On Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 6pm, the City of Richland Parks and Recreation Commission will be discussing Trail Speeds and E-Bikes. It is important for our bike community to be part of these important discussions.
The meeting will take place via Zoom. You can attend by following the meeting link here:
Topic: Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting (SK)
Time: May 13, 2021 06:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting : https://cityofrichlandwa.zoom.us/j/81410927563
Meeting ID: 814 1092 7563
Here is the staff report for the Commission, as prepared by Joe Schiessl, Parks & Public Facilities Director:
"Over the past year the City of Richland Parks and Recreation Commission has been considering the growing use of electric bicycles and scooters on Richland's streets, sidewalks, paved and unpaved pathways. The Commission is considering a recommendation for maximum speed limits (15 mph) on all paved, shared-use pathways (such as Keene Road Pathway, Riverfront Trail, Bypass Shelterbelt Trail, Urban Greenbelt Trail, Sacagawea Trail, and the Vantage Highway Trail) in addition to additional reduced speed limits (5 mph) along congested portions of paved, shared-use pathways such as in Howard Amon and Leslie Groves Parks. The Commission is also considering the use of electric assist bicycles on unpaved, soft-surface trails in the parks system including WE Johnson Park, Bateman Island, Amon Natural Preserve, Columbia Point South, Yakima Delta, and other locations.
The State of Washington currently prohibits electric assist bicycles on unpaved "natural tread surfaces" (in Richland's case meaning dirt or sand trails in various locations) and allows electric assist bicycles on other unpaved soft surface trails improved with improved "tread surfaces" (in Richland's case meaning trails improved with gravel or wood chips in various locations). The State permits local governments to allow for electric assist bicycles on all unpaved trails, and without such an affirmative action, the RCW prohibits electric assist bicycles on "natural tread surfaces." The Parks and Recreation Commission is considering a recommendation to prohibit electric assist bicycles on unpaved soft surface trails.
There are three defined categories of electric assist bicycles and the State of Washington currently prohibits the most powerful Class 3 electric assist bicycles on "shared use paths." The Parks and Recreation Commission is considering allowing all classes of electric assist bicycles, including Class 3, on shared use paths subject to speed limits.
Tonight's hearing is an opportunity for the Parks and Recreation Commission to hear from interested persons and groups regarding the pros and cons of trail speed limits, and the appropriateness of electric assist bicycles on natural surface trails and other soft surface trails in Richland. Staff will overview the various issues and share images, aerial photography and maps as an introduction to the subject. Each member of the public will have an opportunity to provide up to a three minute comment on the issues, and the Parks and Recreation Commission will discuss the matter in a workshop setting and consider the feedback received. The Parks and Recreation Commission will not be making a formal recommendation on this subject at the meeting, but will engage in dialogue and conversation on the issue.
The State Legislature recently took up this matter and directed the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources to undertake studies and to receive public input for lands managed by these State departments. Benton County has also begun a process to hear from area stakeholders on this issue related to County park land. While not necessary, it could be beneficial to develop a consistent approach on this subject throughout the Tri-Cities."