Action Alerts

Tell Them Washington Bikes: Take the Voice of Washington State Survey Today

Think Washington state doesn’t pay enough attention to biking and walking? Now’s your chance to let them know you want better and more investments in biking.

Make sure Washington state leaders know bicycling matters.

Make sure Washington state leaders know bicycling matters.

The Washington State Transportation Commission is out in the field with its Voice of Washington State survey panel. The purpose? To understand Washingtonians’ perspectives on transportation issues that impact their daily lives. The results of the survey are presented to transportation decision makers, including the legislature and Governor.

For perhaps the first time in the survey’s existence, the Washington State Transportation Commission asks a range of questions about biking and walking.

Washington Bikes has had concerns about the survey in the past, but with its noticeable focus on biking and walking this go-around, please take the estimated 12 minutes to provide your input about how much you bike, and why you want the state to make more investments in biking.

Join the Voice of Washington State panel today to let them know Washington Bikes!

Petition for Better Bicycling

While you’re at it, sign the Washington Bikes petition to ask the Governor and state legislature to make safer bicycling a top priority and to invest in more bike lanes and trails and improved road designs to create a complete network of bicycle connections.

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Tell the Washington State Transportation Commission that Washington Bikes and Walks

Comment now on the Washington State Transportation Plan to tell decision makers that Washington bikes and walks

What are state plans for? Every four years the Washington State Transportation Commission has the job of developing an update to channel the priorities of the legislature and executive branch, in conjunction with applicable state laws to chart a 20-year vision for Washington state’s transportation future.

WA Bikes member Allan Ohlsen.

WA Bikes member Allan Ohlsen.

The Transportation Commission’s latest planning effort, WTP 2035, is now out for public comment. Washington Bikes has been following the planning process for over a year by working with Transportation Commission staff and other partners to provide input that reflects the growing interests from visitors and residents who bicycle.

The Plan is a start, but needs your help and input to ensure the state emphasizes walking and biking safety, mobility, and investments for the future. Now it’s your chance to provide comments to help the plan better reflect your priorities as Washingtonians that support safer transportation options, healthier places and people, great places to travel on your bike (and to support businesses statewide), and more investments that get people where they want to go easily and affordably.

How to Comment

Written comment Let the Commissioners know by emailing them at Transc@wstc.wa.gov, or by commenting online. Comments are due by September 25, 2014.

Meetings There are a few remaining in-person opportunities to comment:

Bellevue Bellevue Regional Library, Room 1 1111 110th Avenue NE, Bellevue, WA  98004 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Richland Ben Franklin Transit Center, Board Room 1000 Columbia Park Trail, Richland, WA  99352 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bremerton Norm Dicks Government Center 345 6th Street, Bremerton, WA  98337 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Thursday, September 11, 2014

Webinars:

  • Wednesday, September 17 | 1pm – 2pm
  • Thursday, September 25 | 11 am – noon

For either webinar, RSVP to admin@berkconsulting.com and GoToMeeting login information will be sent out the day before. The format will be a short (20 minute) presentation on WTP 2035 followed by Q&A

Wondering what to say? Washington Bikes has a few high level recommendations included below.

Washington Bikes Recommendations

WTP 2035 should include proposals more robust planning and data collection for non-motorized transportation. Washington Bikes recommends (1) updating the state bike/ped plan; and (2) creating a robust data collection framework for biking and walking to better understand and assess relative safety in Washington’s transportation system.

Background: Washington state agencies focus resources and staffing to calculate vehicle crash rates by exposure (vehicle miles traveled), while injury and fatalities for bicyclists and pedestrians are compared to the population (deaths/injuries per 100,000 population). The lack of comparable denominator data is troubling for public health and safety, as it prevents a valid comparison of the risk of bicycling, walking, and driving. Data suggest a dire need to address this problem: estimates suggest the US has a cyclist injury rate twenty times that of Denmark and The Netherlands and seven times Germany’s. Similarly, WTP uses seven-year-old data from the outdated Washington State Bike/Ped Plan that fails to reflect the huge changes in best practices and increased demand (and cost for system build out) for biking and walking facilities that we now see in 2014.

