At Cascade Bicycle Club, we’re proud to have a pro-bike agenda! With your help, we’ll ride that agenda straight to the Washington state legislature.
What is our agenda for the 2013 session of the state Legislature?
1. If they plan to spend billions of dollars on massive new highways, they should invest at least a few million in making it safer to bicycle, in order to serve the millions of Washingtonians who want to get around by bike.
2. They should let local communities set safer speed limits on neighborhood streets without bureaucratic red tape.
3. When our state and local governments make transportation plans, they should encourage healthier ways to get around – like bicycling!
As you might expect, it’s mainly about money. So, how much money are we talking about?
Well, the state transportation budget will be about $9 billion. That’s “billion,” with a B. To put it another way, $9,000 million. Our request: $80 million go to three efforts that help make it safer to bike and walk, known as Safe Routes to School grants, Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety grants and Complete Streets grants. That’s less than one percent of the transportation budget dedicated to making it safer to bike and walk to get where you need to go. While it may seem like a pittance or a mere rounding error, it’s significantly more than we’re spending today.
In addition, powerful corporations who prefer a roads-only approach are lobbying our representatives to raise taxes by about $10 billion to pay for more transportation projects, including some long overdue road safety repairs, but also some massive, extremely costly highway expansions. We’ll be working to limit the irresponsible and wasteful mega-road projects so we can focus on fixing our existing roads first, and also pushing for $150 million a year for long overdue bicycling and walking improvements.
Meanwhile, the Safe Neighborhood Streets Bill would allow local governments to reduce speed limits on non-arterial streets to 20 miles per hour, without a lot of bureaucratic hassle and red tape.
And the Health in Transportation Goals Bill would make sure government planners consider health as one of the goals of our transportation system, encouraging biking and walking. Both of these bills were approved in the House of Representatives last year, but never brought to a vote in the Senate.
It’s not much to ask. But it would be a significant change from the status quo.
Under the status quo, we spend too much money on new highways we don’t need and can’t afford while our streets crumble and we do next to nothing to make it safer to bike and walk. Under the status quo, it’s often not safe for our kids to bike or walk to school. Under the status quo, millions of Washingtonians who want to bike more often don’t do it because they don’t feel safe.
The political status quo only changes when citizens stand up and make it change. You can make it change: Tell your representatives to support a pro-bicycle agenda in the state Legislature.