Fund bicycle, pedestrian safety now
To the editor:
For several years as a member of Squeaky Wheels, I’ve advocated road safety for cyclists. I’ve learned that many forms of safety for cyclists, like shoulders, would also deliver safety for pedestrians. Other members and I have often asked for road safety now – that is, safety for cyclists and pedestrians together, sooner rather than later.
The city of Bainbridge Island says it favors road improvements for cyclists and pedestrians. It says it favors these road improvements because increased safety will increase non-motorized travel and reduce gas emissions that cause climate change. The need to reduce damage to the climate is becoming more obvious every day. Think global, act local, is a good rule for us. And, as emphasized by the city’s own Climate Change Advisory Committee, sooner is better than later.
Unfortunately, the city apparently wants road improvements for cyclists and pedestrians later rather than sooner. At the rate it is making improvements, it would take more than a century to meet the plan required by the state Growth Management Act. In 2018 the city proposed a “10-year Strategy” to create a new plan, mostly ignoring the adopted plan. After two years, the story we heard last month is that the main goals of a new Sustainable Transportation Plan will be to create a walking and biking network, reduce drive-alone trips and reduce gas emissions – by 2045.
Twenty-five years ignores the need to reduce climate damage now. It also ignores current and future island growth and the continued declining road safety for walking and biking. The gap between promises and action continues in the city’s budgeting for 2021-22. The City Council has said two of its top priorities would be transportation and climate change. The first community recommendation it presented on this was, “Making biking and walking safe and convenient for everyone.”
How much will it spend on this? Road improvements for safety can be funded by local funds that total about $23 million a year. But the council is considering spending just 2% of those funds on road improvements for pedestrians and a paltry 0.1% on improvements for cyclists and pedestrians together.
Road safety for everybody should be a fundamental city responsibility. The council will make budget decisions in the next month. How much should they spend on road safety now for cyclists and pedestrians? Please tell them what you think.
Peter Harris and nine others
Help out police
To the editor:
A recent opinion piece decried defunding the police. I agree with the author on many points, but it would be helpful to have a clear understanding of what “defunding the police” could mean.
The cartoon by Neal Skorpen explains the opportunity well: perhaps we can increase funding for mental health services, affordable housing, job training and placement, decriminalizing drugs, drug treatment programs, etc., so that police can start taking those issues off their plate — and off their budget — and focus on keeping the peace.
Thanks for kindness
To the editor:
Recently my husband and I were driving up Hostmark in our 1990 Camry wagon on our way to the Community PeaPatch at Raub Park. Ironically, we had just been considering driving across the country in this ultra reliable car when we heard a loud, grinding noise.
We pulled over to a side road and were relieved to find the problem was just a flat tire. Since we hadn’t changed a tire in years, we fumbled a great deal, but during that time no fewer than seven cars stopped to offer assistance.
Thank you, unknown neighbors, for your kindness and offers of help.
Malcolm and Sylvia Campbell