Mayors encourage implementation
Monday, May 13, 2013—The Wenatchee Valley Transportation Council has adopted the first regional bicycle plan for the Wenatchee and East Wenatchee Urban area. On Thursday May 9th the council approved and adopted the Greater Wenatchee Bicycle Master Plan (link: http://www.wvtc.org/bike-plan/ )by a unanimous vote of the executive council. This plan brings bicycling into the focus as a real and encouraged transportation option for the communities of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee.
East Wenatchee Mayor, Steve Lacey, said “Having this plan is something that’s going to help us—I can now take this and use it as a tool as we plan.” Lacey continued by saying “I think now it should become a tool that gets utilized and considered every time we look at our own priorities as a board.”
“I think the City of Wenatchee’s perspective is the same way,” said Wenatchee Mayor, Frank Kuntz. “I agree with the Mayor, I think these are things we can adopt and continue to do so.” Mayor Kuntz also pointed out that spending $50-$100K on bike facilities is much more reasonable than trying to spend $150 million on a third bridge across the Columbia River. “As someone who rode his bike to work the other day, this is kind of where we are headed. We’re on the front edge of it.”
The Bicycle Plan has been in the works for the last three years under the coordination and planning of Patrick Walker, Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner for the WVTC. The plan developed with help from a volunteer bicycle advisory board, has had four open house events over the last two years and was open for final review since March. “The plan has received a lot of support, and I think people are excited to have a choice about how they travel around the community,” Walker said.
The plan calls for including bicycle facilities (lanes, signage, and lane markings) on many of the region’s roadways. Some projects identify quiet neighborhood routes that will be enhanced to ensure slow vehicle movements, protection of local access, and encouragement of bicycle use. Some projects may require removal of parking or reducing lane widths to make way for the bicycle facility on busier streets.
“Not everything is going to be easy, the community will get the chance to weigh in on projects that propose significant changes in how a street may be currently used to accommodate better bicycle mobility,” Walker said. According to Walker the plan focuses on utilitarian trips of two miles or less.
The adoption of the plan coincides with the beginning of the annual Bike to Work Week event promoted and supported by the Regional Bicycle Advisory Board. The week is part of a national event that encourages folks to “ride your commute.” Details on events and activities can be found at www.wvtc.org/bike-to-work.