Making the Most of Transit Investments

The places that will be home to bustling transit stations in the region over the next few decades are diverse.

Transit Study Areas

This map shows the study areas and recommended approach to encourage a successful transit community in each place.

A new report by Growing Transit Communities looks at the characteristics of 74 different areas planned to receive increased transit services like light rail and bus rapid transit.

It identifies different approaches to encourage thriving communities and attract new development to these areas.  The key is to tailor the strategies for each area’s needs.

Next week the Growth Management Policy Board will hear about this study and related activities of the Growing Transit Communities partnership.

Also on the board’s agenda is a briefing on PSRC’s proposed budget and work program, the VISION 2040 Awards, and a legislative update.

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Coming Up: Transportation for the Next Economy

Several PSRC leaders will be speaking at a forum on February 7 at the UW Tacoma’s campus.


The UW Tacoma is holding a forum on transportation and the metropolitan economy on February 7.

Transportation for the Next Economy will explore the intersection of transportation policies, infrastructure investments, and the Puget Sound region’s emerging metropolitan economy.

The event will also feature a keynote address by Robert Puentes of the Brookings Institution on national economic and transportation trends.

The event is free, but advance registration is required.

Capturing the Value of Land Around Transit Stations

When light rail goes in, real estate prices often go up.

Chart: Land Value Appreciation in Seattle's Othello Station, 1996 - 2011

Land Value Appreciation in Seattle’s Othello Station, 1996 – 2011

The Othello transit station in south Seattle is a powerful example of this.

Real estate prices near the station increased more than 1000 percent over five years after light rail construction began in the Rainier Valley.

They did not stabilize until after light rail service opened in 2009, according to a new report.

While this might sound like good news, it’s not beneficial to everyone.

New housing in station areas is not usually affordable to low- or even moderate-income households—some of the people who need access to transit the most.

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Improving Mobility for Everyone

This video from the King County Mobility Coalition is worth watching:

It gives a flavor of how special needs transportation makes it easier for all people to get around.

The Executive Board voted today to ensure these kinds of special needs projects are eligible for PSRC and WSDOT funding later this year.

PSRC coordinates special needs funding available to the region from the Federal Transit Administration.  The grants make a big difference to the volunteer and nonprofit programs and transit agencies that provide services to people that need them.

The Executive Board also finalized its recommendations to the 2013 Legislature, calling for a comprehensive and fair statewide transportation package supporting job creation. You can watch the whole meeting here.

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Special Needs Transportation Projects Proposed

Transportation services for older, disabled or low-income people — 35 projects totaling $10.69 million in funding requests — will be considered by the Executive Board on Thursday.

Beyond the Borders provides trips to and from rural Pierce County for seniors and people with disabilities or low incomes.

Beyond the Borders provides trips to and from rural Pierce County for seniors and people with disabilities or low incomes.

Two of the projects on the list:

Beyond the Borders is a free transportation service provided by Pierce County Community Services for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and people with low incomes living in rural Pierce County.

The service helps people get to jobs, doctor’s appointments, the grocery store and to other services and activities.

Road to Independence – Work First Van Program provides transportation and training to low-income and disabled people.

The Road to Independence program will provide people with developmental disabilities with a reliable way to get from their homes in the Puyallup area to Vadis, a work and training center for individuals with significant disabilities in Sumner.

These projects will become eligible to receive funding through grant programs administered by PSRC and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Also on the Executive Board’s agenda is adoption of PSRC’s transportation recommendations to the 2013 legislature and a briefing on the Washington Aerospace Partnership.

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Governor Inslee: Creativity As Important As Concrete

Washington’s new Governor links transportation improvement to his number one priority: Job creation.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Governor Inslee laid out his plans in his inaugural address today.

On job creation:

”My plan focuses on job growth in seven industry clusters: aerospace, life sciences, military, agriculture, information technology, clean energy technology and the maritime trades.

These clusters represent both the present and the future key drivers of economic growth and job creation in our state.”

On transportation:

“No economic strategy would be complete without a transportation plan that facilitates this growth.

This session I expect to work with stakeholders who have already committed to a bipartisan plan to build an infrastructure for the next generation.

In the next 10 years, our population will grow by approximately three-quarters of a million people, but we will not be adding one more square inch of dirt.

To honestly address our infrastructure, we have to recognize that creativity is as important as concrete.

I want us to turn our innovative spirit toward crafting a transportation package that includes roads, trains, light rail, buses, bike routes and other modes of transportation.

We need ways to free capacity for freight and commerce, and rethink how we do the business of transportation in our state and how we use our transportation infrastructure.”


Bird Diversity May Improve Home Values

A Snowy Owl in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

Birds are a good indicator of a healthy and ecologically diverse landscape.

In a study conducted of home sales in Lubbock, Texas in 2008 and 2009 – during the national downturn in housing values – Michael Farmer, Mark Wallace and Micheal Shiroya found that the presence of just one  less common bird species at the site could increase the value of the home by roughly $32,000.

The correlation could be because the birds are attracted to the same thing as home buyers: trees and mature landscaping with a variety of plants.

The trio is working on a tool to help planners use this information to improve communities as well as economic and ecological gains.