Safe Neighborhoods Bill Passes House Unanimously

Jan 31, 2012 by

Safe Neighborhoods Bill Passes House Unanimously

January 30, 2012 – Olympia, WA

Today, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington – of which COPC is a proud member – announced that the Washington State House of Representatives passed the Neighborhood Safe Speeds Bill (SHB1217). Next stop for the bill, which allows towns to set speed limits to 20 MPH on non-arterial streets to make neighborhoods safer, is the Washington state Senate. Giving towns and cities the authority to lower speed limits on neighborhood streets helps to make our communities safer for walking and other forms of active transportation, which in turn reduces obesity.

To read more about the bill, we recommend taking a look at the Bicycle Alliance’s press release below, in addition to the Safe Neighborhoods Fact Sheet.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 30, 2012
Contact: Blake Trask
Statewide Policy Director
Bicycle Alliance of Washington
206.310.4762
blake@bicyclealliance.org

Washington State House of Representatives Unanimously Passes Neighborhood Safe Speeds Bill
Bill makes safer streets and neighborhoods by removing red tape and hurdles to reduce speeds on non-arterial streets.

Olympia, WA – Jan. 30, 2012 – Today, the Washington State House of Representatives passed the Neighborhood Safe Speeds Bill (SHB1217) unanimously.

The bill’s unanimous bipartisan support is mirrored by its backing from over 20 organizations, boards, and cities from across the state, including the Washington State PTA, AARP-Washington, as well as the cities of Spokane, Bellingham, Seattle and, Kirkland.

The Neighborhood Safe Speeds Bill makes safer streets and neighborhoods by allowing cities and towns the authority to set speed limits to 20 miles per hour on non-arterial streets. It does not mandate any change, it simply provides cities and towns the authority to do so.

“Communities are asking lawmakers to give them more cost-saving tools and local options instead of mandates,” says, prime sponsor, Representative Cindy Ryu (D-32). “This bill will help. It removes an expensive state mandate that deters communities from lowering speed limits on non-arterial roads even when they recognize that lower speeds would make people safer or promote local businesses and jobs.”

The Bicycle Alliance of Washington has worked closely with the Representative to develop and support the bill.

Current state law limits the ability of cities and towns to set maximum speed limits to 20 miles per hour by requiring an engineering and traffic study – which requires staff time and money to conduct – before cities and towns can create safer streets on non-arterial streets.

“The Neighborhood Safe Speeds Bill, or similar legislation, provides Bellingham with an important safety tool, and does so by removing red tape. This bill will help us improve safety for Bellingham’s neighborhood streets by providing us with the freedom to set safe speeds without having to work around the current hurdles that state law imposes,” says Bellingham Councilmember Michael Lilliquist

This legislation is especially germane to more vulnerable populations, including children and the elderly. “Older pedestrians because of their increased fragility particularly benefit from low-speed environments,” wrote AARP-Washington in its letter of support for SHB 1217.

“The Neighborhood Safe Speeds Bill is a win-win for Washingtonians statewide,” says Bicycle Alliance of Washington Executive Director Barbara Culp. “This is legislation that provides more local control over roadway safety, saves local government money by reducing administrative and staff requirements, and adds to the growing safety toolbox for cities and towns to create complete and healthy streets for residents and visitors alike.”

Following today’s successful House vote, the bill will now move to the Washington State Senate for consideration.

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