The phrase,'Unsound Transit', was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe Seattle where,"Light Rail Madness eats billions that could otherwise be devoted to truly efficient transportation technologies." The Puget Sound's traffic congestion is a growing cancer on the region's prosperity. This website, captures news and expert opinion about ways to address the crisis. This is not a blog, but a knowledge base, which collects the best articles and presents them in a searchable format. My goal is to arm residents with knowledge so they can champion fact-based, rather than emotional, solutions.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

2040 Vision for Puget Sound includes growth of 1.7 million people.

See: The Puget Sound Regional Council's Vision 2040 plan?

Seattle Times

The combined populations of Seattle and Bellevue could grow by nearly 300,000 under a plan that attempts to direct much of the region's projected growth to its largest cities.

Vision 2040, adopted overwhelmingly Thursday by elected officials from four counties and more than 40 cities, also opposes building any more "fully contained communities," such as Redmond Ridge, in rural areas.

The Puget Sound Regional Council's 40-year blueprint for slowing sprawl and speeding up downtown renewal discourages high-density islands outside the urban growth line "because of their potential to create sprawl and undermine state and regional growth management goals."

Tacoma City Councilmember Mike Lonergan, who headed the planning effort, said fully contained communities are "an oxymoron" because they overwhelm rural roads as the new residents drive elsewhere to work, shop and attend school.

Cities and counties aren't required to comply with policies in Vision 2040, an update of the Vision 2020 plan that was adopted in 1995. But the Regional Council's role in allocating some federal road-building funds gives it influence over local land-use decisions.

Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon voted in committee last month against language discouraging fully contained communities. Snohomish County currently is considering a 15,000-resident planned community in the rural Lake Roesiger area.

King County Executive Ron Sims, saying Redmond Ridge was a mistake, supported the Vision 2040 goals.

Sims adviser Karen Wolf called Vision 2040 "fabulous" and said it will allow King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties to grow by 1.7 million people without moving the urban growth boundary.

The plan would locate one-third of those new residents in the region's five largest cities: Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Tacoma and Bremerton. Smaller cities would take 41 percent of the growth, and areas outside cities 28 percent.

Only one city — University Place in Pierce County — voted against the plan, and Kitsap County split its vote, with one commissioner in favor and one against.

University Place Mayor Linda Bird said the City Council supports the plan's goals but isn't convinced the city of 31,000 can handle 23,000 more residents, as the plan suggests.

Kitsap County Commissioner Jan Angel, who also voted no, said she fears jurisdictions could lose federal road-building money allocated by the Regional Council if they fail to comply with the plan. "My concern is the lack of local control," she said. "This will be another level of regional government."

Vision 2040 projects that Tacoma, a city of 193,500, would grow by 127,000 residents and Everett would nearly double by adding 89,000.

Bellevue City Councilmember John Chelminiak and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' spokesman Marty McOmber welcomed the goal of bringing 294,000 more residents into those two cities. Seattle now has 563,400 and Bellevue 109,600. That growth target will be apportioned between the cities through a separate county planning process.

But even as those ambitious growth targets were being adopted, former state Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald questioned whether they are realistic without new efforts to attract more families with children to the largest cities.

From 2000 to 2007 — the first seven years of the Vision 2040 planning period — MacDonald said, only 13 percent of King County's growth went into Seattle and Bellevue, well below the target of 32 percent.

Lonergan drew applause from the PSRC "general assembly" members when he responded to MacDonald by saying, "Yes, we need to do better, but, yes, we are headed in the right direction."

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