A special April election will determine whether King County faces huges cuts to Metro transit and roads maintenance.
Just weeks before bike to work month, King County voters face a vital April special election. It will determine whether Metro Transit will face huge cuts and if we maintain King County roads for cars and bikes.
Vote YES on Prop 1 to keep our buses running and prevent major cuts to Metro bus service. We need to make sure our seniors, students, people with disabilities, and working families still have a way to get around.
Vote YES on Prop 1 to preserve King County’s roads and bridges. Forty percent of Prop 1 goes directly to each community in the county to make our streets, roads, and bridges safer. Spending $1 now to repair our roadways avoids $6-14 in replacement costs if we continue to put off these critical investments. Better local roads benefit bicyclists across King County.
We like bike racks on buses – we need more of these, not less. Every workday 400,000 trips are taken on Metro; less buses mean worse traffic and a longer commute.
Ballots are due by April 22nd — Earth Day. But there’s no need to wait. Mail in your ballot as soon as you get home. Vote YES on Prop 1 today!
Together we can keep King County moving whether you bus, bike, drive, or walk.
Looking for a way to celebrate and show that Washington Bikes in Snohomish County? This Saturday, February 15 at 9 am, Snohomish County leaders will join in Snohomish to celebrate and officially sign the purchase agreement with the Port of Seattle to extend the Centennial Trail another 12 additional miles south as a multimodal connection for bikers, walkers, and rail.
The extended trail will link the city of Snohomish with Woodinville, Redmond and Renton. It will serve as a major next step in connecting the region’s trail network, ultimately including the Burke Gilman, Eastside Rail Corridor and East Lake Sammamish Trails.
The 12 mile extension creates a 42 mile trail stretching across the entirety of Snohomish County and reaching the borders of King and Skagit counties. The extension will grow the trail and the County as a destination for both locals and visitors, alike. Bicyclists are wallets on wheels – biking customers are fueled by calories and typically stop – and spend – in every town they pass through.
The signing ceremony begins at 9am at the southern terminus of the Centennial Trail (504 4th St., Snohomish).
Afterwards, the party heads north to unveil Snohomish County’s new PASTforward program at the Machias Trailhead (1624 Virginia St., Snohomish).
“The PASTforward program is a fascinating look at our county’s history,” said Parks and Recreation director Tom Teigen. “Our industrial and agricultural roots are incredibly diverse, and I think people will be amazed at some of the stories they discover. It’s worth a walk down the trail this spring just to check out these new interpretive signs.” Snohomish County is hosting a new website on the Centennial Trail that features this rich history: http://www.centennialtrail.com/
Hope to see you there!
On Tuesday, Washington Bikes testified in support of Senate Bill 6227 to further strengthen our state’s distracted driving laws and to retain our status as a leader in pursuing safer streets. This new legislation, led by Senate Transportation co-chair Tracey Eide, builds upon her 2010 legislation, SB 6345, that made handheld cell phone use while driving a primary offense.
This legislation is a part of Washington Bikes’ 2014 legislative agenda. Contact your state senators to tell them you support closing loopholes and strengthening penalties on driving distracted in Washington state.
Since 2010, when Washington Bikes helped lead the successful lobbying to start to reduce distracted driving, it’s even more obvious that distracted driving affects all of us. Distraction contributes to 26% of fatal crashes in Washington state. This legislation helps close loopholes and stiffens penalties to reduce this growing concern, especially as smart phones become more and more central to people’s lives.
In fact, a new study by Harborview’s Dr. Beth Ebel shows that electronic distraction is growing, with nearly one out of every ten Washington state drivers engaged with a handheld device at any moment.
Reducing distracted driving helps create a culture of safety for drivers and the most vulnerable roads users – children, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The risks around distraction can be more intense because bicyclists and pedestrians – including children – are less visible and more prone to go unnoticed by distracted drivers, with tragic consequences.
