Complete Streets Spokane
Here you can find news and background information on the Complete Streets movement in Spokane.
Futurewise is currently working with the City of Spokane and the Community Assembly PeTT Committee to ensure faithful implementation of the Complete Streets Ordinance by creating guidelines for the engineering department to use in challenging situations (for example on Monroe Street where there is not enough right of way to accommodate what is called for in the comprehensive plan). We are also working to ensure that the ordinance is fully implemented in all the projects for the next street bond.
Public Opinion is with us! A study released in May 2012 found that 83% of Americans support Biking and walking infrastructure. See the poll here.
Complete streets is about making our city and its businesses and services accessible to all citizens whether they own a car or not. Which is critically important to our economic vitality and preserving a sustainable future for our community.
What does the ordinance do? The ordinance ensures that every time the city does a a major street repair projected it includes all planned facilities in the project. This means that when the city does a major repave of a street it has to build everything that the Comprehensive Plan requires instead of laying down new asphalt without repainting crosswalks, repairing sidewalks, putting in required wheelchair ramps. It also means that if the project affects an area that is identified as appropriate for bike lanes or pedestrian improvements in the Bicycle or Pedestrian master Plan, those things would need to be included in the repair project unless it is financially unfeasible (for example if it added more than 20% to project costs).
We have a series of topical fact sheets you can print and share.
Printable Fact Sheets: (updated 2/15/2012)
• Safety: We have a high per capita rate of pedestrian and cyclist deaths averaging 20 bicycle or pedestrian related injury accidents per month -- that's 120 people seriously injured every year!
• Accessibility: Many of our bus stops do not have sidewalks, and many of the bus stops that are serviced by sidewalks do not have the curb ramps required by the Americans with Disabilities act to make them feasible for wheelchairs -- forcing the disabled to rely on paratransit, which is inconvenient for them and expensive for taxpayers.
• Economics: Relying on cars is making people who can barely afford to drive poorer. And the people who can't afford cars at all face serious challenges getting to medical appointments, job interviews, groceries, etc. In these hard economic times we should not allow transportation costs to be a barrier for job seekers. We could all save a LOT of money and have healthier lifestyles if we were able to get by efficiently without a car or even replace shorter trips with more affordable modes. Addressing these issues at the same time we do major repair projects saves tax payers money and increases our transportation choices.
Huge victory for Spokane!
For over three years, Futurewise worked with the City of Spokane to create an effective Complete Street Policy, writing the policy, educating the community and policy makers, and building a wide coalition of supporters from health care workers, unions, educators, and local businesses. Last week, the City of Spokane adopted the Complete Street Policy by a vote of 5 to 2. Thank you for your hard work, your letters, your petition signatures and sharing, your testimony, your expertise, and for sticking with this long campaign! We are not finished, but we are over the hump.
Next steps for 2012: Stay tuned for more info on these
upcoming decisions that will affect Complete Streets! With your help we
can continue to support this common sense approach to transportation
policy with the new Mayor and Council.
Spokane’s twenty year old Comprehensive Plan’s transportation goals give priority to pedestrians, transit riders and non motorized travelers over vehicles. But the reality on the ground has long been a stark contrast to these policies. Complete Streets policies are everywhere in the Plan, but in far too many cases they were not being implemented when new streets were built, nor when major street repair projects were implemented. For example, in the Plan sidewalks are required on all streets in Spokane, but due to lack of implementation the city has 650 miles of missing sidewalks. Many of these areas are around schools, diminishing walking and biking rates amongst our youth. There are also numerous sidewalks missing along bus routes, making access to bus stops difficult or impossible for people with limited mobility and forcing them to rely on paratransit at six times the cost of using a fixed bus route. In a community with a 43% poverty rate and a large population of citizens with disabilities, lack of pedestrian infrastructure is a significant barrier to mobility.
Futurewise developed the Complete Streets ordinance and led a broad
coalition of community leaders and health, housing, and human service
organizations to ensure adoption. Now when the City does a major street
repair project or when a new street is constructed the City will have
to include building/repairing sidewalks, putting in wheelchair ramps,
repainting crosswalks and putting in bike lines where called for in the
bicycle master plan. The Complete Street Policy will end the practice of
designing streets and completing maintenance and transportation
projects aimed solely at vehicle infrastructure that ignores the needs
of pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and people with disabilities.
Not much compared to our overall transportation budget. It does NOT require every street to have the full array of complete streets elements.
Since the ordinance merely refers back to the Comprehensive Plan (specifically the bike and pedestrian plans), it is up to our community how much Complete Streets Cost. For many of our needs there are both low cost options and more expensive ways to solve problems. Sometimes it is just a matter of painting a street differently. It's not as simple as just adding sidewalks and bike lanes, but what we do know is that Charlotte NC studied the average cost of their road building projects before and after complete streets found that:
Narrowing traffic lanes from 12" to 11" (which prevents speeding without increasing collisions) reduced total costs of projects by 2%
Sidewalks made up 3% of the total cost of the average project. Bike lanes were 5% of the total cost of the average project. For more on what Charlotte NC discovered here.
But in Spokane, some roads will need sidewalks built, some will just need to add crosswalks where needed. In cases where more expensive fixes are needed, by ordinance they cannot exceed more than 20% of the total project cost.
We also know they:
1) They provide lasting value to the community
2) They make necessary accommodations for existing users-streets that everyone can use safely are not frill.
