Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Legislative session ends without money for transit, bike/pedestrian projects

This Wednesday morning a Transportation fee bill passed the House which would have created sustainable state support for transit. The bill increased various transportation fees to raise $13 million for transit agencies across the State. Rep. Liias sponsored an amendment, that passed, to ensure that $3 million of the fees will go to bike and pedestrian projects through the safe routes to school program. His amendment also added flexibility of monies for local governments to use it on local stormwater projects.

The bill then headed to the Senate for approval before the end of the special session later that night. The bill never got a vote on the Senate floor in the waning hours of the special session. It is hard to say why the bill did not come up for a vote, but it was a disappointment not to see desperately needed money going to street preservation, transit and safe routes to school projects.

Now the session is formally over and we can start to prepare for next year and ongoing legislative efforts to stabilize funding for transportation.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

MUST-READ STORIES OF THE DAY: "We're on the road to becoming a third-world nation"

Northwest Cable News: The Mayor McGinn recall effort, led by Greenlake Community Council president Michael Cornell.

The Tacoma News Tribune: Much of Federal Way is furious that Sound Transit has delayed construction of light rail there until 2040. The host of the History Channel's Inspector America recently inspected the viaduct and seawall, and he is convinced "we're on the road to becoming a third world nation."

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words:
Space efficiency - Car vs. bus vs. bike

Monday, May 16, 2011

Breaking News: Bill to Temporarily Save Some Metro Bus Service is Signed into Law

It is official.  King County Metro Transit has received some temporary funding needed to avoid major cuts to bus service thanks to a bill signed into law today by Governor Chris Gregoire.  

Senate Bill 5457—sponsored by Sen. Scott White, D-Seattle—would allow the King County Council to implement a temporary congestion reduction charge to fund Metro bus service if they can muster a 2/3rd majority (or if they decide to send it to the voters).  The fee is temporary and would expire in 2012.  

“A healthy transit system is a vital component of our local economy in King County,” White said.  “Not only do many families rely on transit service on a daily basis to get to school and work, now more than ever we need a safe and reliable public transit infrastructure as we seek to reduce our carbon footprint and reliance on nonrenewable fuels."

County Executive Constantine is expected to send the proposal to the County Council as early as next month, where two-thirds of councilmembers must approve the proposal in order for it to take effect.  Alternatively the council could decide to send the temporary measure to the voters.

“With $4 per gallon gas prices, demand for transit is rising, yet King County Metro is facing drastic cuts that will leave thousands of people stranded at the bus stop,” said Rob Johnson, Executive Director of Transportation Choices Coalition. “This legislation, which follows the recommendation of the Metro Regional Transit Task Force, is desperately needed in the short-term to keep Metro buses running while we continue to work on a sustainable, long-term funding solution for transit across Washington State.”

It is a relief to see the legislature (finally) do something for bus service in King County and having the potential to save thousands of hours of bus service is without a doubt a win.  But, we are still facing a huge transit funding crisis in other communities across the state and this measure is a temporary band-aid that will try to hold together a gaping wound. 

UW Board of Regents Approves Universal U-PASS

We received the ASUW press release below today. Background information can also be found at this Board of Regents meeting site.


Chris Jordan
ASUW PR Coordinator
Phone (206) 543-1780

UW Board of Regents approves Universal U-PASS fee
Survey found overwhelming support for program among UW students

SEATTLE, WA – The University of Washington Board of Regents voted Thursday, May 11th to approve a proposal for implementation of a universal student fee to fund the U-PASS program.

The proposal was brought forward by the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW), Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) and UW Commuter Services after a combination of factors caused the program cost to increase in recent years. ASUW and GPSS sought solutions through the Student Transportation Task Force and conducted a survey of the study body which found 79 percent of UW students in support of a Universal U-PASS fee.

“I applaud the Regents’ decision to approve this proposal and save the U-PASS program. It so important that we preserve sustainable, low cost transportation for UW students,” said Madeleine McKenna, President of the ASUW.

