Saturday, April 19, 2008

Why a Platinum Bike Plan Blog for Fort Collins and why now?

1. Our Bike Plan was written in 1995 and updated in 2008.
2. With the 2008 update City Council mandated that the City Manager create a Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) to advise Council and City Staff on bicycle matters in Fort Collins. The BAC is taking shape now.
3. Once created, the BAC needs to hear from YOU on how to implement the existing plan and how to engage cyclists and others in improving that plan.

Why a “Platinum” plan? What’s that?

1. Bicycle Friendly Community awards are given by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). We had the Silver level award from 2003 until 2008 when we got th gold award. There is just one level left, Platinum. Boulder, Colorado, Portland, Oregon, andDavis, California all have the Platinum level award. Some of us think that Fort Collins should be next.
2. The LAB program gives us a metric and a goal. We need to start aiming towards that goal.

How do we get to Platinum?

1. There is no simple formula but the bottom line is this: “what percentage of trips to work are made by bicycle in our community?” If we could answer 16% (like Davis, CA) we’d get the Platinum. Or if we could answer 8% (like Portland and Boulder) we’d get the platinum. We’re at about 5.5% give or take.

So how do we do this?

1. Develop good metrics so we can really understand how many people pedal in Fort Collins.
2. Develop a real bicycle culture where motorists respect cyclists and cyclists respect motorists and follow the rules of the road.
3. Develop an educational outreach program to teach newcomers to town (like all those CSU students every August) that they are a vehicle. That they need to be predictable, visible, use lights at night, stop at stop signs, and not go the wrong way in a bike lane.
4. Make everyone including kids, seniors, students, commuters, racers, and recreational cyclists feel safe on the road.

How does the blog help?

1. By giving us a tool box, idea box, and shared resource to brainstorm how to build our bicycle culture. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
a. Expand the Fort Collins Bike Library check-out locations to every major hotel in town and to the two parking garages in Old Town.
b. Fix the asphalt trails in our City parks.
c. Finish the Downtown Strategic Plan to complete bike lanes east and west across College Avenue at all major intersections.
d. Implement the Canyon Avenue bicycle bouleveard from the west side of CSU campus to Old Town with access to College through the Oak Street Plaza.
e. Begin planning for an overpass/bridge/gateway to the City on Harmony Road where the Powerline Trail is now scheduled to cross Harmony.

2. The BAC which is just now being formed will have lots of public input to get started!


oriello said...

What about a bike lane along Riverside Avenue from Prospect to Old Town?

Rich said...

Here are a couple of systemic problems I'd like to see resolved. I've ridden in Davis; these are the sorts of things that just wouldn't happen there. I don't think we deserve a platinum level rating until they're addressed.
1) Bike sensors or crossing buttons at all stoplights. I hate having to break the law to get where I'm going, but in some places the lights just don't turn for bikes.
2) Fix all "disappearing bike lane" intersections. The bike lanes often end without any warning when the cars need a turn lane. This is probably the most dangerous issue affecting cyclists in Fort Collins.

Matt T said...

I have to agree with Rich that the biggest problem I seed is lack of recognition for bikes at stoplights. If you come to a red light and there are no cars waiting to cross, many lights will simply never turn green for you. This forces you wither to run the red light or to push the pedestrian crosswalk signal. Running the light is obviously illegal, and pushing the crosswalk button makes you act like a pedestrian and not a vehicle. This is a gap in the law and the infrastructure that marginalizes bikes and makes us feel like second class citizens of the road. The city needs to do something about it if we want to become a platinum level bike community.

David Hembrow said...

It's interesting that I see here the usual complaints about lights not detecting cyclists etc. It is possible to work this out, of course.

Where I live in the Netherlands, 40% of all journeys are by bike. The commuting rate is probably higher than that.

Getting to this level requires top class infrastructure which makes cyclists journeys direct and very safe.

There are examples on my blog with video and photos to illustrate how this town supports so many cycle journeys.

oriello said...

Thank you, David. I'll take a look at your blog. Certainly we have lots to learn from the folks in the Netherlands! Thanks for commenting.