Below are the minutes for the Regional Transportation Advisory Committee meeting, held on Friday, February 21, 2003, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in Conference Room 4A, at the Clark County Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin Street - Floor 4, Vancouver, Washington. The agenda for this meeting is also available.
I. Call to Order and Approval of Minutes
The meeting of the Regional Transportation Advisory Committee was called to order on Friday, February 21, 2003 at 9:00 a.m. in the Conference Room East (4) at Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin Street 4th Floor, Vancouver, Washington. Dean Lookingbill, RTC Transportation Director, served as Chair for the meeting. Those in attendance follow:
Mike Clark WSDOT John Cullerton Metro Lynda David RTC Michael Haggerty C-TRAN Mark Harrington RTC Bob Hart RTC Shinwon Kim RTC Dean Lookingbill RTC Mike Mabrey Clark County Ginger Metcalf Identity Clark County Thomas Picco ODOT Matt Ransom City of Vancouver Sandi Roberts RTC Dale Robins RTC Wade Strange SW Clean Air Agency Bill Wright Clark County Phil Wuest City of Vancouver
Dean welcomed everyone to the new Public Service Center.
Dean Lookingbill asked for any changes or corrections to the January 17, 2003, Meeting Minutes.
PHIL WUEST, CITY OF VANCOUVER MOVED FOR APPROVAL OF THE JANUARY 17, 2003 MINUTES AND MATT RANSOM, CITY OF VANCOUVER SECONDED THE MOTION. THE MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
II. InterACT Transportation Priorities Project Findings Report, Ginger Metcalf, Identity Clark County Discussion
Ginger Metcalf of Identity Clark County distributed the “InterACT Framing Clark County Priorities” Findings of the Transportation Priorities Project Dream It, Fund It, Build It. Ginger pointed out that on the last page of the report there is a list of 13 additional TPP Information and Work Products that are available (all available online).
Ginger said when the InterACT Board agreed to take on the Transportation Priorities Project (TPP) that they had no idea of the scope and arduousness of the task. They knew only that they saw trouble brewing regarding the transportation system and that the people in line to be most affected needed to have a conversation about how to address the difficulties on the horizon.
Ginger said between August and November, just under 500 individuals representing various interest and concerns were polled as to their knowledge, preferences, and solutions for the county’s transportation issues at 40 meetings around the county. These meetings culminated in an all day summit attended by 137 individuals, including local and state legislators and transportation administrators, and produced a cadre of 113 individuals willing to continue with the project.
Ginger noted that the legislature had not acted to address the problem, taxpayers were rejecting spending measures, and our transportation system – all those ways we use to get around our community – were in danger of at best, inadequacy, and at worst, self destruction. TPP was InterACT’s way of tapping into the multitude of perspectives, perceptions, and opinions in our community to answer three critical questions:
- What do citizens want?
- What are they willing to pay for, and
- How do they prefer to pay for it?
Ginger said they formed a steering committee, which consists of neighborhood associations, chambers of commerce and interested citizens from the community. They broke the county up into five geographic areas and they had 33 area meetings. An area forum with in each area followed the area meetings. The final piece of the public involvement concluded with a countywide summit in November 2002. Ginger reviewed the citizen’s comments and attitudes regarding transportation issues within the region. Most TPP participants agreed that this kind of stakeholder engagement approach and process was, and could continue to be, a very valuable way to compliment and inform the efforts of accountable jurisdictions, civic leaders, business leaders, elected representatives and engage citizens who all have roles in moving this region’s transportation system in a more positive and healthy direction. She encouraged everyone to review the public comments and noted that the comments showed significant support for light rail.
Ginger stated that this was a much deeper project than had anticipated and requires a lot more work. Identity Clark County’s Board agreed to move forward with Transportation Priorities Phase II. Ginger said they are just beginning to design the second phase and will put together a steering committee using some of the people that had participated in the past and also adding some new folks. They want to get to a point where there will be something on the ballet that is going to provide funding for transportation in the southwest Washington area. They are currently are working with legislative efforts on bills that will provide regional options in addition to a good basic statewide funding package. This would give some local say on how our transportation dollars are spent. She said the citizens want to vote on the big picture including public transit not individual ones. Our citizens are willing to fund transportation projects, but they want to see what it looks like.
