Vancouver residents, speak up for bicycling at Washington State Senate listening sessions

If you think projects like this new buffered bike lane in
Vancouver are the right direction for Washington,
it’s time to make your voice heard.
(Photo: Dan Packard)

Do you like the new buffered bike lanes along MacArthur in Vancouver? Want a multi-use path out to Vancouver Lake? How about a 33 mile trail through the county near Battle Ground? Face dangerous conditions biking to work or can’t find a safe way to get around your neighborhood? Worried that your kid may be injured biking to school?

Residents of SW Washington will have a chance next week to tell legislators that we want and need more bicycle and pedestrian facilities in our communities and that they should be part of a statewide transportation package.

The State Senate Transportation Committee is holding ‘listening sessions’ around the state and will be in Vancouver Monday, October 7, 6-9 pm at the Department of Transportation Southwest Region Office (11018 Northeast 51st Circle). The hearing was originally scheduled to be held at the main library, but so many people have attended previous sessions — almost 400 people showed up in Bellingham — the location was changed to a larger facility.

“You need to speak up for smart, healthy, cost-effective transportation networks that mean safety and jobs for all of us,” reads a statement on the Bicycle Alliance of Washington’s website. “Now is our time to let them know that Washingtonians want a balanced transportation package that invests in safer streets for our schools, and that investments in walking and biking provide cost-effective and common sense solutions to congestion, improving safety for people who drive, walk, bike, and take transit.”

It will likely be crowded, so if you plan to attend, show up early (especially if you want to speak). Speakers will likely have two or three minutes to talk. Bring your personal stories about bike or walking experiences, both good and not so good, and how better infrastructure would help. And as a bonus for attending: Bike Clark County will be handing out their cool t-shirts!

Those unable to attend the session can submit comments online.

— Read more from our Vancouver, Washington correspondent Madeleine von Laue in the archives.

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Paul in the 'couve
Paul in the 'couve
10 years ago

Thanks for publicizing this!

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
10 years ago

Too bad they moved the location…the WSDOT location is so poorly located for transit, waking or cycling…only drivers like it.

Ted Buehler
10 years ago
Reply to  Todd Boulanger

Standard procedure, isn’t it?

Last month, the hearing for a bike/walk trail from Banks to Tillamook was held in Banks, and dominated by hunters, rather than Portland, where the vast majority of potential trail users live.

In ’08 – ’10 all of the ODOT CRC hearings were held at the Expo Center on Hayden Island, a place extremely difficult to get to by anyone in Portland that doesn’t drive a car.

Apparently the guidelines for locating public hearings to not include anything like “walkers, bicyclists and transit users should be able to attend the hearing without excessively long travel times relative to car drivers.”

Ted Buehler
10 years ago

Madeleine and Todd —

Any suggestions on how out-of-staters can frame their comments?

How about:

* “I live in Oregon, but shop and recreate regularly in Washington, these are my concerns…”

* “I lived, paid taxes and voted in Washington from 2008 – 2009, I now visit regularly, these are my concerns…”

Anything else to put in there to add legitimacy to the comments?

(and Madeleine — thanks for including the written comment link)

Ted Buehler

Kristi Finney
10 years ago

I signed up several weeks ago. Now to prepare…

Barb Chamberlain (@barbchamberlain)

Thanks for the post, Madeleine!

For those from Portland who are thinking of commenting, I’d suggest part of your message be to the effect that your Oregon dollars spend just fine in Washington but we only get them with the right infrastructure investments. Money talks.

The parallel Vancouverite message can be that Washington will stop leaking money into Oregon by keeping our bike tourists, high-tech workers, and others who care about the quality of our bike networks.

It’s really important for them to hear Washington voters saying to Washington elected officials that you’re willing to pay taxes for the right kind of investments.

The public opinion poll done in January 2013 was quite clear; if this ends up going to the voters it can ONLY have a chance of passage if it includes bike/walk/transit. If it’s roads only, it fails at the ballot box; voters recognize we need to maintain the roads we already have before building ones we can’t afford and the old ways of thinking about what constitutes transportation aren’t good enough. We’re essential to the broad coalition it will take to pass this.

Some of the pundits speculated that people interested in bicycling would only show up at the Bellevue and Seattle hearings, to which I say HA!

Amy H
Amy H
10 years ago

There were a lot of bicycle / pedestrian infrastructure supporters there tonight and many spoke. Way to represent! This article helped get the word out.

Alan 1.0
Alan 1.0
10 years ago

80% booooring, 20% edge-of-the-chair.

Anyone who says that TriMet’s financial and management woes are not a factor in many Vancouverites take on light rail was most definitely not at this hearing.

I learned that VBC is the largest bike club between Seattle and San Francisco! I especially liked when some guy asked the legislative panel who had ridden their bike this week and got a couple raised hands.

If altruism, beliefs and passion are a driving force to speak out publicly, lining one’s pockets is almost as strong a force, if the examples of several testifiers are representative.

Public knowledge of how our roads are funded is incredibly lacking (but I knew that already).

The CRC is a giant government conspiracy to force people out of their cars. Well, that’s what one person said, anyway.

Other testifiers really know their stuff, like this guy who also submitted written testimony similar but more refined than in that pdf link.

Thanks very much for publishing that piece, Jonathan, and for writing it and testifying, Madeleine.