Month – November 2013

South Park has joined the Coalition

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition is very happy to announce that our neighbors in the South Park Neighborhood Association (SPNA) have joined! The SPNA represents up to 5,200 South Park residents, and the WSTC will work with them to advocate on transportation related issues.

They join with the Delridge Neighborhood District Council, Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council,  Morgan Community Association, Alki Community Council, the West Seattle Junction Neighborhood Organization, the Highland Park Action Committee, North Delridge Neighborhood Council, the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council, and the Admiral Neighborhood Association in endorsing our growing coalition. Today, the WSTC now helps represent up to 68,600 peninsula residents on transportation related issues and advocacy.

We are working together to improve long overlooked and long overdue transportation issues in our area. How can you help us?

  • See who endorses us: please click here for a list of all the groups and individuals who have joined the WSTC since our September 24, 2013 inauguration.
  • Come to a meeting: click here for meeting schedule information, to come to a meeting.
  • Endorse us: click here to join the coalition as an endorser and help improve transportation in the West Seattle peninsula.
  • Volunteer: click here to join our team of over twenty volunteers that are on committees and teams of the WSTC, working to implement change and forward progress for where we live.

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition is a Peninsula-wide organization working to address transportation and mobility issues for Seattle’s largest constituency. Representing more than 100,000 people living and working in the 10 square mile area between the Duwamish River and Puget Sound, these community leaders, advocates, business owners, and residents are working to address transportation and commuting challenges we face in our area. What challenges?

Would you like to know more? 

West Seattle appears to support Light Rail!

Areas under review by Sound Transit for Light Rail.

Areas under review by Sound Transit for Light Rail.

There seems to be a strong hunger in West Seattle for Light Rail expansion to, and through, West Seattle.

On November 21, members of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition attended an information hearing held by Sound Transit about the revision process for their long-range plan. Prior to this, virtually all the feedback we have heard either through the WSTC or through our various West Seattle community groups was overwhelmingly in support of and in favor of expanding Light Rail to West Seattle.

At least one community group which has endorsed the WSTC (Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council) had conducted a Facebook survey of their membership to see if they favored Light Rail. The public results as of November 26 are 24-0-1 in favor of Light Rail to West Seattle (using a Yes-No-Maybe format). That is for one sample a 96% approval rate. While at the event, Sound Transit spokespeople told the WSTC that of all the West Seattle resident responses they have received in their survey that ended on November 25, the approval rate was at 94% as of November 21.

In response to this, the WSTC has drafted and sent the following letter of support to the Sound Transit comment feedback process on November 25, based on this apparently unambiguous overall support for Light Rail in our community:

(more…)

Why is our Metro service facing a 27% cut in 2014?

In case you could not find a clear and simple answer of why King County Metro may be facing 17% cuts in 2014, and why West Seattle is facing a 27% cut, we wanted to explain. There are various moving pieces here. This will explain them all, and then tie them together as it’s explained.

Home rule: Washington is not a “home rule” state, broadly. In some states, local counties (like King County) and municipalities (like Seattle) can do various things on their own to raise tax revenue without involving their state. For example, a county or city may be able to either legislatively (through their county or city council) or through a ballot measure raise a tax. We can do that here–but for almost every situation, we need the permission of the State Legislature in Olympia to do it. The process is: Olympia says, “King County, you have permission to either create Tax ABC,” which is rare, or they will say, “King County, you have our permission to ask your voters if you can create Tax XYZ,” which is far more common.

  • Short version: We need permission from people in other counties to raise taxes on ourselves.

Tim Eyman: Eyman is a conservative activist who has created various anti-tax and anti-government measures using our ballot and initiative system over the years. Some of his measures that have passed have over the years stripped King County Metro and similar public services (Eyman has testified in public on his opposition to public bus systems) of their funding sources. Historically, they used things like MVET (motor vehicle excise tax) and fees on license plate renewals. Due to some ballot measures issued through Eyman’s work, these agencies were forced to use regressive taxes such as sales taxes instead. With the recession that ran from 2008-2011 and being forced into worse economic models due to outside interference, these agencies lost massive funding and issued massive cuts. It also forced agencies like Metro to delay on some other funding rather than cut more service earlier. All of that has come home to roost now. This article on Seattle Transit Blog, here, explains the Metro financial situation in great detail.

