Update to Columbus Bike Plan Aims to Educate and Encourage
The Bicentennial Bikeways Plan, a document released in 2008 that laid out an ambitious series of projects and initiatives meant to transform Columbus into a premier bicycling city, is due for an update.
City officials say the update will focus more on education and outreach than mapping out new bike infrastructure or bike lanes (a new Complete Streets Thoroughfare Plan, also planned for this year, will provide specific recommendations for individual streets).
“We’re interested in public engagement, figuring out how to best sell the bike story,” said Bill Lewis, Chief Mobility Engineer in the city’s Public Service Department. He said that over the course of the past six years, the city has at times run into unexpected opposition to the bike infrastructure projects recommended by the plan.
The city has contracted with Alta Planning and Design, the same company who did the original plan, to complete the update. Their work, which will include many opportunities for public input, will stretch over the next 12 to 14 months.
A new bikeways design manual, which will lay out best practices in bikeways engineering and design, will also be part of the work done by Alta. The manual would be used for the design and review of future projects in Columbus.
The update will also attempt to measure the city’s success in hitting the many benchmarks and goals laid out in the original plan.
Jody Dzuranin, Operations Manager of the advocacy group Consider Biking, described the city’s progress on implementing the plan as “initially slow, but rapidly gaining momentum.”
She cited the installation of bike shelters, new bike lanes and sharrows, as well as the effort to make intersections more bike friendly as positive steps. She also singled out the recent completion of the Scioto Trail connector as a key development and described the launching of CoGo Bike Share as a “huge win for Columbus.”
Dzuranin is hopeful that the plan update can provide a jolt of momentum, both for specific items on the group’s wish list like improved downtown bikeways, and for the general level of support in the community for bicycle-friendly policies.
For ongoing discussion about the Bicentennial Bikeways Plan, CLICK HERE to visit our Messageboard.
Photo by Walker Evans.