The City of Bellingham won one of five Governor's 2019 Smart Communities Awards, which honor the “shared vision, tough decisions and partnerships” that enable a community's values and priorities to “shine” in long-term planning.
Bellingham won the Smart Projects Award – for a Project implementing a Comprehensive Plan – specifically for the City's rapid implementation of the community-developed 2014 Bicycle Master Plan (BMP). Bellingham's implementation of the BMP has created more citywide bicycle connectivity than in any other city of a similar size in Washington.
As noted in the BMP, Bellingham “enjoys a non-motorized mode share that is one of the highest in the state” and provides a comprehensive roadmap for increasing bicycle travel while “helping meet Bellingham's goals of reduce traffic congestion, improved air and water quality, enhanced public health and quality of life.”
Chris Comeau, Bellingham's Transportation Planner, said that in the five years since adoption of the BMP, Public Works has attained funding for and completed more than 111 (or 52%) of the 215 individual prioritized bicycle infrastructure and crossing improvement projects. Bellingham's public engagement and Transportation Report on Annual Mobility (TRAM) allow for a series of comprehensive actions and opportunistic efforts to partner with other agencies and jurisdictions, as well as private development, to maximize the amount of bicycle connectivity that is funded and constructed each year.
According to Valerie Smith, of the Washington State Department of Commerce, Bellingham's project stood out in a crowded field of varied and exceptional projects.
“As a former legislator, I appreciate how competitive this statewide award is,” Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville said. “And while I'm not a bit surprised that we won, I'm very appreciative of the support. Our city is well-regarded for being innovative and accomplished in providing bicycle infrastructure.”
The award will be presented to the Mayor and Bellingham City Council later this summer. Here is a link to the Governor's Office news release: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADOC/bulletins/24b4a88.