Washington’s second-largest city will be front-and-center during the in-person Washington Bike, Walk, Roll Summit on Oct. 3.
With a theme of “Building Just and Resilient Communities,” the summit will convene active transportation experts from across the state.
Pedal the Centennial Trail, learn about the historical harms of highway projects on Spokane’s BIPOC community, and meet the activists and leaders working to improve bikeability in Spokane – and statewide.
Like Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Trail, the 40-mile Spokane River Centennial State Park Trail that traverses downtown Spokane is a priceless recreation and active transportation corridor that highlights the value of non-motorized bike routes to a community’s quality of life, sustainability, and equity.
Known simply as the Centennial Trail to residents of Washington state’s second-largest city, this paved biking and walking route will be the focus of a mobile workshop and policy ride during Cascade’s in-person Bike, Walk, Roll Summit on Oct. 3 in Spokane.
Members of the Spokane Regional Transportation Council will lead the ride, “One Trail Many Voices: Exploring Spokane’s Centennial Trail,” with a goal of previewing future trail improvements and providing inspiration for city planners and bike advocates in other communities across Washington.
A rider enjoying the Centennial Trail, which allows people to traverse Spokane and access scenic landscapes and recreational sites beyond the city limits. Photo above and header image courtesy of Visit Spokane.
Convening in-person for the first time since 2019, the summit will include a full day of knowledge-sharing, workshops, and networking opportunities for active transportation professionals and supporters. Click here to see the in-person program.
A two-day virtual summit from Sept. 28-30 will precede the in-person summit in Spokane. View the virtual summit program.
Addressing Harms Caused by Car-Centric Transportation
From Spokane to Seattle to cities across the country, highways have often been built through communities of color due to systemic racism and car-centric transportation policies that ravaged neighborhoods, exposed BIPOC communities to higher levels of pollution, and created a legacy of inadequate mobility and unsafe biking and walking conditions.
Spokane’s East Central neighborhood, which is bisected by Interstate 90 and targeted for another highway project, exemplifies these historical harms and will be the focus of the plenary session, “Addressing Historic Inequities on the North Spokane Corridor.”
Summit participants will learn about the consequences of highway expansion on Black and Brown communities. We will also discuss efforts to build just and resilient neighborhoods via the HEAL Act and other initiatives aimed at improving environmental justice and transportation equity.
Learn more about East Central Spokane and the harms of highway construction on Black and Brown residents in this story from Crosscut.
Safe Routes for Kids, Traffic Stress, Move Ahead WA
Other topics addressed during the summit include:
Efforts to improve the Safe Routes to School Network.
New Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) tools to mitigate traffic stress and identify direct routes for active transportation projects.
How to access state and federal transportation funds in the historic Move Ahead WA. funding package and the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Building a statewide bike advocacy network.
Efforts to improve multimodal bike access on one of Spokane’s busiest bus and transportation corridors.
Speakers will include Cascade Bicycle Club Executive Director Lee Lambert, Washington State Transportation Secretary Roger Millar, State Sen. Andy Billig of Spokane, Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs, WSDOT Active Transportation Division Director Barb Chamberlain, and a roster of leading transportation policy researchers and advocates from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Let’s Ride the Centennial Trail
In addition to the indoor sessions, participants will have ample opportunities to explore Spokane by bike before, during, and after the summit.
The Centennial Trail ride will begin near Spokane Community College, the conference location, at a trailhead along the Spokane River. City of Spokane transportation planner Michael Redlinger will discuss the impacts and importance of the Spokane River Centennial Trail State Park for underserved communities and non-drivers.
From the downtown trailhead, the ride will follow the Spokane River waterfront to Summit Boulevard, where a project engineer from the City of Spokane will speak about new trail connections and projects. One of these projects is the Children of the Sun Trail, a paved biking and hiking trail that will be expanded to mitigate some of the harms caused by the new highway project in East Central Spokane.
The Children of the Sun Trail will be lengthened to connect with the Centennial Trail and run parallel to the new north-south highway project. Supporters want to ensure the trail expansion includes connectivity over and under the highway. “This is not just a recreational corridor,” says Beggs. “There are whole communities that don’t have access to cars, and this will be a trail network for people to commute and travel through the city.”
Now it’s up to advocates to fight for maximum funding for a connected network that provides safe mobility for the communities that have historically been ignored in the construction of major highway projects, Beggs says.
“We are on the cusp of big improvements in bike infrastructure across Washington state thanks to boosts in federal and state funding. Bikeable, walkable, and connected communities are more resilient, healthy, happy, just, and equitable,” Lambert says. “We invite all active transportation advocates, policymakers, transportation professionals, academics, and concerned citizens to join us in Spokane to share knowledge, forge relationships, and advance the work of making Washington more bikeable, safe, and prosperous for all.”
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