The Verdant Health Commission recently approved a three-year, $1.9 million project with the cities of Lynnwood, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace to establish a regional bicycle network that will provide greater opportunities for individuals and families to bike for recreational and transportation purposes. It will also improve safety for cyclists and drivers.
The goal of this project is to complete critical missing links in the bike network (currently estimated to be 5.7 total miles), install route signs to enhance safety for cyclists and drivers, install bicycle parking at key destinations and conduct public education and outreach. In total, 10 miles of bicycle network will be completed or connected once the project is finished.
In 2013, Verdant worked with Cascade Bicycle Club to conduct a bikeability assessment of the roads and cycling interest within the community. Through that process, Verdant learned that 60 percent of South Snohomish County residents would like to bike more, but they are concerned about safety.
“At Verdant, we are interested in removing the barriers that prevent people from being healthy, including access to safe places to be active,” Verdant Superintendent Carl Zapora said.
The Board of Commissioners for Verdant approved this project out of its Building Healthier Communities Fund. This fund is specifically designed to support efforts that increase opportunities for people to live active, healthy lives.
The partnership of the cities, with involvement from Cascade Bicycle Club, Edmonds Bicycle Advocacy Group, Swedish/Edmonds and Community Transit, appealed to Verdant for the BikeLink Project.
“The collaboration of three cities allows us to leverage our resources and have a greater impact,” Zapora said.
The city of Lynnwood took the lead in seeking support from Verdant. For the past five years, Lynnwood has been focused on increasing physical activity and access to healthy foods as part of its Healthy Communities Program.
“Making improvements to the physical environment is a vitally important component to creating a healthy community and the BikeLink project is a substantial first step to creating a safer bike network for our community,” Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Director Lynn Sordel said.