What each jurisdiction is doing about climate change

News

Seattle

The City released the Racial Equity Analysis of Seattle 2035 and Urban Village Strategy as part of the Comprehensive Plan update. The report acknowledges that the city's Urban Villages are "Shaped by land use patterns that reflect history of racial exclusion (e.g., redlining, racial covenants)". The study recommends that the city allows more housing types throughout the city, take action to increase the amount of long-term affordable housing, adopt anti-displacement policies to protect current residents, and provide engagement opportunities for low-income and BIPOC communities to provide feedback on the Comprehensive Plan update. The Office of Planning and Community Development undertakes, as part of its response, to study a range of alternatives to handling growth, including changes to single family housing zones. It will also explore policies and tools to promote a broader range of market-based housing, including affordable and mixed-income housing, as well as pursuing strategies that will help BIPOC communities.

City Council approved City Light's 2022-2026 Strategic Plan. Some Hub menbers expressed concern that the Strategic Plan doesn't account for what would be required to meet Seattle's climate goals; it falls short of providing enough electricity if transportation and buildings are electrified on schedule. Furthermore, it is not clear that the plan will provide enough power in the summer, when power consumption will increase due to increased need for cooling but there will be less hydropower to meet those needs because of increased summer drought.

Green New Deal Oversight Committee appointments (marked with affilated organization and who appointed (Mayor/City Council/GND): Katie Garrow (MLK Labor Council, union rep, Mayor), Steve Gelb (Emerald Cities Collaborative, workforce training rep, Mayor), Keith Weir (IBEW Local 46, labor rep, Mayor), Maria Batayola (Community Coalition for Environmental Justice, Beacon Hill Council, Mayor), Dennis Comer (Central Area Collaborative, EJ rep, Mayor), Tomas Alberto Madrigal (Duwamish River Community Coalition, Mayor), Tyler Valentine (Africatown Community Land Trust, youth rep, Mayor), Debolina Bannerjee (Puget Sound Sage, EJ rep, City Council), Matt Remle (Mazaska Talks, City Council), Jess Wallach (350 Seattle, City Council), Rachel Heaton (Mazaska Talks, tribal rep, City Council), Emily Myers (UAW 4121, labor rep, City Council), Andrea Ornelas (Laborers Local 242, labor rep, City Council), Deepa Sivarajan (Climate Solutions, City Council), Kristina Chu (Sunrise Seattle, youth rep, City Council). Some of these appointee's terms end on April 30, 2022, and others on April 30, 2023. The mayor will make 8 appointments, total, and the council will also make 8 appointments. Those 16 appointees will then appoint 3 more people to the board. The City Council has filled its spots (some awaiting confirmation), and the Mayor has one remaining open spot for a tribal rep that requires a nomination. The GND Oversight Board is tasked with making recommendations to the Mayor and the Council related to the Green New Deal, and monitoring progress in meeting goals. Jose Vasquez from the Office of Environment and Sustainability is the Green New Deal Advisor, and acts as a liaison between the Oversight Board and city government.

Report on Sound Transit Realignment, video starting at 1:33:49. Shortfall in financing because of reduced revenue as a result of the pandemic and inflation ($7.9 billion over 25 years), mainly increased land costs, and they will not make their plan either within budget or within time. Many projects are currently paused as a result. They have ongoing construction to Northgate (Oct 2021), East Link (2023), Lynnwood (2024), Federal Way (2024), Redmond (2024), as well as projects in Tacoma. To cover the shortfall, they can raise new revenue, cutback or delay projects. Projects currently in planning are affected by the realignment, projects under construction or with baselined budgets are not affected. 130th St station is affected, it was scheduled for 2031. Possible action on this next month from Sound Transit Board, decisions can be reevaluated if they get more funding. Could defer parking and stations, and phase projects in so track endpoints keep moving to the goal to spread costs over time. Delays of 2 to 10 years or more. There's a good article in the The Urbanist on all this.

Route 40 redesign. Route 40 is one of Metro's highest ridership routes, and the improvements are an effort to speed up the buses and make the timing of them more reliable. The current plan calls for bus-only lanes in Westlake, bus improvements in Fremont, Ballard, and Greenwood, including more short stretches of bus-only lanes.

