A description of our top priorities for this legislative session and a call to make every day advocacy day.
Transportation Advocacy Day 2011: Look Out Olympia, Feet First is in Town!
Posted by Derrick Van KirkFebruary 16, 2011
On Thursday February 10th Feet First staff and board members joined forces with a large group of organizations from Western Washington in Olympia for Transportation Advocacy Day. Although the lobbying agenda focused on eliciting support for funding transit services and the unveiling of a statewide, multi-year campaign called Transportation for Washington, Feet First board and staff members also took this opportunity to gain legislative support for pedestrian safety and walkabilty issues as well. By day’s end, at least one board member or staff person had met with the following legislators:
Sen. Scott White, Sen. Ed Murray, Sen. Adam Kline, Sen. Nick Harper, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Wells, Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, Rep. Marko Liias, Rep. John McCoy, Rep. Jamie Pedersen, Rep. Eric Pettigrew, Rep. Cindy Ryu, Rep. Sharon Tomiko-Santos, Rep. Reuven Carlyle, and Rep. Deb Eddy’s legislative aide Paula Rehwaldt.
These one-on-one meetings were a great opportunity for Feet First representatives to discuss concerns over funding for the Safe Routes to Schools Program, ask for our legislators to support HB 1217 and SHB 1071, and unveil our newly minted Feet First Agenda. We hope these meetings are the beginning of productive relationships with our Senators and Representatives.
The following is a brief description of the legislative priorities we discussed with our elected officials:
Safe Routes to School
We are particularly concerned with the possibility of a reduction in funding for the Safe Routes to School Program. This program provides direct financial assistance to local school districts for programs that enable school children to walk to school safely. Our top priority this legislative session is to ask lawmakers to maintain funding for Safe Routes to School. We hope that our meetings with legislators will help keep this program off the chopping block when budget cuts are made this session.
Supporting HB 1217
This bill would give municipalities the discretion to set 20mph speed limits on non-arterial streets in residential and business areas without having to conduct expensive engineering studies.
Supporting SHB 1071
This bill would create a Complete Streets grant program (pending future funding) that provides cities with incentives to design urban streets that will provide safe access for all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists, and public transportation users. It also directs WSDOT to work with local communities to create safe roads for bicyclists, people with disabilities, and pedestrians who use state highways that are located within incorporated cities.
Feet First Agenda
In addition to asking for support, our goal was to introduce our representatives to the organizational goals and strategies for action outlined in the Feet First Agenda. This list of initiatives describes specific steps that cities and towns can make to create a more walkable and vibrant community.
This opportunity to sit down with our elected officials and describe the importance of safe walking routes reminds us that advocacy day isn’t merely a one-day-a-year affair. For us, every day is advocacy day. If you’d like to join us in this effort, you can visit the Act page on our website or sign up for our volunteer orientation on April 19, 2011. Thanks for all the support!
Check back soon for a word about Feet First’s partnership with the Transportation for Washington campaign.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Echo9er under the Creative Commons license.