at the federal level.

In conjunction with the day of action across the country APTA has released a report highlighting the local impacts by state if the House cuts plan went through. First and foremost, under the Republican plan over 600,000 transit jobs cut across the country would be lost. Additionally, the House cuts plan would slash new starts funding as well as capital budgets in a way that would hurt nearly every transit agency in Washington State.  At a time when our transit agencies' budgets are already constrained these national cuts would likely lead to further service cuts across the state.  A reduction in new starts would have grave impacts for Metro’s Rapid Ride program and Sound Transit’s University Link.  In sum, APTA estimates that under the House reduction plan WA State transit agencies would lose $565 million dollars over the next 6 years and over 20,000 jobs!

What can you do? Click Here and tell Congress not to X out public transportation!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Moving Planet Seattle This Saturday

This weekend, come celebrate Moving Planet: A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels, a community gathering with workshops, events, and a rally calling for clean energy and transportation solutions for the 21st century. There will be lots of fun and exciting activities as well as compelling discussions with interesting speakers. Stop by for a fun Saturday, learn a lot, and show your support for a healthier environment! Below is the schedule:

Take Action
10am-12pm: China Harbor Restaurant on Lake Union
2040 Westlake Ave N, Seattle
Learn how to be a powerful advocate at two concurrent workshops: Power Past Coal and Transportation for Washington. More information on activist workshops:

Move Yourself & Have Fun!
12-2pm: Lake Union Park
860 Terry Ave N, Seattle
Join the parade of boats and bikes, feet and wheels, pedaling, rowing, sailing, walking, dancing, and skating all around Lake Union, and lots of other family fun activities at noon. Music by the Black Whales starts at 1pm.

Rally to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels!
2-3pm: Lake Union Park

860 Terry Ave N, Seattle
Show your support for moving beyond fossil fuels while enjoying inspirational speakers, community information booths, and a crowd photo for

RSVP for the rally:

Speakers include:
Michael McGinn
, Mayor of Seattle
Christopher Williams, Seattle Parks & Recreation Superintendent
Sarah van Gelder, YES! magazine Executive Editor
KC Golden, ClimateSolutions Policy Director
Lisa Quinn, FeetFirst Executive Director
Rev. Rich Lang, University Temple United Methodist Church

Engage on Environmental Justice
: Plymouth United Church of Christ
1217 6th Ave, Seattle
Be inspired by recipients of the David Brower Youth Award given to outstanding young adults working on environmental justice issues in their home communities. Stay for a reception marking the launch of the new national United Church of Christ Environmental Justice Center in the Seattle area.

More info at

Neighborhood Greenways: This Thursday

Mark Lear and Greg Raisman, the "dynamic duo" behind Portland's Neighborhood Greenways program, are coming to the Unversity of Washington to explain the dramatic transformation happening on Portland's street right now. Within five years, Portland will have transformed itself into a city where 80% of residents live within a half-mile of a "Neighborhood Greenway," a family-friendly street where families can safely enjoy bicycle rides together and kids can walk to school, to the park, and even play basketball in the street. Neighborhood Greenways are solving neighborhood concerns about walking and biking safety and these new streets have given residents an increased sense of community and improved quality of life.

Come listen to their stories and learn how Seattle can follow their lead:

Where: UW - Savery Hall, Room 264
When: Thursday, September 22, 7PM

Facebook Event Page:

If you are heading to our fundraiser first (at 5:30) you can show up to this event a little late.

Tacoma City Club this Wednesday!

I'll be speaking at Tacoma's City Club this Wednesday in what should be a good event with lively discussion (and I promise fun historic photos with current day political commentary).  

The topic of the program is "Buses and Bikes and Streetcars, Oh My!"

The program will run from 11:30 until 1:15 this Wednesday at the Tacoma Art Museum. To RSVP for the event just email

Here are the full details, see you on Wednesday:
Don't forget to register today for City Club's lunch this Wednesday about the future of transportation in Tacoma! (Note, if we have confirmed your reservation via email, then we know you're coming).

RSVP by replying to this email by today, September 19, at 5:00 pm. Members: $16; Non-Members $22.

Diane Wiatr, Mobility Coordinator for the City of Tacoma, and Andrew Austin, with the Transportation Choices Coalition, will speak about Tacoma's transit plans and the state of bike lanes, street car extensions, and getting people moving in Tacoma.
Lunch: Tacoma Art Museum. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., lunch is served at noon and the program ends by 1:15 p.m. 

Special Pricing! City Club is trying out a special pricing option for this program. Lunch will be a light sandwich and salad option, with dessert. Price for the lunch for members is $16 (instead of a normal $22).

Members may still attend for the coffee and dessert rate of $8 and skip the lunch altogether. This is an option available to members only.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Park(ing) Day This Friday

This Friday, TCC will be celebrating Park(ing) Day. We have rented out some parking spaces and will be turning them into the smallest, but coolest, park in town for the day. The event is designed to show how much space parking takes up in a city and how that space might otherwise be used. It will also be really fun, so stop by sometime between 9am and 3pm. We'll be on 1st Ave between Seneca and University.

