After a great trip to Wenatchee last week and hearing what local bike advocates are focusing on, I wanted to share the work of Washington Bikes in north central Washington the past 2-3 years. Our route to better bicycling all over the state relies on (at least) 3 things:
- the day-to-day efforts of people who live and bike in their community every day
- the priorities identified by local advocacy organizations where those exist and by local transportation planners
- our role as the state organization helping amplify these local voices and share great projects and ideas from town to town.
What we’ve done the past few years in north central Washington* that adds to the tally from local efforts:
Washington Bikes to School
Around 2,300 middle-school students have learned to ride with confidence thanks to our bike/walk safety curriculum in Brewster, Bridgeport, Moses Lake, Omak, Pateros, Quincy, and Wahluke school districts.
Washington Bikes and Walks More Places
In the 2013 legislative session local projects received $5,384,545 in state investments we worked for that all mean more comfortable and connected miles you can ride:
- Quincy Valley K-7 path
- Brewster’s Ferry Street safety improvements
- Okanagan and Red Apple Road pedestrians enhancements in Wenatchee
- Susie Stephens Trail Phase 2 in Winthrop
- Rocky Reach Trail connection to Wenatchee’s Apple Capital Loop Trail extension
- Omak Complete Streets project
Working with Local Leaders So That Washington Bikes
- In 2012 we brought a workshop on Growing Biking and Walking in Your Community to Wenatchee, drawing people from a wide region interested in creating more comfortable conditions for people biking and walking to share the streets with all modes.
- Our route coordination for USBR10 in 2013 took us to meetings with transportation planners and officials in Okanogan County.
- We met with a number of local advocates in Wenatchee in 2013 and supported their efforts to turn people out on behalf of the bike master plan update that was subsequently adopted by the Wenatchee Valley Council of Governments. (Change takes time and we’re in it for the long haul; we published a blog post in March 2011 seeking input for the plan.)
- We talked with the publisher and editor of the Wenatchee World about the economic value of bicycling—a message that showed up in editorials in support of the plan, and we sure love that they both ride so they really get the view from the saddle.
- We rallied people from throughout the region to testify on behalf of bicycling and walking investments at the Senate Transportation Listening Session held in Wenatchee Sept. 23, 2013.
- We came back in 2014 to meet again for an update on local projects and to look for opportunities to partner in new initiatives.
Washington Bikes For Travel
In spring 2014 we brought out Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Tours in Washington. The first guide book to multi-day bike tours in Washington state to be published in over a decade, the book includes two tours that traverse north central Washington and great tips for developing your own routes:
- The Okanogan: Overlooked Northern Reaches. Towns: Tonasket, Loomis, Oroville, Chesaw, Curlew, Republic, Wauconda.
- Epic Washington: North Cascades Highway to the Methow Valley (traversing part of USBR 10). Towns: Mount Vernon, Concrete, Rockport, Marblemount, Mazama, Winthrop, Twisp, Carlton, Methow, Pateros, Chelan, Entiat, Wenatchee.
We have similar lists for other regions of the state; watch for those posts in days to come to get an understanding of just how much goes on all around the #1 Bicycle Friendly State.
*Where’s North Central Washington? We’re using the Washington State Dept. of Transportation North Central Region map. Communities define their region in various ways and the boundaries vary from person to person.