  • Short version: Eyman initiatives combined with being forced to fund Metro via sales tax gutted it’s cash flow and reserves.

The Majority Coalition Caucus: first, please read the Wikipedia article on this subject, here. For a less objective but more detailed political overview of this, please read “The Four Horsemen of the Buspocalypse,” on the Stranger. Warning: it’s The Stranger, so there is lots of swearing. Essentially, four key Washington State Senators here in King County are holding up passage of a transportation package that would allow King County to fund itself. They are:

  • Steve Litzow (E-mail, phone: (360) 786-7641), R-41st (Mercer Island-Bellevue-Newcastle)
  • Andy Hill (E-mail, phone: 360-786-7672), R-45th (Finn Hill, Cottage Lake, parts of Redmond, Kirkland, Duvall, Sammamish)
  • Joe Fain (E-mail, phone: 360-786-7692), R-47th (Auburn-Covington-East Hill)
  • Rodney Tom (E-mail, phone: 360-786-7694) , D-48th (Medina-Redmond-Kirkland-Bellevue)

They each have various political reasons that they are doing this. Depending on who you speak to, you’ll hear a variety of different theories and explanations: Ideological opposition to public transit; fear of Tea Party challengers; intending to pass the transit funding legislation but “holding a gun to its head” in exchange for other concessions. In the end, all that matters is that for us, in King County, it’s creating massive unnecessary, unwanted, and unhelpful upheaval and uncertainty. Governor Inslee is calling a special session in roughly 48 hours to work on this problem.

  • Short version: Four state senators from our area are threatening us with up to 17% cuts to King County Metro.

The extra 10% in cuts for West Seattle: West Seattle, ever since the SR-99/Viaduct/Deep Bore Tunnel construction programs began, has been receiving an additional injection of money from the State of Washington to King County Metro. This money is specifically only for extra bus service to and from West Seattle. Without this extra service, from all of the state-sponsored construction that is in our path, our commutes to and from downtown could be as much as 30 minutes longer each way. The construction projects and tunnel–as originally legislated from Olympia–were supposed to be done in the Summer of 2014. Currently, the best guess is sometime in 2017 to 2018. However, that extra money, to keep us from being effectively trapped in our peninsula? It expires in that original legislation in seven months. This is why West Seattle is getting 27% in cuts, while the rest of King County will only get 17% in cuts. The West Seattle Transportation Coalition and some members of the City of Seattle Council are working on this problem. Even if the King County level 17% cuts are completely mitigated and stopped, right now West Seattle alone will still get a 10% cut.

  • Short version: Unless the Governor or the Legislature does something, West Seattle gets a double-barrel of cuts compared to everyone else, because of the State not keeping their commitment to us.

What can I do to help?

  • Contact the four Senators: Click on the links above for each of the four State Senators and mail them.
  • Have someone in their areas contact them: Even better, do you know anyone that lives in those districts and areas of theirs? Can you get them to call or mail those four? Representatives will take feedback from their own constituents far more seriously than feedback from people in other areas.
  • Join the WSTC: You can also join the West Seattle Transportation Coalition as a volunteer or by endorsing us.

NDNC, WWRHAH, and ANA have joined the WSTC

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition is proud to announce that we have been joined by the North Delridge Neighborhood Council (NDNC), the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council (WWRHAH) and the Admiral Neighborhood Association (ANA).

They join a wide array of other community groups and individuals across the West Seattle Peninsula, representative of up to 63,000 residents, who are working together to improve long overlooked and long overdue transportation issues in our area. How can you help them?

