The City of Spokane has announced the elimination of the Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator position. The message filtering out now, as Spokane bike advocates raise questions about this decision, is that their intent is to have the bike/pedestrian function built into the work of everyone who works on city streets.
We hear that statement as a promise to make Spokane a better city for bicycling and walking—a goal we share.
The way the decision was made and announced, however, and past history give the citizens who devote their time and energy to better biking, better walking, and Complete Streets some concern. We want to treat this as an opportunity to work together for better bicycling and walking–hence, this petition.
We the undersigned ask for a constructive public discussion about our multimodal future and for a public commitment to specific, measurable goals, progress reports, and process improvements that move us–together–beyond a cars-first approach.
Then we will all be able to celebrate more comfortable, more inviting streets for all that will truly make us the city of choice for future generations.
We need to hear a deeper dialogue and public commitment from the mayor, the City Council, and department heads that they truly will walk and bike the talk to assure us Spokane is moving forward, not back.
To believe that biking and walking are going to be at the big table and truly embedded in every decision and design, we call on elected and appointed city leaders to engage in discussions with citizen leaders and, based on those discussions, to provide specific answers to five questions in two essential arenas: operational and aspirational:
- How will training needs be assessed and how will city staff acquire the expertise necessary to create and implement thoughtful and appropriate design of streets for all?
- How will staff at all levels be evaluated for their contributions to better bicycling and walking and how will their accomplishments be recognized?
- What staff will serve as the point of contact within the city for concerns related to bicycling and walking?
- Will the mayor and City Council commit to a bold and specific goal for increases in biking and walking by a specific year, allocate city resources to work toward those, and report progress to the community annually?
- Will the mayor and City Council commit to the goal of moving Spokane from Bronze level Bicycle-Friendly Community status to Silver, as a means of benchmarking against national standards, and develop specific plans for this status to be achieved?
A focused position and the work of local citizen volunteers has yielded many results in the past 4-1/2 years. To name just a few:
- Recognition of Spokane as a Bronze level Bicycle-Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists
- $10-$12 million in non-local grants and funding for bike/pedestrian projects
- Significant bike projects including the downtown network, closure of gaps in the Centennial Trail, University District Bike-Pedestrian Bridge progress, Iron Bridge, High Drive, Addison-Standard, and more
- Estimated bike facilities additions: 11 miles of bike lanes, 7 miles of shared-use, off-street paved trails, and 6 miles of marked shared routes (signage and/or sharrows)
We believe this kind of progress can only continue with specific aspirational and operational commitments from city leaders. We look forward to a positive, constructive response and future celebrations of continued progress.