SB 6227 improves upon the current law by broadening the definition so that any person (with much narrower exceptions) operating a motor vehicle while holding a personal wireless communications device is guilty of a traffic infraction. It closes loopholes such as being able to use one’s phone while stopped at an intersection or stoplight (currently legal), it also expands the definitions of handheld uses to ban texting and email use on smart phones. Additional violations receive twice the penalty, plus violations go on one’s driver record for insurance purposes. Finally, distracted driving would be included in Department of Licensing exams (currently they are not).
These are common sense fixes that provide law enforcement more tools to stop distracted driving and to stiffen consequences.
It’s now time to improve Washington state’s distracted driving laws. Contact your state senators to tell them you support closing loopholes and strengthening penalties on driving distracted in Washington state.
In addition to support from Washington Bikes, Tuesday’s work session and testimony featured support from the Washington State Patrol, Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, Childhood Obesity Prevention and others. The entire work session and testimony video is included below.
Be a citizen lobbyist for a day!
Join Washington Bikes and our partners for Transportation Advocacy Day in Olympia! Held annually during the legislative session, this year’s event is on February 27.
Transportation Advocacy Day is your opportunity to meet with your legislators (we’ll schedule the meeting for you!) and connect with other advocates from around the state. We’ll provide you with the tools and information you need to effectively advocate for a better bicycle environment in your community and state. Carpools are available and lunch is provided. RSVP today!
Read our blog post about Transportation Advocacy Day 2013.
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.
Names of Supporters
Mary Ann Bosky
Walt Kloefkorn Walt
Suzanne Vennard Halberstadt
Deborah Di Bernardo
Lee Ann Greaves
Earlier this month, we announced our new name: Washington Bikes. It expresses our vision for the future–one in which more and more of Washington bikes every day.
And while it looks like the state legislature is finally getting close to investing in our transportation system, current proposals don’t go far enough to build the vision we all want.
That’s why we need you to contact legislators now.
The proposed $12 billion package will spend less than 2%–two pennies out of a dollar!–on giving you and me alternatives to being stuck in traffic and spending our hard-earned dollars at the pump.
Thursday the State Senate Transportation Committee will hear testimony on this $12 billion transportation proposal. Your legislators need to hear from you today that every day more and more of Washington bikes, walks, and takes transit and a balanced, sensible transportation package will invest accordingly.
This package will guide transportation investment over the next decade. Just some of the reasons we think two cents should instead be two dimes—things you can tell your legislators about why they should dedicate 20% of the new funding to biking, walking, and transit:
- Your needs: Rapid increases in the number of Washingtonians who can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t drive alone, from youth to seniors, who need to get to school, work, a doctor’s appointment or the grocery store.
- Local interest: High demand from communities across the state for investments in bike/walk projects for more comfortable connections that encourage healthy transportation and help create room on the streets for those who do need to drive.
- State interest: At stake—whether or not people and goods can get where they need to go (the person in the bike lane or bus next to you isn’t in the car in front of you!) and whether our kids can walk and bike to school safely.
Add in the fact that bike/walk projects actually create more jobs per dollar invested than traditional road projects (40%-50% more, one study found), and we think this approach is smart for all of Washington.
With this one action you can help make the air cleaner, create living-wage jobs, and expand mobility for people without access to reliable transportation.
Contact your legislators and the Governor to tell them that you need their support right now for the right package. Tell them to support investments that give everyone in Washington an equal opportunity to get where we need to go.
How? For your legislators, find them through this easy legislative district finder.
You can also call: 1-800-562-6000. The operator will route your message to your legislators. Your message: I SUPPORT funding biking, walking, and transit at 20% of the total transportation revenue package.
Let your legislators know the following:
I support a statewide transportation revenue package if 20% of the package includes investments in Safe Routes to School, walking and biking connections, Complete Streets, and transit. Washington only works when all people have an equal opportunity to get where we need to go and when our towns and citizens are strong and healthy.
Thank you for all you do to make bicycling better so more and more of Washington bikes!
