A Great Year Behind, A Great Year Ahead

Thanks to years of support from our members and donors and the work of all the advocates who came before us, I’m proud to say we have an amazing record of accomplishment as an organization. Just some of what we’ve done, what we’re looking forward to in 2014—

More kids on bikes!

Kids from Broadway Elementary in the Spokane Valley practicing our Safe Routes to School bicycle/pedestrian safety curriculum.

Kids from Broadway Elementary in the Spokane Valley practicing our Safe Routes to School bicycle/pedestrian safety curriculum.

We’re preparing the next generation of riders with our fantastic Safe Routes to School bicycle and pedestrian safety curriculum that gets them rolling. We’ve been in 33 school districts so far and over the next 2 years we’ll be in 10-15 more.

Our work already reaches over 10,000 kids a year and we’ll be reaching around 4,500 more every single year with those new districts. Our recent story on kids in Langley illustrates the impact–and fun!–of this program.

It’s worth noting, however, that Washington has 295 school districts and at the current rate of state funding it would take us 33 years to get to all of them. We’ll be looking for ways to accelerate the pace so all of Washington’s kids have the opportunity, not just some.

If you’d like your school district to bring this curriculum to town, contact Seth Schromen-Wawrin, Seth@WAbikes.org. The application deadline for schools is being extended by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction so there’s still some time to apply but you need to act now.

Working so that Washington bikes more safely

We’ve led successful efforts to pass bike legislation and improve public policy for nearly three decades.

This year we’re celebrating the successful passage of the Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill after 3 years of effort and we’ve reactivated the Cooper Jones Bicycle Safety Committee at the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Cooper’s dad David Jones of Spokane joined us for a meeting this fall, and Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder–who serves on the WTSC–is helping make sure we get the committee rolling again.

On May 16, 2013, supporters of better bicycling, walking, and neighborhood safety joined with Governor Inslee to sign HB 1045 into law

On May 16, 2013, WA Bikes executive director Barb Chamberlain (right) and other supporters of better bicycling, walking, and neighborhood safety joined with Governor Inslee to sign HB 1045 into law

We’re working now in Cowlitz County to provide technical assistance and community engagement to support adoption and implementation of the Neighborhood Safe Streets Law. We’re in discussions with other counties about similar work and look forward to seeing the law adopted widely.

If you’d like to see your town use this tool to lower speed limits in your neighborhood, contact Josh Miller, Josh@WAbikes.org. We can work with you to identify potential funding sources for the expertise and effort it will take to ensure this works well for your town.

Helping local advocates work for better bicycling

Last year our successes included fighting rumble strips on Vashon Island and getting a safety fix on the Hood Canal Bridge.

This year we’ve been working with Kitsap County advocates on a roundabout design issue and concerns about the effects of stormwater regulations on the ability to construct bike lanes and pave road shoulders. We highlighted projects on rides with elected officials on the Guemes Channel Trail in Anacortes and the Lower River Road Trail in Vancouver. We’re working with leaders in Wenatchee and Pullman on some exciting ideas for new projects and partnerships and are proud of Anacortes for being the most recent addition to the list of Bicycle-Friendly Communities in Washington state recognized by the League of American Bicyclists. 

Bicycle-Friendly Community signMost recently we’ve responded to the concerns raised by bike advocates in Spokane when the city announced it is eliminating its bike/pedestrian coordinator position. We’re hearing from city staff that they’re committed to a fully multimodal approach to transportation planning, which is very good news.

But we don’t take this for granted–this is an example of why advocacy organizations are needed to stay on top of the plans and follow-through of public agencies.

In 2014 we’ll be adding a School and Family Programs Coordinator based in Spokane to serve eastern Washington. We have some grants and partnerships that make it possible for us to launch this exciting new initiative and look forward to growing our ability to deliver programs with the support of more and more members in the region.

If you’d like to connect us with issues in your town that others should know about, contact Louise McGrody, Louise@WAbikes.org. A blog post from you as a local advocate speaking up can catalyze people coming together to work for change.

People on bikes coming to more towns near you

John Pope, board member of Washington Bikes, on his bicycle in Anacortes, WA.

Washington Bikes board member John Pope has been mapping USBR10 across the state. Scenic riding from Anacortes (shown here) to the Idaho border is yours to explore!

This coming April we’ll submit the very first US Bicycle Route in the state of Washington for official approvalUSBR10 across the northern tier—and we have more routes to map and designate.

We’re also bringing out a new Washington state bike tour guide next spring, Cycling Sojourner, and we’ll be adding content to our site to grow as the source for information on great Washington state bike trips and destinations, from day trips and local adventures to multi-day or cross-state journeys. Whether your bike adventures are local or epic we’re telling you about great routes and tours.

If you’d like to add your local insights about great places to ride, eat, drink, stay, shop, and enjoy to our site, contact Louise McGrody, Louise@WAbikes.org. Local expertise is essential to putting people on the great routes and avoiding the not-so-great, and you’ll know who serves the best breakfast in town to fuel those miles. We want blog posts, maps, videos, pictures–whatever showcases the best bicycling in Washington state.

More investments in more comfortable, connected bicycling networks

We’ve worked successfully for more funding for every type of bicycling project. We can celebrate because in this year’s legislative session investments in bike/walk projects and trails came to over $40 million for the  next two yearsan all-time high for state funding of our projects!

At the same time it was a grueling year for legislative action. Many thanks to everyone who showed up to speak up at the 10 Senate Transportation Listening Sessions held around the state this fall.

We had voices at every session, a great op-ed piece in the Spokane Spokesman-Review by business owner Gage Stromberg, and many emails, phone calls, and letters to your elected officials telling them that you as constituents, taxpayers, and voters believe in a more balanced approach to transportation investments in streets for all.

In 2014 we’ll keep up the effort and ask you to keep speaking up. We don’t know yet whether a transportation revenue package will be on the table–we’ve been in the discussions and negotiations that have been ongoing since June and will continue to be your voice.

If you aren’t receiving our Action Alerts and want to be in the loop, use our e-mail sign-up form or contact Elliott Bangs, Elliott@WAbikes.org. Legislative action happens so quickly we have to rely on e-mail and social media to get the word out.

If you’re willing to meet with legislators in your district to talk about bicycling or go to Olympia to testify, contact Blake Trask, Blake@WAbikes.org. Your voice as someone who tracks issues and votes is very powerful.

How all this happens

Washington state Share the Road license plate supports bicycle safety education

Our concierge service helps you request your Share the Road license plate. When you receive your license plate, tell us your plate number and we’ll give you a one-year WA Bikes membership as our thank-you. We’ll also supply you with documentation you need since the extra cost for the specialty plate is a tax-deductible donation. Washington Bikes: Even the cars say so!

Our work is made possible by the people who join as members, donate, purchase a Share the Road license plate, host a fundraising event, work with us as partners in grant proposals, identify opportunities for us to contract with local jurisdictions to provide expertise, include us in your planned giving as a member of our Legacy Society, and help us find resources in new and creative ways.

If you believe in our work and want to support it, contact Jack Hilovsky, Jack@WAbikes.org.

2014 was great–2014 will be even greater!

Thanks to the many people around Washington who believe in the power of bicycling and support advocacy that shows real results we’re the #1 Bicycle-Friendly State in the Nation. We intend to keep it that way, and with your help we will!

 

 

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