Growth board to take stock of plan review process

In central Puget Sound, PSRC is the planning agency tasked with reviewing and certifying local comprehensive plans to ensure they’re in sync with the region’s growth and transportation plans.

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The region’s comprehensive plans reflect the aspirations of diverse places, including small towns, big cities and rural areas.

Over the past year, nearly all local plans were updated and reviewed, and now PSRC is taking a look at how well the process worked.  The results will inform the next update to VISION 2040.

With guidance from a working group of county and city staff from throughout the region, PSRC is reaching out to local governments in all four central Puget Sound counties using an online survey, workshops, and targeted interviews.

At its meeting on October 6, the Growth Management Policy Board will be briefed on the project so far and discuss key questions: 

  • Policy areas where local plans have successfully advanced VISION 2040
  • Local challenges in planning and plan implementation
  • Feedback on PSRC’s local plan review and certification process
  • Identification of issues to be further addressed in a VISION 2040 update

Also on the agenda: 

  • Conditional plan certifications for small cities: Six cities (Bonney Lake, Carnation, Covington, Gig Harbor, North Bend and Snoqualmie) received conditional certification of their comprehensive plans this year because the cities were planning substantially above adopted growth targets for housing and jobs.  The Executive Board has asked the Growth Management Policy Board to review these conditional certifications and report back by the end of the year.
  • Regional Economic Strategy Update: PSRC staff and Community Attributes, Inc. will brief the board on efforts to develop a new Regional Economic Strategy. A draft strategy will be released for public comment in January 2017.

The growth board will meet Thursday, October 6, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., at PSRC.  You can find the full agenda here.


Driven by light rail, transit ridership keeps growing

Monthly boardings on the region’s transit system were up approximately 3.6% in the first seven months of 2016 and continue to outpace employment and population growth. Light rail boardings have accounted for over 10% of the overall transit boardings so far this year.

Transit ridership is up 14% from the same six month period in 2011.

Transit ridership is up 14% over the same six month period in 2011.

Almost 3.8 million more boardings took place in the first seven months of 2016 than in 2015, which is a total of 108.8 million boardings through July 2016. Transit ridership is up 14% since July of 2011. There were 13.3 million more boardings in the first seven months of 2016 compared to the first seven months of 2011.

Light rail boardings have increased faster than any other transit mode in the first seven months of 2016. This increase is driven by the opening of the new light rail stations in Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington and has resulted in an additional 3.5 million boardings in the first seven months of 2016 (a 47% increase).

Bus ridership over this time period has remained fairly consistent at approximately 95 million boardings through July 2016, still at all-time record levels for the region.

Commuter rail boardings have also continued to increase with overall boardings increasing by almost 300,000 in the first seven months of 2016 (a 13.4% increase).

Although overall ridership has increased across the region, there are noticeable differences in the change in transit ridership across agencies. Sound Transit ridership has grown the most rapidly over the last three years, driven by growth across all its modes including ST Express bus, Light Rail and Commuter Rail. King County Metro and Community Transit have also experienced noticeable increases in transit ridership over the past three years. Kitsap and Everett transit ridership have remained fairly steady since 2014 with a slight decrease over the first seven months of 2016 whereas Pierce Transit has experienced a noticeable drop in ridership since 2014.

See the full Trend, here.

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On pace for another record year at Sea-Tac Airport

Over 26 million passengers passed through Sea-Tac in the first seven months of 2016 — 2.2 million more than the record-setting first seven months of 2015 (a 9.4% increase).

In July alone, over 4.7 million passengers passed through the airport – the highest ever for that month. July and August are traditionally the busiest months for airline travel and on average account for over 20% of all travel during the year.

Alaska Airlines Group, which includes Horizon, moved more than 45% of passengers in July.  The second largest carrier was Delta Airlines, with about 20% of the market.

Air cargo growing

After several months of flat air cargo movement, June and July both witnessed robust increases in air cargo. Over 202,390 metric tons of air cargo passed through the airport in the first seven months of 2016 (a 2.7% increase). A majority of this increase occurred in June and July — 14-20% higher than the same months in 2015.

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Executive Board to decide on ST3 conformity with regional plans

Under state law, PSRC is responsible for determining whether the Sound Transit 3 system plan is consistent with the region’s transportation and growth plans.

 

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The Executive Board will finalize the conformity finding on September 22.

PSRC staff has worked with Sound Transit throughout the system planning process, providing data and technical support.

In addition to consistency with regional plans, Sound Transit is also required to show how ST3 meets the requirements of a state law about transit-oriented development and to submit a Benefit-Cost Analysis report.

Earlier this month, the Transportation Policy Board recommended the Executive Board approve the conformity finding.  You can see the presentation here.

