Washington votes to invest in bike-friendly policies and elected officials

Voters say yes to biking, walking and transit following 2016 Ballot Measure Endorsements

Courtesy of Cynthia Mullis

Voters sent the message that biking, pedestrian safety, and transit are important investments by passing three of the four ballot measures endorsed by Washington Bikes this election season. Sound Transit 3, Bellevue’s neighborhood transportation levy and Kenmore’s walkways and waterways bond are on track to be approved and implemented. Issaquah’s traffic improvement bond didn’t quite meet the 60% threshold needed for bond measure to pass (54.06% yes as of 11/22). Final vote counts will be available November 29, when elections are certified.

Read on to learn how these investments will shape new and improved transportation options in our communities over the coming decades…

Sound Transit 3: Regional Prop 1 PASSED!

Regional Proposition 1 passed and will fund Sound Transit 3. The $54 billion plan will build 62 miles of light rail, add additional bus rapid transit, express bus and Sound commuter rail improvements. In addition to building light rail, the package includes $370 million funding improvements that make it easier to bike and walk to every station in the region.  

This $370 million investment represents one of the largest commitments by a transit agency ever to make it easier to bike and walk to transit. It couldn’t have happened without the voices of caring neighbors regionwide who know that biking and transit go hand-in-hand together.

“ST3 makes a high priority of providing safe and convenient ways for people to bike and walk to transit, including unprecedented investments in pedestrian and bicycle facilities throughout the 116-mile light rail system and regional bus facilities that will exist after the program is built out,”   said Board Member & King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci of Bellevue.

Bellevue Levy for Transportation: Neighborhood Safety, Connectivity and Congestion PASSED!

This 20-year property tax levy will raise approximately $140 million for neighborhood safety, connectivity and congestion improvement; as well as sidewalk, bicycle, technology and maintenance needs. Notably, this levy would improve the potential for investments in Bellevue’s Bicycle Network. City of Bellevue staff are already working to develop project lists for years one and two, with a plan coming to the City Transportation Commission mid-December.

Kenmore’s Proposition 1: Walkways and Waterways PASSED!

This $19.75 million bond measure will fund investments in five significant bicycle, pedestrian, and placemaking projects in the City of Kenmore. The Juanita Drive improvements will add bike lanes from Kirkland city limits north to 170th Ave (Simonds Rd.). An additional project will connect Safe Routes to Schools projects to downtown.

Issaquah Traffic Improvement Projects Bond DEFEATED

The $50 million bond measure would have invested in four projects across Issaquah focussed on safety and traffic calming. While the bond measure received the majority of votes in Issaquah (54.06% yes as of 11/22), it failed to reach the 60% threshold for passage.

Voters say yes to bike-friendly candidates

Washington state voters also elected 15 of Washington Bikes 16 endorsed candidates for the state legislature. Washington Bikes looks forward to working with this bipartisan group of bike-friendly legislators in Olympia over the coming biennium.

Investments in safe streets, policies that encourage physical activity, and programs that grow a strong economy are valued statewide. We were proud to release the inaugural round of candidate endorsements that support these values. As more members in the state legislature look to biking to improve safety, health, and economic development statewide, Washington Bikes looks forward to growing its list of endorsements in the years to come.

In 2017, Washington Bikes will be turning attention to elections at the local level across the state. For more information about this process, contact Alex Alston.

Congratulations to the following state legislators!

Legislative District 1

House Position 1: Shelley Kloba (D)

Legislative District 3

Senate: Andy Billig (D)

Legislative District 5

Senate: Mark Mullet (D)

Legislative District 8

House Position 1: Brad Klippert (R)

Legislative District 14

Senate: Curtis King (R)

Legislative District 24

House Position 2: Steve Tharinger (D)

Legislative District 25

Senate: Hans Zeiger (R)

House Position 1: Melanie Stambaugh (R)

Legislative District 34

House Position 2: Joe Fitzgibbon (D)

Legislative District 41

Senate: Lisa Wellman (D)

House Position 1: Tana Senn (D)

House Position 2: Judy Clibborn (D)

Legislative District 48

House Position 2: Joan McBride (D)

Legislative District 49

House Position 2: Monica Stonier (D)

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Outdoor recreation to be counted in US GDP

In a major win at the federal level, the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act passed with unanimous, bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and was signed into law by Pres. Obama. As a result, for the first time ever the outdoor economy will be measured and reported in the nation’s economic report card the same way economists report on aerospace, IT, or agriculture.

Rep. Rick Larsen making use of Washington's outdoor recreation assets, on a ride with Snohomish and Skagit County bike advocates.