This fall citizens who care about transportation have 10 opportunities around the state to tell the state senate what priorities will move our state forward when a transportation revenue package is adopted. In Bellevue, Everett, Wenatchee, Yakima, Tri-Cities, Spokane, Vancouver, Tacoma, Seattle, and Bellingham from Sept. 17-Oct. 15, you need to speak up for smart, healthy, cost-effective transportation networks that mean safety and jobs for all of us.
You can also submit comments at www.senatetranspofeedbackforum.org. You’ll need to enter Biking/Walking in the “Other” field where they ask for your primary transportation concern. (Perhaps your first concern is that it’s an “Other” instead of being on the list!)
If you have your own story about what it means to invest in biking, like the story Stella’s mom told about biking to school in Kirkland or the support from Vancouver to Anacortes for local trail projects or Frank’s success as a teacher getting kids on bikes in Tukwila, tell the legislature. Additional points you can share with the Senate, your own legislators (look them up online and send an email), and Gov. Inslee:
- Washington only works when all people who bike, walk, take transit, and drive have an equal opportunity to get where we need to go safely and efficiently. We need future-oriented transportation investments that represent our values and share our priorities for safety, jobs, and health.
- Cost-effective investments in biking and walking transportation are good for drivers too; they increase safety for all while they keep people moving and reduce pollution from Washington’s roadways.
- Safe, comfortable, complete bike networks attract businesses, a talented workforce, tourists, and home buyers to help grow Washington’s economy.
- Bikes mean jobs: Biking and walking investments create 40% more jobs per dollar spent than for other transportation projects.
- Many people can’t or shouldn’t drive—the young, the old, people with disabilities and issues that prevent them from driving, people who can’t afford to own and operate a car. They still need to get to work, to school, to the doctor and the grocery store. Washington needs a transportation system that creates transportation independence and choice for all, not just for some.
- Investments in Safe Routes to School to help kids walk and bike have improved safety with zero collisions or injuries at all Safe Routes project sites, and have helped our kids get more active and arrive at school ready to learn. We need to keep this up to make the next generation healthier.
- In Washington driving user fees (gas taxes, licenses, tolls) fund less than half the cost of our streets and roads. We all pay for streets—we should all be able to move freely and safely.
- The only acceptable transportation revenue proposal is one that includes biking/walking investments and fixes our transportation crises: Fix our crumbling roads and bridges, make our streets safer and cleaner for everyone, keep our buses moving, and finish the job of creating a system with real connections for everyone.
When the legislature comes to your town, show up to show them you care. Speak up to tell them your story. Stand up for biking and walking, for fixing our roads, for investing in the transportation system of the future. It takes every one of us to make sure Washington bikes.
If you’ve ever participated in any kind of strategic planning exercise you’ve heard about having SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. By that standard the new US Department of Transportation’s draft strategic plan “Transportation for a New Generation” for 2014-2018 needs some serious improvement if it is truly to be the plan for a 21st-century, balanced, multimodal system of transportation for everyone.
This plan will have real implications for how the Department of Transportation operates over the next five years. If people who bike and walk around the country come together to give constructive suggestions to the Department, we could end up guiding the work of some 57,000 federal employees and heavily influencing some $205 billion of annual spending on highways that in some cases serve as Main Street in a small rural town, and in every case connect with city streets and county roads and affect traffic flows and safety for all of us.
Washington Bikes has signed onto a letter from the Alliance for Biking and Walking to raise our voices for SMART transportation planning. Our letter:
- Asks the Department to set a goal to reduce bicyclist and pedestrian roadway fatalities by 50% by 2020.
- Suggests that the Department set a goal to increase bicycle mode share nationally to 5% by 2025 and pedestrian mode share nationally to 25% by 2025.
- Urges regulators to implement a Complete Streets approach when designing safety measures.
The time is now to comment—by Sept. 10—to say that as a taxpayer you want a forward-looking plan, not one focused on the rearview mirror.
