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Transit Access Stakeholder Group
The Transit Access Stakeholder group is a growing coalition of organizations that strongly supports connecting the Puget Sound region through affordable, reliable, and sustainable transit. Together, we represent environmental, land use, active transportation, social justice, affordable housing, and transit stakeholders, with thousands of members in the central Puget Sound region.
Public Comment Letters to the Sound Transit Board
Public Testimony to Sound Transit Capital Committee - Thursday, May 12
Members of the Transit Access Stakeholder group provided public comment to the Sound Transit Capital Committee on the Transit Oriented Development language in the ST3 draft plan. Below are their comments. You can watch their commentary here, starting at 1:46.
Transportation Choices advocates for more and better transportation options in Washington State, and is leading a large and diverse coalition of organizations who strongly support connecting the Puget Sound region through affordable, reliable, and sustainable transit.
We are excited about the ST3 draft plan, and look forward to making it even better.
We are really pleased that System Access language is prioritized to reflect the ST board’s commitment to bringing people to light rail in a healthy, safe, cost-effective, and sustainable way. Smart and strategic access investments can also help create vibrant transit-oriented communities that reflect and improve the unique land uses in a given neighborhood.
We are excited about the smart parking strategies reflected in today’s Access language. Pricing parking helps address overcrowding, and ensures reliable access to a parking spot. It can also generate revenue to defray parking maintenance and operation costs and creates a revenue source for complementary access investments for people walking, biking, and taking transit.
We encourage the board to also included language that prioritizes exploring leased and shared parking arrangements before building new parking, and building parking in such a way that it can be fully or partially converted into TOD in the future. Most importantly, it means using rigorous models to determine whether and how much parking is needed at a station before allocating funds.
Futurewise along with others that have spoken today and many others have participated for the past 10 months or so in a TOD and affordable housing process with ST staff. I would like to thank them for all of their work and diligently listening too many of our concerns, I would also like to commend them for producing the TOD narrative and accompanying document.
Futurewise is pleased that ST staff and specifically the board has taken a keen interest in how to move forward with building strong equitable TOD that are based in mix-income, mix used communities across our region. Futurewise believes that the document presented to you today was a good start, unfortunately is still falls short of what is needed. We strongly believe that the language provided in the ST3 plan be more specific on what is to be achieved in regards to TOD policies and affordable housing as a result of the authorizing language.
Futurewise believes there should be language prioritizing TOD in alignment decisions and making sure the high-capacity transit be focused in communities and centers slated for growth, this means connecting mixed use centers, allowing a regional asset to also become a community asset. We look forward to participating in a dialogue over the coming weeks on how to best improve this language and move forward with the best plan for our region.
HDC is a nonprofit, membership organization which represents more than 120 nonprofit organizations, private businesses, and public partners who are working to develop affordable housing across King County and who are dedicated to the vision that all people should have a safe, healthy, and affordable home In a community of opportunity.
We greatly appreciate the work the ST staff has done over the past weeks to craft the Transit-oriented development or TOD language, you were briefed on today. This language will take ST a significant step forward in thinking comprehensively about how transit stations play a part in building equitable, complete communities. We are particularly pleased this language incorporates RCW 81.112.350 regarding affordable housing into the ST3 plan.
That said, this RCW was crafted with a great amount of implementation flexibility, and we agree with the comments today -- the TOD language as drafted does not address the questions we continue to have about the universe of opportunities ST will pursue to implement this commitment.
We have submitted suggested revisions to ST staff to help clarify the intent of this language, and we look forward to working with you in the coming weeks to incorporate these revisions into the final ST3 plan.
Puget Sound Sage believes in the importance of creating policy and supporting existing efforts to put the Equity in TOD. Equitable TOD has 4 main components: community leadership, affordable housing, good jobs, and thriving people. I’m here specifically to speak to the ST3 language concerning the disposal or surplus property.
We see this initial language as a good first step in addressing equitable TOD on surplus Sound Transit property, in accordance with RCW 81.112.350, but believe that there are meaningful changes that could further strengthen Sound Transit’s ability to promote affordable communities of opportunity at rail stations. We are specifically concerned about job quality standards on surplus properties. Currently there are no mechanisms to ensure job quality, which has resulted in a plan to bring in a vocally anti-union grocery store to the surplus property at the Capitol Hill light rail station. We need policies to ensure that jobs on formerly public property provide a living wage and allow workers to exercise their voice without fear of retaliation.
Sound Transit should create job quality standards for commercial developments over 10,000 SF at surplussed TOD sites to promote family-supporting jobs that pay living wages, provide benefits and create long-term economic security. A good jobs policy is good for workers and will maximize ridership by providing complete transit oriented communities.
What is next for the Transit Access Stakeholder group?
We will continue to work with Sound Transit to strengthen the package and will participate in the campaign to pass Sound Transit 3 in November.