Weekly Reader

Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday the 13th mythology –
The number 13 and Friday both have a long history of bringing bad luck – and it’s the combination of the two that makes the day the most feared. Many think that the reason for the number 13’s bad luck comes from the Bible. Judas, who betrayed Jesus, is thought to have been the 13th guest to sit down to the Last Supper. Another possible origin of the superstition—Friday, 13 October 1307, the date Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar. Stay safe.

Economic Development
Here is an article from Bookings arguing that the deployment of 5G will require new approaches to cybersecurity.

Click here for the story titled Headlines from the 2019 State of the Nation’s Housing Report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

Transportation
FHWA is working on reducing rural roadway departures. Click here for information on this topic. The effort recognizes that roadway departures happen on all public roads and FHWA is using systemic safety analysis to identify those locations most at risk. After identifying the key locations FHWA is leading communities to develop strategies to address them in a safety action plan. These plans, whether simple or complex, are a powerful, data-driven way to prioritize safety activities and improvements and justify investment decisions. Data is critical to the plan, but lack of data shouldn’t prevent an agency from developing one. For instance, if traffic volumes aren’t available, agency staff can categorize the roads into low, medium and high volume. If roadway departures are occurring on curves for which geometric information is not available, a map can quickly help identify the sharpest curves or other areas that may require attention. Law enforcement, public health officials, and roadway maintenance staff are a great resource for this type of data.

Here is an article from Bloomberg Government regarding blocked rail crossings. According the National Association of Region Councils “38 states have implemented various laws regarding rail delays at crossings. The federal government has been reluctant to regulate rail crossings due to the primarily local nature of the issue. And recently, state and federal courts have consistently knocked down ticketing statutes for delays. The most significant problem affecting localities and regions is not the number of freight trains but the length of individual trains, and no federal standards exist for the length of trains or the length of time stopped trains can block crossings. In fact, the Federal Railroad Administration doesn’t even define blocked crossings. As this issue continues to affect emergency response times in communities across the country, it can be expected to remain a contentious topic of debate at all levels of government.”

Community Development / Other
Here are a few stories on flooding from across the USA. 1. From BrookingsAnother Summer of Flooding Should be a Wake-up Call to Redesign Our Communities. 2. From NPRHigh-tide Flooding on the Rise Especially Along the East Coast, Forecasters Warn. 3. From FEMA – Loss Dollars Paid by Calendar Year. 4. From The Pew Charitable Trust – Climate Change is Making the Affordable Housing Crunch Worse. 5. From the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information – Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview. There is an emphasis on east coast events in these articles, but what if the west coast begins to see larger and more significant events? What are we doing to prepare and speed our recovery?

From the Washington Secretary of State – Initiative 976 ballot issue wording.

From PolicyMap, “Although safety and quality of housing have improved over the last decades, substandard housing is a persistent problem in many places, and it disproportionately affects some of the most vulnerable populations. Through a joint research project with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, we’ve determined that $126.9 billion of investment would be needed to fully repair occupied housing across the US, and that nearly 1 in 3 occupied housing units need repair.” For more information read the Special Report. Click here to read about PolicyMap’s takeaways from the project.

The Washington Department of Commerce recently announced a new resource for housing planning. EZView: Affordable Housing: Resources for Planning is a great source for housing reports, action strategies, comp plan elements, grant programs, presentations and other events.  Please let commerce know what you think, and what else should be added. Send comments to: Anne.Fritzel@commerce.wa.gov. EZView provides dedicated web sites for local governments and state agencies to plan, share, document and collaborate. To see housing resources in EZ View, click here.

CPI for all items rises 0.1% in August as medical care, shelter indexes increase.

The Cowlitz RIF meeting was held this morning in Kalama. Thanks to the Port of Kalama for hosting the meeting. Elaine Placido and Gena James from the County discussed SHB 1406 and how the County is moving forward to capture state sales tax funds to address housing issues throughout the county. Click here for the County agenda item from their September 10 meeting and here for the state bill information.

Up-coming events and activities

  • Southwest Regional Transportation Planning Organization Board meeting, September 18, 10 am Veterans Museum, 100 SW Veterans Way, Chehalis
  • CWCOG Board of Directors meeting, September 26, noon to 1 pm, Cowlitz Event Center, 1900 7th Ave, Longview
  • CWCOG Executive Committee meeting, September 26, 1:15 pm, Cowlitz Event Center, 1900 7th Ave, Longview