Rep. Rick Larsen making use of Washington’s outdoor recreation assets, on a ride with Snohomish and Skagit County bike advocates.

Our thanks to members of Washington’s congressional delegation: Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Maria Cantwell, and Members of Congress Suzan delBene (a co-sponsor of the bill), Rick Larsen, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (co-sponsor), Derek Kilmer, Jim McDermott, Dave Reichert (co-sponsor),  Adam Smith, Denny Heck.

Momentum continues to build for recognition and investment in the outdoor economy. The 2015 economic impact analysis of outdoor recreation in Washington state highlighted this sector’s $22 billion annual contribution to the state’s economy. Bicycling provides ~$3.2 billion in direct expenditure; as the third most popular outdoor activity in the state, biking represents a cornerstone of the outdoor economy.

Representatives of outdoor recreation met with Gov. Inslee in November. L-r: Marc Berejka, Director Government and Community Affairs , REI; Jon Snyder, Policy Advisor to Gov. Inslee on Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development; Shiloh Schauer, Executive Director, Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce; Katherine Hollis, Conservation and Advocacy Director, The Mountaineers; Julie Gregg, Director of Marketing and former WA Bikes board member, Sportworks NW; Jim Goldsmith, Board member, Washingtonians for Wildlife Conservation; Mary Dodsworth, Parks Director, City of Lakewood; Gov. Jay Inslee; Barb Chamberlain, Chief Strategic Officer, WA Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club; Mike Schlafmann, Public Services Staff Officer, US Forest Service; Kendee Yamaguchi, Trade and Economic Development Director, Snohomish County; David Batker, Executive Director, Earth Economics; Kahty Young, President, Backcountry Horsemen; Glenn Nelson, Contributing Editor, High Country News and Trail Posse; Bob Whittaker, Founder, Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.

Representatives of outdoor recreation met with Gov. Inslee in November. L-r: Marc Berejka, Director Government and Community Affairs , REI; Jon Snyder, Policy Advisor to Gov. Inslee on Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development; Shiloh Schauer, Executive Director, Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce; Katherine Hollis, Conservation and Advocacy Director, The Mountaineers; Julie Gregg, Director of Marketing and former WA Bikes board member, Sportworks NW; Jim Goldsmith, Board member, Washingtonians for Wildlife Conservation; Mary Dodsworth, Parks Director, City of Lakewood; Gov. Jay Inslee; Barb Chamberlain, Chief Strategic Officer, WA Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club; Mike Schlafmann, Public Services Staff Officer, US Forest Service; Kendee Yamaguchi, Trade and Economic Development Director, Snohomish County; David Batker, Executive Director, Earth Economics; Kahty Young, President, Backcountry Horsemen; Glenn Nelson, Contributing Editor, High Country News and Trail Posse; Bob Whittaker, Founder, Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.

The Outdoor Industry Association lobbied hard for passage of the act; their report on its significance provides additional information.

Outdoor recreation is especially important in rural Washington, with jobs found in every county, every corner of the state, unlike some sectors that cluster their employment in major urban areas. At a recent meeting with outdoor interests as a follow-up to the 2014 Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation, which I co-chaired, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee reiterated the value of Washington’s great outdoors for future healthy generations.

Projects like the US Bicycle Route System and promotion of bike tourism have led to increased interest from local leaders and economic development interests. We’ve spoken with people from Grand Coulee and Lincoln County, Union Gap and Republic, Snohomish County and the Snoqualmie Valley, Spokane to Olympia, Port Angeles and the Tri-Cities, about how to invite more bike travelers. Across the state, leaders want to welcome those wallets on wheels!

Our recommendation: Working for Bicycle Friendly Community status sends a strong signal that a destination will welcome bike tourists; Ellensburg touts its Silver BFC status in its tourism marketing materials.

Including outdoor recreation and bike travel/tourism in local economic development plans also elevates their significance. In Wenatchee, for example, the community’s newly adopted action plan includes a regional trail network as a priority. Walla Walla recently celebrated news that they’re receiving a National Park Service planning grant for a regional trail network there as well.

Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shiloh Schauer presented Gov. Inslee with the community's new action plan. It includes a regional trail network as a top priority, with the Chamber taking the lead to move the network forward.

Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shiloh Schauer presented Gov. Inslee with the community’s new action plan. It includes a regional trail network as a top priority, with the Chamber taking the lead to move the network forward.

Trails in particular provide a destination asset — the more mileage in a trail system, the farther people will travel to experience it by bike and the more they spend when they’re on the trail. Washington Bikes works with advocates around the state to increase state investment in these valuable assets, from the John Wayne Pioneer Trail to the Olympic Discovery Trail to the Whitehorse Trail and beyond, along with investments in on-street bike networks for everyday riding in your hometown.

