Pin It

INTERVIEW — Barb Chamberlain 

click to enlarge Chamberlain is leaving WSU for the Bicycle Alliance of Washington. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Chamberlain is leaving WSU for the Bicycle Alliance of Washington.
Barb Chamberlain began bicycling regularly in 2003 after the city of Spokane put a bike lane in front of her Cedar Street house. After nearly a decade of biking and blogging about the two-wheeled life, Chamberlain, the public affairs director for Washington State University in Spokane, is moving to Seattle to become the executive director of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington.

INLANDER: What was it about the installation of bike lane that got you riding?

CHAMBERLAIN: That was the visual signal I saw when I looked out the window. There, it is right there and it goes right down the hill. And so it really is an invitation.

When you talk about how bike lanes and infrastructure are signals for people that it’s OK to bike, it seems like Spokane has a ways to go.

Every community has a ways to go. And it’s visible infrastructure and it’s also the process of other people on bikes. The studies have shown that in cities having growing rates of bike use, [it’s] really clear that the more people ride, the safer it is for everybody to ride. … That’s another cue for people. If you see somebody on a bike going by, you think, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s possible, I can do that.’

Does that mean Spokane needs more of a critical mass of visible bikers?

Don’t use that term [laughing]. The term ‘critical mass’ is a protest movement of people who try to take over the street. Spokane definitely needs more riders, and riders of all ages. There was an interesting piece … it was a study on the gender mix in riding, because nationwide, it’s still pretty much three-to-one for male to female, depending on the city. The more women who are riding, the more it signals to everyone that this is a place that is safe to ride. … We need more people of all ages, all stages of life, the entire mix you’d think you’d see driving in a bus or a car or walking, also on bikes.

The Complete Streets ordinance that the City Council passed last year, how much closer does that get us?

That’s really, really essential because what it does is it recognizes that biking and transit access and sidewalks are all part of a complete transportation system ... that is taking into account that people move around all kinds of ways, not just in vehicles.


  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Cherry Pitfalls
  • Cherry Pitfalls

    Why fruit is rotting on trees while workers wait at the border
    • Jul 1, 2015
  • The Real Threats
  • The Real Threats

    What worries Spokane's sheriff; plus, Washington's lawmakers finally hash out a budget
    • Jul 1, 2015
  • Party of Five?
  • Party of Five?

    Why Spokane County's newest commissioner is leading the fight to add two more
    • Jul 1, 2015
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Moscow ArtWalk 2015

Moscow ArtWalk 2015 @ Downtown Moscow

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays. Continues through Aug. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Joe O'Sullivan

  • R.I.P. Spokane
  • R.I.P. Spokane

    Exploring the Spokane of South Dakota — left for dead long ago
    • Jun 11, 2013
  • Beating On
  • Beating On

    Ska and new wave legends the English Beat land in Spokane
    • Mar 26, 2013
  • Green Water
  • Green Water

    Will Congress say yes to more hydropower?
    • Feb 27, 2013
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • The Rachel We Knew

    EDITOR'S NOTE: How Rachel Dolezal came to write for the Inlander
    • Jun 18, 2015
  • The Real Rachel Dolezal

    The story goes far beyond just a white woman portraying herself as black
    • Jun 17, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation