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Friday, October 29, 2010

Mulberry Pool will Stay Open if We Pass Item 2B on the Ballot Tuesday!

City Council Member David Roy sent the following e-mail to me Thursday evening, Oct. 28, 2010



This little girl just found out that Mulberry Pool will stay open IF referred item 2B to increase the Fort Collins City sales tax passes Tuesday, Nov. 2nd! 

Good evening;

There are 5 full days to go before the Fort Collins City Council election on November 2nd.  I am sending this e-mail to urge those of you who may not have made up your mind yet about supporting 2B to do so; I am sending this e-mail to urge you to do what I am doing, and send a message to folks, reminding them to vote, and to support 2B.

I have been on the Fort Collins City Council for 8 years and 3 months - it has been a privilege.  But during that time, I have been a party to cutting 24 million dollars from our budget, and having to choose to eliminate 150 positions from the City of Fort Collins organization.

As City Council gets ready to vote for the 2011 and 2012 budgets, we have in front of us another 4.5 million in cuts for 2011, and 5.1 million in cuts for 2012, and at least another 50 positions eliminated.  2B is a way to stem these cuts in services, services that add to the basic quality of life in Fort Collins. 2B supports Police, Fire, Parks, and other items that differentiate Fort Collins from so many other communities in this country.

The attachment is the soapbox I wrote in support of 2B, and the link is to the Keep Fort Collins Great! web-site.

A handful of votes could make the difference in this campaign - and those votes just might come from people you know - heck, 1 of them could be yours.

In five months, I will be off of the City Council - but Mary Jo and I are planning on living here the rest of our lives.  Please join me in supporting 2B, and in doing that something extra that moves the needle, makes success possible, and keeps Fort Collins great.

David Roy

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vote Yes on 2A, 3A and 3B for our Kids and to Make Bicycling Safer for Everyone

Published in the Coloradoan Oct. 18, 2010

Kids learn to ride bicycles through practice and over time they learn good habits.  But if they ride little or aren’t allowed to ride, they don’t develop those habits.  We see them, then, as college students, running stop signs, riding off the sidewalk into traffic and riding the wrong way down the street.  


It is time to help our children develop smart cycling habits, especially in Fort Collins.  With that goal in mind the Bike Co-op is launching an effort this month to educate every school child from kindergarten through 8th grade in Poudre School District (PSD) in the basics of bicycle safety.  The program will unfold over the next three years but it begins this fall with at least four schools and a goal to train every PE teacher in Poudre School District to become a bicycle and pedestrian safety skills instructor.

This is very different from other programs in our community to date.  This program aims to create a corps of bicycle youth skills instructors in Fort Collins that can sustain a bike safety education program over time.  It’s about capacity building, human resource development and self-sufficiency. 

We need your help on this project.   We need parents and Parent Teacher Organizations to get involved.  And we need business partners interested in helping with both monetary donations (for helmets, bikes, and more) and in providing volunteers who can give us a little time to learn the basic skills necessary to teach kids safe cycling. 

If you are interested in helping with this project please contact the Bike Co-op today either through PSD’s “Share It” volunteer web site or by writing education@fcbikecoop.org.    Learn more about this program at brown-bag lunch meetings conducted by the Bike Co-op at noon on Thursday, Oct. 21st at The Group, 2803 East Harmony and Tuesday, Oct. 26th in the Community Room at Home State Bank, 303 East Mountain Ave.  in Old Town.

There’s one more way you can help.  Money Magazine dropped Fort Collins from number two to number six as a desirable place to locate a business this year because Poudre School District eliminated 139 teacher positions.  We’ve seen this with our safe cycling program through PE teachers who have been reduced to 40% or even 20% full time. 

So we need your help in voting to restore funding to our schools with a yes vote on issues 3A and 3B.  This will allow the District to maintain existing schools, close or consolidate those that are ineffective, and replace teachers that have been either released or placed on reduced teaching loads.  


Also on your ballot is referred initiative 2B which adopts the first City sales tax increase for basic services since 1982.  With this modest increase of our sales tax we are hopeful that the City might fund the bicycle safety education program that is currently being written.   As the saying goes, “it takes a village . . . “

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fort Collins Bike Library History: Bike Library Proposal Oct. 1, 2007

The archives reveal the original Bike Library Proposal written by Rick Price, President of Bike Fort Collins on Oct. 1, 2007.  This is pretty interesting for the vision it reveals.
           
