HCT Virtual Open House

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Welcome!


Slide 1 Download

Why Are We Doing This Study?
To establish a north/south High Capacity Transit (HCT) link in the heart of Pierce County to serve Pierce Transit’s busiest transit corridor.

Where is the Study Corridor?
14 miles of the Pacific Avenue | SR 7 Corridor between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway, currently served by Pierce Transit’s Route 1.

What Can You Do Today?

  • Learn more about the study and talk to our staff.
  • Provide your input on which HCT design concept best meets your needs and interests.
  • Provide your input on potential HCT station locations on the Corridor Aerial Map.
  • Fill out the comment form and join our contact list for study updates.

High Capacity Transit Bus Modes


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ENHANCED BUS

TYPICAL FEATURES

  • Operates in mixed traffic
  • Transit signal priority
  • More frequent service
  • Limited stops
  • Some stop enhancements

AVERAGE COST PER MILE: $1–$3 Million

TRAVEL TIME BENEFITS: 10%–15% Faster than local bus service

TYPICAL STOP SPACING: 3–4 Stops per mile

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)M

TYPICAL FEATURES
  • Can operate in mixed traffic or in its own lane
  • Transit signal priority
  • More frequent service
  • Wider stop spacing
  • Station enhancements
  • Level boarding
  • Off-board fare collection
  • Specialized vehicles
  • Branding

AVERAGE COST PER MILE: $4–$20 Million

TRAVEL TIME BENEFITS: 20%–30% Faster than local bus service

TYPICAL STOP SPACING:

  • BRT replaces Route 1 service: 3 BRT Stops per mile
  • BRT operates in combination with local bus service*: 1–2 BRT Stops and 4–6 Local Bus Stops per mile

* Additional revenues would be required to operate this service.

High Capacity Transit Rail Modes


STREETCAR

TYPICAL FEATURES

  • Operates on fixed rail
  • Can operate in mixed traffic or in its own lane
  • Transit signal priority
  • More frequent service
  • Wider stop spacing
  • Station enhancements
  • Level boarding
  • Off-board fare collection
  • Specialized vehicles
  • Branding

AVERAGE COST PER MILE: $45–$55 Million (May not be affordable, given expected funding)

TRAVEL TIME BENEFITS: 20%–30% Faster than local bus service

TYPICAL STOP SPACING:

  • Streetcar replaces Route 1 service: 3 Streetcar Stops per mile
  • Streetcar operates in combination with local bus service*: 1–2 Streetcar Stops and 4–6 Local Bus Stops per mile

* Additional revenues would be required to operate this service.

LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT

TYPICAL FEATURES

  • Operates on fixed rail
  • Operates in its own lane
  • Transit signal priority
  • More frequent service
  • Much wider stop spacing
  • Station enhancements
  • Level boarding
  • Off-board fare collection
  • Specialized vehicles
  • Branding

AVERAGE COST PER MILE: $180–$200 Million (Likely not affordable, given expected funding)

TRAVEL TIME BENEFITS: 30%–40% Faster than local bus service

TYPICAL STOP SPACING: 1 Stop per mile


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What are the corridor issues and what solutions could HCT provide?


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BUS SERVICE
Issues:

  • Today, Route 1 has the highest ridership in the transit system
  • Traffic congestion can delay the bus schedule up to 15 minutes

Solution: Provide faster, more reliable, and more frequent transit service

COMMUNITY
Issues: Corridor is designated as “Growing Transit Community” by Puget Sound Regional Council, and was identified for HCT service in Sound Transit's ST3 Plan

Solutions: Support community’s vision for land use and transportation

ACCESS
Issues: Lack of safe access to transit for pedestrians, bicyclists, and persons with disabilities

Solutions: Improve access to stations and add controlled pedestrian crossings on Pacific Avenue | SR 7

GROWTH
Issues: By 2040, there will be 23% population, and 35% jobs growth in the corridor

