Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Show Me the Money

Mr. Stark and Mary Verner on the right.

As Brad Stark is leaving his District 2 seat, he's making one final push to get some funding in for bike stuff in the 08 budget. This started out as a way to get some bike blvd proofs of concept laid down. The BAB and some neighborhood folks met on the possibility of defining a design and location for the spring, but there just wasn't time to come to consensus on a plan that everyone could agree on. Some of that discussion is laid out in this post.

What has fallen out of this process is even better though: it's a budget request for bike facilities (facilities is any bike-related infrastructure stuff: signs, lines, bike racks, etc) and bike boulevard proofs of concept. Basically, for the first time that I'm aware of, we are requesting monies specifically baked into the budget for bike stuff.

Here's the resolution that Brad is getting on the council agenda:

RESOLUTION NO. 2007-0076
A resolution regarding funding to support bicycle-related activities.

WHEREAS, the development of existing and future bicycle-related activities, including bike lanes and routes, bicycle parking and other bicycle features or programs that enhance bicycling opportunities will aid the City of Spokane by reducing the number of vehicles on the road, the amount of pollution in the environment and the amount of damage to city streets caused by vehicle traffic;

WHEREAS, bicycling creates a healthier society by encouraging physical activity; and

WHEREAS, the development of bicycle facilities is supported by the Comprehensive Plan.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council for the City of Spokane that the City Council supports the allocation of funds from the 2007 ending fund balance to develop bicycle-related activities throughout the City and support the allocation of $470,000 in the 2008 budget as follows:

--$120,000 for the development of pilot bicycle boulevard projects or other projects at locations approved by the City Council as recommended by the City Engineering Services Department in conjunction with the Spokane Bicycle Advisory Board.

--$350,000 to the Bicycle Advisory Board to be used over the next seven years to enhance bicycling opportunities. These funds should be used in the amount of $50,000 a year, but can vary from year to year depending upon the scope and length of particular projects or programs.

Additional Emergency Budget Ordinances must be passed by City Council to fund specific projects as recommended by the Bicycle Advisory Board.

Mr Stark: thank you.
Next step: council will vote on this resolution at the December 17th city council meeting.
If you are a cyclist, please be there. Citizen support for this kind of resolution is critical.
Council meetings are at 6pm in City Hall.
In the next couple weeks, I'll post some more detail on things that BAB is doing/looking to answer some of the obvious questions that fall out of this:
  • What kind of "opportunities" would this money be spent on?
  • How do citizens provide input on bike facilities?
  • What about the big 10-year street bond thing? How does this tie into that, if at all?
  • Why do you need this money? You got the money for SE Blvd -- can't you just "get" future monies in the same way?
  • What about the comp plan and the master bike plan? Shouldn't a budget be developed before forking over money?

In the short term though, realize this: Spokane has no bicycle-specific monies in the budget. Well, supposedly there is a $10k/year thing that no one can really put their finger on. And I guess $10k could outfit downtown with a few bike racks, but that's not much money in the streets and infrastructure game.

To keep things in perspective, Seattle just pushed through their master bike plan and have something like $11 million dollars for part of the implementation. I think it's actually more.

No comments: