Meeting Summary by lonyoo


									                                     Meeting Summary
                               REGIONAL STAFF COMMITTEE
                                 Thursday, August 20, 2009
                                   9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Note: All PowerPoint presentations used during the meeting are available on-line at the Regional
Staff Committee’s website on

Chip Vincent, Renton, Chair       Jesse Hamashima, Pierce County     Gary Predoehl, Pierce Co.
Steve Butler, SeaTac              Matt Hansen, King Co. Metro        Jacqueline Reid, Snohomish
Paul Carr, PSCAA                  Peter Heffernan, King County       Co.
Greg Cioc, Kitsap County          Shane Hope, Mountlake Terrace      Matt Shelden, Sound Transit
Dori Costa, Seattle               Paul Inghram, Bellevue             Frank Slusser, Snohomish
Bobann Fogard,                    Tracy Krawczyk, City of Seattle    Co.
Snohomish Co.                     Christina Mudgett, Pierce County   Elaine Somers, EPA
Mark Gulbranson, PSRC, co-        Ian Munce, Tacoma                  Marge Tully, Pierce Co. Coordinated
chair                             Rob Odle, Redmond                  Transportation
Will Hall, Snohomish County       Chris Picard, WSDOT                Barbara Wright, King Co. Health
                                  Ron Postuma, King County

OTHER ATTENDEES (for all or part of the meeting)
Norman Abbott, PSRC                Bob Drewel, PSRC                  Robin Mayhew, PSRC
Dwight Baker, King Co.             Mike Cummings, PSRC               Kelly McGourty, PSRC
Transit Advisory                   Don Gerund, Sammamish             Carol Naito, PSRC
Committee                          City Council                      Ivan Miller, PSRC
Ben Bakkenta, PSRC                 Ashley Harris, PSRC               Tracy Murray, PSRC
Ben Brackett, PSRC                 Steve Kiehl, PSRC                 Rocky Piro, PSRC
Judy Clark, Bellevue               Matthew Kitchen, PSRC             Stephanie Rossi, PSRC
Aubrey Davis, Pricing Task         Mary Pat Lawlor, PSRC             Liz Underwood-Bultmann, PSRC
Force                              Andi Markley, PSRC

Welcome and Overview
The Regional Staff Committee Meeting began at 9:30 a.m. Chip Vincent, Renton, served as chair. Bob
Drewel thanked the committee members for their time and work on the Transportation 2040 project.

Citizen Comments
There were no citizen comments.

Reports (Agenda Item # III)

July 16, 2009 Meeting and August 13, 2009 Subcommittee Meeting
Rocky Piro noted that meeting summaries for both the regular July meeting of the full committee
and the special subcommittee meeting on August 13th were in the agenda packets. He also
referred to the Summary Matrix of DEIS Public Comments which was distributed. The matrix
reflects the input from the subcommittee meeting to review key issues raised in the public
comments. The subcommittee worked through implications from the public comments for
developing the preliminary preferred alternative and the draft Transportation 2040 plan. It was
also noted that the agenda packet included additional letters from various committees involved
with developing the Transportation 2040 update.
Transportation 2040 Update / Preliminary Preferred Alternative – Work Item (Agenda Item # IV)

Meeting Goals. Steve Kiehl offered that the Committee’s meetings on August 20th and August
27th are designed to get consensus on key components of the Preliminary Preferred Alternative
and to get agreement on what projects to include in “constrained” and “unprogrammed” parts of
the draft plan so that staff can begin the modeling analysis. He noted that this is also an
opportunity to identify key issues for further analysis as the Committee continues its work in the
fall on the draft plan.

Schedule Update. Steve provided information on the schedule, which shows that the Regional
Staff Committee recommendation for the preliminary preferred alternative will go forward to the
Transportation 2040 Working Group & Pricing Task Force and to the Transportation Policy Board
on August 27th. The Committee will also be transmitting a recommendation on provisions to
include in the draft plan in November.

