Sound Transit releases study of region's growing transit needs

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Sound Transit today released the final draft of a study examining alternatives for responding to continuing population growth and the need for more transit service.

"Unless we plan on living in our cars, we must continue to build our mass transit system," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg. "This study provides information for making smart choices."

Over the next 25 years, the region's population is expected to grow by 1.2 million, the equivalent of adding the population of the greater Portland area to our current population. The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) on the Regional Transit Long-Range Plan analyzes environmental impacts and benefits, including projections of future transit ridership levels and travel times for different corridors.

The study will play an important role in the ongoing public process for updating the plan. Currently, Sound Transit is midway through a series of public meetings around the region on the Long-Range Plan. The remaining seven meetings are listed below.

The FSEIS includes a broad, system-wide analysis of two alternatives: a "no-action" alternative as well as a Long-Range Plan alternative that calls for building an array of projects similar to those in the vision for future expansions initially adopted in 1996. The Long-Range Plan alternative includes new light rail corridors and connections, new bus rapid transit services, and expanded commuter rail service. The study finds that these expansions would enable commuters to reach their destinations more quickly and reliably as congestion worsens over the next 25 years.

Region-wide transit ridership could grow by 151 percent by 2030. Transit ridership in the Snohomish-North King County corridor could increase by 158 percent. Ridership on transit services connecting Seattle and East King County could grow by 240 percent. Ridership on expanded transit services connecting King and Pierce counties could grow by 131 percent.

The current series of public meetings provides a chance for people to help update the Long-Range Plan that was adopted in 1996. In April the Sound Transit Board released for public review a draft series of changes to the Long­-Range Plan.

After finalizing the Long-Range Plan in June, Sound Transit will work with the public to identify the highest priority projects for inclusion in Sound Transit 2, a subset of the plan. Sound Transit 2 projects will be constructed if they are approved by the region's voters.

"We need the public's continued involvement in identifying which transit technologies and corridors make sense within each part of the region," Ladenburg said. "Come to a meeting, visit our Web site or send us an e-mail or letter. Now is the time to tell us how we can make the regional transit system serve you best."

Sound Transit is successfully delivering the first wave of projects that voters approved in 1996. Sounder trains are running daily between Tacoma and Seattle and Everett and Seattle, and the service is expanding. Sound Transit's extensive ST Express bus network includes 19 routes, more than 10,000 new park-and-ride slots, and new infrastructure such as direct access freeway ramps allowing buses to avoid congestion. Tacoma Link light rail is attracting more riders than expected, and Sound Transit remains on track to deliver Central Link light rail on time, on budget, and all the way to the airport.

Public involvement is vital to shaping the continued expansion of the system. The process of the environmental study released today began with an initial round of four public meetings in May 2005. December's publication of the Draft SEIS was followed by a series of 10 public meetings in January to gather input. Responses to public comments are included in the final document released today. The remaining seven meetings in the current series of 13 meetings around the region are scheduled for the following times and locations:

 

Wednesday, June 1st, 2005 - Tukwila
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Tukwila Community Center
12424 42nd Avenue S., Tukwila

 

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005 - Factoria
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Newport Way Library
14250 S.E. Newport Way, Bellevue

 

Tuesday, June 7th, 2005 - Redmond
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center
16600 N.E. 80th St., Redmond

 

Wednesday, June 8th, 2005 - Kirkland
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Kirkland Performance Center
350 Kirkland Avenue, Kirkland

 

Thursday, June 9th, 2005 - Mercer Island
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Mercer Island High School Commons
9100 S.E. 42nd St., Mercer Island

 

Monday, June 13th, 2005 - Bothell
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Bothell Regional Library
18215 98th Avenue N.E., Bothell

 

Thursday, June 16th, 2005 - Mountlake Terrace
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Mountlake Terrace Library
23300 58th Avenue W., Mountlake Terrace

 

Read the complete FSEIS. To request a free copy of the complete final supplemental EIS on CD-ROM, or a hard copy of the final supplemental EIS at a printing cost of $10.00, please contact Sound Transit at (206) 398-5000, (888) 713-6030 TTY, send an e-mail to main@soundtransit.org, or write to Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104.

See additional information on the Long-Range Plan process. Community members can also make their voices heard by phoning (206) 398-5000 or 1-800-201-4900; faxing (206) 689-3360; or e-mailing main@soundtransit.org.

Sound Transit is successfully delivering the first wave of projects that voters approved in 1996. Sounder trains are running daily between Tacoma and Seattle and Everett and Seattle, and the service is expanding. Sound Transit's extensive ST Express bus network includes 19 routes, more than 10,000 new park-and-ride slots, and new infrastructure such as direct access freeway ramps allowing buses to avoid congestion. Tacoma Link light rail is attracting more riders than expected, and Sound Transit remains on track to deliver Central Link light rail on time, on budget, and all the way to the airport.

Public involvement is vital to shaping the continued expansion of the system. The process of the environmental study released today began with an initial round of four public meetings in May 2005. December's publication of the Draft SEIS was followed by a series of 10 public meetings in January to gather input. Responses to public comments are included in the final document released today. The remaining seven meetings in the current series of 13 meetings around the region are scheduled for the following times and locations:

 

Wednesday, June 1st, 2005 - Tukwila
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Tukwila Community Center
12424 42nd Avenue S., Tukwila

 

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005 - Factoria
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Newport Way Library
14250 S.E. Newport Way, Bellevue

 

Tuesday, June 7th, 2005 - Redmond
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center
16600 N.E. 80th St., Redmond

 

Wednesday, June 8th, 2005 - Kirkland
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Kirkland Performance Center
350 Kirkland Avenue, Kirkland

 

Thursday, June 9th, 2005 - Mercer Island
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Mercer Island High School Commons
9100 S.E. 42nd St., Mercer Island

 

Monday, June 13th, 2005 - Bothell
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Bothell Regional Library
18215 98th Avenue N.E., Bothell

 

Thursday, June 16th, 2005 - Mountlake Terrace
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Mountlake Terrace Library
23300 58th Avenue W., Mountlake Terrace

 

Read the complete FSEIS. To request a free copy of the complete final supplemental EIS on CD-ROM, or a hard copy of the final supplemental EIS at a printing cost of $10.00, please contact Sound Transit at (206) 398-5000, (888) 713-6030 TTY, send an e-mail to main@soundtransit.org, or write to Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104.

See additional information on the Long-Range Plan process. Community members can also make their voices heard by phoning (206) 398-5000 or 1-800-201-4900; faxing (206) 689-3360; or e-mailing main@soundtransit.org.


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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.