West approach to 520 bridge seeking approved status

PSRC’s Executive Board may give final approval to the west approach of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement project this week.

The final stage of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement project is scheduled to begin in 2018.

The Washington State Department of Transportation submitted a request to the board to change the status of the SR 520/I-5 to Lake Washington project from Conditionally Approved for Right of Way to Approved.

The project will reconstruct the SR 520 corridor from I-5 to the new Evergreen Point Floating Bridge. It includes highway lids in Seattle’s Montlake and Roanoke neighborhoods, the south half of a new west approach bridge, and a replacement Portage Bay Bridge and a second drawbridge over the Montlake Cut. The new structures will meet current design standards for earthquakes. The lane configuration of the new SR 520 will have six lanes including two HOV lanes, bicycle/pedestrian facilities, and the ability to accommodate future light rail.

The SR 520 project as a whole received Conditional Approval for Right of Way status in June 2004.

Connecting Washington, the transportation package adopted by the Legislature in 2015, provided the final $1.64 billion needed for the west approach, which fully funded the SR 520 Bridge Replacement project.

PSRC began funding the project with the original Trans-Lake Study in 1997.

WSDOT is preparing to begin the first phase of construction in 2018.

See the full agenda for the Executive Board meeting here or watch it live.

PSRC conducting household travel survey

PSRC is conducting a regional travel study to better understand the transportation needs and preferences of the region’s residents.

Thousands of residents in the area will receive invitations to participate in this important transportation study sometime between March and June 2017.

Translation services are available. If you received the household transportation survey in the mail and need assistance to take it in your language, please contact us at 206-587-4819.

“The region has seen tremendous population and job growth in recent years, along with completion of new transportation infrastructure,” said Josh Brown, PSRC’s Executive Director. “This survey will provide an up-to-date view of how residents get around and help decision makers continue to plan improvements in the transportation system.”

Demand for travel in the Puget Sound region is expected to increase by 25% between now and the year 2040. Participation in the study can help answer questions about how the region can maintain and improve mobility, accessibility, and connectivity for residents as population grows and travel patterns evolve. The information collected will be vital for planning and prioritizing improvements for the Puget Sound region’s transportation system.

The study will help planners understand the travel behavior of real households, such as the trips people make to work, school, or shopping centers, to help decision makers prioritize transportation projects.

PSRC conducted similar studies in 2014 and 2015, so the 2017 study will provide up-to-date information and will also help planners understand changing needs over time.  Redmond and Seattle are sponsoring extra data collection in their cities.

Resource Systems Group, Inc. (RSG) and ETC Institute, independent research firms, are administering the survey on behalf of PSRC. A random sample of the region’s households will be invited by first-class mail to participate in the survey and will have the option of completing the survey online or by telephone. A small number of households will also have the option to participate using their smartphones.

The survey will involve questions about general household information as well as travel details for a given weekday. All individual and household information collected in this study will remain strictly confidential. Contact information will be kept separate from the responses and destroyed after the study is over. The aggregated data will be used for analysis and modeling purposes.

For more information on the Puget Sound Regional Travel Study:

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Transit access and parking

A new analysis of regional transit access and parking is being developed as part of the Transportation 2040 update.

PSRC is working with the region’s transit agencies, all of whom have recently completed or updated long-range plans, to develop a sketch of the regional transit network today, in 2025, and in 2040.

How transit agencies’ long-range plans sync with the development of Transportation 2040.

New analysis tools show how far people can travel on transit by location in 2016 compared to 2040 after new investments have come online.

Parking is a growing transit access issue in the region. The transit parking supply grew by 5% from 2010 to 2016, while demand for those spaces grew by 9%.

The Transportation Policy Board will be discussing this work and giving direction for developing a strategy to improve transit access at its meeting on March 9, 2017.

See the full agenda here or watch it live at 9:30 a.m.



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New driver registrations are still growing fast

The number of people from out of state being issued drivers licenses is growing in all four counties of the region compared to the previous year.

Where are these new drivers coming from? The top U.S. states are California, Texas, Oregon, Florida and Arizona, though there are some variations among which county they move to.

In King County, 11 percent of the driver registrations were from outside the U.S. states. Kitsap had the lowest rate at 2 percent. Regionwide, it was 8 percent.

Licenses issued to drivers outside the U.S. states saw a sharp decrease in 2002, but are now more than double what they were in 2002, and the highest they’ve been since 2001.

For King County, India is the biggest source of new driver registrations from outside the U.S. states. But in the region’s other counties, the top places outside the 50 U.S. states are Guam (Kitsap), American Samoa (Pierce), and Canada (Snohomish).


Pierce Transit’s refreshed service begins March 12

After extensive outreach and an analysis of its existing service, Pierce Transit will debut a restructured, more efficient system plan on March 12, 2017.

Pierce Transit has completely restructured its route system in North Tacoma.

The new system delivers more direct routes with faster travel times and longer service hours.

Urban routes will offer 30 minute headways and service until 10 p.m.

The new system will include one new seasonal route: the Point Defiance Demonstration Trolley, which will connect people from downtown to the park as well as scenic spots along Ruston Way during the summer months.

Pierce Transit has also partnered with JBLM’s Go Transit to connect the SR-512 park and ride to the base.

All of this was accomplished through the re-routing of eight routes and the elimination of four. One bus will no longer have Saturday service.

Find out more at piercetransit.org!

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Transit funding competition begins

PSRC has issued the call for projects for the Regional FTA Competition.

March 17 is the deadline to apply for the Regional FTA Funding Competition.

Roughly $32 million is available to transit agencies for projects in the region.

The regional competition selects a limited number of high priority regional transit projects that support centers and connecting corridors.

The funding process will be kicked off with a workshop at PSRC on February 14 at 10 am. A webinar option is available.

This is the final component of the overall 2016 project selection process for PSRC’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds.


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On pace to truly improve transportation in the region

For the first time in decades, funding for transportation investments is on track to meet the demands of a growing population and economy in the central Puget Sound region.

In addition to travel time savings, roadway investments will also enhance salmon recovery, address critical bridge needs, and finish projects in key corridors.

Even as the region grows by nearly a million more people by 2040, travel times by transit and car through major corridors are expected to improve over what exists today.

Those were a few of the takeaways from a presentation to the Transportation Policy Board this week showcasing funded investments coming online from 2010 through 2040 and what they will mean for the region’s commuters.

In the last two years alone, the previous Transportation 2040 plan budget shortfall was reduced by 25%, thanks to Connecting Washington, Sound Transit 3, Kitsap Transit’s Fast Ferry Plan, and other voter-approved local road and transit initiatives.

The presentation also highlighted bicycle and pedestrian projects built or funded from 2010 to 2040, including the Cross-Kirkland Corridor, Prairie Line Trail in Tacoma, Centennial Trail in Snohomish County, and the Bay Street Pedestrian Project in Port Orchard.

Transit investments will have big travel time benefits.

You can view the full presentation here or watch the discussion during the meeting (starting at about 38:00).

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