Outcome of Subcommittee Meeting / Questions Raised.

Several questions were raised at or following the August 13th subcommittee and were discussed
by the full committee on August 20th.

Question: What additional analysis can be done to measure the cost-benefit of pedestrian
facilities and assess health impacts? How might this affect the plan timeline?

At Issue: Not enough focus on nonmotorized data in the T2040 analysis; also the process could
include a health impact assessment as part of the analysis. Additional comment that changes in
mode split could provide a way to account for quantifiable health related benefits – even with
small connectivity projects throughout the region.

Response: Ben Bakkenta noted that the T2040 DEIS contains two chapters that address issues
related to health (Chapter 13 Environmental Health & Chapter 18 Human Health), and that a
portion of the VISION 2040 policy analysis contained in Appendix D provides a high-level health
impacts analysis, based on the methodology developed for the SR 520 Health Impact Analysis.
Matthew Kitchen offered that it would be difficult to introduce new components into the model at
this time, but could be considered at a future point.

Outcome: Requested that the qualitative analysis be more robust in the preferred
alternative. Also agreed to advance complete street directives and outcomes in the draft
plan. Offered that mid-level arterial projects that also provide nonmotorized connectivity
(that is, with bikeways and/or curb/gutter/sidewalk treatments) and need to be in the plan.
With a view towards future tools, draw from existing processes that already quantify health
impacts in PSRC analysis efforts. Examples include the SR-520 process as well as Urban
Land Institute.

Outcome: Add noise to the policy analysis.

(Note: These outcomes are also reflected in the Summary Matrix of DEIS Comments under items
ES-8, ES-14 and H-12.)

Question: When and how will we respond to technical comments raised in the DEIS?

Response: Certain issues can be factored into the model run performed on the preliminary
preferred alternative, while others are more long-range and can be considered as work continues
to refine the model. All comments on the Draft EIS will receive responses in the Final EIS.

Question: How will the plan address preservation/maintenance needs?

At Issue: Need to look beyond pavement to also consider other forms of maintenance and
preservation, such as bridges, drainage, and transit vehicle replacement. Need to consider more
holistically and look at needs comprehensively, both regionally and locally. Keep in mind that the
Transportation 2040 plan also needs to provide the framework for how local transportation
planning is to achieve the region’s VISION.

Response: Matthew Kitchen outlined how the financial plan contains programmatic estimates that
account for maintenance, preservation, and operations needs beyond for all program areas in
addition to pavements.

Outcome: Include maintenance and preservation projects in the constrained part of the
plan – acknowledging that there is a backlog needing prioritization. Address decaying
infrastructure in the draft plan.

Question: How much does the DEIS constrain us as we prepare the preliminary preferred

At Issue: Can the preliminary preferred alternative include additional projects or programs that
were not among the DEIS alternatives – such as additional transit service or ferries that are not
identified in Washington State Ferries plan (which currently does not go out to 2040)?

Response: Through the SEPA process, the focus is on impacts. As the project advances from
draft alternatives to a preferred alternative, keep in mind that the draft alternatives have provided
“bookends” for considering impacts. If there is reason to conclude that an impact is somehow
greater, then it is important to identify by how much and in what location. Regarding projects,
there would be two choices: (1) remove the project (or modify to lessen the impact), or (2) move it
to the “concept” pot. Note: For SEPA and analysis purposes, the projects that are identified as
“concepts” are not formally part of the financially constrained plan and are not modeled for air
quality conformity.

Outcome: Continue to develop a preliminary preferred alternative with the features and
projects that make for the best plan and make any necessary modifications if and when
impacts are identified as being greater than those identified within the Draft EIS.

Question: What more can we do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and impacts on climate

Response: PSRC staff stated that they are open to any additional strategies that might be
recommended. Kelly McGourty reminded the Committee of previous discussions of tools for
reducing greenhouse gas emissions and that reducing travel is the primary piece that is related to
transportation projects. Kelly also noted that the modeling estimates are somewhat conservative,
and that our current tools are likely not capturing the full benefits of certain projects and
strategies. Some projects and programs will likely have a positive impact on reducing

greenhouse gas emissions even further than our modeling suggests, such and transportation
demand management programs.

