ST3 and local transportation measures leading; Kitsap fast ferry vote close

With votes still being counted, so far it appears that most transportation measures in the region are passing.

ST3 will ad 62 miles of light rail to a system that will connect the region's centers.

ST3 will add 62 miles of light rail to a transit system connecting the region’s major job centers.

ST3 – the biggest transportation undertaking in the region’s history – is on track to pass.

Bellevue, Bothell, Kenmore and Lynnwood voters are favoring local measures that would fund improvements on local roads, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, safe routes to schools and more.

Issaquah’s Traffic Improvement Bonds (Prop 1) looks short of getting the 60% majority needed to pass.

Kitsap County votes are trending toward approval of new fast ferry service that would connect downtown Seattle with Bremerton, Southworth, and Kingston.

The votes follow approval last year of the state Connecting Washington package, Community Transit’s Proposition 1, and local transportation measures in Tacoma, Enumclaw, and Seattle.

Investments in the region’s transportation plan – some that have been on the books for a decade or more — are significantly funded, including major road and rail connections between the region’s major cities.

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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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More regional transit – and faster – in revised ST3

Regional leaders have unanimously approved the ST3 transit package they’ll send to voters this fall.

ST3map

Click on the map to see more details.

 

The Sound Transit Board today approved changes that will speed the delivery of light rail to more places and add additional bus rapid transit and commuter rail.

“The public sent us a clear message: We want light rail and other high-capacity mass transit, and we want it as soon as possible, ” said King County Executive Dow Constantine, who chairs the Sound Transit Board.

The board is on track to finalize the entire package by June 23 and prepare it for the November election.

 

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Sound Transit says the most frequent theme they’ve heard since releasing the initial ST3 plan is “completing projects more quickly.”

The agency says the additional service and speedier delivery “were primarily enabled by adjusting the financing plan.”

In total, the ST3 projects will build a total of 62 new miles of light rail with 37 new stations.

In July, PSRC’s Transportation Policy Board will begin review of the final ST3 system plan to ensure it conforms with regional plans.  The policy board is scheduled to make a conformity recommendation in September.

 

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Sound Transit asking for feedback on ST3

ST3 could be the biggest transportation undertaking in the region’s history.  Sound Transit wants your input to shape the final ballot measure that will go to voters in November.

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Peter Rogoff, Sound Transit CEO, encourages input on ST3.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff told the Transportation Policy Board today that ridership on all segments of the Sound Transit system — express bus, commuter rail and light rail — is growing fast.

Since the opening of U Link last month, daily light rail ridership has grown from 36,000 to over 50,000 riders per day, Rogoff said.

The ST3 plan would spend $50 billion over 25 years to expand light rail, commuter rail, and bus transit to meet growing demand throughout the region.  Light rail would extend north, south east and west for a total of 112 miles – about the same scale as Washington DC’s metro system.

“It’s about making this region a rail-linked region,” Rogoff said.

At the same time planning and design for ST3 projects would get underway, many ST2 projects will be coming online.  Rogoff noted that 2023 will be a busy year for the agency – with the opening of light rail to Lynnwood, East Link, and Kent/Des Moines.

Sound Transit is seeking comments on the draft ST3 System Plan until April 29.  Public meetings will be held:

April 19 – Ballard High School – 5:30 p.m.

April 21 – Evergreen State College – Tacoma – 5:30 p.m.

April 25 – Everett Station – 5:30 p.m.

April 26 – West Seattle High School – 5:30 p.m.

April 27 – Old Redmond School House Community Center – 5:30 p.m.

April 28 – Todd Beamer High School – Federal Way – 5:30 p.m.

April 28 – Union Station – Seattle – 11:30 a.m.

Sound Transit Board action to adopt the ST3 plan is anticipated to occur in June 2016. The Transportation Policy Board will have a role recommending the ST3 System Plan for conformity with the region’s plans and policies.

Learn more at soundtransit3.org.

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A “truly regional mass transit system” proposed

After years of planning, technical work, outreach and heavy political lifting – a draft plan has been presented to deliver a mass transit system for the central Puget Sound region on par with systems serving the Bay Area and Washington, D.C.

entiremap“An ambitious plan for an ambitious region,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We go big because the need is big.”

The plan would connect 17 cities with light rail extending from Everett to Tacoma and to Redmond and Issaquah.  Thirteen cities would be connected by commuter rail – 12 cities with Bus Rapid Transit.

Sound Transit expects more details to be posted on soundtransit3.org on Tuesday.   This presentation contains highlights.  Here’s a link to the ST3 Draft Plan Map.

It is a 25 year plan with a $50 billion price tag.

Executive Constantine, who also serves as Chair of the Sound Transit Board, called the plan “a starting point for many weeks of robust public conversation.”

Sound Transit expects to finalize the plan in June in preparation for a November vote.

Executive Constantine referenced the region’s decade long debate over light rail.

“Debate is over. Light rail is here,” he said. “It is the only way to add the capacity we need.”

Sound Transit Executive Director Peter Rogoff compared the miles of the proposed light rail system as on par with BART in the Bay Area and Washington, D.C.’s Metro.

Rogoff said the system would cover twice the territory of Atlanta’s MARTA system.  When complete in 2041, the system would be expected to carry 500,000 riders per day.

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ST3 candidate projects generating excitement

The transportation planning community is abuzz with the release of candidate projects for a potential Sound Transit 3 proposal in 2016. 

It's time to dig in to the details of ST3 candidate projects.

It’s time to dig in to the details of ST3 candidate projects.

Here are a few of the things that are getting people talking:

Splitting the spine:  The Seattle Transit Blog notes that one concept is to split the Tacoma to Everett light rail line into corridors, allowing for greater operational efficiencies.

Downtown transit tunnel:  To meet growing demand for light rail service, one candidate project would build a second downtown transit tunnel.

High capacity service on the Eastside:  Options include light rail from Kirkland to Issaquah via Bellevue, and bus rapid transit along 405.

Light rail between Paine Field and Everett Station:  This 9.3-mile extension would connect Paine Field with Everett Station, adding about six stations.

Increased Sounder service in the south corridor: These projects could include extending south corridor station platforms to accommodate 10-car train sets, and making access improvements like a new parking garage and pedestrian bridge connecting to Kent Station.

A 15-, 20-, or 25-year plan:  Sound Transit is considering financial scenarios based on the length of the ST3 plan and other factors.   A longer plan generates more money and can build more projects.

The Sound Transit Board is expected to release a draft ST3 system plan in March 2016.  You can find out more at soundtransit3.org.

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Help shape the future of transit

Sound Transit has launched an interactive ST3 website where you can learn more about potential transit expansions — and take a survey through July 8.

Sound Transit is asking for input on projects that should be studied for the ST3 ballot measure.

Sound Transit is asking for input on projects that should be studied for the ST3 ballot measure.

The agency has released a draft list of priority projects. After incorporating public input, projects on the final list will be studied and considered candidates for a future ST3 ballot measure.

Six public meetings around the region will get underway starting next week:

  • Seattle:  June 16, Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St.
  • Everett: June 18, Everett Station, 3201 Smith Ave.
  • Redmond: June 23, Redmond Marriot, 7401 164th Ave. N.E.
  • Tacoma: June 24, Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center, 1500 Broadway
  • Seattle (daytime): 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. June 25, Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St.
  • Federal Way: June 25, King County Aquatic Center, 650 S.W. Campus Dr. 

Except the June 25 daytime meeting in Seattle, all of the meetings will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with presentations at 6 p.m.

The meetings in Seattle, Redmond and Federal Way will coincide with King County Metro Transit Long-Range Plan public meetings.

 

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