Solutions: Provide cost-effective service to meet current and future demand

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Issues: Need to support existing businesses and encourage new development

Solutions: Enhance the corridor and support economic growth

TRANSPORTATION NEEDS
Issues: 11% of households in the corridor depend on transit to access jobs, home, and other needs

Solutions: Improve access to transit in the corridor and connections to other bus routes and regional transportation

SAFETY & SECURITY
Issues: Existing bus stops have minimal features for transit rider safety and security

Solutions: Improve station design and rider amenities

ENVIRONMENT
Issues: Low-density development and high vehicle use produces greenhouse gas emissions in the corridor

Solutions: Promote smart-growth and reduce vehicle dependency

What is the Corridor Study Process?


Slide 5 Download

Step 1: Corridor Conditions (2017 Q2)
What is the condition of the study corridor now and what can we expect in the future?

  • Transit riders
  • Traffic
  • Land use
  • Population

Step 2: Project Purpose (2017 Q2)
What problems are we trying to solve and why are solutions necessary?

Step 3: Mode Selection (2017 Q3)
Which HCT mode (Enhanced Bus, BRT, Streetcar, or Light Rail) makes most sense for this corridor?

Step 4: Develop Alternatives (2017 Q3 – 2018 Q1)
What could transit in the study corridor look like? Which options best meet our goals and objectives?

Step 5: Select Alternative (2018 Q2)
Which of the HCT modes and service options do we select as our Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA)?

Step 6: Environmental Review (2018 Q3 – Q4)
What are the potential environmental impacts of the selected LPA project?

Step 7: Project Funding (2018 Q3)
Identify and apply for project funding.

Study phase ends at the end of 2018 and project phase begins at the beginning of 2019.

Step 8: Design and Construction (2019 – 2021)
Finalize detailed design plans, and construct the new HCT service.

Step 9: Service planned to begin (2022)
Begin HCT service on Pacific Avenue | SR 7.

Why BRT Best Meets Our Goals


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Study Goals

  • Increase transit ridership by reducing transit travel time, improving trip reliability, increasing service frequency, and enhancing transit’s comfort, convenience, and image
  • Provide cost-effective transit service in the study corridor
  • Increase transit capacity to meet current and project transit travel demand
  • Accessible to all populations, including minorities, low-income, and transit dependent
  • Promote environmental stewardship and sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and support smart growth
  • Improve access to the study corridor transit service for pedestrians, bicyclists and persons with disabilities
  • Provide improved connections with other local or regional travel modes
  • Have high likelihood of funding through identified grant programs and new funding sources
  • Enhance safety and security for transit patrons and public health overall
  • Support planned local and regional growth and corridor revitalization effort
  • Consistent with adopted local and regional transportation plans*
  • Minimize adverse impacts to other travel modes and adjacent property

Total Score

  • NO BUILD: 24
  • ENHANCED BUS: 41
  • BUS RAPID TRANSIT: 49
  • STREETCAR: 42
  • LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT: 40

Average Score by Goal

  • NO BUILD: 2.1
  • ENHANCED BUS: 3.4
  • BUS RAPID TRANSIT: 4.1
  • STREETCAR: 3.5
  • LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT: 3.3

Total Score from Open House 1 Public Input

  • NO BUILD: 0
  • ENHANCED BUS: 6.5
  • BUS RAPID TRANSIT: 26
  • STREETCAR: 6.5
  • LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT: 0

These study goals will continue to serve as criteria for how alternatives are selected.

* Pierce Transit’s Destination 2040 Long Range Plan, Sound Transit’s ST3 Plan, and Puget Sound Regional Council’s (PSRC) Transportation 2040 Long Range Plan all identify this Corridor for potential HCT service.

What We Heard From You in September


Slide 7 Download

“Use clean electric articulated or double articulated trolley buses.”

