Snoqualmie improving its town center

The City of Snoqualmie recently celebrated a milestone in improving its town center. Phase two of the Town Center Infrastructure Improvement Project is about to begin.

Snoqualmie Mayor Matthew Larson celebrating a milestone in the Town Center Infrastructure Improvement Project.

Snoqualmie Mayor Matthew Larson celebrating a milestone in the Town Center Infrastructure Improvement Project.

The project includes extensive infrastructure improvements ranging from underground utilities and stormwater improvements to a landmark pedestrian boardwalk and the refurbishment of the Snoqualmie Totem Pole.

PSRC provided $1.6 million to the project, most of which was an award from the Rural Town Centers and Corridors Program.

Executive Director Josh Brown spoke at a windy event this past weekend acknowledging the city’s hard work to make this project happen to support the downtown revitalization of Snoqualmie.  The city is working to improve the quality of life for its residents as well as to attract tourism and private investment to help local business.

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Smart building tech gaining ground

Over 60 regional leaders met at a PSRC workshop in August to learn how they can use smart building technology to cut energy bills in facilities ranging from city halls to school buildings.

The new high performance building pilot shows there is no need to do major retrofits  to make a building smarter.

There is no need to do major retrofits to make a building smarter and save on energy costs.

Representatives from City of Seattle’s High Performance Building Pilot and King County’s Energy-Smart Buildings Program shared results, program models and funding strategies that are making each of these programs a success.

The technology works in commercial buildings, too – the Sheraton Hotel and the University of Washington, which each had buildings participate in Seattle’s pilot – have saved up to 15 percent of their energy bills.

The workshop is an outgrowth of an i6 Green Challenge grant PSRC and its partners were awarded to prove the efficacy of smart buildings technologies. The High Performance Building Pilot was one of four projects funded by the grant.

A recording of the workshop is available here.



Local planning: It’s where the action is

Thanks to many late nights wrestling with topics like transportation, affordable housing and the environment, the ink is dry on more than 30 newly updated local comprehensive plans across the region.

Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in Renton.

Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in Renton.

On September 3, PSRC’s Growth Management Policy Board is poised to recommend certifying the first batch of plans, for Carbonado, Edgewood, Fife, Issaquah, Kenmore, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Renton and South Prairie.

Local comprehensive plans help shape the future for many special places in the region.  What happens in cities and towns makes a difference in the success of the region’s long-term vision for nurturing a healthy environment and vibrant economy.

It’s been over 25 years since central Puget Sound first adopted a regional growth strategy.

Since then, the growth strategy has helped preserve forests and farms while promoting vibrant urban communities.  Most growth is happening in urban areas – as planned.

All of the region’s cities, towns and counties are required by the Growth Management Act to update their plans every eight years. PSRC is responsible for certifying that comprehensive plans are consistent with the transportation-related provisions of the Growth Management Act, as well as VISION 2040, and Transportation 2040.

By next spring, PSRC is expected to take action on a total of 81 comprehensive plans.  Action on five plans from Kitsap County and its cities will happen later in 2016.

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InterUrban event series starts in September

Next month Historic Seattle is kicking off its new InterUrban event series to connect historic preservation to issues like affordability, equitable development, social justice, and sustainable communities.

Historic Seattle's first InterUrban event is happening in Georgetown.

Historic Seattle’s first InterUrban event is happening in Georgetown.

The first stop will be a Happy Hour on September 15 hosted by the Friends of Georgetown History (FOGHi). You can hear about what’s going on in Georgetown, and share your thoughts about shaping a more livable city.

Fans of cool roadside attractions will know Georgetown as the home of the Hat & Boots that was built in 1954 as part of a Western-themed gas station. The landmark structures were ultimately saved by local efforts and moved to the Oxbow community park in 2003.


405 express tolls start September 27

The state announced today that new express lanes will open on 17 miles of I-405 from Bellevue to Lynnwood on September 27th.


Variable tolls rates and new three person carpool requirements are coming to I-405 from Bellevue to Lynnwood.

People will have the option to pay a toll to travel 45 mph or faster in the new lanes.  Toll rates will adjust depending on traffic congestion.

Carpools with three or more people won’t pay tolls during weekday morning and evening commutes.

Today’s announcement is designed to get people ready with Good to Go! passes.

A special website is loaded with information on how to get prepared, and about how the new lanes will operate.

A new lane is being built alongside the carpool lane between Bellevue and Highway 522 in Bothell to create a “dual, express-toll-lane system.”

The existing HOV lane between Bothell and Lynnwood will become a single express toll lane.

A short video highlights how the whole thing works:

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Purple trolleys to reduce the haze

King County Metro is debuting five of its new electric trolley buses today.

The cost of the new trolley fleet is an estimated $186 million, of which PSRC contributed $137 million.

The cost of the new trolley fleet is an estimated $186 million, of which PSRC contributed $137 million.

PSRC contributed $137 million of its federal funds toward replacing the old trolley fleet. Expect to see 169 more over the next two years.

The purple trolleys are capable of going off the wire for up to 3 miles and even help restore electricity to the grid system. Metro estimates that they will save 20-30% more energy over the current trolley fleet.

Other innovations include being able to deviate off route during construction, passenger activated back doors, and air conditioning (!).

To top that off, purple trolleys are zero emissions, so excuse us while we kiss the sky.




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New Bridges and Roads Task Force

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Councilmember Kathy Lambert have formed a new  task force to look at sustainable funding solutions for deteriorating roads and bridges in unincorporated King County.

Tanaguchi and Lambert at the first meeting of the new Bridges and Roads Task Force.

King County Transportation Director Harold Taniguchi and King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert at the first meeting of the new Bridges and Roads Task Force.

Nearly three decades of annexations, declines in gas tax revenues, and the effects of voter initiatives have led to chronic underfunding of county roads across the state.

Safety is the paramount issue in the creation of the task force.

The Bridges and Roads Task Force held its first meeting today and will meet monthly through January 2016 at the Mercer Island Community Center.

The Task Force will provide opportunities to connect communities, build partnerships, and encourage public stewardship, as well as build a constituency and momentum in support of regional solutions.

Members include residents of the unincorporated areas, elected officials, representatives from agriculture and recreation organizations, road experts, and public policy leaders, including PSRC’s Josh Brown.

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