Transportation

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Transportation
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As our community grows, so does the need for transportation infrastructure and services.
Traffic volumes continue to increase and the time it takes for commuters to travel to and from work is getting longer.

The transportation system is made up of many elements, including roads, sidewalks, trails, traffic signals and transit.

Transportation improvement projects
Pierce County plans for transportation needs based on factors such as congestion, safety and the mobility needs of our residents.

County road projects are prioritized for many reasons including road condition, cost effectiveness, benefit to residents, and environmental impacts. These projects are funded by a variety of sources, such as property taxes, state taxes, federal and state grants, developer contributions and traffic impact fees.

Projects include road widening, adding traffic signals and turn lanes, making new roadway connections, adding sidewalks and crosswalks and more.

Road projects generally take several years or longer to be completed. This is due to the time needed to acquire funding and right of way, complete permitting and design and construct the project.

Maintenance and operations
Roads in unincorporated areas are maintained and operated by Pierce County, with the exception of federal, state and private roads. Maintenance activities include filling potholes, resurfacing roads and responding to inclement weather events.

Pierce County also manages traffic operations and makes adjustments as needed. Adjustments could include changing traffic signal timing or lengthening turn lanes to accommodate increased traffic. Pierce County conducts traffic studies including speed assessments, and implements traffic calming projects, such as speed humps.

Transportation and the Community Plan updates
Each community plan includes a transportation element. The land use advisory commissions have worked to identify and prioritize transportation projects in their community. Project priorities for each area are listed later in this online open house.
Transportation plans and documents
The 20-year Transportation Plan Pierce County’s strategy for meeting our transportation needs.
The six-year Transportation Improvement Program identifies projects that are planned to be implemented within the next six years, including the funding sources and expected completion year.
Pierce County is prioritizing projects to bring pedestrian facilities such as sidewalks and ramps into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The ADA Transition Plan is currently under development.
The Safe Routes to Schools Plan guides future project partnerships between Pierce County and school districts to improve school walking routes by constructing sidewalks near schools.
Traffic impact fees are charges to new development that help pay for transportation system improvements required to accommodate higher travel demand added by new development. The fees are used to help reduce traffic congestion, reduce delays at intersections, build more roadway connections and encourage economic development.
County or state road?
Not all roads within Pierce County are managed and maintained by the County. State routes—such as Meridian, Pacific and State Route 512—are managed by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The State maintains these roads and sets their own project priorities.
Transit in Pierce County
Transit service in Pierce County is provided by Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and Intercity Transit. These separate agencies determine their route locations and transit schedules.