Non-Motorized Transportation Plan

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Executive Summary

pdf Click here for a PDF file of the full plan

Plan Overview Purpose of the Plan
Existing Conditions
Public Participation
Non-Motorized Transportation Vision Plan

Cost Estimates
Financially Constrained Plan
Standards and Guidelines
Recommendations

It is generally accepted that walking and bicycling, as opposed to driving a personal vehicle, promote physical health and lower stress, reduce harmful emissions, and save money and energy. Walking and cycling reduce obesity, and significantly, child obesity, which is targeted by federal transportation program. Non-motorized facilities also provide choice and increase the mobility of people with disabilities, young people not yet old enough to drive, and senior citizens who no longer drive. Safe, convenient bicycle and pedestrian facilities also foster vibrant communities and attractive neighborhoods. The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Non-Motorized Transportation Plan provides for the Vision and prioritization of projects within the financial constraints of the Regional Transportation Plan. The plan also provides best practices standards and guidelines for building a better bicycle and pedestrian system.

PLAN OVERVIEW PURPOSE OF THE PLAN

The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Colorado Springs metro area. In this capacity, PPACG must maintain a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to determine investment priorities for billions of dollars in federal, state, and local funds. As part of this planning process, PPACG is charged with the development of a non-motorized transportation plan element consisting of bicycle and pedestrian transportation mobility improvements, which complements automobile and transit modes. The Non-Motorized Transportation Plan provides a comprehensive approach to identifying bicycle and pedestrian needs, reviewing improvements, and prioritizing implementation strategies and viable funding sources by jurisdiction. The Plan looked for opportunities to connect and integrate existing facilities, though precise alignments may be determined during the implementation process.

The project was divided into three phases:

  • PHASE 1: NEEDS ASSESSMENT - Collect input from the public and prepared a needs assessment to identify what is doing well in the region and what needs to be done to improve bicycling and walking within the region.
  • PHASE 2: GUIDELINES AND PRIORITIES - Developed guidelines to identify what type of bicycle and pedestrian improvements are needed and for selecting. A prioritization process was also developed as to how these improvements might be implemented.
  • PHASE 3: PLAN AND MAP - Developed a non-motorized transportation system plan that will be part of the PPACG 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan.

The NMP provides the first-ever comprehensive inventory of existing and proposed non-motorized projects in each regional jurisdiction. Because there are many more proposed projects than can possibly be funded in the planning period, a major function of the NMP is to provide a framework for project selection.

EXISTING CONDITIONS

Before considering which projects should be most strongly considered for funding, a review of existing conditions was deemed appropriate. This involved reviewing existing non-motorized transportation facilities and safety, and more briefly, the needs schools and military installations. The following map provides locations where existing bicycle facilities exist.

pdf click here for a PDF File of the Map 

trn_existing_bike

A few up-front comments can be made about the existing non-motorized facilities as a system:

  1. The network of bicycle trails and lanes are very limited in serving as a system of facilities to accommodate regional bicycle travel within the PPACG area.
  2. Many existing trails have missing links and/or difficult, unsafe crossings at major arterials.
  3. Trails and lanes begin and end erratically.
  4. Many of the trails have obstacles, such as terrain or railroad crossings.
  5. Many of the facilities are in need of repair and basic maintenance such as sweeping.
  6. Bike lanes are often depositories for snow, making them unavailable to bicyclists during winter conditions.

In summary, the existing bicycle network for the PPACG area is non-existent as a system of improvements for non-motorized bicycle travel. Major improvements are needed to provide reliable connections between one area of the region and another.

In review of safety conditions, it was found that bicycle crashes often occur in areas that lack bicycle facilities. Locations of high pedestrian crashes are at locations with high pedestrian utilization, such as the Colorado Springs downtown area or Manitou Springs.

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PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

The NMP was conducted with the highest levels of public involvement. In order to identify public opinion on existing conditions, a series of events and bicycle and pedestrian surveys were conducted to determine what the primary areas of concerns are with the existing bicycle trails and lanes and with the pedestrian sidewalks system.