Dean Lookingbill, RTC said this citizen-led process represented a whole new opportunity, a voice from citizens to weigh in on how transportation decisions are made. Ginger pointed out that education is the key for citizens when voting at the ballet box. The more they learn about transportation issues the more they look beyond themselves and consider the region.
Dean pointed that one of the important factors were to broaden and increase efforts, on all fronts, to inform citizens and build bridges of understanding between all stakeholders on all aspects of the region’s transportation system funding and development. Ginger said citizens were inclined to support local options when they found out how local options actually worked. When citizens were informed those dollars stayed here to build our projects, not projects in the Puget Sound region, they were more willing to accept the local tax increase. Dean pointed out the citizens did not like property taxes and tolling, but they could accept a gas tax.
Ginger stated Identity Clark County was thinking of running an educational piece in the newspaper and that they are working with the marketing people to learn how to get the message across to Clark County voters. She said they are considering a series on CVTV and may need some assistance from some of the transportation planners here at the table.
RTAC Members may send questions or feedback to Ginger at (email@example.com)
III. WSDOT MTIP Amendment #9, Action
Dale Robins, RTC presented the WSDOT MTIP Amendment #9 to the RTAC Members. Dale said WSDOT is requesting an MTIP amendment to add 5 projects totaling $1,017,000 of federal and state dollars. All five projects are maintenance projects. The types of projects included are pavement preservation, rest area maintenance, and replacement of substandard sign supports. These projects are being advanced due to the current biennium funding availability and will be implemented by June 2003.
Dale said the projects would be programmed in the 2003 element of the 2002-2004 MTIP. This amendment is found to be consistent with all state and federal requirements. Dale brought RTAC Members attention to the letter from WSDOT requesting this MTIP amendment.
Dale stated projects must be included in the MTIP and STIP as a condition for the receipt of federal funds. Action on this amendment would provide $895,000 of federal Interstate Maintenance dollars, $26,000 of federal National Highway System dollars, and $96,000 state dollars for WSDOT improvements in the Clark County region.
PHIL WUEST, CITY OF VANCOUVER MADE THE MOTION TO RECCOMMEND RTC BOARD APPROVAL FOR THE WSDOT MTIP AMENDMENT #9. THIS ALLOWS THESE PROJECTS TO BE BROUGHT INTO THE METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM, THE STATE TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM, AND THEN WSDOT. BILL WRIGHT SECONDED THE MOTION AND IT WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
IV. Federal Urban Area Boundary Update, Discussion
Lynda David, RTC presented the Federal Urban Area Boundary Update. Lynda noted that those at the January RTAC meeting discussed the required update to the federal Urban Area Boundary (UAB). Urban Area Boundaries are established or revised by WSDOT in cooperation with the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in urbanized areas and must be approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Lynda said to re-cap the UAB update requirement; following modification to the census-defined urbanized area after each decennial census, an update to the federal UAB is needed. The RTAC Members today need to reach consensus on what draft UAB update should be submitted to WSDOT and FHWA by March 1st.
Lynda said at a minimum, the UAB needs to cover the year 2000 Census-defined urbanized area that is based on population and population densities. The updated UAB must also include the city limits of Vancouver, Battle Ground, Camas and Washougal. Lynda reviewed the map that was attached to the memorandum that shows boundaries that are to be included and considered when redefining the UAB. Lynda pointed out that she had suggestions from Clark County and the City of Vancouver and noted that the area to the east 162nd Avenue and south of SR-500 should be included.
Lynda said the UAB update is the first step in a process that is followed by update to the federal functional classification system. At the next RTAC meeting mileage data for each functional classification category will be presented.
Lynda said since she hadn’t heard from Camas, Washougal, and City of Battle Ground she could e-mail RTAC Members with their suggestions.
