Public opinion is what drives policy. The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Board of Directors released the draft Regional Nonmotorized Transportation System Plan for public comment. After public input is incorporated, the board will adopt it at its June 10 meeting to guide regional bicycle and pedestrian transportation improvements through 2040.
Within the financial constraints of the Regional Transportation Plan comes the 2040 Moving Forward Plan. The plan will cover on- and off-street bicycle facilities (paths/greenways/trails), bike lanes, bike routes, multi-use trails, sidewalks, road crossings and other nonmotorized infrastructure. The plan’s goal is to make nonmotorized transportation a more attractive option. They used public input to develop an existing conditions report that audited trails, on-road, and sidewalk facilities and noted missing infrastructure and connections, and incorporated more than 600 user comments noted on an interactive map available online. The plan identifies 71 corridors and prioritizes 11 of them to focus federal and state funding based on best practices.
Key findings include,
• The network of trails and bicycle lanes is limited in serving as a transportation network to accommodate regional non motorized travel within the area;
• There is an inconsistent/incomplete wayfinding system to guide nonmotorized travelers around the region;
• Many existing facilities have missing links, especially between on- and off road networks;
• Many existing facilities have difficult and unsafe crossings;
• Trails and bicycle lanes begin and end erratically;
• Many of the trails have major barriers, such as terrain or railroad crossings;
• Existing facilities need repairing or maintenance; some just need routine maintenance such as sweeping; and
• Bike lanes are often depositories for snow due to plowing, making them unavailable to bicyclists during winter conditions.
The plan allocates $3 billion in forecasted federal, state, and local funding available in the region to prioritized auto, bicycle, bus, pedestrian, maintenance, and operations projects. The plan is based on three years of research on the current state of transportation and land use. PPACG again released its draft Moving Forward 2040 Regional Transportation Plan for public review and comment through Oct. 9.
With each passing year, the number of miles of paved sidewalk is steadily increasing as a result of several non motorized funding programs. Getting people walking and bicycling will help decrease air pollution and traffic congestion and improve physical health. Colorado Springs is continuing to be a model for other states bike infrastructure. Promoting bicycle use as a realistic, reliable form of transportation, as well as a fun and healthy way to enjoy recreational activities makes them a leader in the U.S.