Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council

Transportation Issues in the News

Below are an assortment of recent news items related to or impacting local transportation issues. Most of these stories were authored outside the agency, and will take you to a new page on (or PDF document from) an external site.

As Vancouver’s population grows, C-Tran strives to build mass transit system - February 24, 2021
When nearly a foot of snow buried the Vancouver area this month, C-Tran CEO Shawn Donaghy was surprised to see that the number of people who relied on public transit barely dropped. Ridership dipped to about two-thirds of its normal level on Feb. 13, he said, but then rebounded fully by the next day. Even as swathes of the city shut down during the winter storm, the same people who usually ride public transit went about their business. “People still have places to go. People still have things to do. There are essential workers who must get to their jobs,” Donaghy said. By Tuesday, the snow was mostly gone. But the COVID-19 emergency remains. Across the country, the virus has disrupted public transit agencies and ridership.
Vancouver advances plan for new Vine route on Mill Plain - February 1, 2021
Vancouver is moving forward with its plan to construct a Bus Rapid Transit line along Mill Plain Boulevard, a massive project that will require the city to upgrade its fiber optic capacity and acquire right-of-way for 37 new curbside stations along the route. At its regular meeting Monday evening, the Vancouver city council unanimously approved a series of documents hammering out the details of an agreement with C-Tran. The deal would see C-Tran pay to upgrade the city’s fiber optic network, then retain usage of a portion of the new lines. “Essentially, the city owns an existing fiber optic network along Mill Plain Boulevard, along the entire corridor. And C-Tran relies on those fiber optics in order to be able to communicate with their stations,” Ryan Lopossa, Vancouver’s roads and transportation manager, explained to the city council in a Jan. 25 workshop. The existing system isn’t large enough to support another new BRT line, Lopossa said.
Members confirmed for Interstate 5 Bridge replacement group - January 20, 2021
The Interstate Bridge Replacement Project’s executive steering group held its third meeting Wednesday and voted to confirm a proposed membership lineup for the community advisory group, the second of three advisory groups that the bi-state project office intends to rely on for feedback as it develops a potential replacement for the Interstate 5 Bridge. “We are shifting from first gear into second gear and going into a very public phase of the IBR program,” said Program Administrator Greg Johnson. The community group includes eight at-large members – four from Oregon and four from Washington – and 23 appointed members who will represent various regional organizations and stakeholder groups. The office received almost 500 applications for the at-large positions, according to project team Communications Manager Lisa Keohokalole Schauer.
How far Washington has to go to make roads safe for everyone - January 18, 2021
Every so often, Washington’s State Department of Transportation publishes active transportation plans. These plans look at how streets and walkways are working for cyclists and pedestrians who already use them, informing state-level funding for active transportation projects. In a draft plan published in December that updates a 2008 plan, however, WSDOT took a new approach that meets growing demand for safe, low-carbon transportation: It looked at whether state roads were suitable for active transportation modes like walking and biking – and even growing modes like scootering – based on where people want to walk and bike, but don’t. “I believe that it’s going to be a significant step forward for the state of Washington and for the work that we’re doing,” says Scott Waller, the bicycle and pedestrian program manager of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, of the draft plan. “It’s a relatively recent conversation [in Washington state] to talk about walkers and rollers as being people you need to plan for.” But the analysis also revealed that a $5.7 billion investment is needed to get there.
Public invited to three Interstate Bridge Replacement program advisory group meetings in January - January 7, 2021
Anyone interested in the bi-state Interstate Bridge Replacement program is welcome to attend public meetings held later this month for the Executive Steering Group, Community Advisory Group and Equity Advisory Group. All meetings will be hosted in Zoom to follow the states’ social distancing guidelines for slowing the spread of COVID-19. The meetings will also be livestreamed on YouTube, and those without internet access will have the option to call in to listen to the meetings. The steering group and advisory group meetings are important opportunities for the program to engage with the public, stakeholders, and partnering agencies from both states in an effort to find a bridge replacement solution that best serves the complex needs of all users.