If you believe in the value of trails and bike tourism to grow our state’s economy, support our lobbying efforts for investment and policy to improve bicycling for all. With your donation you’ll be joining thousands of people who are riding with us!

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Colfax-Albion-Pullman Trail Concept Workshops Dec. 7 and 8

A series of public workshops to gather opinions on the future of  the Colfax-Albion-Pullman (CAP) rail corridor are under way and the public is encouraged to attend. The corridor is currently property of the state and managed by the Washington State Dept. of Transportation, which has determined that the corridor is no longer needed for rail purposes. WSDOT would like to get public input on three possible options for the future of the corridor:

1) the corridor is abandoned and the public right-of-way disposed of,

2) the corridor is railbanked, in which the option for future rail use is preserved and another agency assumes responsibility for the corridor with the allowance of trail use in the interim, or

3) the state maintains responsibility for the corridor, the option for future rail use is preserved but a trail or other public use is not allowed for.

Workshops were held in Pullman Nov. 2 and on the WSU campus Nov. 3. Two more are coming up:

Colfax December 7 at 6:00 p.m. in The Center at 110 S. Main

Albion December 8 at 5:30 p.m.in the Community Center upstairs

Come to one or both of these workshops to meet your neighbors and be part of the community conversation to help guide the future of the region. 

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Slippery when Wet: Tips for Riding in the Rain

As the weather inevitably gets colder, cloudier and rainier, many of us are tempted to hang up our bikes and hop on a bus or in a car. Riding a bike — for fun, transportation or exercise — has positive benefits which, when you think about it, can outweigh the perceived discomfort of riding in rainy weather. While riding on a sunny day can seem more enjoyable, a few easy changes to your attire, bike, riding style and attitude can make a rainy day ride just as (maybe even more!) fun.

Outfit your bike
It might seem unintuitive, but the biggest source of wetness isn’t water falling from above — it’s from the spinning of your tires. Fenders are your best way of combating this. Visit your local bike shop and consider picking up some full fenders that cover most of your back wheel and at least the rear section of your front wheel. Mud flaps on the fenders are an added bonus to keep your feet (and your friends riding behind you) nice and dry.

Outfit yourself
First things first — a good rain jacket is key. Consider a jacket made of a bright/reflective material that has proper ventilation (keep an eye out for a jacket with zippers under the armpits). While a good set of fenders should keep your bottom half dry, you might also consider waterproof pants, a rain cape or shoe covers. Waterproof fabric tends to be windproof as well, which means that it can be easy to sweat more than usual when riding. I find it helps to ride a little more slowly to keep my heart rate down and body temperature comfortable.

Think a little further ahead
Think of the phrase, “slippery when wet.” While a wet road can feel the same as a dry one, there are situations when you need to think a step or two ahead to keep cruising comfortably. If you ride a bike with rim brakes, your brakes need more time to generate friction on wet rims. To combat this, use your brakes earlier than usual and apply pressure gradually. Also, watch out for things like sewer access covers, thick road paint and mud, which get especially slippery and can make taking corners a little more exciting than needed.

It’s all a matter of perspective
Having grown up in Southern California, the rainy months of the Northwest really took a toll on me when I moved here. I felt like aspects of my life had to come to a stop because of the weather. But, after a while, I began trying to look at the rain as less of a barrier and more of a challenge. Rather than focusing on how I would rather be dry, I like to think about how I am doing something that I enjoy, regardless of Mother Nature.
Anyone can be a fair weather pedaler. It takes a little more determination to ride all year round, but in the end, I think it’s worth it.

Keep riding, keep exploring and prove that a little rain can’t slow your roll! For extra inspiration, prizes and bragging rights, sign up for our 2016 Ride in the Rain Challenge!

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Elizabeth Kiker Announces Departure from Cascade Bicycle Club & Washington Bikes

Image courtesy of C.B. Bell

Republished from Cascade Bicycle Club blog.

Cascade Board Contact

Cascade Bicycle Club Board Vice President Nate Glissmeyer
nate.glissmeyer@cascadebicycleclub.org

Media Contact

Washington Bikes Senior Director of Communications & Marketing Brent Tongco
206-939-4307
brentt@cascade.org

After over three years of inspiring leadership and accomplishment, Executive Director Elizabeth Kiker has decided to move on from Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes. Her last day will be Dec. 31, 2016. On behalf of the staff and board, please join us in wishing her all the best as she transitions to the next chapter in her career. Elizabeth had a tremendous positive effect on both Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes, and her departure will be a loss for both organizations.

