Source: Washington State News 2
Barb Chamberlain, Active Transportation Division director, 360-704-6386, 509-869-2949 (mobile)
Online open house, webinars scheduled to provide overview
OLYMPIA – Every Washingtonian uses active transportation connections at some point in a trip, whether crossing the street from their parking spot to their destination, walking to a bus stop or bicycling to school or work. That is why the Washington State Department of Transportation is asking for comments on its draft of the new State Active Transportation Plan, 2020 and Beyond.
The new plan comes during a time when more people than ever are walking and bicycling – according to WSDOT’s multimodal transportation dashboard – both as alternatives to transit use and to maintain physical and mental health during the pandemic. At the same time, a preliminary assessment of crash statistics found that 2020 fatal crashes (pdf 2.95 mb) involving those vulnerable road users appear to be occurring at higher rates than the averages for 2010-2019.
“Highways in most places weren’t originally designed for people walking or cycling, so it’s no surprise we found a number of places with gaps,” said Barb Chamberlain, director of WSDOT’s active transportation division “This analysis helps us understand how the use of state routes has changed as population centers have expanded, and why they may no longer be safe for the mix of uses and people there.”
The draft plan assesses the needs for accessible pedestrian and bicyclist facilities, highlights safety concerns and provides the first-ever examination of state right of way and its suitability for active transportation. An online open house and a series of webinars will provide opportunities to learn more about the draft plan and to provide comments.
Active transportation plan online open house information
Friday, Dec. 18, to Monday, Feb. 15, 2021
Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, plan information is available to view in an online open house.
A copy of the draft active transportation plan document is available in an accessible PDF, and a link to a feedback form to collect input from Washington residents is provided. Deadline for comments is Monday, Feb. 15.
WSDOT will also host virtual events with staff providing an orientation to the draft plan document. Slides will be presented with real-time closed captioning and descriptions of visual content. Participants will be able to submit questions and comments using the chat function in the presentation software. These webinars will be recorded and available online after they’re completed.
Active transportation plan overview webinars
Participants must register to view one of the three webinars:
- Webinar 1: 6 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021
- Webinar 2: Noon 1 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021
- Webinar 3: 4 to 5 p.m., Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 (subject to cancellation based on registration numbers)
Free, temporary internet access is available to those who do not have broadband service in locations throughout the state. To find the nearest Drive-In WiFi Hotspot visit: www.commerce.wa.gov/building-infrastructure/washington-state-drive-in-wifi-hotspots-location-finder/.
The draft plan is Part 1 of a two-part plan. Part 1 covers:
- The purpose and need of the statewide active transportation plan.
- Benefits of active transportation.
- The current state of active transportation in Washington.
- Concerns and priorities gathered through public engagement.
- Broad cost estimates for changes to state right of way and local systems to improve conditions for active transportation.
Part 2 of the plan will come out in 2021 and cover relevant policy topics, performance measures associated with the plan’s goals, and next steps in developing an implementation and action plan. WSDOT staff will use comments received on Part 1, as well as past community and partner input, to help identify policy topics in Part 2.
To receive future updates specifically for the plan subscribe to the ATP E-News. For active transportation news updates including grant opportunities, webinars, and activities of WSDOT and partners subscribe to the WSDOT Walk + Roll E-News.