Can you believe it’s September? We hope you’re thoroughly enjoying the waning days of summer. As young people return to school, a friendly reminder that youth can ride free on all transit!
This month, we’re celebrating several wins for Puget Sound’s transit network: Tacoma’s Hilltop Extension Line will open on September 16, and the Sound Transit board voted to open the East Link Starter Line in March 2024.
We’re also excited to share that tickets are now live for our annual Tuxes & Trains gala fundraiser on November 17. Join us at the Seattle Aquarium as we come together to celebrate Waves of Change in Washington State transportation and at TCC. We hope to see you there!
Read on for more news, events, resources and opportunities to get involved.
– Transportation Choices Coalition
WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO
While in Vancouver, we got to check out C-TRAN’s new BRT line, opening Oct. 1st
Presenting at the Washington State Public Transportation Conference
We had an amazing couple of days in Vancouver, WA connecting with transit agencies from across our state at the Washington State Public Transportation Conference. Our Events and Engagement Manager, McKenna Lux, presented findings from a series of youth focus groups, delving into what supports—and hinders—youth riding transit. (We plan to release the full report later this month. Stay tuned for more details!) Big thanks to the Washington State Transit Association for bringing together all the people who move us.
Celebrating the Approval of an East Link Starter Line!
After the East Link Extension project was delayed due to construction challenges along the I-90 floating bridge, advocates rallied around the idea of opening an East Link Starter Line proposed by King County councilmember and Sound Transit Board member Claudia Balducci, which would run from South Bellevue Station to Redmond Technology Station. Thanks to the advocacy of groups like Move Redmond, the Sound Transit Board voted to open a Starter Line in March 2024!
We were thrilled to see Sound Transit find a solution that delivers much-needed transit service to the Eastside, and keeps other regional projects on track. The Starter Line will have immediate tangible benefits for Eastside communities, making them more connected and accessible. As Sound Transit continues to build out the regional transit network that voters approved, milestones like this one show the power and the promise of what we’re working toward.
New Blog Post: Our Work with Sound Transit
Earlier this summer, we shared our top 6 priorities for 2023 and beyond. One of these priorities is to ensure efficient and equitable project delivery at Sound Transit. Sound Transit is responsible for planning and building one the most ambitious transit expansion in the country, and we know their success is vital for the equity, safety, and sustainability outcomes we want to achieve. Our new blog post offers a primer on the past, present, and future of Sound Transit, how TCC is engaging with their work, and how you can engage with us.
WHAT’S COMING UP
Get Your Tickets for Tuxes & Trains 2023!
We’re excited to announce that tickets are now on sale for Tuxes & Trains 2023! Don’t hesitate on this—we’re anticipating that tickets will sell out to this fabulous fundraising gala. Plus, you’ll want to be sure to take advantage of our early bird pricing, good through November 1. We’re hosting this year’s reception-style fundraiser at the gorgeous Seattle Aquarium, and we couldn’t be more excited.
This year, our gala theme celebrates the Waves of Change across Washington’s transportation system and within our own organization. Join colleagues, friends, and other advocates from across the region in a memorable celebration of our organization’s 30th year fighting for more and better transportation choices for all. Learn about the sea change taking shape in our state’s transportation priorities—and some changes for TCC as well.
Friday, November 17, at 7:00 PM
Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, along the waterfront
Find more details at transportationchoices.org/tuxestrains2023.
Attend “Building a Walkable City”
What if everyone in Seattle could afford to live in a place where they could access their daily needs within a short walk or roll? Seattle Neighborhood Greenways invites you to explore this question and more at a live panel event, the third and final in their Shaping Seattle series.
Thursday, September 14, 6:00-8:00 PM
Centilia Cultural Center on Beacon Hill
Tickets: Free, with optional $15 donation
Celebrate Tacoma’s Link Extension Opening!
On Saturday, September 16, the long-awaited Hilltop Link extension in Tacoma will open to the public. Six new stations will connect the Tacoma Dome and Downtown to the Stadium and Hilltop neighborhoods, and trains will run every 10 minutes, or every 20 minutes on evenings and Sundays. There will be a $2 fare, which can be paid with an ORCA card or using ticket machines at stations. Join TCC and our partners at Downtown On the Go and Ride Together Pierce for opening day celebrations, including a 10 AM ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center.
Attend “From Pandemic to Prosperity: Downtowns Reimagined”
After the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted downtowns and urban cores, can we revitalize these places to better serve all people? Puget Sound Regional Council invites you to a free event, either in-person or on Zoom. Join national experts and community leaders to explore cutting edge data analysis, innovative techniques, and best practices to reimagine downtowns for our shared prosperity.
Friday, September 29
Part 1: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, In-Person & Zoom Panel Discussions
Part 2: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM, In-Person Walking Tour, Downtown Seattle
Celebrate New Bus Rapid Transit in Vancouver, WA!
