Believe it or not, it’s been more than two years since the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) kicked off work on developing VISION 2050, an updated long-range plan that extends the region’s growth strategy to 2050. TCC has been hard at work organizing a coalition of more than a dozen Community Partners, representing environment, climate, open space, land use, affordable housing and other important issues, to influence this lengthy and wonky process. We are grateful for the collaboration of these organizations, and the leadership of elected leaders like outgoing Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, as well as CM Schuette of Arlington, CM Margeson of Redmond, CM Gossett of King County, and CM Tosta of Burien.
If you haven’t been following, four counties in the Puget Sound region come together to create long-range land use and transportation planning at PSRC. As the region plans for 1.8 million additional people and 1.2 million new jobs by 2050, we have been working with the agency to create inclusive community engagement processes and growth strategies that produce better environmental, land use, social equity, and health outcomes. You can read some of the joint priorities we developed with our environmental, land use, health, housing, and social justice partners at the outset of this process here and here.
We are almost at the finish line, and we have some great wins to report! The following policies or action items have been included in the draft VISION 2050 plan that was unanimously recommended for adoption by PSRC’s Growth Management Policy Board last month.
- PSRC, in coordination with member governments and community stakeholders, will develop a Regional Equity Strategy intended to make equity central to PSRC’s work and to support the 2023/24 local comprehensive plan updates.
- Includes developing a plan and committing resources for an equity advisory group that can help provide feedback on and help implement the Regional Equity Strategy.
- PSRC voted to include greenhouse gas emission reduction targets as a part of Vision 2050. The Board decided to align with the goals of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, which covers the same jurisdictions.
- VISION directs PSRC to prioritize transportation investments that will support achievement of these goals, and that countywide planning processes and local comprehensive plans must also support their achievement.
Open Space & Equity
- Open Space Planning: In the next periodic update to the comprehensive plan, counties and cities will create goals and policies that address local open space conservation and access needs identified in the Regional Open Space Conservation Plan prioritizing areas with higher racial and social inequities and rural and resource land facing development pressure.
- Promote homeownership opportunities for low-income, moderate-income, and middle-income families and individuals while recognize historic inequities in access to homeownership.
- Identify potential physical, economic, and cultural displacement of low-income households and marginalized populations that may result from redevelopment and market pressure. Use a range of strategies to mitigate displacement impacts to the extent feasible.
The Executive Board will start discussing the plan January 23rd, and will likely recommend VISION 2050 to the General Assembly this spring. Adoption is just the beginning, which will move us right into implementation. We look forward to working with board and staff to ensure that we use all the tools at PSRC’s disposal — including distribution of federal transportation funds — to ensure that we create processes that help us meet these goals around climate change, equity, open space, displacement, and more.