Washington’s Transportation Plan needs to plan for all trips, not just commute trips. Washington Bike recommends expanding the concept of what trips matter and evaluating the potential to support and plan for non-commute trips in transportation planning.

Background: Researchers have tracked falling Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) in recent years. While only 27% of VMT are commute-related, commutes are typically what is addressed in transportation surveys. Without knowing how (and why) people travel, it is difficult to appropriately fund an effective or efficient transportation system. Similarly, small trips of under 3 miles – ones that are ideal for walking and biking – comprise approximately 40% of trips but are often not commute trips.

Student transportation needs recognition in the WTP. Washington Bikes recommends including planning for student transportation and Safe Routes to School in WTP 2035.IMG_5118

Background: Pupil transportation of our state’s approximately one million children from kindergarten to 12th grade links to several state-level priorities. Student transportation issues factor in around highway safety (on the state highway system, almost 90 percent of all pedestrian and bicycle collisions occur within one mile of a school and 21 percent of those involve children ages 5 to 18), congestion (nationally, 10-14% of peak hour congestion is related to drop-offs and pick-ups of children), and the state’s general fund obligations for McCleary (annually state and local school districts spend almost $500 million annually on pupil transportation).

Biking and walking occurs statewide. Washington Bikes Recommends ensuring that biking and walking planning and resources are considered viable transportation solutions statewide and not just limited to large urban metropolitan areas.

 

Bicycle riders on the bike/pedestrian bridge that connects East Wenatchee to Wenatchee at Pybus Market.

Riders on the bike/pedestrian bridge that connects East Wenatchee to Wenatchee at Pybus Market.

Background: Think Seattle has the highest share of biking commuters in Washington state? Wrong. That designation goes to Ellensburg. Unfortunately, this is a common misconception. Biking and walking occur outside of large urban metropolitan areas, but WTP 2035 implies this is not the case. 3- and 5-year ACS data illustrate this in Ellensburg (22.9% walked and biked), Port Angeles (8.8% walked and biked), Bellingham (11.8% walked and biked), Colville (12% walked and biked), Pullman (24% walked and biked) and Walla Walla (13.1% walked and biked). These numbers often exceed the large metro areas in Washington state. WTP 2035 needs to recognize this fact.

Safety for those that bike and walk needs to be prioritized in Washington state. Washington Bikes Recommends that state transportation planning and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s Target Zero plan need to reprioritize bicycle and pedestrian safety to effectively implement Governor Inslee’s Results Washington goal of achieving zero pedestrian and bicycle deaths by 2030.

Background: The emerging issue around safety in Washington state continues to be addressing the shortfalls a transportation system that does not accommodate those that walk and bike, thus creating safety and mobility concerns. Nationally, since 2009, fatalities have been increasing for those that walk and bike. In 2012, over 16% of all traffic-related fatalities were people on bike and foot. More biking and walking can lead to conflicts with other modes, but it also creates “safety in numbers”, which leads to more awareness of those that bike and walk and, ultimately, increased safety.

Remember, let the Commissioners know via email, meeting, or webinar by September 25, 2014.

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Posted in Advocacy, Alert, Funding/Policy, Infrastructure, Issues & Advocacy, Kids, Legislature, Rural, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Tourism, Trails, Transportation, Travel, WSDOT | 2 Comments

Tell the Washington Legislature: Focus on Safety and Complete Connections

Gigantic-Bicycle-Festival_08-23-14_forwebGoing into the 2015 legislative session — an important budget-writing year that sets the two-year transportation budget — we hope to build on our success in 2013 in getting an all-time record investment of over $40 million in biking/walking projects. We’ll be working for a forward-looking approach to transportation funding that recognizes how people want to move.

