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