Barb Chamberlain will head WSDOT’s new Active Transportation Division

Barb Chamberlain announces that the Bicycle Alliance of Washington would change names to WA Bikes in 2013.

Barb Chamberlain announces that the Bicycle Alliance of Washington would change names to WA Bikes in 2013.

One year after leading Washington Bikes through a merger with Cascade Bicycle Club, Barb Chamberlain is leaving the organization to become the first ever Director of WSDOT’s new Active Transportation Division.

As head of the division, Chamberlain will be tasked with “lead[ing] the integration of active transportation modes into WSDOT’s culture and provide technical services and funding assistance to public agencies in support of active transportation for health, safety and economic development,” according to the job listing.

That’s no small task! But Chamberlain has a remarkable amount of energy, and she’s able to bridge gaps between engaged residents and professional engineers, and between western and eastern Washington (she got her bike advocacy start in Spokane, and in the early 90s she was a young Idaho state legislator for the Coeur d’Alene area).

Chamberlain was picked to lead WA Bikes (then called the “Bicycle Alliance of Washington”) in 2012, succeeding Barp Culp. She helped start and organize the now-annual Washington Bike Summit, which draws everyone from professional engineers to bicycle advocates from communities big and small across the state. This year’s Summit is March 20-21 in Olympia.

Since merging WA Bikes with Cascade, Chamberlain has served as the organization’s Chief Strategic Officer.

Here’s the full statement from Cascade:

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has named Barb Chamberlain Director of the newly created Division of Active Transportation. Barb served as the Executive Director of Washington Bikes from 2012 to 2015, then became Chief Strategic Officer (CSO) when Washington Bikes and Cascade merged to form the nation’s largest statewide bike nonprofit.

Barb helped lead the orchestration of a successful merger between Cascade and Washington Bikes. As Chief Strategic Officer, she was instrumental in the development of new 5-year strategic plans for both organizations. Under her leadership as CSO, Cascade began to increase activation and engagement statewide as well as lay the groundwork for becoming a resource hub across the state.

“Barb has been instrumental in expanding our impact and our partnerships across the state of Washington, and is recognized nationally as a leader,” said Charles Ruthford, Cascade board president. “She will be sorely missed at Cascade and Washington Bikes, but we are excited about her future and appreciate her continued dedication to active transportation.”

Cascade applauds WSDOT for establishing the Division of Active Transportation, ensuring that Washington state continues to be a leader in planning and building for the future of transportation for everyone. A focus on biking and walking is critical in achieving active, sustainable transportation and improved safety across the state, and Cascade looks forward to the positive impact of this new division.

“I’m proud of all that has been accomplished during my time at Cascade and Washington Bikes,” said Barb. “I wouldn’t consider leaving if it weren’t for this incredible opportunity to set the direction of a new division from its inception. I look forward to continued collaboration with biking, walking and trail groups all across the state as partners in the future.”

Barb’s last day at Cascade and Washington Bikes will be Friday, Feb. 24. Please join us in congratulating her on this new position! 

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6 Responses to Barb Chamberlain will head WSDOT’s new Active Transportation Division

  1. MikeG says:

    This is encouraging to see. I hope WSDOT improves the level of service for non-motorized WSDOT facilities. I use a WSDOT non-motorized facility for my work commute (SR 520 bike path) and the level of attention given to this facility is poor. The pavement is damaged in several areas by tree roots (between 51st and 40th is worst). Maybe once a year they will clean the debris from the surface and trim cyclist-impaling branches and vines that are in the pathway.

    I’ve been meaning to write a blog posting about this–I was going to call it “A Tale of Two Trails” and contrast the level of care that the SRT gets from King County parks and Redmond vs. the level of care the SR520 trail gets.

    While WSDOT may built a new non-motorized facility (SR 520 west of I-405), don’t expect them to maintain it.

  2. Gary says:

    This is very encouraging! Just that WSDOT made a dept for something other than cars is a great first step. Next up, voter initiatives to direct money for “safe rides to school!”….

  3. B says:

    Hope to see some good coordination with the Ferries division. Biking is such an awesome way to ride the ferry already, and there’s some definite room for improvement.

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