Two ways to participate:
- Online dialogue
- Submit comments to USDOTStrategicPlan@dot.gov: This is important as the online dialogue does not lend itself to suggesting specific changes to the plan, or numerical or measurable goals. The League of American Bicyclists letter can serve as a model, and you can use the points listed below.
The overriding priorities are ones we can all agree with: making the US transportation system the safest in the world, improving the efficiency and performance of the existing transportation system, and rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure “to meet the needs of the next generation of Americans.” But it will take a different plan to prepare for the next generation.
We’ve worked on a number of specific safety issues around the state that this plan addresses—or doesn’t address. In a number of places the draft plan includes safety strategies for motor vehicle safety but not for bicycle or pedestrian safety. Points you may want to include in your comments drawn from our joint letter with the Alliance:
Safety Performance Goal and Indicators
Suggested goal: Include measurable safety goals for biking and walking.
Suggested indicators: Use metrics based on non-motorized miles traveled in addition to vehicle miles traveled (VMT).
- Separate active transportation modes from older drivers when considering safety—each issue area deserves unique treatment.
- Ensure intersection improvements benefit motorists, transit users, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
- Implement rumble strip policies that improve driver safety but do not create safety hazards for bicyclists.
- Focus on reducing speed as a crash factor, especially in metropolitan areas.
- Study alternatives to the common practice of setting speed limits using the 85th percentile speed of free-flowing traffic.
- Implement MAP-21 performance measures that address non-motorized safety under FHWA Highway Safety funding. (The current proposed strategic plan suggests this strategy for motor vehicle safety but not bicycle and pedestrian safety).
- Actively encourage investment in bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure that addresses system-wide safety issues.
- Improve data collection for bicycling and walking. Specifically:
- Improve data collection and analysis of use and crash data at the municipal, metropolitan planning organization (MPO), and state levels. (In the current proposed strategic plan, this strategy is suggested for motor vehicle safety but not for bicycle and pedestrian safety.)
- Improve NHTSA’s data collection and analysis system to enhance bicycle and pedestrian crash data. (The proposed plan suggests this strategy for motor vehicle safety but not bicycle and pedestrian safety.)
- Conduct a bicycle and pedestrian crash causation study to identify contributing factors for bicycle and pedestrian crashes and identify effective countermeasures based on evaluation and analysis of the study data. (There is currently a study on motorcycle crashes underway, but there has not yet been a comparable study for bicycle and pedestrian crashes.)
- Support, conduct and encourage research on innovative design of bicycle facilities.
Livable Communities Performance Goal and Indicators
The Department performance goal calls for increasing to 65 the number of states, MPOs, and/or plans that improve transportation choices for walking and bicycling by FY 2018. This goal is literally meaningless–there are already over 500 Complete Streets policies and even more bicycle and pedestrian plans already in states, metropolitan planning organizations and communities across the US, including many in Washington state. Having a plan in place is a first step but a more meaningful goal would address actual changes.
Suggested goal: Increase bicycle mode share nationally to 5% by 2025 and pedestrian mode share nationally to 25% by 2025. Mode share goals for urban, suburban and rural communities could vary to take into account the local context.
Suggested performance indicator: Set incremental bicycle and pedestrian mode share goals for the years 2015-2018.
Suggested strategies to ensure that states, regions, and localities around the country maximize livability:
- Adopt a Complete Street policy to ensure that livability is integrated into every program and project.
- Create a model system of accountability so that projects programmed with multimodal accommodations in the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) are built with those components.
- Research and disseminate best practices for retrofitting urban and suburban transportation facilities to consider all roadway users.
Environmental Sustainability Performance Goal and Indicator
No goals or indicators address bicycling or walking under any of the Environmental Sustainability Strategic Objectives, a glaring omission that we urge the Department to rectify.
Suggested performance goal for environmental sustainability: Institute a Complete Streets policy.
Suggested performance indicator for that goal: Mode share increases in biking, walking and transit.
Suggested strategies to ensure that states, regions, and localities utilize bicycling and walking improvements to mitigate transportation-related impacts to climate, ecosystems and communities:
- Develop training programs for federal, state and local transportation engineers on Complete Streets policies and practices.
