The League of American Bicyclists have named four new Bicycle Friendly Communities in Washington State: Bellevue, Ellensburg, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Port Angeles/Clallam County. Tacoma keeps its bronze rating.
Ellensburg (PDF) skips right over bronze and enters the listings at silver. With the highest bike commute rate in the state, that’s not a huge surprise. But the League suggests getting Central Washington University to step up its game in promoting cycling in this bike-loving small town.
Bellevue (PDF) squeaks into bronze despite getting 1/10 points for “Education” and 2/10 points for “Enforcement” of safety and “protecting bicyclists’ rights.” But there are some encouraging changes happening in Bellevue. Stay tuned for more on that.
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe (PDF) on the Olympic Peninsula has become the first tribe to get a Bicycle Friendly Community designation. The tribe hosts a summer bike camp for young riders and has been working to develop the Olympic Discovery Trail on their land.
Port Angeles and Clallam County (PDF) entered as one bronze-level community. The Olympic Discover Trail continues to grow, and Port Angeles has solid bike lane access to its commercial core. The League suggests continuing its bike network and growing programming for residents interested in cycling.
Tacoma (PDF) was up for renewal and kept its bronze rating. Tacoma really needs to step up its bike lane game, especially on high-speed arterials. The city also needs to up its bicycle education efforts at schools, says the League.
More details on the new rankings, from WA Bikes:
Ellensburg has the highest bicycle mode share (5 percent) of any Washington community. Its small town flavor, miles of scenic backroads, and the John Wayne Trail have sparked an interest for bicycle travel and tourism.
Bellevue is busy working on significant bicycle infrastructure improvements, including the addition of bike lanes to West Lake Sammamish Parkway and missing connections to the SR 520 corridor, and the installation of bike counters.
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is the first tribe to earn a BFC designation. Much of their bicycle work has been focused on the development of the Olympic Discovery Trail across tribal land. The tribe also hosts a summer Bike Camp, a week-long day camp aimed at giving young riders basic bike handling and safety skills and riding opportunities.
Port Angeles/Clallam County, with active bike and trail advocacy groups, is making great strides to complete their portion of the Olympic Discovery Trail and call out their region as a bicycle travel destination. Over half of all schools offer bicycle education to students, making use of the Safe Routes to School bike/walk safety education program developed by Washington Bikes.
Tacoma opened 13 miles of bikeway in 2014 and continues to implement projects identified in its Mobility Master Plan. The city has a diverse and active bike community, which includes monthly Kidical Mass rides and a community bike shop.
S’Klallam is worthy. If you haven’t ridden the Olympic Discovery Trail starting out in S’Klallam, you’re missing out IMHO.
Any idea if overnight parking is available in Blyn for trail users? Thinking of biking out of Blyn, overnighting in Port Angeles to visit family, and riding back to Blyn the next day.
Bellevue gets an award ? What a joke. Even looking at the PDF for Bellevue you can see the biking infrastructure is pathetic. Having escaped from there I can go on for hours about the problems:
* Although there are a number of lower traffic and slower streets, they do not form a comprehensive network to get around the city. At some point you always need to go on a heavily trafficked road with a speed limit of 35 and an actual speed of 40++. Try planning a trip from anywhere to downtown.
* Bike lanes on west lake Sammamish parkway ? Yeah, right. Residents have been fighting this successfully for over 20 years. The bike plan may say something but if a vocal minority of residents disagree then the city throws the bike riders under the bus. Sometime literally. 140th ave north of NE 8th street is another case where it is unsafe to ride but residents have blocked improvements.
* The local drivers see bicycles as an annoyance at best. It doesn’t help that they are probably the worst in the state.
* My biggest rant is the connection to the lake to lake trail at factoria. You’ve got a bike lane going down the hill which extends to the light. Crossing the street to get to the bike path is very dangerous. The curb cuts to enter the trail are parallel the streets. It is dangerous to use the one facing you since you need to veer into the traffic lane making left turns so you get up the curb. I would be happy to use the curb cut going 90 degrees in the other direction but the traffic leaving 405 is ALWAYS in the crosswalk and blocking it. Or when the lead car isn’t blocking it, it is creeping up into the crosswalk and on top of my bike. I am amazed no one has been killed there.
Ha! Bellevue – a bike friendly community… pull the other one.
Bellevue is about as hostile to bicyclists as it is possible to be without banning bikes totally. There isn’t a single foot of bike lane in the whole of downtown Bellevue, despite the roads being 8 or 9 lanes wide. Suburban Bellevue isn’t much better, with a handful of very narrow bike lanes on busy 40mph roads that tend to just disappear randomly, and that do not connect with each other.
Giving this award to Bellevue on the basis of the 520 trail is about as ridiculous as giving it to Lake Forest Park on the basis of the Burke-Gilman would be.
I have to agree – if Bellevue is a bike friendly community, I can’t imagine what a city would have to do to be bike UN-friendly. Offer a bounty for running over people on bikes? Good grief.
Your all correct about Bellvue being a sucish bike city. What about Seattle? In Seattle there is far more bicycle infrastructure and more coming, more respectful drivers. I know of plenty of better places to bicycle ride then Bellvue. If we ever want to become a true bicycle nation like other countries, we have a really long way to go. Some cases in other countries I have heard, that in parking lots the ratio for bicycles and cars is 10 to 1!! Every one car, there is 9 bicycles and in some cases no cars and pluss have bicycle highways. Maybe we should start working toward other countries as far as bicycle riding. I’m not saying ban cars, but give people options.
Yeah, including Bellevue in that list makes the list not credible. To award them a “cycling friendly community” is laughable, at best.
I mean, maybe there are worse places around Puget Sound to bike… although none come to mind just now…
Bellevue’s lack of infrastructure and general lack of cycling awareness is stunning.