By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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The funds also will jump-start a countywide effort to encourage biking and walking to school.
“We need to make this crossing safer in order to encourage kids to not ride the bus or drive,” said Re-Cyclery board president Kees Kolff.
Kolff addressed a Jefferson County commissioners meeting Monday.
“Getting kids to ride their bikes while they are in grade school can combat the epidemic of inactivity and obesity,” said Kolff, a retired doctor and former Port Townsend mayor.
“By the time they are in high school the whole idea is out of their heads,” said Kolff, a biking enthusiast.
The ReCyclery, a nonprofit bike workshop and retail space in Port Townsend, will receive $21,175 in grant money from the Safe Routes to Schools program to develop local programs over a 30-month period.
The results required for accepting the funds are to double the number of those riding to school, which is not a very ambitious goal as the most recent report states: Only one student uses a bike on a regular basis.
Kolff said the program's goals are not tied to a number, but he expects to “significantly increase” the number of kids traveling to school under their own steam during the grant's duration.
“This will create a legacy that will be felt for 10 years,” said ReCyclery program director Chauncey Tudhope-Locklear.
“These efforts will create a ripple effect that will cause our culture to shift.”
During the terms of the grant, the ReCyclery will follow a 12-point scenario that includes the development of a plan to increase safe ridership, document all activities and submit a monthly report.
It also is to develop a plan and a location for bike maintenance and repair, and construct installed covered racks that will accommodate at least 30 bikes, to be completed by June 2014.
Safety equipment such as helmets, gloves and lights also will be supplied as part of the program.
Aside from the educational program, the county is administering $438,669 in already allocated transportation funds to redesign and rehabilitate the Chimacum intersection of state Highway 19 and West Valley Road to become safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
This includes the installation of a pedestrian signal pole with a flashing beacon, a pushbutton signal controller and visibility improvements.
Connections to H.J. Carroll Park and the Rick Tollefson Trail also will be improved.
The county is currently completing project design and will put the process out to bid sometime in 2014, with a completion date of 2015 or 2016, according to county Transportation Planner Josh Peters.
The proposal to accept and administer the grant was unanimously approved Monday by the county commissioners, one of whom said the Highway 19-West Valley Road intersection has provided a hazard for some time.
Commissioner Phil Johnson said he witnessed a near miss at the intersection several years ago.
“I can't tell you exactly what year it was but I remember the car,” Johnson said.
“It was a red 1964 [Chevrolet] Corvair and it was speeding around the curve as a girl was walking her bike across the intersection.
“She froze, and the car stopped within inches of hitting her.”
Kolff said the Chimacum improvements represent the beginning of reaching the long-term goal of getting people to walk and pedal wherever they go.
“This agreement between the ReCyclery will allow us to create a fantastic partnership,” Kolff said.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.