- Create a clearinghouse of best practices and innovative design for Complete Streets policies and practices.
Organizational Excellence Performance Goal and Indicator
Suggested performance goal: Retrain the next generation of transportation professionals to be truly multimodal.
Suggested performance indicators:
- Increase to X the percentage of new hires with experience or education in multimodal engineering, planning and so forth. (Each organization needs to set a reasonable percentage for its context.)
- Increase to X the percentage of existing staff receiving continuing education on designing, planning, and building multimodal projects.
Suggested strategy: Develop and offer training programs in multimodal transportation for US DOT transportation headquarter and regional staff.
The US Department of Transportation’s Strategic Plan must look forward to improve our national transportation system for all users. To do otherwise just wouldn’t be SMART.
- Old Solutions from a Passing Generation: USDOT Plan Falls Short (League of American Bicyclists)
- Help Shape the USDOT Strategic Plan (Safe Routes to School National Partnership)
- Draft Strategic Plan (US Dept. of Transportation)
Updated to add three more sessions announced Sept. 12 and with change of location for Oct. 2 Spokane event, Oct. 7 Vancouver event, and Oct. 14 Seattle event. See also What to Tell the State Senate About Bike Transportation
Washington State Senate transportation leaders recently announced their schedule to hold bipartisan listening sessions to gather input on what Washingtonians want in a transportation revenue package.
Now is our time to let them know that Washingtonians want a balanced transportation package that invests in safer streets for our schools, and that investments in walking and biking provide cost-effective and common sense solutions to congestion, improving safety for people who drive, walk, bike, and take transit.
Bicycling is here to stay. We need the Washington state legislature to craft a transportation package that looks forward—not one that keeps us looking in the rearview mirror. Investments in biking and walking infrastructure make streets safer for drivers too, while providing a healthy workforce and children who are ready to concentrate and learn when they get to school. Everyone benefits.
But the state legislature needs to hear from you. They need to hear the message that Washingtonians want the freedom to get around safely and efficiently.
The legislature needs to hear that every community in the state will lose out on the chance to make their streets more inviting, increase their real estate values and thus their local government revenues, make their school zones safer, and support the local businesses that benefit from increased commercial activity when people can walk or bike in a welcoming environment. That’s the real bottom line for the taxpayers.
Join us at one or more of these transportation listening sessions to tell the Washington state legislature you value smart transportation investments in biking, walking and school safety. Each meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and last until 9 p.m. and will include presentations from regional transportation officials, and public comment.
Sept. 17 – Bellevue. Stevenson Elementary School, 14220 NE 8th St., Bellevue, WA 98007
Sept. 18 – Everett. Snohomish County, Robert Drewel Building, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., 1st floor, Everett, WA 98201
Sept. 23 – Wenatchee. Chelan County PUD Auditorium, 327 N Wenatchee Ave, Wenatchee, WA 98801
Sept. 24 – Yakima. Yakima Area Arboretum, Garden View Rm., 1401 Arboretum Dr., Yakima, WA 98901
Sept. 26 – Tri-Cities. Columbia Basin College, 2600 N 20th Ave., Pasco added
Oct. 2 – Spokane. New location! Central Valley High School theater, 821 S Sullivan Rd., Spokane Valley
Oct. 7 – Vancouver. New location! Department of Transportation Southwest Region Office, 11018 Northeast 51st Circle, Vancouver 98682
Oct. 9 – Tacoma. Evergreen Tacoma Campus, Lyceum Hall, 1210 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98405
Oct. 14 – Seattle. New location! First Presbyterian Church at 1013 8th Avenue (8th and Spring) added
Oct. 15 – Bellingham. Port of Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Ave. added
You can also submit comments at senatetranspofeedbackforum.org. You’ll need to enter Biking/Walking in the “Other” field where they ask for your primary transportation concern. (Perhaps your first concern is that it’s an “Other” instead of being on the list!)