Tacoma Link Commerce Street Station opens on Sept 29th

Sound Transit and the City of Tacoma will welcome light rail passenger service to the new Commerce Street stop in downtown Tacoma tomorrow. The new Tacoma Link station at 11th and Commerce Street marks the sixth stop on the 1.6-mile line that serves as a major connector in downtown Tacoma. 

Downtown On the Go will host a dedication ceremony at the new stop on at 2 p.m. on Sept. 29 to celebrate the opening.

The project was paid for and led by the city of Tacoma in coordination with Sound Transit. It includes two 40-foot platforms – one on the west side of Commerce Street for southbound riders and another on the east side for northbound travelers – platform lighting, accessibility ramps, security cameras, and passenger shelters that incorporate etched glass artwork by Tacoma artist Chandler O’Leary. The new station opens at a time when ridership on Tacoma Link is growing, increasing 16 percent in the last year to 3,330 riders a day.

“Our new light rail station will not only give business district transit users greater access to Tacoma Link,” said Mayor Marilyn Strickland, “but also bring residents, commuters, and visitors to more destinations, making it even easier for people to get around downtown.” 

Join the celebration on the 29th!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Portland Transit Authority: TriMet's Troublesome Transit Tax

Most people never really think about how their transit agency gets its revenue. Funding is what primarily determines how much transit service will be available, so it is vitally important to understand these issues. For this installment of Portland Transit Authority, I will focus on the funding structure of TriMet, the Portland region's transit agency. In particular, I will explore how TriMet is very different from most transit agencies and what impact that has on transit service and investment. We will find that the same mechanisms that have helped create a model transit agency may also be unsustainable in the long run.

Most transit agencies receive the bulk of their funding from sales tax, but TriMet instead relies on a payroll tax of 0.6918% on employers in the transit district. Payroll taxes and sales taxes share the unfortunate quality of fluctuating in response to the overall economy, but it is worth parsing out how they are different. Payroll taxes are not as universal, since they only apply to employed people, whereas sales tax is paid by pretty much everyone. Payroll taxes are also obviously dependent on employment, and thus are arguably worse off in the current jobless recovery in which consumer spending is starting to increase but employment has yet to respond. Finally, the payroll tax is somewhat more regressive than a sales tax, assuming that essentials like food are not subject to the sales tax. After all, a person has a fair amount of control over how much sales tax they pay, while the payroll tax is a flat tax on all employees. The counterargument would be that at least unemployed people do not have to pay the tax, but of course the reality is that many gainfully employed people are still deep in poverty.

TriMet's payroll tax is also different from most transit agencies in that the tax rate goes up by a small amount each year automatically. Over the next 12 years the rate will gradually increase from .6918% to .8218%. This system has been a key to TriMet's success in building out its frequent bus network and MAX light rail system, since in normal times they have been able to rely on a steadily increasing stream of revenue over time. The recent drop in employment, however, has exposed some problems inherent in using a revenue source that only gradually increases.

The main problem is a lack of flexibility. While a Washington transit agency like C-Tran has the option to pursue a ballot measure to increase funding in response to the economic downturn, TriMet is stuck with a payroll tax that increases at such a slow rate that it will take an estimated 10 years to restore recently cut service levels. Another problem is that with an aging workforce, overall wage growth will be much lower than projections in the coming decades. With a smaller percentage of the population in the workforce, reliance on a payroll tax may not make much sense anymore.

One other funding tool TriMet has at its disposal is the ability to bond against future payroll tax revenue. This controversial practice basically involves taking away future operating dollars to use for current capital expenses. TriMet has recently borrowed $60 million in this way for the Milwaukie Light Rail project, and is also planning to use debt to purchase new vehicles over the next several years. This is could prove to be an unsustainable practice in the long-term. Without new revenue sources to pay back these bonds, TriMet will be left using operating revenue to service debt instead of investing in service hours. For the time being, debt service consumes about 5% of TriMet's total expenditures, but this will continue to grow as the agency is forced to borrow to pay for needed capital expenses.

To me it is clear that the state of Oregon needs to grant TriMet a new and different taxing authority. Otherwise the agency will continue to go deeper into debt and transit riders will continue to see falling service hours and rising fares. Highway tolls and vehicle license fees are two options often used elsewhere, and have an added benefit of making transit more attractive as an alternative to driving, leading to higher ridership and higher farebox revenues. Tolls in particular help level the playing field by making the marginal cost of driving approach the marginal cost of taking transit.

Another attractive option would be a small sales tax to supplement the payroll tax. Even a 1% sales tax in the TriMet service area would generate substantial revenue without having a substantial negative impact on area retailers. After all, it would still be far less than the 8.2% rate in neighboring Vancouver, WA. The state of Oregon has repeatedly rejected a state sales tax, but perhaps it would be appropriate look at giving cities and regions a local option to tax themselves for better service. Whatever the solution, something needs to change for TriMet to live up to its reputation as one of the nation's best transit agencies.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

You ought to be in pictures!