With implementation of the Universal U-PASS, every student will be included in the program, thus broadening the funding base and stabilizing the cost over the next five years. 7,000 UW students were surveyed on the idea of a universal fee, and even the majority of those who currently choose to opt-out of the U-PASS expressed support for a universal funding model. The new student fee of $76 will begin in the fall of 2011, and will remain at $76 for at least eight quarters, thus preserving predictability for students.

“We believed that maintaining the U-PASS was a very important priority for our UW community, but only if we could lower the cost for students and maintain predictability. I am excited that we were able to achieve both of those goals,” said GPSS President Sarah Reyneveld.

In fact, most students will see their transportation costs decrease by 23 percent from today's level as a result of this action. They will also avoid the projected cumulative fee increase of 50 percent that would have occurred over the next two years were the program to continue on an opt-out basis. By year two of the Universal U-PASS, the U-PASS fee will be 48 percent lower than the projected U-PASS fee were the program to continue on an opt-out basis, and the typical student will save $72 per quarter on U-PASS fees.

The U-PASS was originally established in 1991 by the ASUW, GPSS and UW Transportation Services. The program provides students with unlimited access to bus, train, and light rail services of six regional transportation agencies. Students receive many other benefits, such as Zipcar discounts, vanpool subsidies, discounted carpool parking, access to the NightRide shuttle service, as well as improvements to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. As a result, the program reduces traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions in the University District.

In recent years, several factors caused the cost of the U-PASS program to increase, including the economic recession. As a result of declining local tax revenue, local transit agencies implemented fare increases. In addition, funds that the UW used to subsidize the program began to dry up.

In 2008, Transportation Services was forced to increase the price of a U-PASS from $50 to $99 in order to cover these costs and maintain the program. Student participation rates dropped and in response, student leaders began searching out solutions. Implementation of the new Universal U-PASS will begin in the fall of 2011.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What do Transit Cuts Mean to you Video Series Launched

Over on the Transportation for Washington Page we've launched a new video series telling the personal stories of how transit cuts affect people in communities across Washington.  Go to the video page to check out the first video on how transit cuts would impact Judy Gilbert from Lakewood, WA.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bike Alliance Job Posting for Policy Director

Our Friends over at the Bike Alliance have a job posting for a Policy Director position. 

Check it out:

The Bicycle Alliance of Washington advocates for a bicycle friendly state, educates people of all ages to increase transportation safety, develops more inclusive communities for cycling, builds a coalition of organizations, and seeks to make bicycling accessible to everyone.

As a statewide organization with offices in Seattle, the Policy Director is a senior member of the staff leadership team and will lead our organizational and program strategy at the state level. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Policy Director works with our contract lobbyist in Olympia and staffs the Legislative and Statewide Issues Committee. The Policy Director is responsible for all policy programs including direct advocacy in Olympia, working with agencies and stakeholder groups, bicycle clubs, building political support for our agenda; developing messages; running the policy component of legislative organizing legislative coalition partners around our priorities; directing policy interns and interacting with the media.  We seek a dynamic individual with 7+ years of transportation, public policy, government relations, or experience in a related field to lead our policy programs. Some direct advocacy and/or legislative experience is also a must.

Flexible schedule with some night and weekend work required.  Statewide travel and significant travel during Washington’s Legislative session is also required. 

Key Responsibilities
·         Direct all aspects of our policy and legislative program including developing broad coalitions to advocate for bicycling
·         Develop and manage the Bicycle Alliance’s policy program including advocacy for increased bicycle safety and funding, climate and transportation policy, planning reform, roadway pricing policy and budget issues
·         Oversee and increase outreach with stakeholders including Seattle and Washington Departments of Transportation, State Department of Health, State Transportation Commission, and other organizations with aligned interests
·         Develop productive relationship with League of American Bicyclists, Regional and Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organizations
·         Promote Bicycle Alliance’s advocacy efforts related to current or upcoming priorities via media outreach

Other Responsibilities
·         Provide assistance raising funds from individuals and member organizations
·         Collaborate with other staff on program and organizational strategy
·         Organize events such as workshops, forums and fundraisers