“I have no drivers license and neither do 3 other people in my family and we depend on the buses for most of our transportation needs. A lot of poor people use buses a lot for work, doctors appointments and shopping.”

“Even though I have never riden route 1, I can tell that these improvements would make a better transit experience for the community.”

“Many drivers who turn onto Pacific Avenue coming from East Tacoma do not stop for pedestrians crossing Pacific Avenue at 34th Street. This is annoying and dangerous.”

“Normally rapid transit uses articulated buses or double tall. Drivers should focus on the all day pass more especially for new riders and the connecting 1 route to 6th avenue continuing.”

“I would like to know if it would be possible to have an express #1 bus - it wouldn't require new infrastructure and it would increase PLU staff/faculty/student usage of the #1. Thanks for asking for input.”

“Would be really nice to have express bus from Tacoma Dome station to PLU.”

“I would utilize the Route 1 bus if there was an express option.”

“More protective sidewalks.”

“...Double decker buses have a smaller imprint and can fit more people on the bus plus ST will pay for your maintenance barn upgrade. They would be useful on the 1, 2, and 3.”

“Include the 6th Avenue Corridor, having a transfer will lose ridership.”

“Route would benefit from exclusive right of way for the entire route, and/or signal priority to maintain efficient travel times. Pedestrian improvements at stations, and bike lanes will allow for greater connectivity with the neighborhoods.”

“Although there are advantages to some of the proposed HCT systems, for the people who currently use and need the transit system, I feel that keeping the current system would do the most good.”

“Options which reduce lanes for cars and trucks on Pacific Avenue, a state highway, should not even be considered.”

“A dedicated lane and signal prioritization is a top priority... Safe bike/ped access to stations is critical.”

“As a business owner I am very concerned about land use and how it can negatively affect Parkland Businesses- it could be very beneficial or very harmful to businesses... Taking up more property and widening Pacific Ave could put many businesses out and hurt the surrounding area especially taking already limited parking from businesses.”

“Have it where the bus can pull off the road so the vehicle can continue on without waiting for the bus to move- the buses need larger YIELD sign on the back of the bus.”

“I have concerns about maintaining the character of the neighborhood/community in the face of gentrification, rising housing prices, etc. How do you make a neighborhood "nicer" and more desirable without driving out the people who live there now?”

What Makes a System BRT?


Slide 8 Download

Minimum Requirements for BRT

DEFINED STATIONS
The route must have defined stations that comply with DOT standards for buildings and facilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, offer shelter from the weather, and provide information on schedules and routes.

TRANSIT SIGNAL PRIORITY
The route must provide faster passenger travel times through congested intersections by using active signal priority in separated guideway if it exists, and either queue-jump lanes or active signal priority in non-separated guideway.

BRANDING
The system must have a separate and consistent brand identity. Branding should apply to the buses, the stops/stations, and to passenger information materials.

FREQUENT SERVICE
The route must provide short headway, bidirectional service for at least a fourteen-hour span of service on weekdays. BRT service should have minimum 15-minute service frequency throughout a weekday or a combination of 10-minute peak service and 20-minute off-peak service frequencies.

Additional Key BRT Features

  • Level Boarding Platforms
  • Real Time Bus Arrival Time Information
  • Off-board Fare Payment (Ticket Vending Machines, ORCA Readers)

Source: US Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration

Design Concept – Mixed Traffic: Right Lane


Slide 9 Download

Typical Features

  • Most cost-effective, requires little widening
  • Can be implemented quickly
  • Often can achieve transit speed benefits with just transit signal priority and stop consolidation
  • Minimal impacts to existing roadway operations
  • Curbside stations and mixed traffic generally does not reflect premium service
  • Least potential to encourage economic development

