After a successful fight against bike-route-ruining rumble strips prompted a group of Vashon-Murray Island residents to organize and take action, the group is running with the momentum to take biking and walking safety on their island to the next level.
Bike Vashon received a $3,000 grant from King County for community outreach to develop the vision. Could this plan shake the unnecessarily dangerous road culture plaguing not only Vashon, but also other Washington island communities? It’s too early to say. But Vashon has the kind of momentum to create a vision for island roads that value biking and walking more than they value speeding.
As residents know better than anyone, Washington’s islands are magical, beautiful places. But the unnecessary danger of speeding cars makes biking and walking uncomfortable and uninviting for many residents and visitors. The islands do not need to be this way. I am eager to see where the Vashon-Murray Island community goes with this opportunity.
The purpose of the grant, from our original proposal:
Funds are being requested to help launch Phase One of the Vashon Bike and Walk Initiative (VBWI) that will engage the Vashon community to conceptualize and promote the vision of a bicyclist/pedestrian friendly island. The project will also seek to enact several walking and cycling priorities that have been incorporated in the following plans:
· Vashon-Maury Island Community Service Area Work Plan –2012 – 2013
· The King County Five Year Strategic Plan
· The Vashon Town Plan of 1996
· The King County Comprehensive Plan and its subarea plans as amended in 2007
The outcome will make Vashon a place that can accommodate all road users while encouraging safe alternatives to car travel. By being recognized as a safe and attractive place to bike and walk, Vashon will promote healthy living while gaining recognition as a destination for healthy recreation, resulting in a benefit to the local economy.
VBWI will be structured to maximize community input, community engagement, implementation and feedback. Funding is requested to hire a consultant who will help with convening and engaging stakeholders from the community at large, the business community and government representatives. The consultant will staff a steering committee charged with developing an outreach and education strategy to inform islanders and promote cycling and walking and to help develop outreach items such as brochures, flyers and maps and through websites and social media. Ultimately Vashon will seek national recognition as a Bicycle and Walk Friendly community through national certification programs.
The key objectives from the proposal are to:
OBJECTIVE 1. Develop a framework for community and government participation that is broadly inclusive in developing the vision of a cycling and pedestrian friendly island, that relies on volunteer efforts and that maximizes the use of local knowledge and resources in carrying out this vision.
2. Identify cycling and pedestrian assets as well as perceived and tangible barriers
3. Conduct assessments:
The League of American Bicyclists assessment for Bicycle Friendly communities and the Walk Friendly Communities’ national recognition program survey
4. Establish a list and rank short-term and long term cycling priorities based on local surveys and needs identified in the Bicycle Friendly and Walk Friendly assessments
Congratulations to Ken and other members of the team that helped envision and apply for this grant!