“We owe Elizabeth an enormous debt for all she’s achieved in three short years,” said Board Vice President Nate Glissmeyer. “Even putting together a list of her successes was awe-inspiring. She’s made such an important difference for these organizations and for bicycling across the state.”

Elizabeth brought outstanding and energetic leadership to the organizations. Her can-do attitude led us to take on and succeed with projects that would have seemed impossible to many. Elizabeth led a gigantic $2+ million capital campaign, taking us from a dusty, damp and cramped office into our new spacious location; she created a true Bicycling Center with a first-of-its-kind traffic garden, Fix-It Garage and Ride Leader Welcome Pavilion.

She led the orchestration of a successful merger, making Cascade and Washington Bikes the largest statewide bicycle nonprofits in the nation. With the development of new 5-year strategic plans for both organizations, we are poised for continued growth and success. Under her leadership, Cascade membership grew dramatically from 15,000 to over 17,000 people across the state. We unveiled multiple new and successful major rides, including the Emerald City Bike Ride, which had more than 7,000+ participants in its first year, and expanded the variety in our rides to attract new types of riders.

We grew our education programming more than 50 percent statewide under Elizabeth’s leadership. We pushed the passage of the Move Seattle Levy, Sound Transit 3, Bellevue Transportation Levy, and multi-modal funding statewide. We increased the reach of the Major Taylor Project. We led the charge for significant Eastside Rail Corridor funding, Missing Link advocacy and so much more. We fostered positive partnerships with communities and organizations to help make biking more accessible and inclusive — a deeply personal commitment of Elizabeth’s — most recently in our partnership with King County Parks, the YES! Foundation and the White Center Community Development Association to launch the White Center Bike Playground.

“I’m proud of all that has been accomplished during my time at Cascade and Washington Bikes,” said Elizabeth. “We have talented and dedicated staff, board, members and partners that will achieve even greater fulfillment of our vision,

bicycling for all, and our statewide mission of improving lives through bicycling. We thank our members and supporters for their commitment to Cascade and Washington Bikes during this transition.”

We all feel so deeply fortunate to have benefited from Elizabeth’s strong and effective leadership over the past three years. We thank Elizabeth for building Cascade and Washington Bikes into the successful organizations they are today. She leaves a legacy that positions us for unparalleled growth and success.

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Five-Year Strategic Plan Priority: Communicate our Purpose

Read our posts highlighting priorities in our strategic plan adopted in 2016.

WA-Bikes-logoEach part of our work grows bicycling statewide and makes bicycling better for you and your communities. The more you know about your Washington Bikes, the more you can connect with the activities that fit your focus.

Whether we’re advocating for safe connected bicycle infrastructure, putting on bike challenges, endorsing candidates, or increasing elected officials’ awareness of Washington Bikes and the policies and investments we support, we want you to know what Washington Bikes means for you, your family and your community.

What we will do: We will double the number of people who are aware of the full range of our mission and the value of our work by creating and implementing a comprehensive strategic marketing and communications plan. We will clearly defined and articulate the purpose of Washington Bikes and how we can help you, your family and your community. Specific analysis of elected officials will track awareness of our engagement in candidate campaigns.

Our current level of success: We’ll create a baseline measurement of mission awareness at the end of 2016 from people in the database. We’ll also create a baseline measurement of awareness among elected city, county, state, federal and tribal officials.

Our strategic priorities

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Five-Year Strategic Plan Priority: Increase Ridership Statewide

Read our posts highlighting priorities in our strategic plan adopted in 2016.

An everyday rider -- doing STP on a triple with his children.

An everyday rider — doing STP on a triple with his children.

Imagine biking to work or to the grocery store or for recreation and seeing twice as many people riding as you see today. More people riding bikes means healthier communities, strength and safety in numbers, and a visible signal to decision makers that bike investments add value. That’s why we made increasing ridership statewide one of our strategic priorities.

What we will do: We will use comprehensive and strategic marketing and communications campaigns to encourage more trips by bicycle; get more cities/towns to participate in bike challenges; and in turn, provide opportunities and encourage more individuals to join bike challenges. Furthermore, we’ll utilize WA Bikes-managed bike challenges as a catalyst and resource for engaging communities and individuals.

Riding the STP is a highlight of the year for students participating in Cascade Bicycle Club's Major Taylor Project.

Riding the STP is a highlight of the year for students participating in Cascade Bicycle Club’s Major Taylor Project.