As the recent poll on kids and safe biking and walking showed, Washingtonians overwhelmingly want the legislature and their local leaders to invest in safer connections. Add your voice with our petition that asks the legislature for two fundamental things: making safety a top priority and funding complete bike connections.

Washington State Capitol - courtesy of  Cacophony

Washington State Capitol – courtesy of Cacophony

Petition for Better Bicycling

Getting more people on bikes is good for our personal health, local businesses, our towns, our economy, and the air we breathe.

That’s why we call on the governor and the state legislature to make safer bicycling a top priority and to invest in more bike lanes and trails and improved road designs to create a complete network of bicycle connections.

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Snohomish County Bikes: WSDOT Advisory – Stay Safe SR 530

Snohomish County Bikes: an ongoing series highlighting great Snohomish County bike rides and issues.

Snohomish County offers numerous great riding opportunities – from trails to country rides. One highlight includes enjoying SR 530 up the Stillaguamish Valley to Darrington and beyond.

SR 530

WSDOT is working hard to reconstruct SR 530. In the meantime, no stopping or pulling over. Photo courtesy of WSDOT, some rights reserved.

Since the tragic SR 530 landslide this spring, the state road – and WSDOT’s ongoing construction activities to rebuild the damaged roadway – travels directly through the landslide’s devastation. Unfortunately, WSDOT is receiving some reports that bicycle riders are stopping in locations that lack shoulders. WSDOT would like to remind all riders that without shoulders, the road isn’t wide enough for motor vehicles or bicycles to stop safely.

More from WSDOT:

State Route 530 between Oso and Darrington is a popular spot for summertime cycling, but with the highway reconstruction project in full swing, riders should be extra cautious. Please be aware that there are no shoulders through the slide area. For the safety of all roadway users, no stops are allowed unless directed by flaggers or law enforcement. Project information and upcoming traffic detours can be found on the WSDOT SR 530 project website. Please contact SR530SlideInfo@wsdot.wa.gov with any additional questions.

Keep on visiting the Stillaguamish Valley and be safe out there!

Sign Up to Receive Updates on Biking in Snohomish County

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Posted in Accessibility, Adventure, Alert, Arlington, Darrington, Infrastructure, News, Oso, Safety, Share the Road, Snohomish County, WSDOT | Leave a comment

Help Replace Paul’s Stolen Bike

Paul Dannels Family_Spokane

Paul Dannels and family.

Over the weekend we read the Inlander story about a brash bike thief in Spokane. It’s not often a thief takes action right in front of a reporter who can capture his image, track down the owner of the stolen goods, and get more of the story, but that’s what happened this time.

So it’s thanks to Daniel Walters we know the stolen bike belongs to Paul Dannels: husband, father of 4, a hard-working guy who volunteers in the community, goes for family bike rides, and is trying to train for triathlons, riding 40-50 miles per week. It’s his one and only bike and the family budget doesn’t stretch to a replacement any time soon.

After talking with Paul and hearing his story for ourselves, we knew we wanted to help. We waited to hear whether the police might be able to recover his bike. It appears not; according to a follow-up story by Walters in the Inlander, they’ve caught the bike thief but the bike is nowhere to be found.

This leaves Paul without a bike.

So who is this guy we’d be helping? He’s the kind of person you want to help. He especially cares about helping children in need become better students. He’s been an AmeriCorps volunteer and coaches young children in baseball at the YMCA.

Paul says, “I live for my wife and children and being outside with them, doing anything fun and healthy, running, swimming and bicycling all the time as much as we can. That is where my family’s happiness is. Losing my bike has been difficult. The outreach and support has been incredible — I do not feel worthy and am very humbled.”

Paul isn’t used to asking for help for himself. When we talked about the possibility of a replacement he said, ”Any bike would be fine — used, really old, whatever,” he said.

We know lots of bikes get stolen and it’s not a problem we can solve, human nature being what it is. We can, however, help Paul get a bike.