3) They don't break the bank, they can be achieved with existing budgets and are not about spending more money but changing how we spend it.
4) Complete Streets projects can lead to new funding opportunities and bolster support for transportation projects.
How much of this is bike lanes?
Only a small percentage of our streets are designated for bike lanes in the Bicycle Master Plan. Some of our streets already have 14 ft wide traffic lanes, this means a bike lane could be very inexpensive if the lanes were narrowed to a more reasonable urban 11-12 ft. Situations like that mean that we can make high impact low cost changes at the time we are already doing maintenance on the street instead of going back later and doing expensive retrofits as separate projects.
Listen to Kitty's interview with KPBX:
Read one of the print articles: about the decision:
Futurewise Complete Streets Facebook:
We are not alone!
Futurewise is proud to have several organizations joining in this cause.
About 500 individuals signed our petition and wrote letters. About Sixty people testified at various hearings and 275 very engaged individuals participate on our Complete Streets facebook group as well as three hard working interns, Jackie Caro, Sarah Sirott and Michelle Swanson who worked extensively on this project. They putt in countless hours on research tabled at events all summer long, created 7 fact sheets and two Complete Streets Zines and will do more as this effort grows.
Agencies who helped educate us about relevant issues were Spokane Regional Health District, Spokane County Commute Trip Reduction, Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern WA, Spokane Regional Transportation Council, the City of Spokane Bicycle Advisory Board, and the Pedestrian Transportation and Traffic Committee of the Community Assembly.
Key Elected officials were, Mayor Mary Verner who directed staff to work with our coalition to create the ordinance and subsequent executive order. City Council members Jon Snyder-who took the lead, Richard Rush, and Amber Waldref, who helped us organize and advance, and Council member Steve Corker and Council President Joe Shogan who voted yes twice! Our state legislators Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (who also wrote a letter in Support of the Spokane Policy), Rep. Andy Billig (who is working on transportation and health legislation in 2012), and Representative Timm Ormsby all voted to create legislation that supports complete streets policies through a grant program. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell voted for complete streets at the federal level helping us make the case locally.
Organization leadership from the YMCA of the Inland Northwest, The Lands Council, Coalition of Responsible Disabled, National Complete Streets Coalition, Greater Spokane Progress, Center for Justice, Community Building Foundation, Eastern Washington Voters, Fuse Washington, Northwest Fair Housing Alliance, OutSpokane, Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, Pedals2People, Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, SEIU Healthcare 775 NW, Spokane AIDS Network, Spokane Riverkeeper, Washington Education Association - Eastern Washington, Next Up Spokane, Bike to Work Spokane, Bikes for Homeless Vets, , Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Inland Northwest Rail Association, Transportation Choices Coalition, Cascade Bicycle Club were critical to our successes.
Businesses who contributed significantly by weighing in, hosting events, etc. were Lighthouse for the Blind, Mountain Gear Inc., Rings & Things, Wells and Company, Studio Cascade, Kizuri, Jone’s Radiator, Pacific Pizza, Auntie’s Bookstore, Boo Radley’s, Atticus Coffee and gifts, Two Wheel Transit, Spokane Rocket Velo, Judy’s Enchanted Garden, Wells and Company, Bike Style Spokane, Jewelry Design Center, Interplayer’s Theatre, Sun People Dry Goods, The Scoop, The Montvale Hotel, Old World Christmas, KYRS Community Radio Station, and Second Look Books.
Last year 5 out of 7 Spokane City Council members voted to create a complete streets policy. However the city has not yet adopted the proposed Complete Streets ordinance that came out of this process.
Thanks to a broad coalition effort to create safe and complete streets in Spokane including Futurewise members who spoke up and got their friends and neighbors to do the same, the creation of a complete streets ordinance is moving forward. Your attendance, letters, emails, facebook statuses, tweets, blogs and outreach to your friends and neighbors made this possible and your continued support will help us see Complete Streets come to fruition! Stay tuned for your next opportunity to support the adoption of this important policy.
For the most up to date information and interesting news please join the Complete Streets Spokane II facebook group!
Issue I The Bike Zine! See a review here.
Complete Streets Spokane
Atticus Coffee & Gifts
Two Wheel Transit
Issue I: The Bike Zine is the first in a series of Complete Streets Zines that explore the streetscapes of the Spokane area through the eyes of Spokanites. Our purpose is not to pitch any specific design solutions, but to benefit from the experience of those who get out there and make alternative modes work, despite the many hazards, inconveniences and hostilities they may face. Because we should all have the freedom to get around in our community by our mode of choice.
Read a review by Tim Connor here!
(Why should health care professionals support complete streets? Find out more here!)
The Complete Streets Spokane Video is now on YouTube. Check it out and share with your friends here!
Thank you to those of you who participated in the I <3 Complete Streets event in February. We created over 100 Valentines for City Council and the Mayor and have received positive feedback. The Mayor even took the time to respond to everyone who sent her a valentine. Read more here.
We have some great blog coverage and media coverage.
How you can get more involved
Early News Coverage
Spokane Journal of Business (see document in left sidebar)
Spokane Public Radio
Spokane Community Radio (scroll down to New Year's Resolutions)
Down to Earth Blog
Rings & Things Blog
AARP report: http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/il/inb167_streets.pdf
Be safe out there!