Action Alerts

John Wayne Pioneer Trail – New Opportunities to Make Your Voice Heard

Whether you support the John Wayne Pioneer Trail for its recreation opportunities, economic impact to neighboring communities, or because it is the longest rail trail in the nation, now’s the time to begin to weigh in on its future.

In September trail advocates in Tekoa learned of a legislative effort to close down a roughly 120-mile portion of Washington state’s largest rail trail, the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Following the initial news, many surrounding residents and jurisdictions — including Tekoa, Spokane and others — voiced concern over the potential for permanent closure of this long-distance trail. The stated reasons for closure have included concerns over a lack of use of the trail, worries about trespassing, and liability.

Restoring the Tekoa Trestle will help make the John Wayne Pioneer Trail a world-class long-distance trail. Photo courtesy of Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association.

Restoring the Tekoa Trestle will help make the John Wayne Pioneer Trail a world-class long-distance trail. Photo courtesy of Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association.

Now, future discussions – and opportunities for trail supporters to provide meaningful input — about the future of the trail are beginning to take shape.

The most immediate opportunity to lend your voice to the discussion is via a set of three listening sessions occurring in Eastern Washington in November. One of the architects of the trail closure, Representative Schmick (R-Colfax), is partnering with the Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association to host three public meetings to hear from you about the Trail.

The three public listening sessions to provide input directly to Representative Schmick and others begin next week:

  • Tuesday November 10th at 12pm: Rosalia, Community Center (7th St. and Whitman Ave.)
  • Monday November 16th at 12pm: Lind, Union Elevator Conference room (201 S Street)
  • Monday November 23rd at 6pm: Ellensburg, Hal Holmes Center (209 N Ruby St.)

Representative Schmick has indicated he may consider introducing legislation based on the input he receives from these three events.

In addition to the public sessions hosted by Representative Schmick, Washington State Parks has proposed a plan to convene a planning process slated to begin before the end of 2015. It will allow the public to actively participate in crafting plans for the Iron Horse and Columbia Plateau State Park Trails.

As soon as plans are formally released by State Parks, Washington Bikes will provide an additional update.

Learn More

Shawn Pederson recently completed a trip across the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. His blog posts (4 so far) and excellent photos are here: http://fernwehnw.com/tag/john-wayne-pioneer-trail/

Also, the Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association’s Facebook Page provides a number of articles and community discussion as the process moves forward.

 

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Posted in Advocacy, Alert, Economic Impact, Funding/Policy, Infrastructure, Issues & Advocacy, Trails | 2 Comments

Take Action: Tell Congress Biking & Trails are Priorities in WA

Today the U.S. House of Representatives officially kicks off debate on the chamber’s long-term highway and transit bill today. Key amendments threaten Washington State’s priorities for biking and trails. Take Action today!

Last night the rules of debate were sent and the House of Representatives has begun debate on over one hundred amendments to the proposed surface transportation bill. With hopes to wrap up the debate and votes by Thursday, time is of the essence for you to let your U.S. Representative know that biking and trails matter!

Just last week the Transportation Committee, led by Chairman Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member DeFazio (D-OR), passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRRA). This bill includes a carefully constructed agreement on bicycling and walking funding that we support.  It maintains funding streams for biking infrastructure projects, and it maintains the local control aspects and competitive processes that have made the transportation alternatives program effective.

Rep. Carter (R-Georgia) and Yoho (R-Florida) have introduced amendments that undermine that agreement. Rep Carter now has one amendment. It opens up the transportation alternatives funding to road and bridge projects.

Representative Yoho’s amendment would make the Recreational Trails Program ineligible for non-motorized transportation funding. This means money for ATVs but not for hiking and mountain bikes.

Go to the League of American Bicyclists action center today to take action!

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Time for Your Thoughts on Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program — Critical Trail Funding

State officials and legislators are looking for your thoughts about if and how to revise the 25-year-old Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), which is the state’s grant program for wildlife conservation lands, state and local parks, trails, natural areas, and working farms and ranches.Two Wheels After Turkey Mariah McKay and Katherine Widing

Please take a short survey by Oct. 18 to share your insights about the WWRP.

