Let’s talk about the region’s growth strategy – help shape the scope of VISION 2050

VISION 2040 helps to coordinate the local growth and transportation plans developed by cities and counties to make sure they are consistent with the Growth Management Act and regional transportation plans.

The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) is the planning agency for the central Puget Sound region, which includes King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. PSRC has specific responsibilities under federal and state law for transportation planning and funding, economic development, and growth management.

PSRC is updating VISION to consider new information and perspectives about a changing region. PSRC is seeking community input to shape the plan. What important regional issues should we focus on during the update?

How should the region’s growth strategy be updated to plan for 2050? As we consider different ways to grow as a region, what impacts and actions should be evaluated through environmental review?

Over the next two years, PSRC will work with cities, counties, tribes, other agencies and interest groups, and the public to develop VISION 2050.

PSRC will engage the public through surveys, workshops held throughout the region, formal comment periods, and input to PSRC’s elected board members.

Since 2010, the region has experienced significant growth with about 375,000 new neighbors calling the central Puget Sound home. Meanwhile, major infrastructure investments — like completing the 520 bridge and extending light rail from Everett to Tacoma to Redmond — are moving forward.

The region has had important successes implementing VISION 2040, which helps to fulfill the goals of the state Growth Management Act (GMA). The plan has helped coordinate state and regional initiatives and supported local decisions. Cities are thriving. Regionally, growth is shifting towards more compact, sustainable development occurring within urban areas and cities, with cost effective and efficient services, reduced impacts on the environment, and positive health outcomes.

At the same time, the region continues to face significant challenges, including the climbing cost of housing. Congestion from rapid growth is reducing access to jobs, services, and housing. While recent economic growth has been strong, prosperity hasn’t benefited everyone or all parts of the region. Finally, pressing environmental issues, such as climate change and preserving open space, require more collaborative, long-term action. VISION 2050 is an opportunity for cities and counties to work together to address the key challenges that extend beyond the boundaries of any single community.

Downtown Tacoma, 1946. Photo courtesy  Tacoma Public Library

Downtown Tacoma, 1946. Photo courtesy
Tacoma Public Library

What is in VISION 2040?

VISION 2040 is the region’s current plan for managing growth forecasted through the year 2040.

The plan includes overarching goals, an environmental framework, a strategy to sustainably guide growth in the region, and multicounty planning policies. The plan also includes actions at the regional, county, and local level to make the plan a reality. VISION has six chapters addressing the environment, development patterns, housing, the economy, transportation, and public services.

The plan includes goals and policies to:

• Protect and restore the natural environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

• Plan for growth in cities and urban centers, while reducing sprawl.

• Improve the balance of jobs and housing across the counties.

• Create more vibrant and resilient urban centers.

• Support health, well-being, and active living.

• Provide affordable housing choices to meet the needs of all residents.

• Improve mobility for people and goods.

• Maintain and operate the transportation system safely and efficiently.

• Encourage a strong, diverse economy.

• Provide services like solid waste, energy, and water systems to support the region’s growth.

VISION 2040’s Regional Growth Strategy defines a role for different types of places in accommodating the region’s residential and employment growth. The strategy is organized around guiding most employment and housing growth to the region’s largest cities and urban centers. Other cities and unincorporated urban areas are expected to play a more modest role as locations for new growth. Outside the urban area, rural communities, farms and forests will continue to be a permanent and vital part of the region.

Environmental review for VISION 2040 showed that, compared with a broad range of alternatives, the desired growth pattern would have significant benefits for mobility, air quality, environmental stewardship, and healthy communities.

What is PSRC?

The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) is the regional transportation, economic development, and growth planning agency for the central Puget Sound — King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. It serves as a forum for cities, counties, ports, transit agencies, tribes, and the state to work together on important regional issues.

Key responsibilities include:

• Long range growth, economic, and transportation planning

• Transportation funding

• Economic development coordination

• Regional data

• Technical assistance

The elected leaders of King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties, the region’s cities and towns, port districts, transit agencies, and tribes direct PSRC’s work. Once a year, these elected officials meet as a General Assembly to vote on major decisions and elect new leadership.

Each month, an Executive Board makes decisions on behalf of the General Assembly with the input of several advisory boards made up of local elected officials and representatives of business, labor, environmental and community interests, as well as input from the public at large.

Listening Sessions

PSRC will hold listening sessions in King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties to hear input on scoping for the VISION 2050 plan.

What important regional issues should be the focus of the update?  How should the region’s growth strategy be updated to plan for 2050?  What impacts and actions should be evaluated through environmental review?

Scoping is the time to identify the important issues that should be addressed as the region extends the regional growth strategy to 2050.

The listening sessions will be:

February 20, 3-5 pm at the Fife Community Center, 2111 54th Avenue East, Fife

February 22, 3-5 pm at Lynnwood City Hall, 19100 44th Avenue West, Lynnwood

February 27, 3-5 pm at the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 6th Street, Bremerton

Can’t make a listening session?  There are lots of ways to learn about and provide input on VISION 2050 and the environmental analysis.

All information, including how to submit comments via email, mail, fax or in person, is available on the VISION 2050 website.  If you have questions, please email vision2050@psrc.org or call 206-464-7549.

- Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC)