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Community Transit’s plan to increase service

Harvey Field
Published:2015-09-22 Opinion
Community Transit’s plan to increase service    Print Snohomish Times    
Community Transit’s plan to increase service

Snohomish County is experiencing tremendous growth, and there’s more on the way. The Puget Sound Regional Council forecasts that the county’s population will increase another 240,000 people by 2040 – that’s about 10,000 people (the population of Snohomish) every year!

The future is looking crowded.

The region’s traffic problem is getting worse with all this growth, so it’s important that we provide a public transportation option for those who choose it, and more space on the road for those who don’t.

Community Transit’s mission is to keep Snohomish County moving – now, and in the future. On a busy day, up to 40,000 people ride Community Transit buses, vanpools and DART paratransit vehicles – that’s a lot of cars that are NOT on the road.

Last year our ridership increased 8 percent, and with Sunday bus service back it continues to grow this year. Our commuter service to Seattle fills up early, and people are standing in the aisle for the entire commute. On Route 424 from Snohomish to Seattle, that’s a long commute!

We are currently stretched beyond our limits to meet demand.

Thankfully, we have an opportunity to make investments that will improve our transit service.

The new state transportation bill enabled our Board of Directors – made up of elected leaders from around Snohomish County, including Snohomish City Councilmember Tom Hamilton – to place a measure on the November ballot to increase transit service. It is called Proposition 1.

If approved, the three-tenths of 1 percent increase in sales tax would cost the average adult $33 a year and would enable us to add:

• More trips on local bus routes throughout the county.
• More commuter bus trips to downtown Seattle and the University of Washington.
• New service to emerging job, housing, retail, health and educational centers throughout the county.
• More connections on existing service and new routes, such as Marysville-to-McCollum Park via Lake Stevens, Snohomish and Silver Firs along Highway 9.
• A second Swift bus rapid transit line between Boeing/Paine Field and the high-tech job center at Canyon Park/Bothell, along Highway 526.
• More east-west bus trips in South Snohomish County and a possible third Swift line to connect to light rail when it gets to the county in 2023.

Our long term vision is to have a network of Swift lines for fast, frequent bus service throughout the county. And, new service on Highway 9 would greatly increase the transit options for residents along Highway 2, making the Snohomish Park & Ride a popular transit hub.
We can begin delivering transit improvements right away. If the measure is approved in November, we can have more trips on the road next March.

Transit investments help our economy grow and protect our quality of life.

Eighty-percent of our riders use Community Transit to go to the work every morning. They’re heading to their jobs, earning a paycheck and boosting our economy. In the evening, 80 percent of our riders use Community Transit to come home. They’re meeting friends, going to Little League games and sitting on the porch with loved ones.

We have the opportunity to add more bus trips, take more cars off the road, help more people get to their destinations, and make our homegrown transit service even better. It’s up to us to ensure that our future here in Snohomish County is just as amazing as the community we love today.

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