Discussion: A Committee member offered that there is a need to move toward more “close-trip”
transit to meet travel needs, as well as increasing the number of discretionary trips that are made
by transit rather than by driving alone. There was a comment that political will is necessary to
implement adopted policies. Some committee members offered that Transportation 2040 should
strategically implement the good land use decision-making adopted in VISION 2040. There was a
comment in response to Kelly’s point on the model’s limitation that the process should account
for the lack of quantitative measurement of nonmotorized impacts as well as complete street

Outcome: Committee members should offer any additional strategies that should be
included in the preliminary preferred alternative and draft plan. Also, the analysis should
include discussion of greenhouse gas emission reduction that may not be well captured in
the modeling.

Developing the Preliminary Preferred Alternative.
PSRC staff reviewed information that committee members had received to assist with their work
to define the preliminary preferred alternative. Ben Bakkenta reviewed the policy analysis that
was part of the DEIS, as well as the technical analysis summary. Stephen Kiehl summarized key
guidance from the public comment process and referred to reports transmitted from other
committees and groups. It was pointed out that the Special Needs Transportation Committee also
addressed the increasing portion of the population that will be older people and their need to have
a more walkable environment and mobility choices.

Robin Mayhew introduced the guidance assumptions that have been crafted to guide
development of the preliminary preferred alternative. An initial set of five points based on the
results of an informal survey and board discussion was further refined by the Alternatives
Technical Group, Transportation Operators Committee, and Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory
Committee, and now contains seven points. (The recommendation of these groups was sent out
to the Regional Staff Committee in the August 20th meeting agenda package.) Pierce County
staff distributed some additional proposed changes to the guidance assumptions. There was
agreement to include an additional point related to connecting the Transportation 2040 plan with
VISION 2040. While some committee members appreciated some of the other proposals
presented, others stated a preference for keeping the guidance language that had already been
developed based on the work by the policy board and other groups. There was clarification
offered that the Transportation 2040 process needs to focus on crafting a plan that serves the
region into the future and should not be bound to memorializing past local or regional planning
efforts. PSRC Staff agreed to bring a revised set of guidance assumptions reflecting today’s
discussion to the committee next week.

Outcome: PSRC staff will revise the guidance assumptions to include the new point
agreed to regarding VISION 2040, as well as other minor changes.

Concept of the Plan Structure/Definitions/ and Constructing the Preferred Alternative.

PSRC staff explained the three parts of the proposed Transportation 2040 plan: (1) constrained,
(2) unprogrammed, and (3) concepts. A set of related definitions was also provided and

Content of the Preliminary Preferred Alternative.

The discussion of projects began with more general categories and then moved to three more
detailed project lists: arterials, state highways, and transit.

Preservation, Maintenance, Operations. The first general category includes preserving existing
levels of transportation demand management, system management and user information
programs. In addition, this would include maintenance and preservation of roadways, bridges,
regional and local transit service, fleets, and facilities, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, ferry boats
and terminals and facilities which support freight.

Discussion: Remove language under system management that says “additional deployment to be
determined.” Add a reference under roadway preservation that calls out bridges. Include in the
draft plan a discussion of decaying infrastructure.

Note: There was a comment that operations might be better as a separate category from
preservation and maintenance.

Outcome: The Committee concurred with including the category of preservation,
maintenance, and operations in constrained part of the plan.

Safety and Security. The safety portion of this grouping includes the state Strategic Highway
Safety Plan (i.e., Target Zero), roadway geometry, conflicts, roadway technology, and facility
design and monitoring. The security portion includes homeland security programs, local and
regional disaster and emergency management plans, and facility design and monitoring.