Purpose:  Community bike programs, also known as “bicycle libraries”, lend bicycles out for the short, medium and long term at little or no cost to community members and visitors who might otherwise utilize an automobile.  Our primary goal is to reduce vehicle miles traveled, traffic congestion, and improve air quality in Fort Collins by offering a free, easy to use bicycle library program for daily trips in Fort Collins.

How it works:  It’s similar to a regular City library, but instead of checking out books, you check out a bike.  Bicycle libraries are easy to locate and become a member.  A person interested in participating in the bicycle library can sign up at any bicycle library station.  To become a member of the bicycle library all you need is one form of identification, like a driver’s license, state ID, passport, or green card.  After the member’s information is recorded to the bicycle library database, they sign a physical one-time insurance waiver.  After which, members are able to check out a bike for as short as an hour or for as long as one week at a time.  Members can borrow or return the bike at any of the bicycle library stations throughout Fort Collins. 

The bicycle comes fully equipped with bike lights, a lock, basket, and snap on fenders in the event of inclement weather.  Should the bicycle encounter any mechanical difficulties beyond a flat tire, an emergency phone number will be provided to aid the bicycle library member. 



Fort Collins Bicycle Library Administration:  The Bicycle Library program will be administered by BikeFortCollins.org (Friends of the Fort Collins Bicycle Program, Inc.), a local bicycle advocacy group dedicated to implementing the Fort Collins Bicycle Program Plan.  BFC will administer the program website, bike maintenance, marketing and promotion.  Program budget and monetary appropriation will be regulated and monitored by the City of Fort Collins Transportation Planning Department.

Background:  The Bicycle Library Program has precedents in Fort Collins with the “Freewheels” Bicycle Library administered by the City’s Smart Trips program from 2003 to 2006The Freewheels program was eliminated when the entire Smart Trips program ceased 2005. 

As of last year, the Colorado State University student-run “RamWheels” program developed a small scale bicycle library program with an inventory of twelve bicycles. Both of the above programs set precedents for existing and past community bike programs.  The Choice City Bike Library Program proposed here will build on these precedents with the following differences:

1)     Unlike Freewheels, which was administered by City of Fort Collins employees, the Choice City Bicycle Library will be administered by the citizens’ group, BikeFortCollins.org.  BFC will be able to address problems encountered by Smart Trips, such as, available staff to track and maintain the fleet of bicycles. 

2)     The Choice City Bicycle Library will cooperate with “RamWheels”, providing bicycles as needed, and assisting to inventory, deploy, and repair bicycles.  The merging of both programs is highly likely in the future.

Website Functions:  Each bicycle library station is equipped with an internet fed computer monitor.  The universal website: (www.ccbikelibrary.com) allows an “administrator” at each station to record the member’s information and to check out or return a bicycle.  Bicycles can be tracked via website and will offer details on which member has which bicycle.  Library members can also access the website to find out if bicycles are available at specific stations and will have the option of reserving a bicycle for future use.  This web based reporting mechanism will also make it easy to track overall “loans” when it comes to reporting the program participation rates. 

Bike Maintenance and Emergency Rescue:  The Fort Collins Bike Coop, an organized, volunteer driven cadre of bicycle mechanics has officially joined forces with BikeFortCollins.org.  This group will be the backbone of emergency response system as well as keep track and maintain the fleet of bicycle library bicycles. 

Bicycle Library Stations: Library stations will be located at local businesses, Colorado State University, City transit centers and parking facilities, traditional libraries, local hotels, the Colorado Welcome Center, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Target demographics and scenarios:

  1. Employees of Large Businesses:  employees of local businesses who need to do local errands around town will have access to specific “employee bikes.”
  2. Visitors to Fort Collins:  Instead of renting a vehicle, visitors will have the option of burrowing a bicycle for the duration of their stay on Fort Collins.  Local hotels such as the Marriot, Hilton, and Armstrong hotels will have the capability of checking out bicycles for visitor use.
  3. CSU Conferences and Students:  Thousands of visitors attend conferences at CSU each year.  In cooperation with the student run “RamWheels” program, visitors and students will be able to utilize bicycles for transportation in Fort Collins.
  4. Regional Commuters:  This gives Park n’ Ride another meaning.  Commuters who work in Fort Collins, but live elsewhere can park vehicles on the edges of the City and use bicycles for local transportation to and from workplaces. 
  5. Everyday Citizens:  Any Fort Collins citizen can burrow a bicycle for transportation throughout Fort Collins.  This will work especially well for financially constrained citizens. 

