Council District 6
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
This was a responsible budget. We carefully deliberated and chose to prioritize, making tough choices to live within our means. Even so, we managed to stave off some cuts by making strategic choices that funded public health, public safety, addressed our most vulnerable populations and dealt responsibly with transit.
I am excited that we were able to accomplish all of this not only through prudent choices but also through partnerships. We partnered not only with the executive, but with our cities and with local non-profits. Collaboration is a very important part of our outreach as a government that is providing regional services. I am proud to report on the hallmarks of this budget including:
As a member of the 4-person budget leadership team I worked very hard on partnerships, cost containment, internal rate stabilization, and organizational reforms. Learn more.
The Metropolitan King County Council approved a reduction of Metro Transit service starting last September. But as it made those reductions, the Council also unanimously approved an effort to reduce the number of transit routes slated for cuts in 2015. We listened to the public and our goal is to find the best possible ways to restore bus service, protect infrastructure and preserve the options of our citizens who rely on Metro. There is still much to be done in order to stave off additional cuts, including consideration of higher than expected sales tax revenues and application of audit and national expert review recommendations. For the long term, in order to guarantee we won’t need more cuts, a stable, long term funding source that will keep up with inflationary and other increases in operating costs is a necessity.
More Options for Delivering Transit Service
Metro’s alternative service program recognizes that our regional transit system’s one-size-fits-all approach to bus service may not meet every community’s needs. The alternative services program will also help address geographic and social equity needs. Metro is seeking cost-effective and innovative transit options for rural King County with the goal of providing transportation services of the right size, scale, and type for each community Metro serves. The five-year plan for alternative service delivery, accepted by the King County Council, provides a framework for providing alternatives to fixed-route bus service in less-populated areas. It is based on Metro’s strategic planning policies and shaped by public feedback.
Also, in cooperation with the executive, we will be putting together a new revised version of the regional transit task force to. It will be comprised of a variety of city partners and other stakeholders in Metro Transit. This group will be looking at refining our financial principles; they will be working with different kinds of transit for different parts of the county to make sure that we all have access to transit and other transportation facilities to get us to jobs and services. This task force is targeted to make recommendations by June of 2015. It will take a look at how we can refine guidelines for changing service including social and geographic equity, how we can refine our financial principles and how the suburban and rural areas can have better access to Metro. Learn more at http://1.usa.gov/1uASqwd
Collaboration helps keep service on the streets and riders on buses
As we work to make bus service more accessible to those depending on transit the efforts of King County Metro Transit to work with Bellevue College and others who have given us feedback on the impact of service changes, deserves a hearty “thumbs up!”
Route 271 is among the bus routes Metro proposed revising to cut transit hours. The proposed change to the 271 took
Metro proposed improvements along the road to channel pedestrians and cars in a more orderly and streamlined way so that buses aren’t delayed by the congestion. The college agreed to spend up to $200,000 for design improvements and is now reviewing project quotes and design alternatives. Those improvements will include separating bus and motorist traffic on Kelsey Creek Road and speed humps (extended speed bumps so that drivers won’t need to slow to a complete stop) as well as ways to direct students and staff to designated crosswalks. These kinds of partnerships continue the hard work of putting service on the streets and riders on buses despite financial challenges. Learn more at www.bellevuereporter.com/news/276971591.html and www.thewatchdogonline.com
Partnership Celebrated at Grand Opening of Velocity Affordable Housing at South Kirkland Park and Ride
Recently I participated in the grand opening of Velocity Housing, a transit-oriented "affordable housing" development at the South Kirkland Park and Ride. Velocity is another example of how dedicated partners can make a difference in people’s daily lives. A single mom living on the financial edge can move into Velocity to be close to where she works, allowing her to spend more time with her children. She can take transit to work and keep savings from car commute costs in her family budget to pay for extra-curricular activities for her kids. Projects like this one provide a win-win not only for struggling individuals and families, but also for our congested highways due to one less car being on the road.
