GertsevaWENATCHEE, Wash. – Improved biking/walking routes and road/bridge maintenance are top transportation priorities for Chelan and Douglas county residents, according to a survey conducted by the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center at Washington State University.

Results will provide guidance to the Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council in identifying planning priorities for the Wenatchee area and allocating staff and financial resources to special projects, said the study’s principal investigator, Arina Gertseva, a research associate with the center. The council funded the study.

“Transportation improvements are among the largest public investments,” she said. “Therefore, it is critical to provide an opportunity for people to share their perspectives on the existing safety-related issues as well as on the suggested recommendations.”

Study results were presented at the Wenatchee Valley Transportation Executive Council last week. The public opinion survey collected input on a wide range of issues, including transportation safety, traffic flow, transit service and pedestrian and bicycle travel.

Results showed that community members think a top priority is improving biking and walking infrastructure, Gertseva said. Many cite safety as a deterrent to walking and biking. Parents drive their children a few blocks to school due to safety concerns.

Another top priority is maintenance of roads, bridges and interchanges.

Looking to the short-term future, Gertseva said, the region will need to maintain investment in the transportation system in order to keep up with the demands and opportunities of population and economic growth.