Minimum Qualifications
·         7+ years in transportation, public policy, government relations, or a related field
·         Grassroots Advocacy and/or Legislative experience
·         Experience with media and communications, including online and social media
·         Experience developing and implementing transportation policy strategies
·         A self-starter who is comfortable working in a team environment, listening deeply, thinking creatively, collaborating effectively, and communicating well with coalition partners and volunteers

Additional Qualifications
·         Demonstrated ability to prioritize, manage and coordinate multiple tasks
·         Flexibility and willingness to work evenings and weekends
·         Proficient computer skills including comfort with word processing, spreadsheets, databases, web and e-mail software
·         Strong writing, editing and public presentation skills
·         Ability to leverage available resources
·         Staff and/or volunteer management experience
·         Fundraising and strategic planning experience
·         Strong desire to change the world!

Salary and Benefits 
·         Annual salary $45,000-$55,000 based upon experience
·         Excellent health, dental and retirement benefits

To apply please send a cover letter, resume, references, and one writing sample to:
Bicycle Alliance of Washington
Attn: Policy Director Search
309A Third Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
Subject Line: Policy Director Search
Posting open until May 31, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

TCC Membership Survey - Tell us What You Think!

TCC Membership Survey - Tell us What You Think!
We are looking to revamp the Transportation Choices Coalition membership program and as a current or prospective TCC member, we’d love to get your opinion about our membership program, planned upgrades and things that we could be doing better. It takes a few minutes to fill out the survey and as a thank you, we’ll enter you into a drawing for a pre-paid ORCA card (we are Transportation Choices after all!) or a VISA gift card.

Take this short survey and be entered into a drawing to win a pre-paid ORCA card or a VISA gift card*.

Thanks for sharing your opinion.
* You must complete the online survey, including all required fields, to enter the drawing. Alternatively, you may submit your entry by sending an e-mail message to, with your complete contact information. Please type “TCC Membership survey” in the subject line of the e-mail message. Limit: one entry per person.
Thanks for all

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Complete Streets Bill Signed Into Law by Gov. Gregoire

I am standing outside the halls of the Governor's office with a gaggle of other people waiting for the bill signing of ESB 1071, our complete streets grant program.

We anticipate the governor will be signing this without any problems.

I'll update here once this bill, which establishes a complete streets grant program and directs WSDOT to apply complete streets principals to their projects inside of cities, becomes a law.  A great victory for us this session!

Thank you for all of your help as advocates on this victory.

UPDATE: ESHB 1071 was just signed into law by Governor Gregoire! Great news!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sound Transit Fare Change on June 1st

Starting June 1, 2011, fares on Sound Transit Express buses will change. How will the changes affect you?

Currently, trips within King County can be one or two zones depending on whether you cross a fare zone boundary within King County. Trips within Pierce or Snohomish counties are one zone and the one zone adult fare is $2.00. As of June 1st, King County will become one zone and the one zone adult fare will be $2.50.

The current two zone adult fare will no longer exist. Adult trips that cross a county (zone) line will cost $3.50.   This is a .50 cent increase from current fares.

One-zone youth fares will increase from $1.00 to $1.25, but the multi-county youth fare will remain the same.

Click here to learn more about these and other June 1, 2011 fare changes.

Also as a reminder link fares will be going up as well. This just in from Sound Transit:
Starting June 1, 2011, adult Link fares will rise 25 cents. Link tickets for adults will start with a base fare of $2.00 and add five cents to the base fare for every mile of your trip. See the fare chart for more details.
Starting June 1, 2011, all youth Link fares will become $1.25, for all one-way trips on Link light rail.
All reduced Link fares will remain 75 cents, for all one-way trips on Link light rail.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sound Transit's Union Station 100th Anniversary Celebration!

Join Sound Transit on Friday, May 20, 2011 for a community open house celebrating the 100th anniversary of Union Station and the launch of "Trail to Treasure," a historic interpretive trail through Pioneer Square. The celebration will feature walking tours, information about planning efforts affecting the neighborhood, a live brass band and model train exhibit.

For more information, visit

Need to know which train or bus to take? Try the Regional Trip Planner at

Friday, May 20, 2011
2 p.m. – 7 p.m. — Open house
5 p.m. — Speakers and presentation

Union Station
401 South Jackson Street
Seattle, WA 98104