Seattle news site Publicola reports that Seattle Children’s Hospital has stepped up with a $2 million investment for biking and walking infrastructure. Here’s a blurb from the Publicola story:
“Children’s plans to spend around $4 million over the next 20 years improving Northeast Seattle’s walkability, bikeability, and drivability as part of the hospital’s expansion and its Comprehensive Transportation Plan. The hospital will invest $2 million on bike and pedestrian improvements around the Ravenna and Sand Point neighborhoods, $1.4 million on general capital investments “in line with Seattle’s priorities,” and $500,000 on intelligent transportation systems (essentially “smart” signals that improve traffic flow and predict congestion).”
And here’s how the hospital’s transportation director says they justify the cost:
“… we see this as furthering our health care mission as well. Providing young people with safe places to walk and bike allows them to be active and helps combat obesity. Alternative transportation reduces congestion and pollution which is linked to health problems…”
Here in Portland we’ve got several major hospitals that are bike-oriented in various ways.
(Photo © J. Maus)
Kaiser Permanente has made cycling a major part of their “Thrive” marketing campaigns (even running a bike-centric commercial during the 2008 Olympics). Dr. Philip Wu with Kaiser sits on Metro’s Executive Committee on Active Transportation and was a keynote speaker at the Oregon Bike Summit.
Providence Hospital (which happens to be adjacent to the future Sullivan’s Gulch Trail along I-84) has been recognized as a “Bike Friendly Business” by the League of American Bicyclists. Providence also has an official Volunteer Bicycle Coordinator position which is filled by 2006 BTA Alice Award winner Darren Pennington (Darren also tells me Providence is hosting the 50s Bikeway Project Citizens Advisory Committee meetings).
We’ve got a major funding gap for active transportation and wrestling away money through the DOT and legislative measures will be a bruising and drawn out battle. Perhaps it’s time to seek more private investments to help build our bike network. We have the hospitals and the relationships ready to go. Let’s make it happen!