Calling all photo enthusiasts! TCC invites all budding photographers to submit photos of your favorite transportation-oriented locations for our upcoming annual fundraiser on Sept 22, “What Choices Look Like.” 

Got a kickin' sunset shot along the Myrtle Edwards bike path? How about a cityscape shot taken from the light rail? Or, maybe you want to capture your favorite bus line/bus stop, pedestrian crossing, or transit hub. Submissions can be photos of locations with or without people in them, but all submissions must be original work and include a mode of transportation. Please provide a photo caption that describes where the photo was taken, and why it represents "what choices look like."

We'll leave it up to the sound judgment of TCC staff to pick the best photos, so show us what you've got! Several photos will be showcased at “What Choices Look Like,” our highly attended annual fundraiser. (Did you register yet? What better way to spend World Car-free Day on September 22?)

Buy your ticket today and get an early bird discount!

Give us your best shot! Send your photo submissions in .jpeg format in the largest file size possible to Jennifer Olegario at by Tuesday, September 13.

Transit Oriented Communities Workshop is Tomorrow In Shoreline!

Be there or be left out!

\Transit-oriented communities are all the rage right now in North King County and South Snohomish County. Sound Transit is expanding the Link Light Rail, the City of Shoreline just adopted a “Town Center Plan,” and the City of Bothell has developed a Downtown Revitalization Plan.

So what does this all mean?

To help set the vision for transit-oriented communities and discuss tools for implementation, the organizations Futurewise and Transportation Choices Coalition and the architecture firm GGLO will present an informative workshop and visual exhibit at the Shoreline Public Library on Friday, September 9 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“There is a real desire to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods by providing better access to walking, biking and transit, and more affordable housing options,” said Brock Howell, King County Program Director for Futurewise. “We hope our workshop on transit-oriented communities can help inform these policy discussions.”

The workshop will feature a presentation by representatives from Futurewise and GGLO. Participants will explore a vision for compact urban areas and the protection of our farms, forestlands, and green space, and how to make it happen.

Futurewise launched its Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) Blueprint program to encourage more housing and transportation choices for Washingtonians. The program advances vibrant and healthy neighborhoods through a comprehensive report and action plan, a traveling gallery exhibit, and community meetings across the state to promote growth near transit. 

The Blueprint program is anchored by a comprehensive publication Blueprint for Transit Oriented Communities (pdf). It’s an action plan for promoting neighborhoods that give people greater access to housing, jobs, shopping, and recreation without relying on a personal vehicle. Created by GGLO, Futurewise, and Transportation Choices Coalition, the purpose of the Blueprint is to provide guidance and inspiration for the community at large, and also to serve as an advocacy manual for new legislation that will promote exemplary transit oriented communities in cities throughout Washington State.

The publication presents an image-rich vision of TOC, provides research linking TOC patterns to numerous social and environmental benefits, and lays out policy actions from the local to federal level to encourage more TOC patterns.

Alan Grainger, founding principal of GGLO, said, "For this to happen, visionary planning and design must go hand-in-hand with smart policies and attention to the unique qualities of each community."
The workshop is free and open to the public and oriented toward public officials, planners, and informed citizens.

What: Presentation & Discussion on transit-oriented communities.
Date: Friday, September 9, 2011
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: Shoreline Library
Address: 345 NE 175th, Shoreline WA 98155

More information about transit-oriented communities available at

Monday, August 29, 2011

Introducing new blog series "The Portland Transit Authority"

Blog Note:
While TCC is a Washington non-profit that works to increase transportation choices for people across the state, we also recognize that we do not live on an island. The impacts of transportation and land-use policy decisions do not end at arbitrary political lines. We cannot advocate for high-speed rail if it doesn't extend into Vancouver, BC and Portland, OR. It is impossible to talk about growth and traffic in Spokane unless you acknowledge a lot of people commute from Idaho to Eastern Washington. In this vein, we are starting a new series on the blog looking specifically at transit issues in Portland titled "Portland Transit Authority". The author is Zef Wagner, a former Seattleite and TCC intern who is living in Portland studying urban and transit planning. His blog series (which we will generally post every other Monday ) will get past the broad statements that transit in Portland is perfect and will dive into transit issues in the Rose City with a level of nerdyness that many of you will enjoy and hopefully with enough explanation that the average reader can understand. So regardless of where you live, we encourage you to join us as every couple of weeks we put our soccer rivalries aside to explore the world of Portland's public transit. Thank you Zef for contributing to the blog and I hope you all enjoy!