Discussion: In response to a question, staff clarified that the state Safety Plan focused primarily
on situations involving fatal or serious injuries. There was a question regarding how the cost
estimate for this grouping would be developed. Staff responded that this grouping would be
primarily a programmatic estimate.

Additional comments: Remove reference to “rural” under geometry. Remove reference to “urban”
under conflicts. Add “complete streets” as a solution for conflicts. Consider moving “incident
response” from roadway technology to operations.

Outcome: The Committee concurred with including the category of safety and security in
the constrained part of the plan.

Efficiency and Strategic Capacity. Staff noted that this category would include projects that would
be in the constrained part of the plan, as well as projects in the unprogrammed part of the plan. A
series of project listings for arterials, transit projects, and state highways were made available to
Committee members for this portion of the discussion. In introducing the project lists, staff noted
that the list of nonmotorized projects will be transmitted to committee members separately. In
response to a question about ferry projects, staff responded that some ferry projects are on the
roadway list and some are on the transit list.

A question was posed, what money would be left for efficiency and strategic capacity, if
maintenance and preservation and safety projects used up all the dedicated funding. Another
Committee member also asked whether there would be federal money available after all the
programmatic components of the preliminary preferred alternative were costed out. An additional
question was raised regarding what is considered “reasonable” with regard to likely funding. Staff

offered that the term is defined under federal regulations and refers to funding that could be
expected in the future based on historic sources and voter trends.

The Committee then began to review and comment on projects proposed for inclusion in the
constrained and unprogrammed components of Transportation 2040. There was a question
regarding how extensive are the bicycle and pedestrian projects connecting centers. Staff
responded that some of these projects in Alternative 5 are identified for being part of the
constrained plan, while others would be unprogrammed. (These were covered earlier in the

Additional comment: In referring to funding assumptions for transit, change language from “new
local and transit funding sources” to read instead “new funding sources for local and regional

In response to a question about full system tolling, staff offered that generally limited access
roadways could be tolled, while arterials would have vehicle miles traveled (VMT) taxing.

There was a question whether the “unprogrammed” part of the plan had a timeframe – that is, are
certain projects expected to move from unprogrammed to constrained at a particular point in
time? This may have implications especially for achieving greenhouse gas emissions reduction
benefits – namely, that some projects may need to happen sooner to successfully address
emissions reduction. Staff responded that projects in the unprogrammed part are not necessarily
time sensitive. It was further explained that the constrained part of the plan has more certainty
than the unprogrammed part. To achieve certain objectives earlier, such as reducing emissions, it
may indeed be necessary to move some projects from unprogrammed to constrained.

Staff introduced the list of arterial projects and explained the coding system and information
included on the list. A question was raised regarding where the projects that are listed came
from. Several committee members noted that the list did not include some of their local arterial
projects. Staff responded that the lists were crafted from the Metropolitan Transportation System
in the 2007 Destination 2030 Update and from the results of PSRC’s call for projects earlier in the
T-2040 process. The discussion then turned to the question of expectations for local projects in
the regional plan – both in terms of what is to be included and what is modeled. Staff offered to
follow-up with a more complete response prior to the next Committee meeting. Committee
members also asked for clarification of what local projects need to be in the plan in order to be
eligible to apply for federal funding through PSRC.

Note: PSRC staff follow-up response (25 August 2009) – For the PSRC transportation plan we
prepare a programmatic cost estimate for non-MTS projects and facilities. The MTS designation
is only a threshold for what is considered regionally significant and what can be modeled. Within
the TIP process, non-MTS projects and facilities are reviewed for consistency with the plan, and
as long as the facility is on the federal functional classification system or the project is exempt
(e.g. transit and nonmotorized projects), it is most definitely eligible to receive federal funds.

The Committee then turned its attention to the list of state roadways provided by the Washington
State Department of Transportation. Chris Picard briefly explained that this list had been built
primarily based on projects that are part of the Moving Washington program or were identified
through the Regional Transportation Improvement District process.