The Office of Economic Development released the Fossil Fuel Workforce Study. Presentation to the Community and Economic Development Committee 5/18/21, video here, starting at 34:20. The principle of transition at the national level is that workers are made whole at every stage of the transition. How do we do that?

Department of Construction and Inspections completed the review process for new Energy Code amendment that would require efficient electric hot water heaters for all commercial buildings. Code changes were approved, but with an exemption for replacement of existing equipment.

The Federal Transit Administration has allocated $59.9M in funding from the Small Starts Program to Rapid Ride G (Madison Ave.) for construction. These funds cover 45% of the total cost, with the balance supplied by the Move Seattle levy and the Capital Improvement Program agreements with Sound Transit. Once the funds are transferred, construction is expected to begin this fall for completion in 2024.

King County


The Growth Management Planning Council (GMPC) released two reports for public comment. The Urban Growth Capacity Report details how much growth has happened since the start of the planning cycle, and how much more capacity for growth remains in this planning cycle. The other is a Public Review Draft of the Comprehensive Plan which specifies things like new areas possibly to be added to Urban Growth Boundaries, and how much growth is projected over the next planning cycle and allocated to each locality. This report is available for public comment until May 5. Both reports are expected to be on the agenda for the GMPC meeting on May 26 , 4-6pm.


Metro is finalizing the restructure coming in September for the opening of the north end Link extension to Northgate on October 2. Although the Link will provide high occupancy, service hours overall will be cut relative to 2019, so many places will actually have reduced bus service. Metro has prioritized serving the high demand neighborhoods of the south end during the pandemic, and recovery to previous levels will be done slowly over during the course of 2021 and 2022. Peak time bus service will also not be restored fully, as Metro waits to see what demand is as employers go back to work, but may have more work from home than previously.


The Mobility and Environment Committee passed the Strategic Climate Action Plan, with an amendment for how airplane emissions are calculated.

Timeline

Seattle

  • July - Sept. – City Light Integrated Resource Plan resource targets & CETA plan

  • Nov. 2021 - March 2022 – City Light review Clean Energy Action Plan

  • Nov 2021 – Election for Mayor & at-large council seats

  • April/May 2022 – City Light Integrated Resource Plan legislation

  • Fall 2022 – Redistricting

  • Fall 2023 – Election for Positions 1-7



King County

  • EV Code proposed update in Local Services Committee. Initial briefing done, next meeting not yet scheduled. New code would apply to commercial and multi-family buildings in unincorporated King County.

  • Late July 2021, Metro planning update. Draft versions of the Strategic Plan for Public Transportation (Metro's goals, strategies, and performance measures), Service Guidelines (sets targets, evaluate performance, add/remove service), Metro Connects (long-range plan, with goal to increase service hours by 70% between 2015 and 2040) will be referred to the Regional Transit Committee, and to King County Council.

  • Commercial Building Energy Code update.

  • C-PACER program being developed, to be presented to Council later this year.

  • Regional Transit Committee is reviewing Metro's post-pandemic recovery plan (June & July)

  • Aug.-Dec. review the updated policy documents (see above again).

  • Mobility and Environment Committee will be considering Metro Mobility Framework and Strategic Plan for Public Transportation updates;

  • Sept, Zero Emission Battery Bus Preliminary Implementation Plan.


Puget Sound Regional Council

Sound Transit

State

See Legislative Session 2021 for information about individual bills introduced in the session

Actions This Year

  • Seattle passed 2021 Energy Codes for commercial and multi-family buildings, requiring increased efficiency, as well as efficient electrical space and water heating

  • Seattle Public School board passed the 100% Clean Energy by 2040 Resolution

  • Seattle Department of Transportation will begin construction of RapidRide G, up Madison Ave, in the fall of 2021. Construction of new bike lanes on Green Lake Ave, and on Union Ave. have been completed.

Policies at Every Level

Useful Links

  • GHG Reduction Potential from Local Policies, an analysis from UC Berkeley's CoolClimate Network on what impact policies implemented by local governments can have on reducing GHG emissions. There is a website with modelling for over 700 different cities and counties in California, and a paper that describes in high level terms how the model is put together. Below are results for Berkeley, CA: