Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Re: Tulsa's Bicycle Friendly City Application...

From Patrick Fox, Multimodal Transportation Planner at INCOG:
Good Morning Bicycl(ist) Friendly Committee,

I spoke with Bill Nesper, coordinator for the Bike Friendly Program. Unfortunately, Tulsa was not selected in this round to receive a Bicycle Friendly Community Award. While this is obviously disappointing, it is uncommon for first time applicants to be selected.

They will be providing us with formal feedback within 6 weeks on why we were not selected, but he did give me some quick notes, which I'd like to pass along to you all now. Let me say this first: There were many positives with our application, mainly that we have "cornered the market in Oklahoma" on trying to be a progressive, bike friendly community. He said there is no other city even close in the State, or the region, for that matter. So we have to be proud of that. Additionally, he was
quick to point out that the league recognizes all of the progress we've made over the years, with our trails and programs, however the criteria for this program is fairly rigid, and we were deficient in a few areas.

That being said, here, briefly, is why we were not selected:

1) Lack of On-Street Accommodations for Cyclists. Translation: Shortage of properly designed, striped and marked Bike Lanes or Wide Shoulders.

Our policy here in Tulsa has revolved around expanding our Multi-Use trails, which is good, but those trails have to be complemented by a good, safe on-street system. We do have designated "Bike Routes", about 35 miles of them, BUT this is much, much different than an actual physical "accommodation". An "accommodation" is a physically separated extra place on the street for cyclists, delineated by a stripe, marking, or widened shoulder. A "Bike Route" is simply a normal street with signage that identifies it as a bike route. In the eyes of the Bike Friendly Committee, and of the national league, "accommodations" are preferred.

2) Lack of an adopted "Complete Streets" Policy. This is a new name for a policy directive that many cities are adopting, including places like Louisville, Seattle and Chicago. The short of this is: "Complete Streets" is an adopted, guiding principle to design, operate and maintain streets to promote safe and convenient access and travel for all users; pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and disabled users, as well as cars and trucks. This can be accomplished by -

A. Designing, operating and maintaining the transportation network to improve travel conditions for bicyclists, pedestrians, transit and freight, in a manner consistent with and supportive of the surrounding community;

B. Providing where practical an array of facilities and amenities that are recognized as contributing to "Complete Streets", including: street and sidewalk lighting; pedestrian (sidewalks/crossings) and bicycle safety improvements; access
improvements for freight; access improvements in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; public transit facilities accommodation, including but not limited to pedestrian access improvement to transit stops and stations; street trees and landscaping; and street amenities; and

C. Implementing policies and procedures with the construction, reconstruction or other changes of transportation facilities on arterial streets to support the creation of "Complete Streets" including capital improvements and major maintenance, recognizing that all streets are different and in each case user needs must be balanced.

3) Lack of parking ordinance or parking facilities for bikes. Most Bike Friendly Communities have a Bike Parking Ordinance. We have parking requirements for cars, but no ordinance that requires bike parking in our development process. It's pretty simple. All public facilities should have accommodations for bikes, and a bike parking requirement can be included as part of all new commercial or mixed use development.

4) Expand Motorist and Cycling Education. This is really a statewide issue. If we could push for "sharing the road" and questions about cycling laws to be included as part of the driver licensing process, this would go a long way. Additionally, if our police officers better understood the laws that protect cyclists, and there was a designated bike liaison from the TPD, this would be good. I have spoken with
several officers that told me that very little if anything was taught to them about cycling during regular training or the academy.

5) There was some information that I was just unable to provide that might have been helpful, such as what percentage of our streets and bridges have widened shoulders that would potentially accommodate cyclists. Basically, there are about 8,800 miles of arterial roads in our community, and I couldn't get an accurate number of miles of those that have wider shoulders versus those that didn't. This is a bit of a daunting task, but I will work to figure this out.

I am looking forward to working with you all to fill the gaps listed above, and to continue to promote cycling in our community. As we get more formal feedback, I will distribute it to you all.


Patrick M. Fox
Multimodal Transportation Planner,
201 West 5th Street, Suite 600
Tulsa, OK 74103-4236

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Blogger Fritz said...

It's good to get feedback like this. Props to the city of Tulsa for applying and giving it a go!

7:03 PM  
Blogger Paul Tay said...

WTF? Tulsa lost out? Good grief, LAB! Santa says Tulsa's a great place to bike. GIT A CLUE.

1) Tulsa already accommodates bicycles on ALL City streets, and the controlled-access roadways, i.e. Broken Arrow Expressway, 169, and I-44.

2) Completed Streets? I have already asked the Mayor to declare ALL roadways within the City limits as "bikeways," as part of the Blue Ribbon Street Panel, headed by Sharon King and Dewey Bartlett. Make small design changes to reduce speed limits to 25mph on ALL streets, and INCREASE flow through major intersections. Currently, motorists are SPEEDING between traffic lights just to catch the red. The problem is intersection design that CHOKE flow. With both the declaration and the design changes, CMAQ funds might apply.

3) There are ALREADY model bicycle parking ordinances CODIFIED in other cities. Unfortunately, most of them apply to new developments. Tulsa ALREADY has the problem of zoning changes that make it difficult for developers from profiting from in-fill development. ANY bicycle-relevant changes has to be made along with the general review and change of zoning. The City Council STILL has NOT even moved to repeal the anti-spitting ordinance, 27 TRO 1213.

4) Motorist education is an administrative issue reserved for DPS. Under sworn testimony in court, TPD does NOT put APO's in ACTUAL physical control of bicycles during the Academy. At NO other times in their careers are they provided bicycle training unless they are in the bike patrol, or they have to testify against Santa in court. So, Tulsa Municipal Court allows lay witnesses to testify in bicycle cases.

5) Finding which roadways with wide outside lanes a DAUNTING task? Why don't you simply ride on the major Tulsa streets, i.e. Memorial, Riverside, Sheridan, etc.? Hint: There's a nice stretch from 21st to the BA on Harvard with wide outside lane. Very nice. But, EVERYWHERE Santa rolls, Memorial, Riverside, the BA, there's a nice wide 12 foot AASHTO standard BIKE lane. Wat up wit DAT?

With folks like LAB, does Tulsa REALLY need to be any bike-FRIENDLIER?

12:33 PM  
Blogger Paul Tay said...

Upon an in-depth review of the LAB BF app, it is set up for FAILURE, using the build-it-and-they'll-come mentality. Special bike lanes, designed by traditional traffic engineering don't encourage MORE biking. High gas prices do.

All Santa ask is TPD put ALL their new APO's in ACTUAL physical control of bicycles for a week on Memorial. And, watch the motorists CRIMINALLY speeding to SLOW down. And, no, guys, they won't nail your six. If it was THAT dangerous, they would have nailed Santa and X-Mas would have ENDED a LONG time ago.

Most of the current beat cops are fairly understanding, except for a few who delight in showing up in court on their days OFF to bust Santa. Goooooooooo, TPD Santa Task Force!

12:48 PM  
Blogger Apertome said...

It sounds to me like Tulsa is doing pretty well, but these comments seem constructive. Sometimes it's better to "fail" because it's easier to convince someone action is necessary when you didn't pass the test. If you pass the test, they can argue things are good enough!

I didn't understand a thing Paul Tay just said.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Aric Thorpe, MHR said...

I wish there were places in town where people could safely park their bikes. I would like to ride my bike to the mall at 41st and Yale but theft is just too high to leave it chained to a bike rack. I think there is a market for secure bike garages / cages in Tulsa. I would pay to know that my bike is secure. Isn't there something that Tulsa can do to encourage this much healthier mode of transportation?

4:45 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

Aric, last fall there was some talk of a pilot project installing bike lockers in downtown parking garages. If I hear anything more about it, I'll certainly post it.

As for 41st and Yale, perhaps you could use an old 'beater' bike as an errand-runner. I used a cheap track bike as a commuter for a long time, either removing the front wheel or locking it into the u-lock with the frame and back wheel. Come to think of it, this could be a good time to write about making a bike more theft resistant.

7:01 PM  

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