Skagit County, Stand Up May 24: Bike/Walk Projects Are Being Taken Away

Advocate and former Washington Bikes board member Liz McNett-Crowl is the Skagit Healthy Communities Coordinator with Skagit Regional Health and has been active for years in efforts to develop trails and get people walking and biking.

If you care about better biking wskagit_bike_tulip_festival-pic-by-Pam-Headridge-from-Visit-Skagit-Valleye need you to come out and be counted in Skagit County. Stand up for your belief in a county where it is safe for residents and visitors to walk and bike on county roads — to advocate for a county that has a transportation plan that considers all users and builds a network based on their plan.

What: Skagit County Comprehensive Plan update being deliberated by the Planning Commission

When: Tuesday, May 24 at 6pm

Where: County Hearing Room at 1800 Continental Place, Suite 100, Mount Vernon, WA

Be a Visible Supporter: Molly Doran of the Skagit Land Trust and Kit Rawson of BikeWalk Mount Vernon will have stickers for supporters to wear with simple messages like “ I ♥ Bicycles” or “I ♥ Trails”, and we are encouraging all bicyclists to wear your helmet.

Why? Some of you may be aware that 11  non-motorized projects were stripped from the plan last week by the Planning Commission. As you can see in the attached Supplemental Staff Report 4, County Planning Staff is making some new recommendations and encouraging that the commission revisit their decision. Tuesday’s agenda may continue the transportation deliberations and will move on to the Open Space.

Included in these deliberations:

  • Additional policies and project descriptions related to the motorized and non-motorized transportation system;
  • A new policy encouraging implementation of the County’s previously adopted UGA Open Space Concept Plan;

Members of the public are welcome to attend these meetings to show their ongoing interest in the issues being considered by the Planning Commission. No public comment will be taken during the Planning Commission’s deliberations. However, your presence at the meeting helps to convey this interest. It also allows individuals to understand concerns the Planning Commission has with the proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments. This allows citizens to give informed comment on future occasions.

The public comment period as far as the Planning Commission is concerned is closed. Once the Planning Commission finalizes their recommendations on the Comprehensive Plan they will be sent to the Board of County Commissioners, who may or may not decide to have their own public comment period before they take up the Plan.

 The proposed transportation element contains the most significant non-motorized plan ever proposed by the County. We know in the past that opposition has prevailed to have most previous plans stripped of any projects or concepts related to trails and projects. We already know that there is concern among some Planning Commission members about the 20-year project list and inclusion of proposed trails or conceptual trails. Just for your information, this is a 20 year plan and it is appropriate for there to be a list of projects that are on the 6-year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) as well as an illustrative list that goes beyond the TIP for the County to pull from in the future should the opportunity or funding arise.

Implementing the County’s UGA Open Space Plan will mean secure and transparent future implementation of the plan that was adopted several years ago. The plan enables the County to move forward in creating an advisory committee, which would be charged with creating a process of implementation, including identifying sources of funding and how the program would administer an open space program. The plan would create open space buffers between the urban and rural areas of the county, could include open spaces that provide for the protection of open space and wildlife corridors, and when appropriate could include public access or trails in Skagit County. It is important to show the Planning Commission there is local support for moving the open space plan forward.

The meeting generally lasts a few hours. Even coming for one hour will help demonstrate important support.

For more information, The written comments on the County’s 2016 Comp Plan update are posted on the project website (www.skagitcounty.net/2016update) and available via this link: Public Comments


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