Or rather, YOU can help Paul get a bike with your 100% tax-deductible donation. It’s as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. You give through WA Bikes so it’s tax-deductible for you.
  2. We coordinate with Paul and the bike shop of his choice.
  3. He gets a bike and equipment he needs to get rolling again.
Paul Dannels_Spokane

Paul works as a safety manager at Associated Painters in Airway Heights.

Our fundraising goal: $1,000. With this Paul will be able to get a replacement bike of comparable quality, bike seat for use with his children, seriously good bike lock, and other equipment such as a headlight and taillight, bike rack, etc.

Who’s already helping: North Division Bike Shop tells us they’ll donate $100 and would like to work with Paul. Other shops may also be able to help; we’ll update the post to list them here.

Bike Replacement Donation Form

What about your friend who had a bike stolen? We know that in doing this we may get similar requests. For now, we’re just trying to help Paul.

Depending on the community response, we’ll evaluate whether an ongoing bike replacement donation fund is something we can manage given our capacity constraints and the need to verify that a claim is valid so you can feel good about your donation.

What if people donate more than $1,000? We’ll update this post with progress reports so you know how much is still needed. When the donation form is gone it means we reached the goal and we thank you for your generosity. If we run a bit over $1,000, which could happen depending on the way the donations come in towards the end, the additional funds will go to support bike safety education and work with law enforcement in Spokane.

Thank you for helping Paul get back on two wheels with his family!

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Support Proposition 1 for Seattle Parks

ParksforAllSharethisSeattle needs stable, dedicated funding for the city’s beloved neighborhood parks, ballfields and community centers. Proposition 1 on the August primary ballot will provide that support, and Washington Bikes board of directors has voted to support it.

Washington Bikes joins dozens of other respected environmental, human services, labor and other organizations in enthusiastically supporting Proposition 1. Seattle parks are public facilities and should be accessible to all who live there. That means existing parks need access points that safely and easily bring citizens traveling by foot and bike into the parks. It also means that parks exist in all neighborhoods so anyone in Seattle can have easy access to a park facility for recreation.

Prop 1 will work to improve park access. Prop 1 will also deliver needed improvements, providing major maintenance at parks across the city, funds for community center staffing and programs for seniors and kids, as well as supporting the addition of new parkland in underserved areas and to meet increased demand.

Proposition 1 will replace an expiring levy, and this dedicated parks district funding will cost the owner of a typical $400,000 only about $4 a month more than what they are currently paying. A citizen-led committee recommended replacing the expiring levy with this lasting park district solution designed to address a $267 million maintenance backlog and meet the recreation needs of America’s fastest growing city.

If you live in Seattle, we urge you to support Prop 1.

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Wanted: Awesome Organized Person to Join WA Bikes Team

You — the administrative support whiz looking for a part-time position working for something you can believe in. People describe you as:

  • Organized
  • Detail-oriented
  • A good communicator
  • Comfortable working in an open environment with a lot going on
  • Good at shifting between tasks quickly
  • Someone who makes others feel welcomed

Us — the statewide bike advocacy nonprofit in the nation’s #1 Bicycle Friendly State:

  • A great team of staff, board members, and volunteers and supporters who grow bicycling through education for school and family biking, information for local advocates and riders, promotion of bike travel/tourism, and effective public policy work to pass laws, support their implementation, and improve conditions on the ground.
  • A cool work space in the heart of Seattle’s Pioneer Square with easy bike and transit connections and indoor bike parking. (That is to say, we all bring our bikes inside.)
  • The organization working for the past 27 years to make bicycling accessible, convenient, safe, and fun.

You don’t need to be an expert on bike gear or a speedy high-mileage rider. You should be passionate about creating the conditions that enable people of all ages and abilities to ride bicycles.

IMG_3239 compressed web page

The Seattle-based team: Blake, Barb, El, Jack, Seth, and Louise.