Design Concept – Mixed Traffic: Left Lane


Slide 10 Download

Typical Features

  • Established brand identity with exclusive lanes around stations with median station
  • Smoother ride in the center of the street with less turning car friction
  • Often achieves much of the travel time benefit of exclusive lane options
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Some additional right-of-way likely needed at station locations
  • Improvements localized around stations only somewhat limits economic development potential
  • For some, median stations may feel unsafe – stations back onto the stream of traffic, have to cross to the median to get transit
  • Have to cross half the street to get to transfers to local service in an overlay service model

Design Concept – Business Access Transit (BAT) Lanes


Slide 11 Download

Typical Features

  • Provides “exclusive” lane level of travel time benefit
  • Sets clear brand and infrastructure investment to spur economic development
  • Maintains center 2-way left-turn lane
  • BAT lane provides a “buffer” between sidewalk and general purpose traffic lanes
  • Largest footprint of all the options, meaning more property impacts and cost
  • Substantially increases street crossing distances
  • Curbside stations, if not strongly branded, can feel like enhanced service not BRT
  • Most expensive option

Design Concept – Median Lane: Right-Side Boarding


Slide 12 Download

Typical Features

  • Exclusive lane maximizes travel time benefit
  • Median stations and center transit lanes provide high visibility for system
  • Sets strongest brand identity for the project and clearly establishes route permanence to spur economic development
  • Smaller overall footprint than the curbside BAT, a medium level of investment for maximum benefit
  • Avoids conflicts with right turning vehicles, particularly if they have to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Avoids conflicts with bikes in the curbside/bike lanes
  • Eliminates center 2-way left-turn lane, requiring alternative means for accessing mid-block driveways
  • For some, median stations may feel unsafe – stations back onto the stream of traffic, have to cross to the median to get transit

Design Concept – Median Lane: Left-Side Boarding


Slide 13 Download

Typical Features

  • Similar features as Median Lane: Right-Side Boarding except for the following – Left-side doors allow use of a center platform allowing both directions to be served by a single station

For constrained areas, a single, bi-directional lane could be considered

Linking Planning and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)


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Process

  1. Define Purpose and Need (Planning)
  2. Develop and Screen Alternatives (Planning)
  3. Identify a Preferred Alternative (Planning)
  4. Conduct Detailed Evaluation of Preferred Alternative (NEPA)
  5. Prepare Environmental Documentation (NEPA)
  6. NEPA Decision (NEPA)

*Information gathering, public and agency input occur during process 1 through 4 and possibly 5, project dependent

Benefits
Collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision making that:

  • Provides early consideration of environmental impacts
  • Improves environmental outcomes
  • Improves public and agency coordination
  • Results in higher quality, faster environmental review
  • Saves time and money by eliminating redundant studies

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was signed into law on January 1, 1970. NEPA requires federal agencies to consider the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions.

Source: US Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration


Comment Form

Do you feel like you understand what Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service is?


What BRT features are you most interested in? (Check up to 5 boxes)

Infrastructure investment that may spur economic development on the corridor
 
 


What BRT tradeoffs concern you the most? (Check up to 5 boxes)
Infrastructure investment that may spur economic development on the corridor (potential gentrification or loss of existing neighborhood character)
 
 



 


If you would like to be contacted by a member of the HCT Feasibility Study Team regarding your comments, please provide your name and preferred method of contact here:
 Contact Email or Phone Number

 


Please indicate which Open House you attended below:







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Trip Planner Help

Trip Planner Tips - Entering Locations

To create a trip plan you need to enter both a starting location (origin) and an ending location (destination). For information about stops, schedules, or service at a specific location, you only need to enter one location.

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Addresses

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Intersections

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Landmarks

Government Sites: Pierce County Health Dept, Pierce Co Sheriffs Office, Tacoma City Hall

Major Commercial Sites: Tacoma Mall, Sheraton Hotel

Transportation Facilities: Sea-Tac Airport, Greyhound Bus Depot

Schools & Colleges: Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma Community College

Sports & Leisure: Cheney Stadium, Pt Defiance Zoo

Medical Facilities: Group Health, Tacoma General Hospital


 

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