Infrastructure Investments that Matter – Bike/Pedestrian Access & Safety through Complete Street Investment
The pandemic uncovered a truth that many planners and engineers have been advocating for years: biking and walking modes of transportation need to be planned for and funded at the state and local levels to allow people to safely get outside for exercise and adventure via alternative modes of transport. Fortunately, Washington State has begun the process to address this need.
In 2021, Washington adopted a Bike and Pedestrian Plan, and its Complete Streets Policy requires that roadways are planned, designed, and operated for the safety of all people including bikers and walkers. Since 2005, WSDOT has awarded $115.6M for 208 pedestrian and bicycle projects.
There are compelling arguments for the economics of investment into biking and pedestrian infrastructure. A national economic impact study found that the nation’s 60 million annual recreational bicyclists spend $46.9B on meals, transportation, lodging, gifts, and entertainment. Washington has a Bicycle Friendly State Rank of #3 according to the League of American Bicycles with 19 bicycle friendly communities, 47 bicycle friendly businesses and 3 bicycle friendly universities.
AHBL has been engaged with providing design work for complete streets since 2009. The Washington State’s Complete Streets bill states that, “main streets should be designed to provide safe access to all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists, public transportation users and truck drivers.” Complete streets policies cover both rural and urban landscapes so when our engineers design streets in cities, they may add a bike/transit lane but in on a rural road, they may design sidewalks and wider shoulders for safer walking.
As part of WSDOT’s Pedestrian and Bicyclist Program and Safe Routes to Schools Program for 2021-2023, they received 107 Pedestrian and Bicycle project applications from 74 agencies and organizations totaling approximately $91M, and 125 Safe Routes to School project applications from 87 agencies and organizations totaling approximately $99M. These programs will increase the safe mobility of individuals throughout Washington and prove that preemptive transportation planning yields many benefits and save lives by separating vehicular traffic. AHBL is excited to continue providing services in the K-12 space and participating in safe routes for schools’ projects to increase safety for students, teachers, and parents.
- Washington's Complete Streets and Main Street Highways Program: Case Studies and Practice Resource
- About the League | League of American Bicyclists (bikeleague.org)
- LAB_APHN-Fact-Sheets_Washington.pdf (bikeleague.org)
- Pedestrian and Bicyclist Program and Safe Routes to Schools Program, 21-23 (wa.gov)
- 8 Reasons Your Community Should Invest in Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure (sehinc.com)