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State Active Transportation Plan releases draft Part 2; comments open

Washington residents are invited to comment on the next phase of the state active transportation plan through an online open house. 

The Washington State Department of Transportation published Part 1 (pdf 12MB) in May 2021 and has released a draft of additional chapters in Part 2 for public review and comment. 

These chapters provide a brief recap of the work completed and highlight the performance metrics and strategies needed to move forward. 

The plan includes forecasting many of the issues facing the state.

“We analyzed state highway routes in our needs assessment because they now serve as local streets as population centers have expanded. In the past we haven’t had the data to describe the critical characteristics of these highway segments,” said Barb Chamberlain, director of WSDOT’s Active Transportation Division. “We’re now laying out the strategies needed to address the effects of having that mix of uses interacting. We’re especially focused on safety, because decreasing the chance of a serious or fatal crash benefits everyone using the system, not just those who are walking or rolling and are more exposed to the consequences.”

Plan highlights;

  • Addresses factors most often associated with traffic related fatalities and serious injuries such as higher driving speeds and roadway crossing issues.
  • Considers ways to correct for the effects of past infrastructure decisions on active transportation safety and mobility, particularly in places where those decisions affected transportation access and health. 
  • Provides a first-ever needs assessment of the state system for active transportation use.
  • Gives a cost estimate for walk and bike improvements on the state highway in population centers.
  • Introduces the concept of a statewide bikeways and trails network.
  • Uses “level of traffic stress” as a quantitative tool to evaluate the state system with a focus on state routes in population centers and how they affect people’s ability to use active transportation.
  • Introduces the concept of planning with route directness as a focus as described in WSDOT’s Multimodal Permeability Pilot (PDF 1.9MB)

The new phase of the plan comes during a time when motor vehicle crashes resulting in the deaths of people walking or bicycling are occurring at a higher rate than the averages for 2010-2019.

These fatal crashes made up 22% of all traffic deaths in the state in 2020. Early in the pandemic walking and bicycling soared, and WSDOT’s multimodal transportation dashboard continues to show higher use of active transportation than in 2019.

 

An online open house and a series of webinars have been scheduled to provide opportunities to learn more about the draft of Part 2 and to provide comments.

Active Transportation Plan online open house information

When:             Monday, Sept. 13, to midnight Friday, Oct. 29

Where:           Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, plan information is available to view in an online open house.

Details:           A copy of the draft active transportation plan is available at the online open house in an accessible pdf, and a link to a feedback form is provided. 

The deadline for comments is Friday, Oct. 29.

WSDOT will also host virtual events 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. Accommodation requests for people with disabilities can be made by contacting the WSDOT Diversity/ADA Affairs team at [email protected] or by calling toll-free, 855-362-4ADA (4232). Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing may make a request by calling the Washington State Relay at 711.

Active transportation plan overview webinars Participants must register to view one of the three webinars or to access the link to a recording once the webinar is done:

  • Webinar 1: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 22
  • Webinar 2: Noon to 1 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23
  • Webinar 3: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 12

Free, temporary internet access is available to those who do not have broadband service in locations throughout the state. To find the nearest WiFi Hotspot (including parking lot hotspots as well as some indoor locations) visit: www.commerce.wa.gov/building-infrastructure/washington-state-drive-in-wifi-hotspots-location-finder/

Additional information about the Active Transportation Plan

Part 1 provided an assessment of the needs for accessible pedestrian and bicyclist facilities, highlighted safety concerns, and provided the first-ever examination of state right of way and its suitability for active transportation. The performance metrics strategy discussion in the Part 2 draft support implementation of the recommendations identified in Part 1.

To move this plan forward WSDOT will review and consider comments received during the public review, combine Part 1 and Part 2, and publish them as one plan called the Active Transportation Plan, 2020 and Beyond. The agency will then develop an internal implementation plan and work with partners to coordinate on actions that involve multiple agencies.


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