FEET FIRST POLICY
Feet First works at the state and local level to ensure that streets are safe and accessible for everybody. Together with our statewide partners, we advocate against policies, programs, and expenditures that harm pedestrians. You can read a list of current bills that we are following closely here.
New and Updated Policy Papers!
Feet First’s Policy Committee has begun to update and fill gaps in our policy papers. Our newest policy paper is on Sidewalk Maintenance. We find that proper maintenance of sidewalks is important for providing safe pedestrian access, especially for individuals with mobility limitations. Holding private property owners exclusively responsible for public sidewalk maintenance is demonstrably an ineffective approach that is challenging to fund and enforce. As a result, many sidewalks are in poor condition and noncompliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Feet First believes cities should assert their responsibility for maintaining sidewalks as an essential component of the public right of way. Several approaches are discussed.
Download the Sidewalk Maintenance paper here. Our other policy papers are listed below. If you have comments on the Sidewalk Maintenance paper or would like to help Feet First update and maintain our policy papers, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Principles We Believe In
Real Mobility Matters
The point of a transportation system is to connect people to the places they need to go – no matter whether they travel by transit, foot, bike, wheelchair, or vehicle. Our focus on cars has led us to spend billions on roads, leading to more car-dependency and larger barriers for other modes. More transit access, dedicated bus lanes, ADA-compliant pedestrian networks, and complete streets, increase mobility without increasing the number of cars on the road.
Prioritize Safety Over Speed
Localities are starved of the funding needed for sidewalks, crosswalks, and curb cuts, while projects to reduce vehicle delay are prioritized. To improve safety, we must first give local jurisdictions the financing they need for maintaining and improving local streets for those walking, biking, or rolling – improving health, access to transit, and local economic vitality.
Basic infrastructure maintenance is too often neglected by state and local government budgets. Jurisdictions need to be able to protect public investment in streets and sidewalks and ensure their longevity. At the state level, this means a moratorium on road expansion, with the savings used to fund both highway and local street maintenance. It also means giving local jurisdictions the financing tools they need to take good care of their transportation infrastructure.
Our spending should strive to ensure every Washington resident, no matter where they live or their personal circumstances, has safe access to their community. Tax sources for transportation should not be regressive and must be adequate to meet the public’s most basic need to move safely in our communities on foot. Every town and city should have the means to support local residents and businesses with complete local streets and transit.
Pedestrians being hit by vehicles and seriously injured or killed is a growing crisis in towns and cities of all sizes. There are proven solutions to reduce these risks. Feet First supported the establishment of the Active Transportation Safety Council (ATSC) by the WA State Legislature to bring together advocates for walking, biking and rolling in wheelchairs for the advancement of pedestrian safety. The Council includes representatives from multiple disciplines and all parts of the state to intently focus on what are the greatest safety risks to people walking, biking, and rolling and how best to reduce those risks.
Feet First was a founding member of the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Council in 2016, the predecessor of the Active Transportation Safety Council. Feet First’s representative to the Council, George Watland, sits on the Executive Committee.
Visit ATSC’s website for council’s safety recommendations and upcoming meetings.
The following policy papers, prepared by our Policy Committee, convey Feet First’s position on key issues of interest.