The Legislature created the WWRP in 1990 to give the state a way to invest in valuable outdoor recreation areas and wildlife habitat conservation lands. They wanted to protect critical habitat and make sure our kids, grandkids, and future generations had places to recreate, and they wanted to do it before the land was developed. In its 25-year history, the grant program has funded projects in nearly every county of the state.

As state officials review the program, they are looking to see if the program is accomplishing what it set out to and what might need to change going forward. Now is the time to share your thoughts.

Trails Funded by WWRP as of 2015

Olympic Disco Trail PA

Anacortes: Thompson Trail

Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District: Forest to Sky Trail Corridor

Bellingham: Railroad Trail and Alabama Street Overpass, South Bay Trail, South Boulevard Park, Squalicum Creek Trail, Whatcom Creek Trail

Bothell: Blyth Park Trail Connection

Buckley: Buckley Foothills Trail Extension

Camas: Washougal River Trail

Castle Rock: Riverfront Trail

Clallam County: Olympic Discovery Trail, Spruce Railroad Trail

Clark County: Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Trail, Frenchman’s Bar Trail, Lacamas Heritage Trail, Lewis River Trail, Salmon Creek Trail

Des Moines: Des Moines Creek Trail

Douglas County: Columbia River Trail

Eatonville: Bud Blancher Trail

Edgewood: Interurban Trail

Edmonds: Interurban Trail

Entiat: Entiat Waterfront Trail

Enumclaw: Enumclaw Trail

Ferry County: Ferry County Rail

Island County: English Boom Waterfront Trail

Issaquah: Issaquah-High Point Regional Trail

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe: Dungeness River Railroad Bridge, Olympic Discovery Trail

Jefferson County: Larry Scott Memorial Park and Trail, Olympic Discovery

Kent: Three Friends Fishing Hole

King County: Cedar River Trail, East Lake Sammamish Trail, Horseshoe Bend Trail, Green River Trail, Soos Creek Regional Trail

Kirkland: Cross Kirkland Corridor

Kitsap County: Hansville Greenway, Clear Creek Trail

Lacey: Lacey Burlington Northern Trail, Woodland Trail

Lynnwood: Interurban Trail

Milton: Interurban Trail

Mount Vernon: Mount Vernon Riverfront North Trail, Skagit Riverwalk Trail

Mountlake Terrace: Interurban Trail

Mukilteo: Big Gulch Trail

Newcastle: May Creek Trail

Okanogan County: Methow Valley Community Trail, Similkameen Connector Trail

Olympia: Woodland Trail

Peninsula Metropolitan Park District: Cushman-Scott Pierson Trails

Pierce County: Foothills National Recreation Trail

Port Angeles: Olympic Discovery Trail

Port Angeles: Centennial Trail, Waterfront Trail

Port Orchard: Bay Street Pedestrian Path on Mosquito Fleet Trail

Pullman: Downtown Pullman Riverwalk, Palouse Path

Redmond: Bear Creek Trail, Redmond Central Connector, Evans Creek Trail

Renton: Cedar River Trail

Richland: Columbia Point Riverfront Trailway

Seattle: South Ship Canal Trail

Sequim: Olympic Discovery Trail

Shoreline: Interurban Trail

Skagit County: Centennial Trail

Snohomish: Snohomish Riverfront Trail

Snohomish County: Centennial Trail, Whitehorse Trail

Spokane: Centennial Trail, Fish Lake Trail, Historic Iron Bridge, Trolley TrailSpokane-Centennial-Trail_Behind-Red-Lion-Inn-at-Park_Bicycle-Rider-Runner_forweb

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife: Dungeness Railroad Bridge, Hood Canal Wetlands Trail

Washington State Department of Natural Resources: Cypress Island Interpretive Trails, Mount Si Interpretative Trail, Mount Tahoma Ski Trail System, Tiger Mountain High Point Trail, Woodard Bay Access Trail

Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission: Centennial Trail, Iron Horse Trail, Klickitat Trail, Willapa Hills Trail

