Washington is full of scenic places to bike, so it won’t be hard to identify a network of amazing routes to promote as part of the proposed Scenic Bikeways program that just passed the House 96-1.
Oregon has long has a scenic bikeways program, and they have successfully used the program to promote bicycle tourism all over the state. This supports local economies and encourages more people to try a bike adventure.
The HB 2587 is now sitting in the Senate Transportation Committee. It needs to pass out of the committee, pass the full Senate and then resolve any differences before going to the governor’s desk for a signature. Washington Bikes is advocating for the program this short legislative session, and they provided a little background in a recent blog post:
Broadly, Scenic Bikeways are official state designated routes that showcase incredible scenery. Washington Bikes testified before the Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee in support of HB 2587 Jan. 31. This legislation is prime-sponsored by Rep. Alex Ramel, the newly appointed House member from the 40th legislative district. Ramel testified in support of the bill, “The scenic bikeways program supports rural communities, small business, healthy exercise, and low-carbon recreation.” The bill requires the Parks and Recreation Commission to establish a scenic bikeways program for the designation and promotion of bicycle routes of notable scenic, recreational, cultural, or historic value.
How the Scenic Bikeways program would work:
- Any person may propose the designation of a scenic bikeway route. The State Parks Commission will provide an opportunity for public comment on the proposed scenic bike route before determining a scenic bikeways designation.
- The Parks Commission will review, approve, and locate routes in ways that encourage local economic development in proximity to the route. The Commission must prioritize designating scenic bikeways that will add variety to the geographic location, topography, route length, and difficulty, as well as cultural, historic, scenic, and recreational value of the scenic bikeway system or that will complete existing bicycling networks
- The Commission must review proposed scenic bikeways in consultation with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and confirm that the proposed route meets the criteria as well as being a comfortable and logical route of travel for a person bicycling.
We can designate roads like highway 20 as a scenic bikeway all we want. Scenic it is. Unfortunately, it won’t make it any safer to ride them.
I’m concerned about safety, too. Still, I see nothing problematic about it. The intention seems to mainly oriented around advancing bike tourism, and we know that safety and other good things follow increased bike traffic.
I just got tagged with a $75 “Vehicle electrification fee” to license my Prius, a hybrid which will never use the charging stations I hope this bicycle route will not incur some fee on bicycles/bicycle parts to cover the expense. If that is the case I give it two thumbs down.
It does not.