Other major items on the Executive Board’s agenda include amending a project near Joint Base Lewis-McChord and an update on the new regional economic strategy.

The meeting will be Thursday, September 22, 10-11:30 a.m., at PSRC. See the full agenda here.

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Half-yearly job gains highest since 2000

Job growth continues to accelerate, with the region gaining 32,800 jobs in the first six months of 2016.

In a year’s time, the region gained 64,000 jobs – an average growth rate of 3.2%, between June 2015 and June 2016.

All four counties added jobs. King and Snohomish counties continue to be the major  contributors to regional job growth.

The services sector, which includes jobs from IT, business services and recreation and food services, continues to experience robust job growth — gaining about 34,000 jobs over the past year, 8,000 more than it did between June 2014 and June 2015.

The construction sector grew 7.7%, the fastest annual growth rate between June 2015 and June 2016, while the manufacturing sector experienced slight job declines.

Total jobs in the region have now surpassed the 2 million mark and job growth is on pace to meet the region’s forecast of nearly 3 million jobs by 2040.

For more data on job growth, check out the latest issue of Puget Sound Trends.

 


Comment on proposed $4.5 billion in transportation investments

PSRC is recommending projects to receive nearly $700 million in PSRC funds and is encouraging public comment on a $4.5 billion draft regional Transportation Improvement Program that includes most all major projects underway in the region through 2020.

The region’s transportation investments (in red) are focused within the urban growth areas (light green) where most of the region’s growth is happening, along with most of the region’s traffic.

The region’s transportation investments (in red) are focused within the urban growth areas (light green) where most of the region’s growth is happening, along with most of the region’s traffic.

“Our region is behind on transportation as growth is surging.  We’ve identified all the major ways our region is building a better transportation system,” said Josh Brown, PSRC’s executive director.  “The vast majority of these investments we’re making are within the region’s urban growth area and supporting the region’s growth strategy – to sustain a healthy environment and a strong economy.”

Investments underway include many large state highway projects funded with last year’s Connecting Washington package, new light rail connections, improved bus service, improvements to city streets and county roads, along with new bicycle and pedestrian connections.

A complete list of projects and more detailed information is available online at psrc.org, including a web map with information on each project. You can view the projects by location, along with other data such as the location of regional centers, designated freight routes and other information.

The public comment starts on September 8 and closes on October 27, 2016.

PSRC’s Executive Board is scheduled to approve the final 2017-2020 Transportation Improvement Program on October 27.

How to make a comment:

Mail: Puget Sound Regional Council
ATTN: Kelly McGourty
1011 Western Avenue, Suite 500
Seattle, Washington 98104-1035

E-mail: tipcomment@psrc.org

In Person: October 13 or October 27 at PSRC offices, 1011 Western Avenue, Suite 500, Seattle


JBLM transportation program wins VISION 2040 Award

Congratulations to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Pierce County!  They have won a 2016 VISION 2040 Award for the JBLM Transportation Demand Management Program.

Councilmember Richardson, Miriam Easley (JBLM Staff), Colonel Daniel Morgan, Joint Base Commander, Ann Freeman-Manzanares, IT General Manager, Lee Peterson, IT Staff, Josh Brown, Executive Director, PSRC, Sue Dreier, CEO, Pierce Transit, Pat McCarthy, Pierce County Executive, Rick Talbert , Pierce Transit Commissioner and Councilmember, Debbie Germer and Michael Lockwood, Pierce County JBLM TDM Project Coordinators, and Sharon Stockwell, Pierce Transit Employee Services Coordinator at the award presentation.

Councilmember Richardson, Miriam Easley (JBLM Staff), Colonel Daniel Morgan, Joint Base Commander, Ann Freeman-Manzanares, IT General Manager, Lee Peterson, IT Staff, Josh Brown, Executive Director, PSRC, Sue Dreier, CEO, Pierce Transit, Pat McCarthy, Pierce County Executive, Rick Talbert , Pierce Transit Commissioner and Councilmember, Debbie Germer and Michael Lockwood, Pierce County JBLM TDM Project Coordinators, and Sharon Stockwell, Pierce Transit Employee Services Coordinator at the award presentation.

“We want to applaud the JBLM and Pierce County for this exceptional project to address congestion in and around the base,” said Josh Brown, Executive Director of PSRC. “They’ve increased ridership, routing and scheduling of transit service, developed a GPS-integrated bike fleet, and created a successful outreach program to build awareness of the new options.”

Partners in the work also include Pierce Transit and InterCity Transit.

The VISION 2040 awards recognize innovative projects and programs that help ensure a sustainable future as the region grows.

 

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