Sumner: Sumner Urban to Mountain Trail

Tacoma: Water Flume Line Trail

Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma: Point Defiance

Thurston County: Chehalis Western Railroad Trail

Tukwila: Duwamish/Green River Trail

Twisp: Twisp Community Trail

University Place: Chambers-Leach Creek Trail

Vancouver: Burnt Bridge Creek Trail

Walla Walla: Walla Walla TrailRocky-Reach-Trail-Phase-I-Ribbon-Cutting-south-from-Lincoln-Rock-State-Park-Wenatchee-pic-by-Complete-the-Loop-Coalition

Wenatchee: Wenatchee Foothills Trails

Wilkeson: Foothills Trail

Winthrop: Susie Stephens Trail

Yakima: William O. Douglas Trail

Yakima County: Naches Rail to Trail, Greenway Pathway South

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Washington Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club Announce Merger Discussion

Barb Chamberlain, Executive Director, Washington Bikes, and Elizabeth Kiker, Executive Director, Cascade Bicycle Club, August 2015The boards of directors of the Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes are discussing a non-binding Letter of Intent to merge the two organizations at the end of 2015. This move would amplify the work of both organizations and power bicycling to a higher level in Washington State, which is already ranked the #1 state in the U.S. for bicycle friendliness

Cascade Bicycle Club’s board voted unanimously in favor of signing the joint Letter of Intent last week. The Washington Bikes board is currently discussing the letter and plans to vote next week.

“Washington Bikes is dedicated, in Olympia and across the state, to improving bicycling statewide. It partners with many local advocacy groups and bike clubs across the state,” said Catherine Hennings, board chair of the Cascade Bicycle Club. “This proposed merger would truly yield more than the sum of its parts.”

Bringing the two organizations together would result in a single bicycle education curriculum for students in the Puget Sound region and across the state. The advocacy work of both organizations would be strengthened when unified.

“This could prove to be a big win for people who welcome improved bicycling connections,” said Brian Foley, board chair of Washington Bikes.

Committees from each board are meeting to talk about processes, review ideas for program integration, and plan for the future, with the hope that the process will move toward a formal proposal for vote by each organization’s board later this fall.

“We are considering this merger to continue the great work we’ve each been doing with even better results and successes,” said Barb Chamberlain, executive director of Washington Bikes.

The merger would result in saved overhead costs and more money directly funding current work and new programs, like Cascade’s Major Taylor program and Washington Bikes’ state bike tourism initiative. Washington Bikes’ grassroots successes across the state could be a great partner for Cascade’s statewide tours, events and rides.

“We would be an even stronger force for improving lives through bicycling and growing bicycling statewide together than we are individually,” said Cascade Executive Director Elizabeth Kiker.

Both boards are very interested in hearing from people who ride bikes and from members of Cascade or Washington Bikes. They are using a shared email address for feedback: washingtonbikes@cascadebicycleclub.org.

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Washingtonians Spoke Up for Biking, Health, and Safety and Governor Inslee Listened

Little girl on bike seen from te back, wearing helmet, others biking/walking in street.Today, Governor Jay Inslee announced a path to retain investments in the safety of our children on their way to school, special needs transit, and critical biking connections while moving forward on his agenda on reducing carbon emissions.

Washington Bikes thanks Governor Inslee for making the choice that retains Washington’s historic transportation investments in bicycling, health, and safety.

Over the past six months, thousands of caring Washingtonians asked state leaders in Olympia to make bold investments in our transportation future by making it safer and easier to bike and walk. They listened by investing $500 million in biking and safety projects in the transportation revenue package signed into law in July.

Over the past eight days, Washingtonians affirmed the need to save those same historic investments and Governor Inslee listened, too.

“When Washington bikes people are safer and healthier, and businesses thrive. We are heartened to hear that these historic investments for biking, health and safety will move forward,” said Washington Bikes’ Executive Director Barb Chamberlain. “Biking and walking investments are always investments in cleaner air.”

Over the past eight days, Washington Bikes highlighted what papers like the Seattle Times, Spokesman-Review, Everett Herald, and Tacoma News Tribune seconded: there’s broad, bipartisan, and statewide support for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build bikeways and safer sidewalks for Washingtonians.