The Vine on Mill Plain, C-TRAN’s second bus rapid transit line will open on Sunday, October 1. Join a grand opening event on Saturday, September 30, for food, giveaways, family-friendly activities, and more. Mill Plain is C-TRAN’s second-highest ridership corridor, making it the logical place for bus rapid transit after the launch of The Vine on Fourth Plain in 2017. C-TRAN expects the new line to improve congestion and travel times as it provides a better transportation option in one of Vancouver’s key corridors.
Give Your Input on the New Seattle Transportation Plan
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has released a draft of the Seattle Transportation Plan, which details how they plan to address transportation needs over the next 20 years. There are many ways to learn and give feedback, from watching a few short videos to digging into the nitty gritty details.
Visit the online engagement hub to get involved at whatever level works for you.
Apply to Serve on SDOT’s Equity Workgroup
SDOT’s Transportation Equity Workgroup (TEW) currently has open seats for Cohort #1, 2024-2025 term! Would you like to apply your experiences and professional knowledge to serving as community stewards of SDOT’s Transportation Equity Framework (TEF)? We invite community members affiliated with community organizations, non-profits, coalitions, or networks serving Seattle-King County BIPOC and vulnerable communities to apply.
Learn more about the application process and benefits of participation here. The TEW application will go live Friday, September 8. Applicants must submit both an application and a letter of support from their affiliated organization by Friday, October 6, 2023 at 6:00 PM PST.
For any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (206) 530-3260.
Give Your Input on Bellevue’s Transportation Priorities
Want to learn more about the City of Bellevue Transportation Benefit District, ask questions and share your feedback? There is a survey open now until September 30. The questions focus on what areas of transportation maintenance and which transportation programs are most important to you.
Encourage Your Employer to Offer Transit as a Benefit
Want your employer to cover your transit pass? Our partner Commute Seattle offers free support to businesses, nonprofits, and organizations of all sizes looking to implement ORCA passes as an employee benefit. Businesses that are new to ORCA may even qualify for 50% off their first ORCA Business program.
WHAT WE’RE READING
With fewer riders, WTA seeks new direction — Cascadia Daily News
“Whatcom Transportation Authority may expand its scope to address some of the county’s biggest problems. […] Specific projects aren’t known, as WTA’s new direction is only a concept for now. But officials have at least one idea in mind: leasing its properties to build affordable housing.”
Report: An Active Roadmap: Best Practices in Rural Mobility — Smart Growth America
“We dive into the diversity of American rural communities and small towns to discuss rural transportation needs and challenges along with success stories from rural and small town communities across the country.”
WA Democrats ask Buttigieg for $200M to plan Canada-Seattle-Portland bullet train — The Seattle Times
“The electrically-powered trains could travel between Seattle and either Vancouver, B.C., or Portland within an hour, or 15 minutes to Seattle from Tacoma or Everett.”
As Washington’s ferry fleet ages, why aren’t we building new boats? — The Seattle Times
“In the San Juan Islands, the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas and Whidbey Island, ferries are the link to work, school, doctor visits, weddings, funerals and loved ones.”
Bus driver union gives green light to contract with King County Metro — KUOW
“The contract – which covers maintenance workers, bus drivers, train drivers, and other frontline employees – will provide approximately a 17% wage increase over three years.”
Autonomous vehicles aren’t solving our transportation problems. They’re automating them. — Transportation for America
“Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have been dangled as a transportation “silver bullet” for decades. Now, they’re finally operating as robo-taxis in San Francisco. However, the Bay Area’s experience with these vehicles so far shows that it’s our reliance on cars—not who’s behind the wheel—that’s our most pressing problem.”
How Well Is Washington Supporting Transit?
Transportation for America just dropped an incredible new “Transit Report Card”, which evaluates transit support and availability across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It also paints a more holistic picture of each state’s attitudes about transit through measures such as spending, multimodal funding restrictions, and vehicle miles traveled.
So how does Washington fare? With a range of overall scores between 4-18, a 12 puts us in the top quarter of scoring entities. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.
First of all, we know our transit spending score (3 out of 6 points) will definitely improve as soon as data is updated to include the additional transit revenue from Move Ahead Washington. But one of the most interesting things depressing our overall score is the presence of Washington’s 18th amendment, which constitutionally restricts us from spending gas tax revenue on transit and other multimodal projects. That’s one of the biggest transportation challenges we face this generation, and one we hope to address by passing an equitable Road Usage Charge (RUC) at the state legislature.
A RUC is an innovative alternative to the regressive and restrictive gas tax—a way to capture the cost of driving and generate transportation revenue that charges people by the miles they drive rather than by gallons of gas purchased. If done right, a new RUC policy that isn’t restricted by the 18th amendment can help us build a transportation system that benefits the environment, health, safety, mobility, and access to opportunity for all. And a side benefit? Unshackling our main transportation revenue sources from constitutional restrictions will improve our Transit Report Card score.
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