The Washington State Transportation Plan 2030 – It Matters To Bicyclists!
The Washington Transportation Plan 2030 (WTP) is a high-level policy plan that provides guidance and strategies for all transportation modes (bikes are included) and regions in the state. It serves as a policy update to the 2007-2026 and is to be completed by the end of this year. The plan is required by law and is available for public comment until October 15, 2010 (more about this later). While it is about policy and not projects and infrastructure, it serves to guide long-term investment and policy making for many modes and jurisdictions.
So why does this plan matter to bicyclists? The short answer is in the quote above. The long answer is that the WTP contains seven overarching themes such as the need for an integrated transportation network, the relationship between land use and transportation, and one size does not fit all. In other words, policies and investments in bicycle infrastructure would contribute successfully to all seven of these themes. This includes safe routes to school, complete streets, and distracted driving, which in fact are mentioned or alluded to in the plan. They come under the overarching theme of transportation policy supporting and reinforcing other state policy objectives. Safe Routes to School is also an issue that is impacted by the relationship between land use and transportation.
The Washington State Transportation Commission held 6 “Listening Sessions” around the state. Citizens turned out in support of biking and walking at every session held. According to a Kitsap Sun article, the support was so strong at the Bremerton session that the biking and walking strategy rose to the top.
So what’s a bicyclist to do? Comment on the plan! Along with any specific comments you have in mind, we suggest the following:
- Tell them that policies and investments in bicycle infrastructure would contribute successfully to all of these themes.
- Tell them how much we appreciate the state’s nationally recognized Safe Routes to School Program and that it needs to have more funding, not only as demonstrated by the unmet demand, but by its ability to help meet the goals of the WTP.
- Tell them we need a Complete Streets policy that provides incentives for jurisdictions to adopt and implement complete streets. It helps reduce traffic congestion, vehicles miles traveled, greenhouse gas emissions, makes our roads safer, and provides improved mobility for the 37% of Washington residents that do not drive.
- Tell them we want a distracted driving campaign that focuses on the recent cell phone/texting law in order to help meet the Target Zero Campaign goals.
- Tell them we want a dedicated funding source so that facilities are more likely built and planned.
As the WTP states, “Accomplishing some goals – such as zero traffic deaths by 2030 or major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – will depend more on individual action than those of the government.” As bicyclists, we are those individuals and can make those and other goals attainable. Get out there and make it happen!
Please submit comments are due by October 15, 2010.
P.O. Box 47308, Olympia, WA 98504-7308
And as always, ride your bike!
This article was posted in Complete Streets
, Safe Routes to School
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