  • See who endorses us: please click here for a list of all the groups and individuals who have joined the WSTC since our September 24, 2013 inauguration.
  • Come to a meeting: click here for meeting schedule information, to come to a meeting.
  • Endorse us: click here to join the coalition as an endorser and help improve transportation in the West Seattle peninsula.
  • Volunteer: click here to join our team of over twenty volunteers that are on committees and teams of the WSTC, working to implement change and forward progress for where we live.

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition is a Peninsula-wide organization working to address transportation and mobility issues for Seattle’s largest constituency. Representing more than 100,000 people living and working in the 10 square mile area between the Duwamish River and Puget Sound, these community leaders, advocates, business owners, and residents are working to address transportation and commuting challenges we face in our area. What challenges?

Watch the first ten minutes of this video:

Would you like to know more? 

 

We’re looking for Committee volunteers! YOU can fix our problems.

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition is made up of the following Committees, and is looking for volunteers. To join any of them or for more information about them, please email to info@westseattletc.org. You will be joining a team of twenty committed local volunteers.

Outreach Committee

  • What Outreach does: The evangelists. Engagement with businesses, community groups, special interest groups and individuals for recruiting into the coalition, education, and to collect feedback for the coalition to act upon.
  • Chair: Deb Barker

Communications Committee

  • What Communications does: The geeks and skunkworks operators. Manages the WSTC’s online presences; conducting annual/bi-annual Issues Surveys; writing press releases; managing and facilitating communications between other advocacy groups. Sometimes serving as the squeaky wheel for the other committees.
  • Chair: Joe Szilagyi

Research and Solutions Committee

  • What R&S does: The technical people and planners. Develops and adjusts the West Seattle Peninsula Transportation Master Plan by receiving and disseminating research info from Outreach, Communications & Meetings. Works directly with DPS, SDOT, WSDOT, EPA, etc. for research on technical, planning, and transportation solutions.
  • Chair: Kevin Broveleit

Action Committee

  • What Action does: The advocates. Meets with officials (elected and otherwise); agencies; goes to and holds rallies; engages directly with whomever is required for West Seattle to get commitments for solutions.
  • Chair: Amanda Kay Helmick

 

How do the committees work to improve transportation on the West Seattle Peninsula? Something like this:

Want to join a committee to improve your community?
Send an e-mail to: info@westseattletc.org

WSTC Meeting agenda for November 12, 2013

Here is the agenda for our Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 meeting. The WSTC has it’s internal structure sorted out. How can you help? What do YOU want to work on, for your community of 105,000 people in the southwest?

We’ve got outreach–recruiting, going out to get feedback. We’ve got communications–polling, surveys, the internet, to get feedback. We’ve got research & solutions–working on land use, planning, technical planning. We’ve got action–going out to rallies, to meetings with agencies and elected officials.

Agenda:

6:30: Welcome and Updates

6:40: Introduction, Vote & Ratify Committees

Communications Committee

Roles: Online presence; Annual/bi-annual Issues Surveys. Writing press releases. Managing and facilitating communications between other advocacy groups. Works in tandem with all other Committees.

Action Committee

Roles: Calls Coalition to action, meets with elected officials, attends public hearings, and manages the Calendar. Works in tandem with all other Committees.

Outreach Committee

Roles: Community Outreach; Engagement with businesses, community groups, special interest groups, individuals, etc. Works in tandem with all other Committees.

Research & Solutions

Roles: Develops and adjusts the Master Plan by receiving and disseminating research info from Outreach, Communications & Meetings. Works directly with DPS, SDOT, WSDOT, EPA, etc for additional information and feedback. Works in tandem with all other Committees.

7:30: Communications Committee. Technology and Surveying; Joe Szilagyi

7:45: Action Committee. Call to Action; Amanda Kay Helmick

8:00: Outreach Committee. Listening Tour; Deb Barker

8:15: Research & Solutions Committee. Master Plan; presenter TBD

8:30: Other Items: Q&A; Community News, etc.

West Seattle Transportation Coalition

  • Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 6:30 – 9:00 PM
  • Neighborhood House – High Point, 6400 Sylvan Way SW
  • Click here for a PDF copy of the Agenda: WSTC_Agenda_111213Final

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