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City of Ellensburg continues work to increase bike safety

City of Ellensburg continues work to increase bike safety

ELLENSBURG, Wash. - The city of Ellensburg is well underway in their Seventh Avenue Bike Boulevard Project, the project is part of a bigger initiative know as Complete Streets. The idea is that it will provide a safer environment for both bikers, pedestrians, and drivers. We spoke with city officials to find out what this project entails and what changes we can expect to see in the area in the near future.

The project stems from the city's 2008 Non-motorized Transportation Improvement Plan.

According to a 2000 census report, 5% of residents in Ellensburg use bicycles to get to work.

"For me it's a way to clear my mind. It's a way to get a little fresh air. And it's a way to get exercise," said Margaret Reich, with the City of Ellensburg.

And 15% of residents walk.

"This is a community of people who have healthy lifestyles and want to embrace those healthy lifestyles and this facilitates that and makes it much easier for people," said Reich.

The city of Ellensburg was selected for the Complete Streets Award from the Transportation Improvement Board in late January.

City officials composed a plan following the award, focusing on three main projects, one of them being the Seventh Avenue Bike Boulevard Project.

"Seventh Avenue has minimal traffic so they should have minimal disruption and great benefits for our citizens,” said Reich.

Those benefits include healthier lifestyles.

"We want people to walk. We want people to bike because we know that prevents chronic disease like heart disease and diabetes," said Kasey Knutson, with Kittitas County Public Health Department.

Already locals seem excited.

"I'm a big biker, so I think it would be great to have more access to get around town," said Stacy Soderstrom, an Ellensburg local.

The project will total 1.4 miles in distance, stretching from Wenas Street, all the way down 7th, and connecting with the John Wayne Trail.

The project will include bike lanes, signage to promote bicycle safety, and vehicle diverters at five key intersections to reduce the number of vehicles on the roadway.

The total cost of the project will be $150,000 with $120,000 of that coming from WSDOT Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Funds and $30,000 from the city.

City leaders say they expect the Seventh Avenue Bike Boulevard Project to be complete by mid-June at the latest.

For more information about Ellensburg’s road improvements and projects, visit the City of Ellensburg website.

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