We all know Portland has an amazing public transit system, right?:

"US News ranks Portland No. 1 for public transit"
--The Oregonian

"Portland is widely considered one of the nation’s leaders in public transit."
--US News and World Report

"Portland’s transit system is held up nationally as a model network, as it should be."
--Wired Magazine

These breathless exclamations of Portland's transit excellence are commonplace, but many dispute this rosy image:

"Was that u.s. news 10-best transit cities list based on anything?"
--Human Transit

"Bus service hours fell 13.3 percent from October 2008 to October 2010."
--Portland Afoot

"These cuts result in a heavier burden on the growing number of people who depend on public transportation."

"Many TriMet riders have seen their service degrade over the years, despite billions of dollars being spent on new investments."
--Portland Transport

So who is right? Let's take a look.

Portland certainly does have an impressive rail system, with over 50 miles of light rail, a downtown streetcar line, and a commuter rail line carrying people all over the 3-county region. Portland's 11.5% transit mode share, meanwhile, is quite high compared to most other cities of similar size (though notably far below Seattle's 19.5%). TriMet, the sole transit agency for the region, has invested billions of dollars in rail expansion over the last 25 years and has recently started construction on yet another new light rail line. A major streetcar extension is also under construction, with another in the early planning stages.

This flurry of rail expansion contrasts with a series of major bus service cuts over the last several years. Like most public transit agencies, TriMet has seen a decline in projected revenue due to the recession and has cut service accordingly. Both bus and light rail have seen major cuts in frequency, reducing the value of Portland's normally excellent grid-based network, which relies on easy connections between transit lines to function as designed. The cuts have also forced TriMet to redefine their lauded Frequent Service network from its previous level of "every 15 minutes, all day, every day" to "every 15 minutes during morning and afternoon rush hours on weekdays." That's a major shift from a network designed for people using transit for all kinds of trips to one designed mainly for downtown commuters.

The latest blow came late last year when voters rejected a $125 million bond measure meant to replace much of TriMet's aging bus fleet and improve bus stops throughout the region. This rejection may be a sign that TriMet is in the grips of the infamous "transit death spiral," in which service cuts lead to reduced public support of transit, which in turn leads to lack of funding and further service cuts.

Since my recent move from Seattle to Portland I have been fascinated by the contrast between this city's outsized transit reputation and the reality of the actual transit system. Portland is a transit leader in many ways, with its willingness to make major capital investments in both long-distance light-rail and local-circulator streetcar, but like many cities it has been plagued by a lack of operations funding and a loss of public trust.

My goal with this series will be to explore the reality of public transit in Portland and highlight major transit-related projects and issues that Portland is wrestling with during these difficult economic times.

Buses in need of replacement are a huge part of Trimet's system. Picture Courtesy of

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tacoma Tomorrow: Suburbs Have not Supported Transit in Over 10 Years

Chris Karnes over at Tacoma Tomorrow is diving into a series of posts about past election results for transit in Pierce County and what the agency needs to do in order to be successful going forward.

In his most recent post Chris looks at Pierce Transit election results between 2002 and more recent transit elections (2007, 2008, 2011).

The data is conclusive, Pierce County voters have not changed in the last 10 years: Tacoma, Lakewood, and Downtown Gig Harbor and Puyallup continue to to say yes to to transit, while voters in the suburbs and exurbs continue to say no.

Results from Pierce Transit Prop 1 - February 2002
Pierce Transit Prop 1, Feb 2011.  Red = Failed Transit votes in 2007, 2008, 2011.
Chris goes on to point out what has changed:

In the last ten years Pierce County's unincorporated population has mushroomed.  In South Hill, the population increased 65.8%.  Tacoma's growth rate hasn't kept pace, only increasing a paltry 2.5%.  So generally speaking, that's a lot more no votes than Tacoma's urban pro-transit voters can handle.

If voters in the suburbs say get rid of transit funding in 1999 and then reject additional transit funding in 2002, say no again in 2007, no in 2008, and no in 2011, why should we expect a yes under any circumstances?

The whole thing is well worth a read.  While you are there, make sure to read his earlier post on the 163 transit hostile districts in Pierce County and the need for Pierce Transit to shrink its service and taxing area to be successful in the future.

To add my own two cents, we cannot stay in a world where the urbanized, high-transit use areas of Pierce County have sub-par transit service due to a lack of political will to pay for transit in the exurban and rural areas of the county.  In the last 3 years Pierce Transit has cut around 43% of their transit service, which is unacceptable in the short and long-term.  Buses stop running at 10pm and high ridership routes like the Route 1 are often overcapacity and delayed (I know this from experience and Piece Transit's data backs this up).

We need great bus service in Pierce County to keep people moving and get our economy back on track.  In order to restore bus service Pierce Transit needs to get the rest of its sales tax authority.  In order for this to happen they need to cut out the low ridership, high service cost, transit hostile parts of the county.  To be clear, a new and improved smaller Pierce Transit would not be "Tacoma Transit" as some have claimed.  The Pierce Transit of the future could provide great bus service to places where transit is cost-effective and works (i.e. Tacoma, Lakewood, Puyallup, Sumner, South Hill, Gig Harbor, Dupont, Parkland, Spanaway, and Fife) and at the same time only impose taxes on communities that receive bus service; a win-win scenario for transit supporters and anti-tax exurbanites alike!