Numerous organizations and cities joined this call to action including American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Foundation for Healthy Generations, League of American Bicyclists, Cascade Bicycle Club, Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, One America, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Transportation Choices Coalition, and Transportation for America, among others.

“What is clear is that these investments go beyond protecting the environment,” said Washington Bikes Policy Director Blake Trask. “They make kids safer, they increase physical activity and health, and they grow local economies statewide.”

Take a moment to thank Governor Inslee for listening to the thousands of caring Washingtonians who want more investments in biking, health, and safer schools statewide.

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What’s at Stake if Governor Inslee Cuts Historic Investments for Biking & Safety?

A review of what will be lost, if Governor Inslee eliminates historic investments in biking and walking safety.

Little girl on bike seen from te back, wearing helmet, others biking/walking in street.As was posted Monday, Washington Bikes is on high alert as the Governor Inslee has indicated he is considering eliminating historic investments in biking and walking. Since then, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, Transportation Choices Coalition, One America, and numerous local governments as well as health and mobility organizations across the state have asked Governor Inslee to not move forward on this executive action.

Add your voice and take action now to tell Governor Inslee to protect biking and walking safety investments.

With over $235 million in direct biking and walking investments on the line, many have asked what projects are at stake. Roughly $104.5 million is identified for 25 projects statewide with the additional $130 million slated for competitive grant programs over the coming 16 years.

Governor Inslee threatens to eliminate all state Safe Routes to School funding.

Governor Inslee threatens to eliminate all state Safe Routes to School funding.

These investments, if allowed to move forward, would represent a stable base of funding that — with additional federal and limited state dollars — amounts to roughly $40 million each biennium. This type of long-term funding has never occurred in Washington state and at the July 15 bill signing represented a nationally significant investment in biking and walking infrastructure.

Identified Biking & Walking Projects in the Transportation Package.

Below is the identified bike/ped project list that outlines 23 projects at $89 million. These are often regionally significant projects (and even statewide significance) that resolve real transportation issues across the state. The Burke Gilman Trail improvements at the University of Washington help a piece of transportation infrastructure that moves more people during peak hours than most roads in Washington state. The missing link of the Mountains to Sound Trail through Bellevue is another project, as is Spokane’s University District bike/ped bridge that will knit the neighborhood together.

LEAP-Bike-Ped

Other Critical Biking and Walking Projects

Also contained in the Transit Project List are two regionally significant projects:

  • $10 million for the Northgate Light Rail Station Bicycle and Pedestrian Overpass. This project will dramatically increase ridership for Sound Transit’s light rail network, and connects an Urban Hub (Northgate) to Northgate Community College and surrounding neighborhoods
  • $5.5 million for expansion of Puget Sound Bike Share to cities like Kirkland and Bellevue. This project will expand the nascent bike share program that is already looking to expand in Seattle.

Competitive Grant Programs

Also at stake for biking and walking? WSDOT’s competitive grant programs that fund critical biking, walking and school safety projects statewide:

  • $56 million in Safe Routes to School funding that would (assuming past grant allocations) fund safety and wellness projects at 151 schools across the state.
  • $75 million in biking and walking safety projects that would (assuming past grant allocations) fund 150 safety and mobility projects statewide.

Other Critical Mobility Grant Programs at Stake

Beyond projects and grant programs directly benefiting biking, over $400 million in competitive grants are at stake through the Transportation Improvement Board’s Complete Streets Grant Program ($106 million), as well as the WSDOT Regional Mobility ($200 million) and Rural Mobility ($110 million) grant programs. In addition to the $400 million, $200 million will go to Special Needs Transit Grants statewide. Losing the Complete Street Grant Program would be a significant blow to creating safe and economically competitive streets across the state.

Also, this assessment does not include the loss of city and county investments that could go to street maintenance and other improvements that benefit everyone.

What Can You Do?

Clearly this decision will set the course for safety and mobility for years to come. Take action now and tell Governor Inslee to protect biking and walking safety investments.