Program Marketing Techniques:  It will be impossible not hear of the bicycle library program.  Apart from the bicycles themselves ever present in the community, advertisements in local publications, marketing materials located on strategic websites and actual physical locations, program word of mouth, newsletters, and radio support will all fuel public notification and encouragement of project/ 

Partnerships:  This project will bring together at least 9 different stake holders or groups of stakeholders in Fort Collins to create a community bike library program.
The stakeholders in this program include:

  1. The City of Fort Collins Transportation Planning Department::  as it seeks to reduce traffic congestion and to improve air quality in the urban growth area;
  2. Colorado State University: as it seeks to mitigate congestion and parking problems on and in the vicinity of campus and the student-run RamWheels bicycle library program;
  3. Downtown Development Authority (DDA): whose mission it is to build public and private investment partnerships that foster economic, cultural, and social growth in the Fort Collins central business district;
  4. BikeFortCollins.org (Friends of the Fort Collins Bicycle Program, Inc.): a local bicycle advocacy group dedicated to implementing the Fort Collins Bicycle Program Plan;
  5. Fort Collins Bicycle Collective: a cooperative whose goal is to inspire and support the bicycling community in Fort Collins by facilitating access to bikes, parts, tools and technical expertise;
  6. Local Business Sponsors: including participating Fort Collins bicycle shops, New Belgium Brewing, through its philanthropy outreach grants, and Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) through their Community Grants Program;
  7. Local Hotels: whose guests may seek bicycles as an alternative to automobiles for short stays in our community;
  8. Local Businesses: that would like to keep a bicycle on loan permanently at their place of business as an alternative to using an automobile for short errands.
  9.  The Fort Collins Convention and Visitors’ Bureau:  whose mission is to provide services to visitors of City of Fort Collins.  

Bicycle Library Examples: A survey of bicycle library programs around the U.S. suggests that the physical and social geography of Fort Collins lends itself to the successful introduction of such a program here.  Most successful programs are in university communities.  Notable examples include:
Ø      Arcata, California:  http://www.culturechange.org/library-bikes.html
Population:  17,000
Student population: 7,500
Bikes in circulation:  300
Program: Arcata Community Bike Program

Ø      Moscow, Idaho:
Population:  22,000
Student population:  11,700
Bikes in circulation:  400 bikes deployed, many through the campus international students organization. 
Program:  Bike Loan Program

Ø      Iowa City, Iowa:
Population: 63,000
Student population: 29,000
Bikes in circulation:  300 bikes (50-60% university related)
Program:  Iowa City Bike Library (http://www.bikelibrary.org/)


With a population of 130,000 and a student population of about 25,000, Fort Collins lends itself perfectly to the introduction of a comparable bicycle library program.  The Choice City Bicycle Library will strive to make this program self-sustaining through donations, grants, fund-raising activities, and volunteer efforts by 2010.

Teaching Children Bicycle Safety in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands children have been required to take a "driving test" on bicycle safety for decades.  According to the video below 200,000 children a year take this test before going on to high school where they will encouraged to ride their bicycles to school.

Interestingly, these kids aren't wearing helmets.  What's the lesson there? 


 


Check out the YouTube site for more videos by this same producer on bicycle safety in the Netherlands.  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fort Collins Proposes Automated Bike Share System for 2013

FC Bikes & Transfort Automated Bike Share System
Transportation Planning (David Kemp)
CMAQ $175,000 Local Match $37,000
This proposal includes the implementation of three automated bike share facilities at each of
Transfort’s transit centers: Downtown Transit Center, Colorado State University Transit Center,
and South Transit Center. This proposal is targeted for 2013. Each automated bicycle share
station will include a sheltered facility accommodating 15-20 bicycles per station as well as self
operated touch screen kiosks. Automated bike share facility users will be able to self-check out a
bicycle from the facility. Strategically located at each Transit Center, this multi-modal
program/facility will encourage local and regional commuters to utilize transit and bicycle
transportation means. Source for this project include the Transportation Master Plan, Bicycle
Plan, and Transfort Strategic Plan.
Federal Funding Request: $175,000
Proposed Funding Source: CMAQ
Local Match: $ 37,000
Sources for Project: TMP, Bicycle Plan, Transfort Strategic Plan

Source: North Front Range MPO (downloaded Oct. 14, 2010)   
At the bottom of that page click on downloads, 2010 CMAQ Project Abstracts (Oct-6-10)  and you’ll find all the projects submitted as abstracts in the region. 