Monday, August 22, 2011

520 Bridge Will Be Closed This Weekend

This Friday night the 26th at 11pm, 520 will close from 405 to Montlake until the following Monday morning, the 29th, at 5am. Expect delays and congestion in surrounding areas.

More info at

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Join TCC & our Clark County Partners for a Kick Off to Preserve Buses Next Tuesday!

One of our top priorities over the past few years at Transportation Choices has been and continues to be saving bus service across Washington State.  The transit funding crisis is hitting almost every single transit agency in Washington State as well as across the country.

Thankfully C-tran in Clark County has one of the lowest sales tax rates in the state for medium and large sized system and still has sales tax authority left.  For a .2% sales tax increase (2 pennies on a 10 dollar purchase) Clark County voters will have an opportunity to stop drastic 35% cuts to their communities' bus service.  

TCC is a proud endorser of the campaign and we've been helping the campaign, Preserve Our Buses, all summer.  Next Tuesday at 5:30pm is the official campaign kick-off.  If you are based in Portland of Vancouver please consider joining us for this exciting event.  If you don't live in the area but care about saving bus service across Washington State you can donate to the cause by clicking HERE.

, August 23th, 5:30pm
The Atrium, 606 Broadway, Vancouver

Please CLICK HERE to RSVP. If you can’t join us consider donating to the campaign online. Every dollar you invest in this campaign will help us keep buses running on our streets.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You Did It: Buses Saved in King County

Last night, the King County Council saved Metro!

The councilmembers who voted in favor of the congestion relief charge were Bob Ferguson, Larry Gossett, Jane Hague, Kathy Lambert, Joe McDermott, Julia Patterson, and Larry Phillips.

Councilmember Larry Phillips championed the cause to save metro by proposing the initial congestion reduction charge at the County Council. Thank you Larry Phillips, Executive Constantine, Joe McDermott, and the other five other councilmembers who voted in favor to save Metro buses. This was not an easy vote to take and we appreciate your leadership.

Send a thank you letter to the councilmembers.

We're in this situation because of out-dated state law that restricts local voters to only fund their transit service with the sales tax -- a funding source that is regressive, volatile, and declining.

Luckily the state legislature recognized this problem for King County Metro and gave the County Council a temporary stop-gap measure to adopt until the state comes up with a longterm, statewide solution.

The council has adopted the stop-gap measure, so let's take this time to celebrate and to thank our councilmembers.

Send your thank you letter now!

This wasn't possible without you. Together we signed and sent more than 15,000 petitions and letters. We made hundreds, maybe thousands, of calls into the councilmembers. And we stood in a two-block-long line for two hours in order to testify at a public hearing.

So, even more than a thank you to our councilmembers, this is a big thank you to you.

Together we saved our buses!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Breaking News: Deal Announced to Save King County Metro

You did it!
The King County Council heard your testimony, read your emails, and saw your petitions. Thanks to you and a broad coalition, a deal was announced today to save King County Metro! 

Councilmembers Hague and Lambert joined the five members of the County Council who already agreed to adopt the congestion relief charge. This gives us the votes we need to save metro for two years! For a full rundown of today's exciting announcement visit this Seattle Transit Blog post or read our live coverage of the event on twitter (@transpochoices)

Our work is not yet done!
An agreement has been made to pass the congestion relief charge next Monday, but we need to turn out transit supporters to that hearing to make sure the County Council takes the final vote to save metro. Please join us at Monday's hearing to see this exciting deal through!

The hearing is on Monday August 15th from 1:30-3:00pm at the King County Courthouse, 516 Third Ave. Join us on Monday in the final step to save King County Metro!

Thank you for all that you do!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rally this Saturday to Preserve Buses at the Clark County Fair

TCC is helping the preserve our buses campaign hold a rally this Saturday at the Clark County fair to build support to saving bus service.  If proposition one passes this November in Clark County all of the revenues will be use to save existing bus service, nothing else!

Currently for just $2 you can take the shuttle right to the entrance of the fair, save a dollar on admission, and another six dollars on parking.

However, if Proposition 1 fails, the shuttle along with lots of other C-TRAN services will be cut.  Please join TCC & the Preserve our Buses campaign for a rally:

Saturday, August 13th, 1pm
Clark Co Fair Grounds, NE entrance (Blue Gate)
17402 NE Delfel Road, Ridgefield, WA 98642

To RSVP please click here. For info on taking the shuttle to the fair click here. Together we can work together to preserve our buses in Clark County!

Is the Federal Gas Tax on its Way Out?

The infrastructurist reported earlier this week that the federal gas tax is set to expire in September.
Under normal circumstances Congress would reauthorize the gas tax so the federal government could continue to help states fix their crumbling bridges and highways.  But in this crazy time, you never know what Congress will do.

