Bike Master Plan Aims To Boost Ridership, Increase Safety

City of Phx Bike Coord Joe Perez
in front of the new green bike
 lane on Grand Avenue.

(Photo by Nick Blumberg-KJZZ)

The city of Phoenix is in the last stages of putting together a huge document, outlining its plans to make getting around on a bicycle easier and safer. It will address infrastructure for bikers and the relationship between bikes and cars….
“Admittedly, I’m a bit biased, but there aren’t a lot of things I can see that are really negative about bicycling,” said Bob Beane, president of the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists, “and I think Arizona is just kind of lagging.”
Still, Beane sees opportunities. He said several of Arizona’s cities have been ranked by a national group as being bike-friendly and that Phoenix and Glendale got honorable mentions. Beane said if those two cities improve, Arizona would become the state with the highest percentage of the population living in a bicycle-friendly community.  read the rest of the storty on 91.5

The following notes were prepared for Beane’s  KJZZ Radio Interview – March 10, 2014

CAzB Purpose/History

  • Founded in 1992 as an education and advocacy org for bicyclists. Work to educate bicyclists, motorists and law enforcement regarding safe bicycling and correct understanding of Arizona laws related to bicycling. We participate in state and local bicycling safety, adult/youth bicyclist education and Safe Routes to School programs, and we’re involved in providing feedback on proposed infrastructure projects at the state and local level.
  • We advocate for all bicyclists, be they commuters, recreational/fitness, racing and either on or off the road, though most of our time seems to be spent in the area of road and highway-based bicycling issues.
  • Became a 501 c 3 non-profit in 2002.
  • Have board members and advisory board representatives in Metro Phoenix, Metro Tucson, Yuma, the Verde Valley, Kingman and Flagstaff. Looking to expand leadership/advisory representation to at least all communities of 10,000+ as a near-term goal.
  • I became president in 2009.

Climate for National/State Support of Bicycling

  • While there is increasing public demand, federal support of bicycling (as a part of transportation funding) is under political pressure to cut/defund programs. Protections for funding for so-called “alternative modes” (non-motor vehicle) have been weakened. Federal funds for local infrastructure projects (bike lanes, bike/ped bridges, pathways) look likely to decrease in the near term.
  • Majority of Arizona state-level and federal politicians have not voted for bicycle-related legislation or funding. We are working to better communicate the safety, health, quality-of-life benefits, and tourism and economic impact opportunities to change that perspective.
    League of American Bicyclists – Bicycle Friendly America program (driving community, state, business and college/university change)
  • In Arizona, most of the good work is being done at the local level. We have 9 LAB Bicycle friendly communities (Gold – Scottsdale, Tucson/East Pima Region; Silver – Tempe, Flagstaff; Bronze – Chandler, Cottonwood, Gilbert, Mesa and Sedona). Honorable Mentions for 2013 include Glendale and Phoenix. Interestingly, if Phoenix and Glendale received designation, Arizona would have the highest % of its population of any state living in BFCs. Goal.
  • Many other DOTs are doing more to support bicycling, though Arizona is still considered a “Top 10” Bicycle Friendly State.
  • Other states – Ohio (cross state bike path/route), Utah (adopted active transportation policy)

National Bike Summit (League of American Bicyclists and other organizations such as The Alliance for Biking and Walking)

  • Annually in Washington D.C., Combination of workshops and visits to Congressional offices to ask for improvements in safety for bicyclists and pedestrians (non-motorized road users).
  • Emphasis this year: (1) Performance measures for state DOTs that specifically address bike/ped fatalities (why? Disproportionate deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists. For example, AZ fatalities from traffic crashes are nearly 20% bicyclists and pedestrians, though percentage of trips by mode is much lower. (2) “Complete Streets” multi-modal design guidelines for DOTs. (3) Small bill to provide low-interest loans to help communities complete biking/walking networks, with emphasis on low-income areas where people need to ride a bicycle for transportation to/from work.

Priorities

  • National – In addition to the above, (1) USBR network, (2) multi-modal focus.
  • State – Address (1) 3-foot safe passing distance, (2) distracted driving/vulnerable roadway user, (3) ADOT paved shoulder policy and shift to more multi-modal orientation
  • Local – Continue to promote bicycle-friendly communities
  • CAzB – (1) Further define our role and potential contributions, (2) continue to add member representation and leadership from around the state, (3) develop funding for paid executive director position.
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