The South Kirkland Park & Ride redevelopment came about through an active collaboration of King County leadership - especially within Metro, the City of Bellevue and the City of Kirkland who were then joined by Polygon and Imagine Housing as joint developers of this transit-oriented development. This public-private partnership is a shining example of each sector within our community coming together to improve the quality of life for our residents. We deeply appreciate the critical funding from our federal and private sector funders and partners. It took each and every one of these partners to bring this $16 million, affordable housing community to life. Learn more at http://bit.ly/1syxRB7 and http://bit.ly/1rO6Uax
July’s Public Works Magazine features King County’s innovative project risk management system. It highlights the work of Tina Rogers, King County’s Capital Projects Oversight Manager and the King County Auditor’s Office. This program is recognized nationally for fostering public trust as it brings “electeds” and administrators together to minimize and mitigate financial risks, problem solve, measure performance and promote transparency in large capital projects.
The resulting Capital Project Risk Scoring Instrument has substantively changed how the county delivers major infrastructure projects. By quantifying risk through a standardized system it is possible to objectively compare and assess projects. The scoring process allows for high risk projects to be dealt with according to their challenges. For instance, flagged projects are implemented and evaluated in phases rather than all at once. Tactics like this minimize the number of projects completed late or over budget.
Each project receives a number value based on 15 factors that influence the likelihood of issues arising. This consistent numerical data not only prevents or diminishes issues in current projects but will be used to increase efficiency in future planning and execution. “With these efforts, especially the improved communication, we’ve encountered fewer surprises, said Vice Chair Jane Hague. “This builds transparency and public trust.” Read the article at http://bit.ly/1r4opDY
Council approves revised plan for solid waste system that reflects reduction in volumeAt its June 9 meeting, the Metropolitan King County Council accepted the report that reviewed the County’s Solid Waste Transfer and Waste Management Plan. Adopted by the Council in 2007, the Plan approved investments for a major upgrade of the network of transfer stations (through which waste loads from cities and unincorporated areas are consolidated for transport to the Cedar Hills Landfill), to address old and outdated facilities.
“Outreach and transparency has been essential to forming this new, money-saving plan and would not be effective without collaboration or our city partners,” said Vice Chair Jane Hague. “I appreciate all of the work that has been conducted by the Solid Waste Division, King County Auditor’s Office and King County Council to ensure that the solid waste transfer system is right sized to provide appropriate services at predictable and competitive rates.” More at http://www.kingcounty.gov/council/news/2014/June/solidwaste.aspx
County Council gives approval for construction of Factoria Transfer Station replacement
It is one of the busiest solid waste facilities in the County’s solid waste system—along with being the oldest building in the system. At its June 9 meeting, the Metropolitan King County Council gave its unanimous approval to replacing the County’s Factoria Solid Waste Transfer Station with a new modern facility.
“The much needed update of this facility is based on a careful review of our solid waste needs,” said Vice Chair Jane Hague, whose district includes the Factoria facility. “This state of the art facility is supported by our Bellevue partners and the process has helped us identify a solid contractor.” More at http://www.kingcounty.gov/council/news/2014/June/JH_factoriastation.aspx
Thanks to the more than 120 people who came to the Council’s public hearings in Seattle, Bellevue and Renton on proposed Metro Transit cuts
Due to a funding shortfall, King County must cut 550,000 annual hours of Metro bus service. The County Executive has sent the Council a proposal for phasing in the cuts between Sept. 2014 and Sept. 2015. The current plan would eliminate 72 bus routes and reduce or revise another 84 routes.
On a regular basis I touch base with the 10 community councils that represent District 6, asking them for feedback, updating them on King County Council initiatives and thanking them for their service. Join me in the appreciation of the citizen leaders of Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Mercer Island, Medina, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, Beaux Arts, Woodinville, and Yarrow Point.
Woodinville City Council
Medina City Council
Thanks to all who attended our District 1 and District 6 Town Hall meeting on February 12 with my colleague councilmember Rod Dembowski. We had a good turnout and a great exchange of ideas, initiatives and concerns. We received a warm welcome from Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen and we are appreciative of being hosted by Finn Hill Middle School.
Our priority during this budget process was to continue King County’s legacy of delivering quality services that keep us prosperous, safe and healthy. Using “LEAN’s” continuous improvement principles, we have collaboratively done so, and in record time. I am also glad to report that we have narrowed the “structural gap” of our budget from 5 to 6% to 1.5 to 2%. We have increased funding for the homeless youth, water quality testing, affordable housing, the sheriff’s office, youth services and other initiatives while being good stewards and accountable to our citizens.
