What to look for from Washington Bikes in the 2019 legislative session

Improved street safety, connecting and protecting trails, and growing investments in infrastructure for people who bike and walkIMG_2590

Washington Bikes is excited to be kicking off the 2019 legislative session in Olympia this week. This is the 105-day session or the “long session” which is the start of the biennium or two-year budget period.

In 2018’s “short session” Washington Bikes:

  • led efforts to update the statutory definition of bicycle to include e-bikes while ushering in a regulatory framework for the new technology
  • in partnership with Washington Trails Association secured funding for an economic and health benefits study for hiking, biking and walking (vendors are just beginning their work on the data gathering)
  • helped secure investments for maintenance and development of Washington’s trails
  • protected investments in the multimodal account which directly funds the Safe Routes to School and Bicycle and Pedestrian grant programs.

We accomplished all of that in 60 days! This year Washington Bikes is looking forward to again, helping to create healthy, active and thriving communities. We are also looking forward to having a bit more time to achieve the following legislative and budget priorities that will make a difference for people who bike.

Washington Bikes 2019 Legislative Agenda

Vulnerable road user/Safe passing legislation

Washington Bikes is working with Representative Kilduff (28thLD, University Place) on legislation to update Washington’s vulnerable roadway user (VRU) law. The VRU law update will provide clarity regarding when the VRU is applicable, strengthen the penalties, direct funds from VRU penalties toward education of the public, law enforcement and courts regarding the VRU law, and lastly, define a safe passing distance from people who are biking and walking.

Growing investments in connected and safe infrastructure for people who bike & walk

The multimodal transportation account dedicates funds for transportation for rail, ferries, transit, biking and walking, which are multimodal in nature. These investments include: the bicycle and pedestrian grant program, regional mobility grants and Safe Routes to School programs and projects. To ensure all Washingtonians – even those that cannot drive a car – can get around, Washington Bikes supports opportunities to grow the multimodal account and bike/pedestrian grant programs. Additionally, the limited multimodal dollars must remain dedicated to the purpose of providing transportation choices and solutions.

Protecting and connecting trails statewide

Trails form a backbone of many of the biking and walking networks statewide. Key project priorities include the development of the cross-state Palouse to Cascades Trail.

  • Support: $3.5 million in State Park’s and Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) funding requests to protect and further develop the Palouse to Cascades Trail. (Capital budget)
  • Support: $5.7 million in the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation’s funding request to protect and rehabilitate the Beverly Bridge a key connection along the Palouse to Cascades Trail. (Capital budget)
  • Support: $130 million WWRP funding request, including improving outdoor recreation opportunities, trail development and enhancing state parks. (Capital budget)

Support for the creation of the Active Transportation Safety Advisory Committee

The Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Committee and the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee will merge to form the Active Transportation Safety Advisory Committee (ATSAC). The ATSAC will be convened by Washington Traffic Safety Commission and comprised of stakeholders who have an expertise in bicycle and pedestrian street safety. The Council would analyze data related to bicycle and pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries and then identify vulnerabilities in the system and recommend improvements. This is agency request legislation.

Washington Bikes will be working hard over the next 103 days to help create safer streets, increase protections for people who bike, and connect and grow bicycle and trail networks throughout Washington. Stay in touch by signing up for Washington Bikes’ alerts!

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