The federal gas tax is a primary source of funding for transportation for state and the federal government. Since 1993, Congress has not raised the gas tough enough to even keep up with inflation.  As a result, America’s roads and transit systems are falling into a state of disrepair. If the gas tax are about to expires states would have to make up for the loss by increasing their own gas tax in order to maintain their infastructure.

A scary scenario and the article is worth a quick read.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Council Report Shows Strong Support for CRC

Via Metro Matters:

A King County Council report indicates that almost 5,000 people have testified at hearings on the Congestion Relief Charge, with less than one percent opposing it. Along with 10,000 petition signatures, this is a huge outpouring of support.

The council will make a final vote this Monday, the 15th. They are no longer taking testimony, but the public is welcome is to attend.

Thanks to anyone who has attended a hearing, signed a petition, or called their councilmember!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Transportation as a Civil Rights Issue

Transportation is becoming one of the biggest issues in modern life. But how the funding is used to expand public transportation it’s a big concern for everyone but especially  for low-income workers and people of color.

Recent research shows that Americans make about 10.5 percent of all trips on foot, but only 1.5 percent of federal transportation funds are located to retrofitting roads with sidewalks and crosswalks, while 80 percent of federal funds go to highways.  Besides that, the cost of owning a car ($9,500 dollars per year) can eat up half the income of a family living in poverty. This wired article titled, “Transportation as a Civil Rights Issue” dives into the findings of the recent report on this topic done by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.  It is a must read.

Link to the report is here.

Seafair I-90 Bridge Closures

The I-90 bridge will be closed the next few days at the following times:

Today - 1:15pm-2:40pm
Friday - 12:45pm-2:40pm
Saturday - 12:45pm-2:40pm
Sunday - 12:45pm-2:40pm

Friday-Sunday there will be shuttles from the Othello station to the Hydro course.

Click here to see if your bus route is affected by Seafair.

More at Seattle Transit Blog.

Our Summer Happy Hour is Tomorrow at 4-6pm!

It is finally summer in the Puget Sound – or at least trying to be.

To celebrate the sporadic sun, instead of having our regular Friday Forum, we will be holding a Friday happy hour. Please join our members, supporters, & future members for this social event! It will be a great opportunity to bring together our friends, celebrate successes for the first half of the year, and catch up with all of you. Also, if you haven’t met our new Membership Manager, Carla Saulter (a.k.a. BusChick), you can do so on August 5th over a cocktail!

Last but not least, we will be announcing some exciting news at the event.

The event is free (though donations are always accepted), and TCC will buy appetizers, but you are on your own for drinks (unless you can get a friend or stranger to buy you one, of course).

WHAT: TCC August Happy Hour
WHEN: Friday August 4-6pm: drop by whenever you can
WHERE: The Triple Door Musicquarium Lounge 216 Union Street, Downtown Seattle

Please RSVP here so we know how many people to except!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Carla Saulter Featured in Family Transit Workshop this Saturday!

King County's get in motion campaign is hosting a family transit workshop with TCC employee and transit rockstar Carla Saulter (buschick) as the headliner. 

Don't miss this exciting education event!

Learn about what to carry, how to
know where the bus is going and
when it will arrive, how to keep
kids entertained, and more!

Details: This workshop will be a casual, kid-friendly discussion
group with healthy snacks provided. Free family Zoo passes (good
for 2 adults and 2 children) will be given to the first ten families
who arrive. All participants will receive a family transit guide to
take home.

When: Saturday, 8/6, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
Where: Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP)
722 18th Ave, Squire Park

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Even More Bus Cuts on the Horizon?

The PI's Scott Gutierrez points out that Republicans in congress have proposed a 6-year transportation bill that would cut Washington state's federal transit funding by $128 million per year. Metro estimates it would lose approximately $21 million per year under this scenario. The Congestion Relief Charge (CRC) would only raise about $25 million per year, which means Metro may still have to cut buses by 6% even if the CRC passes. In other words, that loss of federal funding would cancel out most of the benefit of the CRC. If the CRC fails and Metro loses that federal funding, that would be a double-whammy and could mean even bigger cuts than previously expected.

Cuts in federal funding would also jeopardize Sound Transit's plans to extend Link light rail. If the Republican plan decreased funding to the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts grant program, Washington state could lose $38 million slated for Rapid Ride lines from Burien to Renton and Shoreline to downtown Seattle.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Big News and Smaller News from Sound Transit

It seems like transit has dominated the news cycles recently.  With the metro bus cuts hearings last week and the Sound Transit Bellevue activity this week its been all transit all the time. 

In not so monumental, but still newsworthy, Sound Transit announced in its CEO Report this afternoon that the new light rail station in Tacoma will be called Commerce Street Station.  They also announced that the North entrance for the Sounder Trains is going to reopen with temporary scaffolding  installed to protect riders.  As an infrequent Sounder rider this is welcome news.  I took the train once during the closure and the lineup to get out using just the south exists was massive and time consuming.

