Help wanted: State seeks volunteers to count people who bike and walk
- Written by Ann Briggs, WSDOT
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Statewide partnership preparing for annual count Sept. 26-28
OLYMPIA – The number of people who choose to walk or ride bicycles as their mode of transportation is increasing in Washington each year. Just how many? Here is an opportunity to help the state find out. Volunteer registration is now open for anyone who wants to help count the number of people who walk or ride bicycles to their destinations during a three-day survey starting Tuesday, Sept. 26.
Volunteer support is vital to the success of this project, and about 400 people are needed for the count. In 2016, volunteers tallied more than 78,000 people biking and walking in communities across Washington.
For this ninth annual survey, the Washington State Department of Transportation and Cascade Bicycle Club are partnering with FeetFirst, Washington Bikes and Futurewise to help count the number of people bicycling and walking Tuesday, Sept. 26, through Thursday, Sept. 28.
“Data from this survey help state and local governments plan and evaluate improved connections for Washingtonians who walk and bike, in a similar way we plan for other modes of travel,” said Active Transportation Division Director Barb Chamberlain. “Volunteers make the collection process possible – we couldn’t do this work without them.”
This volunteer effort makes sure that people who bike and walk are counted as essential users of the transportation system. Data collected during the count is used by state and local agencies to estimate demand; measure the benefit of bicycle and pedestrian project investments; and improve policies, project designs and funding opportunities.
In addition to the annual count, WSDOT, Cascade Bicycle Club, and local agencies are partnering to install permanent counters at locations around the state. To see data from both data collection programs, visit the WSDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Portal.
To sign-up to volunteer, visit bikepedcount.wsdot.wa.gov
WSDOT and the Cascade Bicycle Club are asking volunteers from across the state to perform the counts in nearly 60 communities including Anacortes, Bainbridge Island, Battle Ground, Bayview, Bellevue, Bellingham, Bothell, Bremerton, Burien, Burlington, Concrete, Ellensburg, Everett, Federal Way, Ferndale, Gig Harbor, Issaquah, Kelso, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, La Conner, Lake Forest Park, Lakewood, Longview, Lyman, Lynden, Mercer Island, Milton, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrace, Oak Harbor, Olympia, Orting, Parkland, Pasco, Pullman, Puyallup, Renton, Richland, Seattle, Sedro-Woolley, Shoreline, Skagit County, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Spokane Valley, Sumner, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Reservation, Tacoma, Tukwila, University Place, Vancouver, Vashon Island, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima.
WSDOT’s count is part of the National Documentation Project, an annual bicycle and pedestrian count and survey effort sponsored by the Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian and Bicycle Council. The count will also help measure WSDOT’s progress toward the goal of increasing bicycling and walking to reduce the number of vehicle miles driven.
Transportation commission sets new ferry fares, makes changes to original proposal
- Written by Reema Griffith, WSTC executive director
- Hits: 280
SEATTLE – After hearing from ferry riders during local community meetings, reviewing hundreds of emails, and gathering input from key stakeholder groups, the Washington State Transportation Commission took final action today (Wednesday, July 26) on ferry fare increases that will be implemented over the next two years. The commission made changes to its original proposal in response to public input, which resulted in benefits to passengers and bicyclists.
The commission is required to ensure ferry fares generate $381 million in operating revenue between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2019, as required in the recently passed two-year state transportation budget for Washington State Ferry operations. The commission’s fare proposal accomplished that but increases to passenger fares and bicycles with trailers generated the most concern from the public. In response to those concerns, the commission reduced the passenger fare increase in 2017 from 2.5 percent, to 2.1percent. It also applied a fare increase to bikes towing a kayak or canoe; this does not change the fare for bicyclists towing other types of trailers.
The final ferry fare adjustments adopted by the commission will take effect as follows:
- October 1, 2017
- 2.9 percent fare increase for small and standard sized vehicles
- 0.8 percent to 1.8 percent fare increase for oversized vehicles (22 feet and longer), depending on vehicle size
- 2.1 percent fare increase for passengers
- Passengers who bring bicycles towing kayaks or canoes will pay the motorcycle/ stowage fare. All other bicyclists towing items other than a kayak or canoe would continue to pay the same fare as today (bicycle surcharge plus the passenger fare).
- October 1, 2018
- 2.5 percent fare increase for small and standard sized vehicles
- No fare increase for oversized vehicles (22 feet and longer)
- 2.1 percent fare increase for passengers
- School Group passengers fare will increase from $1 per group for a one-way trip to $5 per group for a one-way trip
For more information on the commission, and its ferry fare proposal and fare setting process, please visit the transportation commission’s web site: www.wstc.wa.gov
State, federal grants awarded to improve public transportation across state
- Written by Jef Lucero, WSDOT Communications
- Hits: 199
OLYMPIA – Approximately $230 million in newly awarded state and federal grants will help more than 80 public-transportation agencies provide better connectivity, sustained service, new buses and other mobility improvements to people in every county of Washington state.
Once the Legislature passed the 2017–2019 budget, the Washington State Department of Transportation notified the grant recipients that they could begin utilizing their funds. These grant programs allow public-transportation providers to improve services to people with special needs, seniors, veterans and the general public in their communities.
“It is so important that all citizens have the opportunity to remain active and connect with their communities. No matter their age, income or physical ability, access to reliable transportation makes that possible,” said WSDOT Public Transportation Division Director Brian Lagerberg. “These grants give local providers the ability to serve the people who need transportation options the most.”