You’re someone who can relate effectively to people who come in with diverse backgrounds and different levels of biking experience. They come to us seeking advice about bike travel, commuting, family biking, places to ride, and other information related to bicycling.

You’re the kind of person who welcomes the learning opportunities you’ll have in the position and the chance to own the smooth operational success of some of our programs, along with contributing to the success of others.

Sound perfect? Read the details in the Administrative Coordinator_2014_Job Description. Send a cover letter highlighting both your skills and your interest in our mission along with a resume and names/contact information for three references to office@WAbikes.org with the subject line “Administrative Coordinator application”.

Kate Johnston (left) from our Spokane office with Katie Ferris, a parent who cares about safe biking and walking.

Kate Johnston (left) from our Spokane office with Katie Ferris, a member of the Spokefest Association board in Spokane.

We’ll begin reviewing applications Wednesday, August 6, 2014. Position is open until filled.

CHANGE OF TIMELINE FROM ORIGINAL POSTING: We will conduct interviews around third or fourth week of August and anticipate having someone in the position by mid-September. Start date is somewhat flexible if the right person has special circumstances.

You’ll be right in the thick of things as we ramp up toward our big annual auction November 15 and beyond — the bike advocacy season runs all year long.

What are we really looking for? This slideshow should give you an idea.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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Last Week to Comment: Does Your Safety Count?

If they don’t count, it doesn’t count. Unfortunately in Washington state and on the federal level, no requirements exist to develop strong robust performance measures around non-motorized safety. Comment before June 30 to tell the US Department of Transportation that Safety Counts!

As cyclists, we know about safety. It’s a constant topic of conversation: how best to be seen, the best route to take, and words of concern (“bike safe!”) we often hear from friends and family before a ride.

Yet despite all the talk and worry about bicycling safety, there’s rarely accountability at the state and federal levels of government to find solutions to prevent bicycling injuries or deaths.

In Washington state, while serious injuries and deaths are on the decline for many motor-vehicle  incidents, we’re falling short of our state’s “Target Zero” goal of zero deaths and serious injuries by 2030 for those that walk and bike.

Their safety needs to count, too. pedbikeimages.org/M. Cynecki

Their safety needs to count, too. pedbikeimages.org/M. Cynecki

Now’s your last chance to begin to change this. The US Department of Transportation is now in its final week of accepting comments on its plan to measure whether or not the nation’s transportation system is working for all Americans.  Unfortunately, its first draft fails to include any goal, accountability, or requirements to reduce the 16% of all fatal crashes that include people who bike and walk.

Tell the US Department of Transportation  that safety counts and improving bicycling safety should count, too.

The US Department of Transportation needs to hear from you today. Let them know that safety for bicycling counts.

In addition to their helpful letter writing tool, the League of American Bicyclists has provided additional background on why we need to do better to count bicyclists and improve our transportation system for everyone.

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Heads-up: Getting Your Bike Through Highway Construction in Snohomish County & Whatcom County

Give-em-a-Brake_Construction-Zone-SignsThe Washington State Department of Transportation currently has contractor crews paving four sections of SR 9 — three shorter ones in the Arlington area and one long section in Whatcom County. The work will continue through mid-August.

Much of the project has wide shoulders that will safely allow bicyclists to pass. But during the paving project, some sections of the work zone could be potentially hazardous for bicyclists or could create situations where bicycles would interact with motorized vehicles on the highway. These include

  • SR 9 Milepost 23.70 to Milepost 28.88 in the Arlington area
  • SR 9 Milepost 69.46 to Milepost 79.41 in Whatcom County

To safely get cyclists through these sections, the contractor has established signed bicycle staging areas at each end of the work zone. This will allow the contractor to safely ferry bicyclists through the work zone. The staging areas are located at locations with cell phone service. Either a project flagger will call for a truck to transport the bicyclists through the work zone, or there will be a phone number to call a construction supervisor, who will transport the bicyclists. Delays for bicyclists should be 20 minutes or less.