Here is more from the afternoon CEO report:

Commerce Street Station

It's official. The name of the new Tacoma Link station is the Commerce Street Station.
The City of Tacoma last year proposed adding a station north of the Convention
Center Station on Commerce Street, just south of South 11th Street. The City of Tacoma built the new station, which is expected to open in August.
The 1.6-mile Tacoma Link line was completed in 2003 and serves the downtown area. The new station will expand access to businesses, increase ridership, and improve mobility in downtown Tacoma.

King Street Station North Entrance to open

Starting Monday, the north entrance to the Sounder King Street Station is scheduled to reopen. At that time, temporary protective scaffolding will be in place to prevent debris from falling from the overhead bridge structure. 
The north entrance, which is off Jackson Street, was temporarily closed about a month ago as a safety precaution after debris from the bridge was found on the passenger platform.
As a long-term solution, the City of Seattle has designed (and we have reviewed and approved) netting for the underside of the bridge.
We appreciate the patience of our Sounder riders. I know the closure has been an inconvenience.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Today's the day The King County Council will vote on the Future of Metro

Today's the day. The King County Council will vote on whether to save King County Metro.
Nothing has changed -- yet. Unless we pass critical stop-gap support, we'll lose 600,000 hours of bus hours and 4 of 5 bus riders will be significantly affected -- resulting in more congestion, pollution, and inequity.

As of this morning, a majority of the 9-member county council supports passing the "congestion relief charge." But we still need one more councilmember to adopt it.
We must hold our councilmembers accountable. 

Today -- Monday, July 25, 3pm
Council Chambers, 10th floor
King County Courthouse
516 Third Ave
Seattle, WA
If you cannot attend at 3pm, please consider coming early and signing-in to register your support. Early sign-ups begin at 1pm.

Together let's save King County Metro!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Personal Teen Story on why $20 Congestion Reduction Charge Matters

By Jasmine Beverly (TCC Summer Intern)

I’m not a stereotypical high school girl. I don’t go to high school dances, I have to be dragged to shop for clothes, and I’d rather spend time with my family than go out with friends. I’m seventeen and I don’t even have my permit or license yet. That’s right, a high school girl without a driver’s permit or license. Reading this story anywhere else, you’d think “Ooh, she lives in the middle of nowhere and is a little farm girl,” or “What a deprived teenager she must be! Living without a car?” or “She must be the nerdy outcast who doesn’t have any friends.” And although I’m a choir nerd, neither of those statements is true; I simply live in Seattle where public transportation is amazing. Well, for now it is.

I use the bus for everything. I take it to and from school, to the store to buy groceries, to friend’s houses, and even to visit family members. What’s the point of spending money for driver’s ed classes and gas when I can just hop on a bus? Seattle Public Schools gives high school students (with some exceptions) Orca cards. Not only do the cards have King County Metro youth passes, but this past year, they came with Sound Transit Business Passports. That enables us to right light rail or the Sounder around the city and even outside of it free of charge. It was nice for me because I was able to ride around Seattle and also visit my dad and his family in Puyallup. No more 45 minute car rides with younger sisters stuck in traffic. Just a nice, air conditioned train with free wifi and peace and quiet.

Now wait a second, what happens if Metro cuts 17% of their bus service? Let’s see, getting anywhere would take twice as long as it does now. Maybe even three times as long. If there are less buses on the road, that means more cars. And more cars mean traffic will be horrendous. So... Less buses + more cars + the same amount of people = what? This isn’t that hard of a decision to make, people. The $20 Congestion Reduction Charge needs to be implemented. There’s no way that more cars on the road can be a good thing, ever. But let’s just make life harder for people in Washington the next couple of years. Let’s force teenagers to conform to the stereotypes and buy cars, work at fast food restaurants to pay for gas, and congest the roads that much more.

I honestly can’t imagine how anyone could disagree with this. That’s just me though. The nerdy choir high school kid.

Record Ridership and New Website at Amtrak Cascades

WSDOT launched a redesigned Amtrak Cascades redesigned today.

On first glance, it is a little busy but overall I really like it.  Too many times transit agencies and government transportation providers don't sell their services, they just provide the bare bones information.  This website breaks that mold.  It is combines Amtrak Cascades successful marketing campaign (tweet to Tacoma, or email to Olympia) with catchy visuals and useful rider information.  Huge props to WSDOT marketing folks and whomever their outside consultant was.

In related news, their marketing efforts (and increasing gas prices) seem to be paying off.  WSDOT reports that Amtrak Cascades broke another ridership record last quarter with an increase of 8% ridership compared to 2010 numbers. Between April-June this year 231,194 rode Amtrak Cascades; that means 16,550 new people chose to hop on the rails and leave their cars at home.

The bottom line is, ridership is up, Washingtonians want more intercity rail service, and thanks to Obama's rail program we are going to get increased service in the Seattle-Portland coordinator.  Big props to WSDOT's rail program and all of you Amtrak riders out there.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Metro Cuts Hearing: Where in the World is Pete von Reichbauer?

