Legislative hearings and advocacy days in Olympia are coming at us quickly, so we’re pedaling ever faster to stay on top of our policy priorities, get more funding for bike infrastructure, and make sure you know what’s going on so you can take action for active transportation.
Here’s a round-up of opportunities to engage directly whether you can get all the way to the capital, or just get to your phone and a computer to contact your legislators and ask your friends to do so as well.
Tuesday, Feb. 12:
Safe Passing Bill: SB 5564 helps drivers by clarifying that they can legally cross double yellow lines to make a safe passing movement around someone who is walking or biking—a commonsense approach to passing, especially on rural roads. The bill includes language defining a safe passing distance as three feet or more. Hearing Tuesday, Feb. 12, 3:30pm, in Senate Transportation. (On the House side it’s HB 1743—hearing not yet scheduled.)
Transportation Advocacy Day Tuesday, Feb. 12, 9am-4:30pm: Join nearly 200 people who agree with you that we need to stand up and speak out for active transportation! It’s not too late to register.
Many thanks to our partners at Transportation Choices Coalition for providing the online registration and to our organizational member Zipcar for helping arrange the Zipcar-avan carpooling from Seattle.
For those of you in the Spokane region, if you absolutely can’t make it to Olympia then take advantage of Advocacy Day partner Futurewise and their “virtual” TAD in Spokane via Skype: http://p0.vresp.com/RmO68J
Health and Transportation: HB 1233 to include health in the state transportation system policy goals would highlight the value of walking and biking and the importance of investing in projects to support healthy, active transportation. Hearing set for House Transportation Committee Tuesday, Feb. 12, 3:30pm.
Wednesday, Feb. 13:
Safe Routes to School Funding: SB 5506 protects the level of federal funding attained in the last budget cycle. The current transportation budget proposed by the state Department of Transportation drops the level of federal dollars for Safe Routes to School from last biennium’s levels. This bill offers a simple fix to keep those federal dollars the same to provide more safe walking/biking infrastructure in our neighborhoods.
Did you know that pupil transportation costs $390-$400 million each year and that every single day Washington schoolbus drivers travel to the moon and back (in terms of mileage)? Or that studies show kids who bike/walk to school can concentrate better and get better grades? Hearing Wednesday, Feb. 13, 3:30pm, in Senate Transportation.
Bike/Pedestrian Infrastructure Funding—Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition Lobby Day: Our partners at WWRC advocate for funding through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, which includes a great list of trail projects like these that add more great assets to Washington’s incredible portfolio of bike travel and tourism opportunities.
- Spokane River Centennial Trail Extension
If this grant is funded, State Parks will construct a two mile extension from Spokane’s popular Centennial Trail, linking Avista Utilities’ Nine Mile Resort on Lake Spokane with the existing 37-mile Spokane River Centennial Trail and Spokane County’s Sontag Park.
- Ferry County Rail Trail
If this WWRP grant is funded, Ferry County will create a rail trail to provide a critical recreation opportunity for our local community and attract visitors to Ferry County.
- Spruce Railroad Trail/Tunnel Restoration
Clallam County seeks a WWRP grant to complete the restoration and reconstruction of six miles of the historic Spruce Railroad grade and two historic tunnels at Lake Crescent to a safe, traffic separated multi-user trail route
How to Take Action
Come to one or both of the advocacy days Feb. 12-13 if you can.
Contact your legislator. Enter your mailing address on the district finder form (choose Legislative, not Congressional) and follow the instructions on the site to reach a contact form for your state senator and state representatives.
You can check the box to send a note to all three at once. Tell them you support Safe Passing, SB 5564/1743; Safe Routes to School funding, SB 5506; health and transportation, HB 1233; and WWRP funding for trails—all to make Washington an even greater place to ride a bike!
Watch our Legislation/Statewide Issues page as bills move through the process.