Last night, Sound Transit had the first of six open houses asking residents of the district: What do you want to see from Sound Transit next?
Sound Transit staff and Mayor McGinn both spoke about how this process works, and the mayor pointed out that getting a Sound Transit expansion package will also require legislative work – advocacy from us in Olympia. I wish there had been more people – between ST staff and the mayor, the presentation was the most complete explanation of how Sound Transit operates that I’ve heard yet.
The rest of the event was time for Sound Transit and consultant staff to talk to attendees about what they wanted, collect comments, and generally answer questions, much like most public meetings. They did some cool stuff, taking video of people answering questions, and working on a time-lapse of a big map on which attendees can put colored dots where they want transit.
There were a lot of good meeting materials – an overview from top to bottom of why Sound Transit exists, what it does, and how it plans. I haven’t found PDFs of the boards Sound Transit had up, but they have a very clear web page about the process.
Turnout last night was low. I think it’s difficult for people – even transit advocates – to really understand the steps an agency has to go through before funding and building a project, and so going to a “long range plan open house” doesn’t seem that exciting to many. The people who did show up were a cross-section of the most experienced and involved advocates in Seattle, there just weren’t many new faces. I hope to see that improve at the other events!
I think we’ve written about Sound Transit’s overall process before, but I’ve heard some specific misconceptions recently, so rather than a big explanation of how we get to ST3 and ST4, I just want to make a few points: