The much-anticipated I-5 non event

Did anyone miss the headlines? The much anticipated I-5 closures produced no traffic catastrophe. Instead, usage dropped 50% during the 2 week period. And apparently no one knows why. Was it the bikes? The transit? Flexible work hours? Signals? Here’s another theory: it was also a coordinated effort by all levels of government in Puget Sound. It proved that when a major project is orchestrated at a regional level, the payoffs are substantial. Some of the planning I read or heard about: an additional Sounder Commuter Rail train, additional Water Taxis, extra parking at Park and Ride stations all the way to Tacoma and Kent. Extra shuttle services between communities and drop-off points for transit. Increased vanpools and more bike Read More ›

A Turning Point Approaches For Fast Foot Ferries In Puget Sound

This Monday July 2, our Cascadia Center For Regional Development hosted a jam-packed forum in West Seattle for stakeholders to discuss next steps toward funding an expanded system of passenger-only ferries on Puget Sound and Lake Washington. This would embody a modern-day return of the region’s old “Mosquito Fleet” of foot ferries; providing today’s commuters and others with expanded transit options in a region facing increasingly congested roads and steets, and major population growth in coming decades. Cascadia Center’s Director Bruce Agnew moderated the panel discussion featuring presentations by members of the Puget Sound Passenger Ferry Coalition. Among those speaking were King County Council members Dow Constantine and Julia Patterson. KIRO 7 TV and KING-5 TV were among media reporting. Read More ›

Regions And Feds Must Jointly Combat Congestion

A new report by the Congressional Research Service notes that traffic congestion has reached crisis proportions in some places. But, the report notes, not everyone agrees that congestion is a major national problem warranting a federal government response. Because congestion tends to be geographically concentrated in major metropolitan areas, past Congressional action has tended to favor a predominantly state and local response. The report speculates that Congress may well decide to continue with this approach in the next reauthorization of the guiding federal transportation policy legislation, known as SAFETEA-LU, which expires October 1, 2009. States and localities that suffer major congestion would be free to focus their resources on congestion mitigation, while those who are relatively congestion-free could devote their Read More ›

Greater Scrutiny Urged For I-90 Light Rail Plan

In a Seattle Times op-ed published today, the former chief examiner of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, George Kargianis, and former state Supreme Court justice Phil Talmadge assert Sound Transit’s proposal to build light rail across Lake Washington to Eastside suburbs via the I-90 floating bridge just doesn’t pencil out. We have taken no official position yet on either the Eastside light rail proposal or the larger November, 2007 roads and transit ballot measure of which it is a part. However, our Cascadia Center of Discovery Institute supports system wide, time variable automated highway tolling; taxpayer-friendly design-build contracting; enhanced opportunities for public-private partnerships to build and operate transportation infrastructure; improved transportation technology to help address congestion; regional governance in Read More ›

Research Compendium

Last updated August 25, 2008 The research, it just keeps coming. On this page, we’ll compile links to key studies and reports on innovation in transportation. MANAGING, PLANNING & FUNDING TRANSPORTATION Cascadia Center Reports “Lessons In Public-Private Partnerships & Climate Change: What British Columbia Taught California, And What Washington Can Still Learn,” 10/07. “A Tale Of Three Cities: How San Diego, Denver and Vancouver, B.C. Raised Major Regional Funds For Transportation,” Doug Hurley, Cascadia Center For Regional Development, 9/06. “Travel Value Pricing: Better Traffic Operations Management & New Revenue For The Puget Sound Region,” John S. Niles, for Cascadia Center, 4/06. “Transportation Working Group Recommendations,” Transportation Working Group, Cascadia Center For Regional Development, 2/15/05. Transportation Working Group background, members, and Read More ›

State Route 520 Bridge Funding Requires Leadership

The estimated cost now is as high as $4.4 billion to replace the dangerously earthquake-prone Evergreen Point Floating Bridge on State Route 520, which crosses Lake Washington to connect the populous and job-rich Eastside with Seattle. But only $560 million is in hand; and the rest is decidedly iffy, as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. (UPDATE: The state DOT’s 520 page lists $1.25 billion in identified funding, including $700 million in tolls). The P-I editorializes we need to get the full funding package pulled together ASAP. …we’re told that the Evergreen Point Bridge will be rebuilt, pronto, even though we’re $3.5 billion short on the project’s budget. We currently have just under 20 percent of the bridge’s $4.4 billion secured….This “build Read More ›

The Impact Of “Commuting With Benefits”

In a summary of its updated “Commuting In America” study, the Transportation Research Board reports that what might be called “commuting with benefits” is growing, as more drivers make more stops for other purposes on the way to and from work. Commutes are getting more complex, and the trend could lead to still more cars on the road rather than fewer. Planners, many politicians, and environmental advocates would like to see more transit use, but especially where key suburban commuters are targeted, that will depend on speed, frequency and convenience of service. How does “trip chaining” play out presently here in Central Puget Sound? Driving back from your job in Bellevue to your affordable home in Maple Valley, you stop Read More ›

Everett Herald: “Don’t Bury Streamlined Transportation Planning”

In an editorial yesterday titled, “Don’t Bury Streamlined Transportation Planning,” the Everett Herald states it plainly: If November’s joint (roads and transit) vote in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties is to succeed, voters will have to be convinced that they’ll get their money’s worth. Merging the planning and funding of regional transit and highways – functions currently under the separate wings of Sound Transit, the Puget Sound Regional Council, the Regional Transportation Invesment District and the state Department of Transportion (whew!) – under a single, accountable commission would be a step toward winning voter trust. One version of such a commission is contained in ESSB 5803, which passed the Senate earlier this month. The House Transportation Committee is considering its Read More ›