MATT RANSOM CITY OF VANCOUVER MADE THE MOTION THAT WITH CONCERANCE FROM CITIES OF CAMAS, WASHOUGAL AND BATTLE GROUND PENDING ANY SIGNIFICANT VARIANCES THAT WE MOVE FORWARD AS IS. MIKE MABRY, CLARK COUNTY SECONDED THE MOTION AND WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
V. Comprehensive Growth Management Plan Alternatives and Initial Comparison to Adopted MTP, Discussion
Mark Harrington, RTC presented the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan Alternatives and Initial Comparison to Adopted MTP. The first phase of the comprehensive plan update established a set of policies that provided the framework for establishing land use density, types of housing, and the 20-year target numbers for households and employment. The application of the adopted policies produced a series of land use alternatives for analysis and comment as part of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) process. The allocation of development of the designated land use categories for each alternative has been completed. RTC has applied these land use forecasts to the travel demand model and has produced the first set of highway and transit network assignments. The DEIS for the GMA plan review is expected to be available for public discussion in late-March.
Mark said he wanted to provide information to the RTAC Members about the transportation system analysis for each of the land use alternatives and a comparison with the adopted Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) for Clark County. This initial comparison is intended to provide RTAC with a macro-view of: 1) how the housing and employment “control totals” compare across alternatives, the MTP and to a 30-year trend line; 2) how the distribution of the housing and employment forecast impacts the overall performance of the regional transportation system; and 3) interrelationship between the key transportation decisions contained in the adopted MTP and how the various land use alternatives impact and will potentially change future transportation system improvements. Mark noted it is important for RTAC members to note that RTC, as Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) for the region, must certify updates to the local comprehensive plans.
The adopted Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) update uses 2023 as the horizon year. Mark briefly reviewed the following alternatives: 1) Alternative 1 – The 1994 Plan 2) Alternative 2 – The Commissioners’ 2001 Approach 3) Alternative – No Expansion of Existing Urban Areas 4) Alternative 4 – The Cities’ Perspective 5) Alternative 5 – the “Discovery Corridor” Strategy.
Mark said for each of the land use alternatives, RTC staff prepared regional travel forecast model runs. Key input data for each travel model run are household and employment numbers allocated to 615 Clark County zones. Clark County staff provided RTC with the household and employment numbers, by zone, for each alternative. The tables in the memorandum show household and employment data for each alternative, the December 2002 MTP update and based on a 30-year trend. Considering each alternative’s allocations by Urban Growth Area (UGA) showed that the allocations are consistent with the descriptions.
Mark noted that each land use alternative has a both a unique household and employment distribution as well as a unique allocation total. This variation in both totals and distributions make the comparison of alternatives rather tenuous. System-wide transportation measures are impacted by both the allocation totals and distribution; however, amount of influence attributable to an allocation’s total versus the allocation’s distribution is difficult to quantify.
Mark reviewed the transportation system performance data contained in the final six tables of the memorandum. The table showing All-Day Columbia River Bridge Vehicle Crossings and Jobs-Housing Ratio for the MTP and each alternative illustrates the relationship between the jobs-housing balance in Clark County and vehicle demand on the Columbia River bridges. Both alternatives 4 and 5 add 30,000+ more jobs to the county than any of the other alternatives and show the least amount of demand (300,000 to 303,000 vehicles) on the bridges.
Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) is a significant factor in measuring mobile source emissions in air quality analysis. The PM peak hour VMT is greater than the MTP for every alternative except alternative 3. Alternative 1 has the highest VMT, but also has the most households (35,900 more than the MTP). For alternatives 4 and 5 the increase in VMT is primarily on the local system. The increase in local system VMT most likely follows from the more trips staying in the county and not needing to access the interstate system to cross the Columbia River.
The PM Peak House Lane Miles of Congestion table shows the extent of congestion for each alternative. For Alternatives 3, 4 and 5 the number of lane miles of congestion on the Interstates is significantly less than in the MTP. However, for Alternatives 4 and 5 more congested lane miles show up on Principals, Minor Arterials and Collectors. This is an indication of shifting travel patterns. Trips that need to cross the Columbia River have to make their way to the Interstates. However, if trips stay within Clark County then they are more likely to travel intra-county arterials.