The bicycle staging areas will only operate during construction hours:

  • 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. near Arlington
  • 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Whatcom County

At other hours, bicyclists should proceed with caution because of loose gravel on the roadway.

For project updates, go WSDOT’s construction update pages for Snohomish and Whatcom counties:

Want to stay up on bike news around the state? Sign up for our e-news.

Your Turn

  • If you ride through this area let us know how it goes.

 

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Washington State Is America’s #1 Bicycle Friendly State 7th Year in a Row

Bicyclists of Washington, when someone asks you where you’re from, the answer is, “The #1 Bicycle-Friendly State in the whole country!”

Kicking off National Bike MoLeague of American Bicyclists logonth, the League of American Bicyclists has released its latest ranking of Bicycle Friendly States. Washington once again achieved the #1 ranking nationally, making this the seventh straight year. We’ve held the top spot every year the League has issued its evaluation.

This top ranking reflects the hard work of many, many people and organizations and we’re so very proud of our state. Now we go to work to make Washington even BETTER for bicycling.

Where Washington State Scores Especially Well

  • 4 out of 5 points possible in legislation and enforcement
  • 4 out of 5 points in policies and programs
  • 5 in education and encouragement.

Building the full portfolio of what it takes to achieve these scores takes persistence across the board from advocates to agencies to elected officials who know how much bicycling contributes to stronger, healthier people, businesses, and communities.

That’s why Washington Bikes has led the charge for better bicycling and safer streets in the legislature for 27 years.

Where Washington Needs to Improve

  • 2 out of 5 points for infrastructure and funding. It’s critical for the legislature to invest in balanced transportation investments and to address the safety needs of all of us using the road.
  • 3 points in evaluation and planning. The state needs to collect better data about bicycle use, safety issues, and performance measures – a directive coming from the federal government as well.

Looking Ahead

We’re celebrating, but we don’t take our #1 spot for granted. For one thing, other states are chasing us. States that are investing more in bike infrastructure than Washington state know they’ll have a competitive advantage.

Our legislative advocacy and the work of partner groups around the state to enhance bicycling in our communities are both more critical than ever.

The Washington Bikes mission directly addresses the key indicators for the Bicycle Friendly States ranking. We work to:

  • increase infrastructure and funding that provide on-the-ground bicycle facilities;
  • fund and provide education and encouragement programs that promote cycling;
  • work for passage and enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws that make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages to ride.

What we’re working on to increase and improve bicycling even faster:

  • Creating information bike travelers need to plan fantastic vacations and day trips so they’ll ride — and spend — in Washington.
  • Mapping the US Bicycle Route System in Washington to provide complete cross-state routes and highlight the small towns along the way.
  • Identifying the businesses that want to attract biking customers: shops, restaurants, crafters of every fine beverage from cider to coffee to your-favorite-here, accommodations, markets, galleries, service providers, fun places, cultural attractions, and more.
  • Helping businesses connect with bicyclists who want to support the businesses that support them because bikes mean business.
  • Developing resources and toolkits individuals and groups can use to grow bicycling directly, whether it’s by starting up a bike train to your daughter’s school or showing up at your City Council when it’s time to testify.
  • And more ideas we have waiting their turn in the bike rack!

With your support we’ll celebrate again this time next year, but with more miles of lanes and trails built, better connections, safer streets, more kids learning to ride, more businesses competing to attract biking customers, and more elected officials saying they prioritize investing in bicycling because it’s the right thing to do: for you, for your town, for the state.

More Information

Spread the word to help celebrate National Bike Month and our 7 years in a row as the #1 Bicycle-Friendly State!

Send this post to your biking friends. Encourage them to sign up for our e-news so they hear about milestones like this one along with events, local advocacy efforts, and and our work with agencies and in the legislature on behalf of better bicycling for everyone.

Sign Up to Receive the Bicycle Friendly Scorecard

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