If you’re on Twitter, after you complete the form use our Twitter tools below to highlight the project that matters most to you and ask others to take action. Remember — your town may have a project not listed here that would be eligible for future funding IF you take action and help fight for it now.

 

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Governor Inslee is Threatening a Once-In-A-Generation Opportunity – Tell Him to Stop

Washington’s historic transportation investments in bicycling, health, and safety are in jeopardy because of potential action by Governor Inslee on a low carbon fuel standard. It doesn’t have to be this way. Take action today.

Over the past six months, thousands of caring Washingtonians like you have asked state leaders in Olympia to make bold investments in our transportation future by making it safer and easier to bike and walk.

Governor Inslee threatens to eliminate all state Safe Routes to School funding.

Governor Inslee threatens to eliminate all state Safe Routes to School funding. Tell him to stop.

Our leaders listened, but now Governor Inslee threatens to take away this once-in-a-generation opportunity to build bikeways and safer sidewalks for Washingtonians.

Tell Governor Inslee to protect biking and walking safety investments – take action today!

Just a few days ago, Washingtonians were told historic investments had been made in creating safe streets, new sidewalks and bike pathways for our school kids and communities. Now they’re being told those investments could be wiped away through a potential action by the Governor on a low carbon fuel standard. There doesn’t have to be a choice between safer and healthier communities and climate change – Governor Inslee knows he has other avenues to implement his climate change agenda. This isn’t it.

According to the Seattle Times, Governor Inslee is considering eliminating all our hard-won future state investments for Safe Routes to School, as well as $235 million for biking improvements statewide.

All told, almost $2 billion in special needs transit, rural transit, King County transit, environmental improvements, and walking and biking are on the line.

We don’t need to trade the safety of our kids at schools, special needs transit, and critical biking connections for lasting action on climate change – we can have both. This is a false choice driven by politics in Olympia.

It’s all up to Governor Inslee.

Tell Governor Inslee today to protect biking and walking safety investments so we can fulfill our promise to help every child grow up healthy and to create safer biking connections.

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Washington State Transportation Package Puts Biking Dollars at All-Time High

In the Washington state transportation package “compromise,” biking and Safe Routes to School investments grow sevenfold from the 2005 transportation package. Thank your legislators today for making these investment in biking a reality.

Today we at Washington Bikes are elated to announce a huge advance toward long-lasting biking investments across Washington state. No matter where you stand on other elements in the Washington state transportation spending package, one message is clear: we won big for biking and walking projects.

Through most of the session, this outcome wasn’t guaranteed. Let’s review the timeline:

  • Prior to the Senate Transportation Committee’s transportation spending proposal release in February, concerns were high that the proposal would include little to no money for biking. After a big push by Washington Bikes, the Senate proposal included $106 million for biking and Safe Routes to School investments.
  • In its April proposal the House Transportation Committee increased biking and Safe Routes to $236 million.

Kids on bikes waving. Text: Thank your legislators today!!! (Photo property of Washington Bikes, WAbikes.org)So what happened? Instead of a compromise to meet in the middle, biking and walking investments actually grew by $86 million to $320 million in the final negotiated agreement. That’s right, our numbers grew. Biking and Safe Routes to School projects investments at the state level now will retain a stable base of funding of nearly $40 million per biennium for the next 16 years.

“Washington Bikes worked with legislators to highlight that biking is about healthier kids, increased public safety, stronger local economies and more transportation options,” said state policy director Blake Trask. “This is a new kind of bicycle advocacy, but most importantly this work was aided by the thousands of emails from Washingtonians who care about trails, public health, protected bicycle lanes, and school safety.”

Please take a moment to thank your legislators for voting for the biggest ever increase in Washington state for biking, walking, and Safe Routes to School investments.

