Last week the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) program announced 61 new and renewing bicycle friendly communities. The Wenatchee Valley first became a bronze BFC in 2014 and the RBAC submitted an application to renew our bronze BFC status in 2018. While the RBAC was hoping to see the Wenatchee Valley increase to a silver BFC, we are very pleased with the feedback and the improvements we made from 2014-2018!
At the December RBAC meeting the group reviewed the 2014 report card and the progress made to improve bicycling since that time. Between 2014 and 2018, the Wenatchee Valley has made improvements in all 5E’s (engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning).
Areas to Improve
Only two measures on the 2018 report card did not show improvements:
Ridership (percent of commuters who bike) went from 1.5% to 0.92%. There are several potential reasons for why this measure changed. According to Chelan-Douglas Trends bicycling has been decreasing across both counties since 2009, while increasing slightly in the City of Wenatchee. Nationally, this is similar to other cities across the country and there are many theories why biking commute mode share is lower when many communities are investing in bicycling. It’s also good to remember that this is also just the commute trip and that the Loop Trail counter has seen an increase annually in people biking. The RBAC has discussed developing a regional program to count bicycles and pedestrians to better track ridership and demand. It has not been identified as a priority for 2019 but something that will stay on the list of potential RBAC projects.
In 2018, Bicycle Education in Schools, was identified as “Needs Improvement”. The feedback recommends that the Wenatchee Valley “expand bicycle safety education to be a routine part of education for students of all ages. Work with local school districts, bicycle groups, and interested parents to create Safe Routes to School programming for all K-12 schools”.
Key Steps to Silver
The report card also identifies key steps to achieving a silver designation when we reapply in 2022. 10 different items were identified for the Wenatchee Valley to work on: expand the bike network, develop a design manual or adopt the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, adopt a bike parking ordinance, conduct a bike parking study, bike sharing, bike education in schools, bike education for adults, host a League Cycling Instructor seminar, provide education to law enforcement on bicycle safety and work with law enforcement.
The good news is that the RBAC is currently working on, or has identified a need to work on, the majority of the recommendations in 2019. RBAC will be working on bike parking, exploring the feasibility of bike sharing, and looking at ways to improve bicycle education in schools.
Check out the 2018 report card for the Wenatchee Valley.
Check out the Washington state Bicycle Friendly State report card.
Learn more about the League’s Bicycle Friendly Community program at bikeleague.org/community.