Fort Collins Submits Preliminary Requests for Bike Coordinator Funding, 2012-2015

FC Bikes Program – 2012 – 2015
Transportation Planning (David Kemp)
CMAQ $625,000 Local Match $110,000
The Bicycle Coordinator will expand and refine the FC Bikes programmatic scope of work to
encourage people of all ages and abilities to ride bicycles for transportation purposes. Expansion
of the FC Bikes program includes creating new encouragement and education outreach efforts,
collaborating with local public & private partners as well as surrounding communities to share
best practices with respect to encouraging bicycling, creating encouragement and education
programs specific to the universities and community colleges in the region, and working closely
with transportation and urban planners to plan for safe and efficient bicycle facilities. Evaluation
is also included and will consist of bicycle counts, participant surveys, and follow-up data.
Sources for this program application include the City of Fort Collins’ Transportation Master
Plan, Bicycle Plan, Air Quality Plan, Climate Action Plan, and the North Front Range
Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Regional Transportation Demand Management Plan.
Funding Request: $625,000 (total for four years, breakdown: 2012: $150,000; 2013: $200,000;
2014: $150,000: 2015: $125,000
Proposed Funding Source: CMAQ
Local Match: $285,000 (total for four years, breakdown: 2012: $40,000; 2013: $40,000; 2014:
$90,000; 2015: $115,000)
Sources: Transportation Master Plan, Bicycle Plan, Air Quality Plan, Climate Action Plan, and
Regional TDM Plan.

Source: North Front Range MPO (downloaded Oct. 14, 2010)   
At the bottom of that page click on downloads, 2010 CMAQ Project Abstracts (Oct-6-10)  and you’ll find all the projects submitted as abstracts in the region. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tax Increase Will Give us Safer Streets for Cycling - Vote Yes on 2B

Published Oct. 4, 2010 in the Fort Collins Coloradoan

In 1880 the League of American Wheelmen (now “Bicyclists”) began the “Good Roads Movement” to promote better roads in rural areas for recreational bicyclists.  Farmers initially balked at funding new roads but businesses found that good roads promoted commerce so they supported the movement.  Farmers eventually joined and when the automobile came along all these groups allied to promote better roads for their mutual benefit.

In Fort Collins today we face a similar situation.  Motorists, business owners and cyclists (who are also often motorists) need to rally the vote in favor of initiative 2B to increase our city sales tax so we can maintain the excellent transportation system that we have built over the last 30 years.

Well maintained streets and trails are critical to promote safe bicycling.  Who would allow their kids to bicycle to school if they have to swerve into traffic to avoid potholes?  Or who would commute to work by bicycle if they got frequent flat tires from glass and debris in the bike lane?   

Poorly maintained bike lanes promote illegal and unsafe behavior.  If bike lanes aren’t plowed people resort to riding on the sidewalk or the wrong way down the street. (Note the adjacent photo:  This is Lake Street on the Colorado State University Campus;  the east-bound lane is poorly plowed but because the west-bound lane gets some sun and is clearer, students choose to pedal the wrong way down the bike lane.)



I look across Spring Creek to the Spring Creek Trail on winter mornings.  This trail is a major bicycle commuter route.  After a snow storm at 6 a.m. the Parks and Recreation Department sweeps the trail, and shortly thereafter, the bicycle commuters appear.  If the trail weren’t swept of snow cyclists would have no alternative but to ride on busy Shields or Drake Streets, Prospect Road and Centre Avenue to get to work or school.  Many would abandon their bikes and begin driving a car.

Seniors enjoy our trails year round.  On sunny winter days, even though there is snow on the ground and on streets, senior cyclists and others can ride the Spring Cr. Trail to the Poudre River Trail and then west to Old Town while walkers and joggers have access to natural areas and nearby neighborhoods. 

Our situation is pretty clear: we have built an infrastructure through thoughtful, hard work of citizens and City staff that allows us to be called the healthiest metropolitan area in the nation (Gallup Poll, March 2010).  We are one of the top twelve bicycle friendly communities in the US (League of American Bicyclists, 2010).  And we are one of the top six places to live in the country (Money Magazine, 2010).  

Without revenue, the City will begin to cut back on services like plowing and sweeping bike lanes or trails.  We’ve already been advised that the Parks Department will lose two million dollars. 

As a member of the City’s Economic Advisory Commission I see statistics and I hear regular reports that validate Forbes’ ranking of Fort Collins as the fourth best small metropolitan area in the US to locate a business and to build a career (2010).   Businesses locate here because of the great City we have built.  Let’s keep it that way.  Please vote yes on initiative 2B.