Our current level of success: By the end of 2016 we’ll have this year’s numbers for statewide bicycle counts and participation in bike challenges, both in terms of communities participating and individuals riding.

How you can be part of the success:

Our strategic priorities

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Five-Year Strategic Plan Priority: Promote Bicycle-Friendly Policies and Investments

Bicycle-Friendly Community signRead our posts highlighting priorities in our strategic plan adopted in 2016.

You’re celebrating the election of a bicycle-champion official. You’re biking down a newly installed protected bike lane that connects two sections of town. Your town is named a Bicycle Friendly Community and you can actually see why.

This happens because local bike leaders and Washington Bikes collaborate in identifying and promoting bicycle-friendly policies and investments that make bicycling safer and more accessible. You’re part of a community where your voice is not only heard, but acted upon.

What we will do: We will double the actions taken by you to contact elected officials to promote policies and increase investments for better bicycling. We want your voice to be heard and we will train you on the value and methods of community-based advocacy, giving you the tools to be effective leaders.

arlington-centennial-trail-whitehorse-trail_tom-teigen-090715We’ll work with you to develop and communicate annual policy priorities and grow partnerships and coalitions that support bike-friendly goals that work for your town. All of this will provide support for you to apply for, receive, and then improve your town’s bicycle-friendly designation by the League of American Bicyclists.

Our current level of success: By the end of 2016, we’ll record an initial baseline based on the number of 2015 and 2016 individual actions taken on our advocacy software platform. Additionally, we’ll measure the number of bicycle-friendly communities across the state, which currently stands at 16.

Our strategic priorities

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Five-Year Strategic Plan Priority: Support Election of Bicycle-Friendly Candidates

On May 16, 2013, supporters of better bicycling, walking, and neighborhood safety joined with Governor Inslee to sign the Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill into law

On May 16, 2013, supporters of better bicycling, walking, and neighborhood safety joined with Governor Inslee to sign the Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill into law

Political scientist David Easten famously labeled politics is “the authoritative allocation of values for a society.” For us as a statewide bike organization, this means engaging in politics to further our values and our vision of Bicycling for All.

This is a new role for Washington Bikes, one we took on as we merged with Cascade Bicycle Club and restructured the responsibilities of each of the two sister organizations.

Electing bicycle-friendly candidates at every level is essential to increasing public investments and enacting policies that make streets safe, accessible, and truly connected for people on bikes. As we add direct political engagement to our toolkit we will focus on doing so in a smart, thoughtful way that continues our bipartisan and commonsense approach to building support for policy. Forming a broad-based, statewide constituent committee, we will develop a legislative agenda and decide where and how we get involved in relevant federal, state, county and city races.

What we will do: We will amplify your voice, doubling the number of electoral races around the state in which we become involved through endorsements, candidate questionnaires and political-action committee activities. As we develop and execute plans of engagement in selected races, we will continue to build relationships and monitor activities of candidates we support to ensure follow-through and accountability.

Our current level of success: For the 2015 legislature, our c4 endorsements* totaled 51 races in four counties, 20 cities/towns and three ballot measures.

Our strategic priorities

*Endorsements in 2015 were a function of Cascade Bicycle Club, which previously worked as a 501(c)(4). In the merger and restructuring Cascade became a 501(c)(3), which can endorse issues but not candidates.

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Looking Ahead: Our Five-Year Strategic Plan

WA-Kids-Say-We-Need-More-Safe-Routes-to-SchoolAs the leadership of the “old” Washington  Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club embarked on a merger, we engaged people from across the state in our planning process for the new Washington Bikes and the new Cascade. Our strategic planning consultants interviewed stakeholders statewide, led focus groups, and held a two-day retreat with members of both boards and staff.

In that process we realigned which organization does what now that Washington Bikes functions as a 501(c)(4) and Cascade operates as a 501(c)(3). To help clarify the new responsibilities we’re highlighting our strategic plan priorities with a series of posts over the next few days. You’re also invited to review the Cascade strategic plan, distributed in October.

SSB_5438_Bill_SigningBriefly, our strategic priorities are:

This isn’t a plan that’s simply executed by staff. This is a plan that relies on the engagement of individuals and partner organizations across the state. All our work relies on the belief that people who bike make a difference.

  • You make a difference when you take action to elect bike-friendly candidates.
  • You make a difference when you advocate for better bicycling at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • You make a difference when you simply get out and ride — more people on the streets creates more safety for everyone who rides.
  • You make a difference when you communicate with your bicycling friends and enlist them to join you in standing up, speaking out, and supporting our work on behalf of better bicycling.

Join us on our journey guided by the vision of Bicycling for All, because people who bike make a difference.

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