Seattle/King County Climate News 4.10.22

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Robin Briggs

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Apr 10, 2022, 9:53:43 PM4/10/22
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Lots of local news today!

Three separate actions to take:
- Testify on the Regional Transportation Plan (details below)
- Testify to the Green New Deal Oversight Board (details below)
- Signature gathering for East King County PUD - Celebrate Earth Day 4/23 (a day late), help democratize our energy system, and help give PSE the boot by gathering signatures for an initiative to form a new Public Utility District in East King County.  Initiative details at https://ekc-pud.org/ .    Sign up here to find transportation buddies, get a signature-gathering time/location assigned, arrange training, and more. 

Seattle

City Council has approved work plans for each council committee for the coming year. This details the work each committee chair is expecting to handle over the course of the year. 

The Green New Deal Oversight Board is holding a listening session on April 18 at 5pm to hear public opinions on their budget recommendations for spending the $4.6M in the 2022 Budget that was set aside, and what their recommendations going forward should be. Click here to register.

The Seattle Jobs Initiative, the Office of Sustainability and Emerald Cities are holding a webinar April 25 at 12:30pm on how they are working to address the skills gap in the workforce for clean energy that is slowing down the transition in the three county region (King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties).

New bus lanes: SDOT is building an eastbound bus-only lane on 45th between Roosevelt Way Northeast and 15th Avenue Northeast, and a southbound lane along 15th Avenue Northeast between Northeast 45th Street and Northeast 40th Street to ease buses through congestion there. SDOT is also building a bus-only lane on Northeast 43rd Street between 15th Avenue Northeast and University Way, for buses traveling west to provide riders direct access to the U District Station south entrance. 

U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recommended allocating $60 million to Seattle’s RapidRide J Line project. RapidRide J upgrades Route 70, and connects downtown, South Lake Union, Eastlake and the University District. It will also include pedestrian improvements and protected bike lanes.

Projected revenue forecasts have improved. The latest revenue forecast from the Office of Economic and Revenue Forecasts shows an increase of $32.5M in General Revenue Funds, and $57.5M in special funds (special funds are up mainly due to the Payroll Expense Tax, and secondarily the Real Estate Excise Tax).

Councilmember Tammy Morales launched a town hall series called Seattle Within Reach, about "how we build a Seattle in which everyone  has the ability to live, work and play – within reach".  It is aimed at how Seattle updates its Comprehensive Plan. Councilmember Morales hosted a Town Hall to introduce the concept, video is available here.

Sound Transit

West Seattle/Ballard Link Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) remains open for public comment until April 28.  The Urbanist's monthly meetup featured a joint presentation with Seattle Subway, which detailed some of the design choices made, why they are made that way, and alternatives that Seattle Subway would like to see further explored. That presentation is not yet uploaded, but meanwhile here's a placeholder so you can find it later.

Sound Transit staff made a statement on the proposed alternative Gondola plan for West Seattle, saying that it had significant limitations, including compatibility with existing light rail system, lack of expandability, and funding. It lacks capacity to serve projected ridership, surge events, or future regional demand. And they believe that a gondola system could not be done under the existing Sound Transit authorization, but rather a new voter approval would be required.

Sound Transit is currently seeking feedback on the Everett link extension, from Lynwood to Everett Station. They project completing through to Southwest Everett Industrial Center by 2037, but said that completing the route to Everett Station would require either more funding or more time. When completed, travel time from Everett Station to downtown Seattle would be 60 minutes.

Regional

PSRC Transportation Policy Board is meeting on April 14 at 9:30am to discuss amendments to the Regional Transportation Plan. Amendments proposed include introducing the region's 2030 goal to reduce emissions by 50%, and do modeling to project how the region will do to meet the goal, many items around multi-modal transportation and safety, and more. Register here by 8am April 14th for public comment, or send comments via email to cmo...@psrc.org.

PSRC's Growth Management Policy Board met with an interesting slide deck on Data Trends: the latest on population growth (it's going up), housing supply, prices, and inventory (rental & sales prices up, supply up but slower growth, inventory very low), economic trends and transit ridership.
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