A wide range of transportation providers received funding for a variety of projects and services. Some of the grant recipients from around the state:
- San Juan County: $120,000 to offer transportation vouchers for people with special needs.
- Central Transit: $464,529 to expand services to the general public in Ellensburg.
- Grays Harbor Transit: $2,085,120 to replace some of its fleet of 35-foot-long buses.
- Lummi Nation: $586,945 to sustain transit operations between the Lummi reservation and Ferndale.
- People for People: $2,509,918 to sustain services for persons with special needs and the general public in rural communities in Yakima County.
- Intercity Transit: $885,000 to replace 40 vanpool vehicles.
- King County Metro: $1,626,587 to increase service between Renton and Seattle.
- Spokane Transit: $3,925,000 for high-performance transit improvements and park and ride construction.
WSDOT’s Public Transportation Division administers state and federal grant awards for transit agencies and other service providers across the state. These grants improve public transportation within and between rural communities, provide transportation services between cities, purchase new buses and other equipment, and provide public-transportation services for the elderly and persons with disabilities.
Thousands of riders on the road for STP bike ride, July 15 and 16
- Written by Barbara LaBoe, WSDOT
- Hits: 166
OLYMPIA – Drivers should plan for extra travel time Saturday, July 15, and Sunday, July 16, as 10,000 cyclists ride western Washington’s state highways and local roads for the 2017 Kaiser Permanente Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic.
WSDOT asks motorists to observe the rules of the road for safe driving around people on bikes and prepare for travel delays during the popular fundraiser ride. As state driving laws periodically change, drivers may want to review the state driver’s guide and the driving among bicyclists section.
The STP route follows state highways and local roads in these areas:
- State Route 181 – West Valley Highway in Kent
- Puyallup area county roads and city streets
- SR 7 - near Spanaway
- SR 507 – Roy to Centralia
- SR 507 and 3rd Street – Yelm
- SR 507 and Mossman Street – Yelm
- Centralia and Chehalis city streets
- County roads from Napavine to Winlock to Vader
- SR 506 – Vader area
- Westside Highway (becomes SR 411) Vader to Castle Rock area
- SR 411 (also known as Westside Highway) - Castle Rock to Longview
- SR 432 - Longview Industrial area
- SR 433 - Crossing Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon
Based on previous STP rides, congestion and delays are expected:
- Early morning Saturday, July 15, on SR 7 in Pierce County
- Midmorning to afternoon, Saturday, July 15, on SR 507 in Thurston and Lewis counties
- Early Sunday, July 16, on SR 411 from Castle Rock to Kelso
- All day Sunday, July 16, near the SR 432 and SR 433 Lewis and Clark Bridge between Longview, Washington and Rainier, Oregon
To aid cyclists and drivers, STP organizers, WSDOT and law enforcement have worked together to direct traffic at the following locations:
Saturday, July 15
- SR 507 between Roy and Yelm (roving Washington State Patrol trooper)
- SR 507/ Third Street in Yelm (police officers directing traffic)
- SR 507/Mossman Street in Yelm (police officer directing traffic)
- SR 507/Tenino Trail crossing (police officers or certified flaggers directing traffic)
Sunday, July 16
- SR 411/Castle Rock area (flagger directing traffic at SR 411/ Public Highway 10)
- SR 411 between Castle Rock and Longview (roving WSP trooper)
- SR 411/Lexington/Riverside County Park area (police officers directing traffic at SR 411 and Riverside County Park)
- SR 432/433 in Longview at the Lewis and Clark Bridge (WSP, flaggers and motorcycle escort)
Drivers on SR 432 can expect delays of up to 20 minutes from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday, July 16. WSP and flaggers will stop southbound drivers on SR 433 so STP riders can cross the Lewis and Clark Bridge, escorted by Gold Wing motorcycle club members. Riders crossing the bridge on Saturday will not have a bridge escort and are expected to ride with traffic.
Major bicycle events like the STP are part of Washington’s outdoor recreation economy. A 2014 study found that bicycling contributes over $3.1 billion per year in direct expenditures in Washington state. In 2016, Congress passed a law to track outdoor recreation as a specific element of GDP, reflecting its role in the national economy.
SR 520 Bridge toll rates increase, overnight tolling begins July 1
- Written by Reema Griffith, WSTC executive director
- Hits: 175
OLYMPIA – Drivers who use the State Route 520 Bridge will see toll rates increase beginning Saturday, July 1. Toll payers will see a 5 percent increase in weekday and weekend toll rates, and nighttime tolling will begin at a flat rate of $1.25 per crossing. Toll revenue is required and on track to generate $1.2 billion to cover a portion of the new bridge’s cost.
These increases were approved by the Washington State Transportation Commission in May 2016, following a public comment period and after public meetings were conducted. The across-the-board 5 percent increase equates to 20 cents for peak period tolls (increasing from $4.10 to $4.30 for Good To Go! pass holders). Overnight travel between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., formerly toll-free, will now cost $1.25 per crossing for those with a Good To Go! pass. The additional $2 per crossing Pay By Mail charge for drivers who do not have a Good To Go! pass has not changed.
The commission, in cooperation with Washington State Department of Transportation leadership, has prioritized keeping toll rates on the SR 520 Bridge as low as possible for all toll payers while still raising the revenue required to help pay for the new bridge.