After lunch, we first heard about how well our urban layouts did against the State of Washington’s climate change laws – there was one table (which I hope I got a picture of) that came very close. We voted (using little remote controls at our seats) on what issues are most important for the region – where our largest challenges will be, and what we need to focus on first. Infrastructure came first – building transit and transit oriented development.
It was pointed out that of all the square footage that will exist in 2040, 60% of it is yet to be built. That does include renovations, but it’s eye-opening. We have the opportunity to completely transform our region, building TOD and high density, green buildings, and new transit investments designed to serve them.
Right now, we have a panel discussion going (in the above image), led by Emory Thomas of the Puget Sound Business Journal, and featuring Greg Nickels (mayor of Seattle), Cary Bozeman (mayor of Bremerton), Grant Degginger (mayor of Bellevue), Ray Stephanson (mayor of Everett), John “Boots” Ladenburg (Pierce County Executive), and Ron Sims (King County Executive).
They’re discussing how to handle densification – Ladenburg just talked about how to use TOD to build new communities rather than forcing existing communities to densify. They’ve been talking about who regulates growth – Sims mentioned that King County is being pressured more and more to manage growth outside the cities, and that they’re trying to ensure that there isn’t overlap between city and county in planning. Mayor Stephanson is talking about higher education – he feels that Everett is limited by a lack of schooling. He’s also just brought up Swift, a joint venture between Everett Transit and Community Transit to build BRT on highway 99 between Everett and Aurora Village (the county line) and meet up with RapidRide. He’s expecting to grow by 100,000 people by 2040, and he says Everett can’t handle that much growth without light rail.