Planning for 2012 Legislative Agenda Underway

The Bicycle Alliance’s Legislative & Statewide Issues Committee gathered at REI corporate headquarters in Kent in late June to begin planning for the 2012 legislative session.

Nineteen individuals representing bike clubs, bike groups, and partner organizations with shared interests participated in this meeting. Cascade Bike Club, Skagit Bike Club, Tacoma Wheelmen’s Bicycle Club, and the Vancouver Bike Club, were among the clubs in attendance. Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, Foothills Rails to Trails Coalition, Transportation Choices Coalition, Washington Coalition Promoting Physical Activity also had representatives participating in the meeting. The geographic representation included Anacortes, Bremerton, Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Yakima.

The group reviewed the results of the 2011 session, then discussed possible legislative priorities for 2012. Among the potential legislative and statewide priorities that emerged were:

  • Continue to push for the passage of HB 1700, which would offer additional design standards as a complement to Complete Streets.
  • Continue to pursue the passage of HB 1217, the 20 mph bill.
  • Supporting the transportation funding package that shakes out of Transportation for Washington campaign.  The Bicycle Alliance is a member of this coalition.
  • Seek funding for the Complete Streets program that was passed in 2011.
  • Use 2011-2013 to see if there is support for a 3- to 5-feet safe passing bill (no intent to resurrect the Mutual Responsibility Bill).
  • Work on the US Bicycle Route System (USBRS) in Washington State.
  • Revise Department of Ecology’s stormwater rules that currently inhibit widening shoulders or adding bikes lanes due to the creation of additional impervious surface, ability to mitigate, and cost.

Representatives from the partner organizations briefed the committee on what their upcoming priorities were likely to be. Transportation Choices is interested in potential tolling revenue changes and promoting mileage-based insurance to reward those who drive less. Washington Coalition Promoting Physical Activity continues to be interested in Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School. They and the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition want to increase community access to physical activity through joint use agreements for facilities like schools.

Many thanks to REI for the use of their facilities and their ongoing support of bicycling and bicycle advocacy and to the individuals from around the state who serve on or participate with the committee. Additional thanks to Ralph Wessels and Brian Foley, who co-chair the committee, and to our lobbyist Michael Temple for his guidance and work on our behalf. The committee will reconvene in September to make a final decision on what priorities to move forward for 2012.

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