The Neighborhood Safe Speeds Bill (HB 1217) passed the state House 96-0, giving it a huge amount of momentum heading into the Senate. Last year, the bill died in the Senate’s Transportation Committee, but advocates and lawmakers have placed added emphasis on the low-controversy, no-cost safe streets bill this year.
From the Bicycle Alliance of Washington:
Today, the Washington State House of Representatives passed the Neighborhood Safe Speeds Bill (SHB1217) unanimously.
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The bill’s unanimous bipartisan support is mirrored by its backing from over 20 organizations, boards, and cities from across the state, including the Washington State PTA, AARP-Washington, as well as the cities of Spokane, Bellingham, Seattle and, Kirkland.
The Neighborhood Safe Speeds Bill makes safer streets and neighborhoods by allowing cities and towns the authority to set speed limits to 20 miles per hour on non-arterial streets. It does not mandate any change, it simply provides cities and towns the authority to do so.
“Communities are asking lawmakers to give them more cost-saving tools and local options instead of mandates,” says, prime sponsor, Representative Cindy Ryu (D-32). “This bill will help. It removes an expensive state mandate that deters communities from lowering speed limits on non-arterial roads even when they recognize that lower speeds would make people safer or promote local businesses and jobs.”
HB 1217 joins HB 1700 in the Senate wait list. HB 1700, which would expand the tools available for creating and maintaining complete streets, passed the House January 23 by a significant majority of 63-32. That bill could save tons of money by giving engineers more options for dealing with unique design conditions (more on 1700 coming in a future post).
UPDATE: If you want to help get these bills moving, join a whole gaggle of transportation-loving citizens for Transportation Advocacy Day tomorrow (January 31) in Olympia. Register with Transportation Choices Coalition online.
They need bodies in Olympia arguing for road safety and for preserving bicycling, walking and transit funding. So if you can, make the trip!