The severity of congestion for each alternative is shown in the PM Peak Hour Vehicle House of Delay table. Alternatives 3, 4 and 5 all show fewer PM peak hour vehicle hours of delay as compared to the MTP. This is again likely a result of different route choices to/from significantly different employment locations. If the interstate system can be avoided, then vehicles can choose less congested routes. Alternatives 4 and 5 show a significantly greater delay on Minor Arterials and Collectors compared with other Alternatives. Alternative 1 (1994 Plan) shows a very high VHD compared with all other Alternatives. However, it must be kept in mind that this Alternative has by far the greatest amount of additional households (+35,900).
A review of the Average and Maximum Volume to Capacity Ratios for the PM Peak Hour Northbound tables show that across all alternatives the high-cost interstate projects assumed in the MTP are still needed. Alternatives 4 and 5 have the lowest volume to capacity (v/c) ratios of all the alternatives. This is again likely a result of different route choices to/from significantly different employment locations. If the interstate system can be avoided, then vehicles can choose less congested routes. In all Alternatives, however, volume to capacity (v/c) ratios remain at 0.99 or greater for Columbia River bridge crossings. For the south segment of I-5 in Clark County the v/c ratio does not fall below .91 in any of the Alternatives and for the I-205 south segment the v/c ratio does not fall below 0.79. Alternative 1 (1994 Plan) shows very high v/c ratios; however, this is primarily due to the higher number of households assumed in the land use allocation.
Lynda David, RTC pointed out that at our October 2002 RTAC meeting, a requirement of RTC as the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), is to certify the transportation element or amendments to the transportation element of local Comprehensive Plans. Jurisdictions should be aware of the GMA certification requirements and the need for consistency between states, regional and local plans as they update the transportation elements. Required components of the transportation element include:
- Estimated traffic impacts to state-owned transportation facilities resulting from land use assumptions.
- Regionally coordinated LOS standards for all arterials and transit routes to serve as a gauge to judge performance of the system.
- LOS for highways of state-wide significance
- LOS of other state highways consistent with the regional transportation plan.
- Identification of specific actions and requirements for bringing into compliance any facilities and services that are below an established LOS standard.
The other issues were raised at the GMA TAC how do local jurisdictions deal with the transit of level of service standards that is required under the growth management act. Lynda handed out the level of service indicators the C-Tran produced in 1994 and are still used in the MTP. Michael Haggerty said that C-Tran could revisit those indicators.
VI. Other Business
A. RTAC Members
Mike Clark, WSDOT, said when RTAC amended the SR-14 Pedestrian Crossing we had a letter regarding the cost which stated 2.5 million since that time he met with City of Vancouver and after some discussion they decided to increase the amount to 3.5 – 4.5 million.
Matt Ransom, City of Vancouver said Monday, February 24, at 4 p.m. at the City Council, there will be a workshop on the I-5 Partnership Strategic Plan. This will be an informational update, but hopefully the conclusion of the workshop the council members will make a motion to move this forward and make a resolution. This will be broadcasted on CVTV.
Mike Mabry, Clark County said the planning commission recommended, 5-1, to lower level of service for the Salmon Creek corridor to 13 mph and that the recommendation would go to commissioners for final approval.
B. RTC Staff
Dean Lookingbill, RTC said the senate bill from last fall has a certain number of earmarks that now has gone through, C-TRAN got an earmark for 2.6 million for Van Mall, City of Vancouver got 3 million for the Mill Plain Extension and City of Camas got 3 million for SE 1st.
Dean stated on the Oregon side even though it is a partnership project they did get their 3.5 million for the I-5 Partnership.
RTC’s 2004 Unified Planning Work Program
Lynda David, RTC thanked people from the local jurisdictions for responding to the updates for the UPWP. Lynda will provide a draft of the UPWP at the March 21 meeting. The UPWP federal review meeting is March 31st at 9:30 a.m. at the Public Service Center Building.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 a.m. The next meeting will be Friday, March 21, 2003.
For More Information Contact:
Regional Transportation Council
1300 Franklin Street, Floor 4
Vancouver, Washington 98660
Served by C-TRAN Route 3.
If you have special needs, please contact RTC.