Regarding projects for US-2, Snohomish County staff noted that its priority is on improvements to
the trestle for transit, with a longer term view to replacement. Committee members agreed that

roadways within the urban growth area where transit was being added would have more merit.
Regarding those portions of US-2 in the rural area, there was concern expressed about widening
the roadway to four lanes. It was noted that PSRC staff had flagged capacity expansion projects
in rural areas for additional information in order to be able to determine their consistency with
multicounty planning policies. A comment was made that certain safety improvements for rural
roadway segments would likely be appropriate, but that expansion projects in the rural area do
raise questions. It was noted that WSDOT staff has identified the rural segments as
unprogrammed. (Note: WSDOT staff clarified that US-2/SR-522 project should be listed as a
stub-out, rather than a bypass and was fully inside the urban growth area.)

The next set of projects discussed was for SR-3 in Kitsap County. Kitsap County staff noted that
there would be BRT or HOV components, although that information was not part of the WSDOT
study. The SR-3 projects inside the urban area were shown as constrained by WSDOT, and the
projects in the rural area were shown as rural. The group agreed to flag those projects for further

There were several sets of projects listed for I-5. With regard to a segment near Fort Lewis in
Pierce County, a question was posed whether the Department of Defense Study had been
considered. WSDOT staff responded that it had been. Looking at the set of projects for I-5 in
south King County, it was noted that the conversion of HOV lanes to HOT lanes is proposed as
part of a conversion process in the first 10 years of the plan in anticipation of freeway tolling.

The group then moved on and looked at I-5 projects in north King County and Snohomish County,
as well as SR-9 projects. The group paused and asked for clarification if it was actually working
to recommend projects for inclusion in the preliminary preferred alternative at this point, or if it was
flagging projects for further discussion. There was concern expressed that if Alternative 5 was the
primary guidance around which projects were to be identified, what justification was being used to
bring in projects from Alternatives 2 or 3? There was additional concern that merely stating that a
project is good is not enough of a rationale and allows for the development of a project list that no
longer reflects Alternative 5. A further concern was expressed that merely adding projects to
Alternative 5 from the other alternatives would actually create a preferred alternative that moves
further away from achieving greenhouse gas emissions reduction. A question was posed
regarding the rationale for using the Regional Transportation Improvement District process to
develop a project list. WSDOT staff responded that the process had extensive review and
consideration by state, regional and local interests in its development.

The chair responded that more information was indeed needed to make recommendations for
which projects should be included in the preliminary preferred alternative and offered that the
Committee was engaged in a two-step process. The first step is to seek agreement on which
projects should go forward, and the second step was to flag projects for additional discussion.
The group discussed and agreed to recommend that projects identified as being in the
Transportation 2040 baseline, core, Regional TIP, and Alternative 5 should move forward as part
of the preliminary preferred alternative. Additional work would then be needed regarding which
other projects from Alternatives 1 through 4 should move forward.

Outcome: The Committee agreed to include all baseline, core, TIP and Alternative 5
projects in the preliminary preferred alternative.

The chair recapped that for the next meeting, the Committee should have (1) information from the
project lists identifying the baseline, core, TIP, and Alternative 5 projects, (2) a better
understanding of how local arterials are to be addressed in the process, (3) minor revisions to the

guiding principles, (4) the remaining project list (i.e., nonmotorized projects), and (5) any revisions
to the transit list based on the 24 August 2009 meeting of the Transportation Operators


Special Meeting – Thursday, August 27, 2009 (9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – lunch provided) – Full
Committee to continue to work on the Transportation 2040 Preliminary Preferred Alternative and
develop a recommendation for the Transportation 2040 Working Group and Pricing Task Force,
and the Transportation Policy Board.

Regular Meeting – Thursday, September 17, 2009 (9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon) – Topics:
Transportation 2040 Draft Plan, EDD work related to the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act,
Multimodal Concurrency Project, and Congestion Management Process


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