The region’s number one recommended improvement was for more direct off-road facilities. Better bike path connections, more paved shoulders and striped on-street lanes, and safer street crossings were also identified as very important. Secure bike parking, more attractive bike path facilities, and showers at place of work were noted, but not deemed as important.

NON-MOTORIZED TRANSPORTATION VISION PLAN

A Bicycle and Pedestrian Vision Plan was developed to provide the framework for a regional non-motorized transportation system plan for implementing a system of integrated bikeways and pedestrian improvements.

The Bicycle Vision Plan has two components. The first is the hierarchy of bicycle facilities. Two major facilities were identified, the north-south Santa Fe Trail, Pikes Peak Greenway, and Fountain Creek Trail that would traverse El Paso County from the Douglas County to Pueblo County Line and the east-west major facility including the existing and proposed Midland Trail and Rock Island Trail that would extend from Woodland Park to east El Paso County. The second component of the Bicycle Vision Plan is the proposed bicycle improvements from the PPACG member jurisdictions and updates from the public process.

There was no map for the Pedestrian Vision Plan, but rather a vision for providing sidewalks and trails to serve all major pedestrian linkages and safe pedestrian crossings at major arterials.

pdf Click here for a PDF file of the map

 trn_existing_bike

COST ESTIMATES

Planning level cost estimates were developed for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Vision Plans. For the development of the Bicycle Vision Plan, the cost estimate for paved trails, unpaved trails, bike lanes, and shoulders was approximately $300 million dollars.

There was no specific Pedestrian Vision Plan map developed for the region as pedestrian improvements tend to be more local and not part of a regional network. Based on planning level efforts for completing missing gaps, pioneering new pedestrian facilities along facilities where they are currently missing, ADA ramps and improvements, street crossings and grade separated pedestrian improvements, it is estimated that a Pedestrian Vision Plan for the region could easily exceed $100 million.

FINANCIALLY CONSTRAINED PLAN

Recognizing that the available bicycle and pedestrian funding is significantly less than the project list for the Vision Plan, each jurisdiction was asked to submit their top priority projects. A total of 40 bicycle projects were submitted for a total cost of approximately $45 million. The list of projects encompasses the range of bicycle facilities including paved and unpaved trails, bike lanes, and paved shoulders.

A total of nine pedestrian projects were submitted for a total of approximately $20 million. The most extensive and costly project on the list requests on-going funding for the construction of infill sidewalk segments and installation of accessible pedestrian ramps along high priority pedestrian corridors throughout the City of Colorado Springs.

Although the total Bicycle and Pedestrian Vision Plan have a cost estimated of $400 million, and the PPACG member jurisdictions priority projects are estimated at $65 million, there is only $25 million available for bicycle and pedestrian improvements based on historical spending patterns. This has resulted in the need for a flexible set of evaluation criteria that was developed for the project.

trn_bike_cost_table

pdf Click here for a PDF File of the Map

trn_bike_priority_map 

pdf Click here for a PDF File of the Map

 trn_pedestrian_priority_map

STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES

In addition to establishing the Bicycle and Pedestrian Vision and Financially Constrained Plans, the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan provides detailed design guidelines and other useful information for the establishment of a meaningful, useful, enjoyable, and safe non-motorized transportation system.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Complete the first priority system identified in the Bicycle Vision Plan. This will complete the major east-west and north south corridors as a foundation for a more extensive network that will provide enhanced non-motorized commuting opportunities and tourist access to the mountains.
  2. Increase the proportion of funds spent on non-motorized transportation, especially for providing connected, continuous facilities; educating in partnership with local agencies, non-profits, clubs, and other organizations; encouraging cycling and walking; and enforcing laws that protect cyclists and pedestrians on the roads.

PPACG Board Meeting

The next meeting of the PPACG Board of Directors will be on November 12.

 

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2013 Annual Report

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