The next public hearing on the future of King County Metro will be at Burien City Hall at 6pm Thursday.

At the last hearing over 700 people lined the streets of Seattle supporting bus service in King County.  We expect a good crowd at Thursday's hearing as well.

A lot of participants at the Seattle hearing were upset that their representatives were not there (only the four dems who supported the $20 fee to save metro were there, since then Patterson has also come out in favor of it).

So the big question for tomorrow's hearing is, will the vice-chair of the transportation committee, Pete von Reichbauer from Federal Way, be there? We hope so!

See you all tomorrow at 6pm to support buses in at Burien City Hall!.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Breaking News: Julia Patterson to support CRC to save metro

 This just in. Councilmember Julia Patterson has come out supporting the congestion relief fee to save 17% cuts to King County Metro!

This means with one more vote we'll get to the required 2/3rd majority that is required to pass this legislation to save metro.

Please come to the hearing in Burien at city hall on Thursday at 6pm to testify in favor of this important measure to save metro bus service!

Patterson: “Transit services a critical lifeline for commuters”
Signals support for congestion relief charge

Metropolitan King County Councilmember Julia Patterson released this statement today on Ordinance 2011-0288, the proposal to implement a temporary $20 Congestion Reduction Charge on vehicle licenses for each of the next two years to help maintain Metro Transit service at its current level:
“After finding out today that the proposed Congestion Relief Charge would save the 26,000 service hours scheduled to be cut in Council District 5 as part of the 17 percent reduction of transit service, I am ready to support Executive Constantine’s proposal.
“This was not an easy decision for me because families are already struggling in this economic recession. Before I gave my support of a fee increase, I needed to make absolutely sure that this proposal did not disproportionately burden the working poor in my district.

“South County residents commute further than anywhere else in King County. They rely heavily on bus service every day to get them to work and back home to their families.

“Without this critical transportation lifeline we will be forcing more people to get in their cars and they will spend hundreds of dollars a year on gas and vehicle maintenance – a much greater financial impact than a $20 fee.”

10,000 Petitions to be Delivered in Support of Metro at 3pm Tomorrow in Kirkland

WHAT:       King County Metro bus service is in dire financial straits. Unless new revenue is found, they will be forced to cut 17 percent of King County bus service impacting over 80% of bus riders in our community.
Transportation for Washington, The Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Futurewise, Transportation Choices Coalition, Fuse, and MoveOn have teamed up to build a coalition to save King County Metro.  On Wednesday at 3pm the pro-transit coalition will deliver over 10,000 petitions to Councilmember Larry Phillips supporting the $20 congestion relief fee to save King County Metro!

WHEN:       Wednesday July 20th 3-3:30pm
WHERE:     South Kirkland Park and Ride, 10610 NE 38th Pl, Kirkland, Washington
Please note this even is open to the public so feel free to join us!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Phone Banking Party Tuesday Night

UPDATE: Facebook event page.

Want to do your part to help save bus service in King County? Stop by TCC's headquarters Tuesday night (that's the 19th) at 6pm. We are located on 1st Ave between Marion and Columbia on the sixth floor of the Colman Building.

811 1st Ave #626, Seattle, WA

Here's our Facebook page.

And here is the event on facebook. Please let us know if you can attend my emailing
Volunteer one evening and make a difference!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Massive Number of Bus Riders Turn out to Talk to Democrats on the King County Council

Last night's County Council hearing on the future of King County Metro was an event of epic proportions.

This photo taken by our friend Jenn Olegario tells the story of how many people wanted to testify.  The line was over two hours to get into the ill-equipped County Council chambers and the testimony supporting the congestion reduction charge lasted until 10:30pm.

The main story lines from last night:
  1. This is one of the largest turnouts ever for a public hearing in King County with 500-1000 people showing up and trying to testify and many of them were not able to wait out the lines to get in, although many patient transit supporters did.
  2. People were appalled by the potential loss of bus service and 99% of them supported the fee. The biggest message other than supporting the fee was that Metro should eventually levy more sustainable and non regressive forms of taxation to remain solvent.
  3. Councilmembers Dunn, Patterson, Hague, and von Reichbauer were notably absent from the hearing.  A lot of their constituents who were there to testify to them were very disappointed that their councilmembers were not there. None of the absent members have stated their support of approve the congestion reduction charge councilmanically.  Hague, Dunn, and von Reichbauer have all stated their opposition to the short term fee without a public vote.
Here has been a lot of coverage on this event from king 5, Seattle PI, Seattle Times, and publicola.

I testified to the partial council and delivered the nearly 2,000 emails that all of you sent in to support the measure.  Thank you for your support and please visit to keep the pressure up!

A lot of people were livetweeting the event, to see a good rundown check out:
and @seattletransitblog
The main hastag of the day being used was #savekcmetro
Also check out Oran's flick of the evening