Transportation Issues

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On Monday, October 3, the Area Council held its regular monthly meeting with two topics the major focus: (1) Transportation Issues and (2) Rural Area Priorities.

Transportation Issues

Maple Valley City Councilman, Les Burberry, gave a presentation: Transportation in Southeast King County. Both Maple Valley and Covington City Councilmembers attended.

Councilman Burberry addressed issues facing southeast King County in moving people and goods with our current transportation infrastructure with limited road corridors: SR-169 (Maple Valley Hwy), SR-516 (Kent-Kangley Rd), and SR-164 (Auburn-Enumclaw Rd).

Councilman Burberry stated the crux of the problem facing our region is lack of funds to make transportation improvements, as most funds are earmarked for major projects in and around Seattle and Bellevue. Area Council members requested a holistic approach to better understand causes and effects. Some causes include: (1) Development pressures within cities and (2) Lack of a Regional Concurrency mechanism to ensure transportation infrastructure and options (or secured monies) are available at time of development.

Councilman Burberry proposed a Transportation Benefit District (TBD), which would include the region’s cities and the unincorporated area. The TBD, which would require a vote of the people, could use vehicle tab fees and gas tax monies to raise part of an estimated ~$250M for capacity-building projects (~80% for SR-169). The Area Council, which has explored such a funding mechanism, voiced concern, that potential solutions offered might not solve the problems facing our communities and suggested further study of the causes and effects so all the externalities imposed by each city upon the other cities and upon the unincorporated area would be included.

The Area Council thanked Councilman Burberry and invited him to join the upcoming Transportation Forum that King County’s four Unincorporated Area Councils will be holding Issaquah on October 18 (see Upcoming Events further below).

Rural Area Priorities

The Area Council has worked on the 2016 major 4-yr update to the King County Comprehensive Plan for over 18 months. Numerous sets of detailed comments were developed and submitted to the King County Executive and Council. All can be found on our web site: http://greatermaplevalleyareacouncil.org/gmvackccompplan.html.

During this process the Area Council has used its Citizen Surveys, Monthly Meetings, and discussions with residents to form a set of key priorities for the Rural Area.

Protecting Integrity of the Rural Area: The siting of urban or urban-serving facilities in the Rural Area must be curtailed. Demonstration Projects, which seek to do things that normally are not allowed, do not serve the needs of Rural Area citizens. Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs) should not use the Rural Area as receiving sites.

Transportation Infrastructure Integrity and Sustainability: A sustainable funding model is needed to maintain Rural Area roads and bridges. Conducting Regional Transportation Concurrency and identifying County-wide “Road Networks” would help ease the traffic congestion on Rural Area roads by spreading the burden of their maintenance to nearby cities. The every-growing dichotomy between jurisdictional Growth Targets and regional transportation needs must be closed. Transportation Concurrency certificates should not be granted through the use of TDRs.

Water and Waste Control Systems: Major water extensions into Rural Area to serve new development increase sprawl and traffic. Private Wells must continue to serve Rural Area development. Any fees on On-Site Septic Systems must be measured and fair.

Economic Development: King County needs an Economic Development Office.

The Area Council will continue to voice these issues to King County officials in order to “Keep the Rural Area rural.”

Upcoming Events

•Model Train Show — The Area Council’s 19th Operating Model Train Show will be held on Saturday, October 15 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday, October 16, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Gracie Hansen Community Center, located at 27132 SE Ravensdale Way in Ravensdale.

•Transportation Forum — An all-Unincorporated Area Council Transportation Forum to discuss the role of the Puget Sound Regional Council in regional transportation planning and funding will be held on Tuesday, October 18, at 6:30 – 8:30 PM at the King County Library Services Building at 960 Newport Way NW in Issaquah.

Next Area Council Meeting

Monday, November 7, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., at the Fire Station located at the SE corner of SE 231st St & SR-169 intersection. All members of the Public are welcome.

Our Guest Speaker will be Dwight Dively, the King County Executive’s Office Director of Performance, Strategy, and Budget. Mr. Dively will be discussing the proposed 2017-2018 King County Budget.

Meetings are held the first non-holiday Monday of each month. A Public Comment period at the beginning of each meeting provides an opportunity to voice issues of concern to Area Council members and government officials in attendance.

Your Area Council serves as an all-volunteer, locally elected advisory body to King County on behalf of all rural unincorporated area residents living in the Tahoma School District. Please visit: www. greatermaplevalleyareacouncil.org

*** NOTE: Four positions are open on the 16-member Area Council. If you live in the Tahoma School District outside the City of Maple Valley (see Service Area Map on our web site), you are invited to apply to become a member by sending a letter of interest to GMVUAC, P. O. Box 111, Maple Valley, WA 98038 or attend our next monthly meeting. ***