1. The Puget Sound Regional Council has released a bushel of data about the region.
Their snapshot found:
Nearly 300,000 people have moved to the region since 2010. And the region likely surpassed 4 million people in June; 86,000 of those people were added to the region in the past year—with 24,000 in Seattle alone.
Since 2010, 53 percent of the change has come solely from migration, outpacing natural changes the last three years. While natural changes (deaths and births) have held steady since 2010 at about 20,000 additional people per year, migration has added 31,000, 40,000, and 62,000 respectively during the past three years.
They also found that the economy is booming, adding 280,000 jobs since 2010, a 16 percent increase; most of those jobs—87 percent—came in King and Snohomish County.
They also found that housing supply has not kept up with that job growth; we’ve added three jobs for every housing unit.
And no surprise, rent is skyrocketing. Average rent in the region has increased 43 percent since 2010, increasing 51 percent in Seattle. Overall, rent in the region has increased from about $951 to $1358.
As for the region’s other point of consternation with growth: PSRC reports that “Delay on our freeways has doubled.” The “average daily vehicle hours of delay” have gone from 19.1 thousand to 37.2 thousand between 2010 and 2015.
The PSRC report notes that four percent of the delay in 2015 is accounted for in HOV lanes.
Simultaneously, at slightly more than 3.5 percent growth, transit boardings have grown faster than other large metro area in the country in the past decade. Overall, in the mix with big cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, we rank eighth in overall transit boardings in 2015.
And look for those numbers to increase even more. So far in 2016, we’ve seen a 76 percent jump in light rail boardings between 2015 and 2016, with 1.86 million in May 2016, for example, versus 1.05 million in May 2015.
We are also “the van pool capital of the world” with 5.5 million annual trips in 2015 and three times per person what it is in Los Angeles.
2. Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner, who was on assignment at the DNC in Philadelphia last week, interviewed the two people involved in that Palestinian sign incident I mentioned last week—sign waver and Bernie Sanders delegate Majid Al-Bahadli and sign grabber Lona Wilbur, a Democratic National Committee member.
Al-Bahadli remained angry. “This is unacceptable,” he said, adding he didn’t know who had taken the sign until someone sent him photos. When he got the sign back later, he said it was ripped.
Wilbur said she did not see what was on the sign when she grabbed it. “It had nothing to do with what was on the sign at all,” she said. “It had nothing to do with the content.”
She said she did not rip the sign and returned it later intact to an arena staffer so it could be returned.
Wilbur said she believed the sign was blocking the views of people behind it. “The sign was there. We were doing roll call. I thought it was blocking someone’s face.”
Tearing up, she said she was sorry and that she had tried to apologize to Al-Bahadli.