Accountability to our citizens is also affirmed by this budget. Collaboration and continuous improvement were “watch words” as we crafted this budget, ensuring the careful use of county funds. One of our strongest avenues for ensuring continuous improvement is through the County’s LEAN total quality management process that is results oriented.
With this budget, we are making a conscious choice to bring our LEAN resources together, bring forward training to make continuous improvement part of the fabric of every King County employee's daily work, and to strategically direct where our largest LEAN efforts should be focused. This budget funds additional employees to prioritize areas of the county where we can find efficiencies that provide the “biggest bang for the buck.
On balance, as our economy has struggled and is getting back on its feet, leadership at King County has pulled together to find solutions. Unlike “the other Washington,” King County has collaborated between the three branches of government across party and jurisdictional boundaries to get things done. I am proud to help craft a Council budget makes an immediate difference in people’s lives. Learn more at: http://1.usa.gov/1eIE6dM
On October 29, 2013, the Eastside Rail Corridor Regional Advisory Council (RAC) gave its unanimous approval of a report affirming cooperation on future uses of the corridor. We have reached a milestone that is another important step toward sustainability for our community and its citizens. Literally, and figuratively, we are creating a corridor which will connect people with jobs, services and recreational opportunities within their community. At the same time, we are preserving the opportunity for future uses of the corridor that can benefit our entire region – a legacy for generations to come.
The report provides a summary of the RAC’s work to date, and calls for continued collaboration between the owners of the rail corridor. The report summarizes recommendations from the first phase of the regional planning effort for what will become a multi-use corridor, offering connections for trails, high-capacity transit, potential freight reactivation, rail use and utilities for generations to come. The report also describes the RAC’s vision for the corridor, the corridor’s history, and the process used by the RAC to develop these recommendations.
The Eastside Rail Corridor is a corridor of regional significance. It can create connections within and beyond the Puget Sound region – from Vancouver to Vancouver and beyond. It will enhance mobility, provide much-needed green space, support economic development, and allow for utilities to support growth, connections our transportation and trail networks, and help strengthen the ties within neighborhoods and between communities. Preserving the corridor in public ownership and planning for multiple uses along its length will be our generation’s legacy to the future.
The owners of the ERC – King County, Redmond, Kirkland, Sound Transit and PSE – have come together to collaboratively plan for the future of this important dual use corridor. As members of the ERC Regional Advisory Council, the owners will discuss how to complement one another’s uses of property rights within the corridor, hear from stakeholders and interested community members and then will make recommendations about how the ERC can best be designed for trail and transit use. We had a very successful open house on July 31—Here is KING 5 TV’s report by Amy Moreno.
Photo: Members of the ERC Regional Advisory Committee at the Oct. 29 RAC Report Signing Ceremony
Read the media release
Read the full report
On September 16 we cut the ribbon on the South Kirkland Park and Ride which is a “Transit Oriented Development” that supports commuting to work with an expanded facility. It also provides housing opportunities for those who work and live in the area and includes affordable housing units—this helps especially at this time when we have been named the #17 least affordable housing market in the US of the 25th largest cities. This project establishes an innovative and integrated gateway to Kirkland and South Bellevue.
As congestion increases along the 520 corridor this transit oriented development creates a desirable alternative for the Eastside which takes cars off the road and prepares us for the transition to the new 520 floating bridge. This public and private partnership is a shining example of collaboration between the King County Council, the City of Bellevue, the City of Kirkland and Metro Transit as well as our private partners, Polygon Northwest and Imagine Housing. I was delighted to see this construction occur while we continued operations of the South Kirkland Park& Ride.
The total parking will increase from 600 to over 850. This includes 530 spaces in the three story parking garage and 260 surface lot spaces. Once construction is completed on the mixed-use housing project we will top 850 spaces. This includes 9 electric charging stations and two rows of bike racks. In addition to the additional park and ride spaces, there will be a mixed-income, mixed-use housing development where there were none before. This will include a total of 243 apartments and is slated to open for initial occupancy in fall 2014. Polygon Northwest is building 185 residences, approximately 7,000 square feet of retail. Local non-profit affordable housing developer Imagine Housing and its affiliate, Red Vines 1, will build and operate 58 affordable residences.
Thanks to all our partners as well as the staff who worked on the project and made this happen.
Watch the video of the ribbon cutting and project on K-Life/Kirkland TV’s “Currently Kirkland” program.