Here’s the breakdown over 16 years:

  • $75 million for the state Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Program
  • $56 million in state funding for the state Safe Routes to School Grant Program
  • $86 million in federal commitments for the state Safe Routes to School Program
  • $89 million for 23 projects identified in a statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Project List
  • $15.5 million for the Northgate Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge and for Puget Sound Bike Share expansion to the east side of Lake Washington
  • Combined total = $320.6 million

Additionally, the agreement includes other important investment wins:

  • Existing funding for biking and walking safety projects has been retained, meaning $56 million over the coming years will go to hundreds of new biking projects.
  • The Transportation Improvement Board will administer $106 million for the finally funded Complete Streets Grant Program. This program, established in 2011 thanks in part to advocacy by Washington Bikes and partners at Transportation Choices, has been unfunded until now.
  • Funding for significant road projects includes multimodal features, notably the SR 520 west approach in Seattle, as well as the North Spokane Corridor.

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All combined these projects and programs result in well over $500 million (arguably closer to $600 million) in investments in safer streets, safer schools, and connections across Washington state over the coming 16 years. Compare this with the previous 2005 package that committed $72 million over a similar 16-year timeframe and you can see that the now-passed package equates to a sevenfold increase in investments that make safer streets and better bike connections.

“We’re pleased to see that legislators saw the merit in making investments to grow bicycling statewide,” said Washington Bikes executive director Barb Chamberlain. “Representatives and senators from both parties not only held the line for biking, but ultimately increased the numbers in the final compromise agreement.”

Regardless of where you stand on many of the spending priorities, today we at Washington Bikes ask you to thank legislators for supporting this huge advance toward long-lasting biking investments across Washington state.

Please take a moment to thank your legislators for voting for the biggest ever increase in Washington state for biking, walking, and Safe Routes to School investments.

 

Many thanks to our members and donors who make our work possible with your tax-deductible donations for statewide bike advocacy. Join the thousands of people like you who make bicycling better.

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Posted in Advocacy, Alert, Federal, Funding/Policy, Infrastructure, Issues & Advocacy, Legislature, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Trails, Transportation, WSDOT | 1 Comment

It’s crunch time in Olympia

Act now and let your legislators know it’s time to hold the line on critical biking investments in the statewide transportation spending package.

Legislators in Olympia have just days before a partial government shutdown begins. Months of negotiating transportation spending that will decide where billions of dollars go over the next 16 years could conclude in the next week. Will legislators invest in safer streets and better bike connections?

Tell your legislators to hold the line at the House Transportation Committee proposal. It sets a new foundation for biking and walking investments at approximately $236 million over 16 years.*

Take Action to hold the line on biking investments

It’s important that legislators hear from you today that it’s time to hold the line investments for school safety projects, critical regional biking connections, and important trail and Main Streets that grow local economies.

Cost-effective and important biking and walking investments are worth supporting because every person in Washington state deserves the chance to bike and walk safely on the streets of your hometowns and in between.

Join us at Washington Bikes today to ask legislators to hold the line.

______________________________________________

* Interested in more details about the House Transportation Committee proposal?

  • Here’s the House Transportation Committee bicycle and pedestrian project list, which currently has $80 million of proposed projects allocated and $20 million unallocated. It includes Spokane’s University District Bridge, Anacortes’s Guemes Channel Trail, the Northgate Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge, and improvements to the Burke Gilman Trail.
  • Also, the House Transportation Committee proposal includes $56 million in new investments for the WSDOT Safe Routes to School grant program and $75 million for the WSDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian grant program. It’s important to note that these are additive investments to already-existing state commitments to these two grant programs.
  • Finally, $5 million is allocated to Puget Sound Bike Share (aka, Pronto!) expansion on the east side of Lake Washington.

 

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King County Alert: Snoqualmie Valley Trail Closure

From King County Parks:

The contractor has begun work on the site this week for the Sinnema Quaale Upper Revetment Project of the Snoaualmie River. The project is requiring a stretch of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail to be temporarily closed until approximately October 31. The closure will extend from approximately 1 1/2 miles south of NE 124th Street to two miles north of the Stillwater Natural Area.

Temporary closures of the trail began on Monday where the trail will reopen in the evenings after the construction crew completes their activities for the day. Complete closure of the trail is anticipated to go into effect later this week. No detour will be available.

For more detailed information on this project and closure, visit the Sinnema Quaale Upper Revetment Analysis and Repair Project webpage where you can subscribe to project updates. You can also read the press release here.

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