Kansas City Bicycle Log
Posts, email, and ideas related to bicycling and bicycle advocacy.
Thursday, October 24, 2002STLtoday - Nowhere to run
Nowhere to run, by Traci Angel starts this way: Whether it's the elements or construction, there is little to encourage a person to stay in shape this summer in St. Louis. Traci goes on to suggest that St. Louis is a pretty unfriendly place for both runners and cyclists. Even in the park, autos roar by, passing far too close without slowing at all.
Interesting--this is much the same rant I've gone on many times about Kansas City, and particularly the Swope Park/Blue River parkway area. This could & should be one of our most beautiful, showpiece areas. Instead the only use we can seem to find for it is as giant freeway interchange/bypass and toxic waste dump.
Maybe things are changing now . . .
Monday, October 21, 2002Multi-Use Paths--Good or Evil?
I invariably come off sounding like I'm
"against" multi-use paths when I really am not. I would push for a
different mix in our funding priorities that would favor on-street
facilities somewhat more than they currently are, and multi-use paths
somewhat less than they currently are, but that is about as far as my
"anti-path" sentiment goes.
I think that a lot the multi-use paths we're starting to see around
the KC metro area, mostly along rivers and creeks, are one of the
best things that has happened in the metro area in a long time. They
are a lot like long, narrow parks. As you know if you have read much
of what I have written on the subject, one of my biggest criticisms
of how things have been handled in the KC area over the past (almost)
200 years is that we have invariably used our beautiful riverfront
areas to dump garbage, toxic waste, and industrial blight. What
should be our most scenic areas, sparkling gems setting off the
natural beauty of the city, are instead ugly, frightening, poisoned,
and (often for those reasons) inaccessible.
The movement to create trails and public access to these areas via
multi-use trails is at least one big step to counteract a century and
a half of abuse.
I would even defend something as "evil" (from the vehicular cycling
perspective) as the Trolley Track trail, as a good and useful linear
park project--despite the fact that my own experience with it is very
like the experience Forrester had riding such a path (famously
described in his book) after which he concluded after riding just a
mile or two on such a path that riding paths were at least 1000 times
more dangerous than riding on the roadway. (In four blocks riding
the path we had more dangerous conflicts and near misses than we had
in an entire summer riding all the way along Gregory and back--20+
miles per week, every week. And that despite the fact that I
consciously held my speed in check and tried to be cautious and
observant. But whenever I am in the area, I invariably choose to
ride Wornall--a very busy street with many fast-moving trucks and
buses--because if you're going somewhere at speed, Wornall is far,
far safer to ride than the Trolley Track Trail . . . ).
Despite that, if I lived in the area of the Trolley Track trail,
would I have have been pushing for the trail to be developed? You
bet I would! It is a wonderful linear park serving tens of thousands
of nearby residents. It's great place to walk, jog, take some sun,
or for ten-year-olds to poop around on their bikes a little (although
my own ten-year-olds would be prohibited absolutely from riding their
bikes across any of the cross streets--VERY dangerous . . . ).
Or to put it another way, as a 'parks'-type project, it is a smashing
success, as a bicycle transportation project it is a moderate success
with a number of significant drawbacks.
That doesn't mean that, even as a bicycle transportation project, it
shouldn't be built. But if such as sidepath project were competing
for transportation money against other bicycle transportation
projects that promised to be even more successful and have fewer
drawbacks, you would have to say that the sidepaths would come out
lower priority and the "better" projects higher priority.
IMHO we have the priorities just a little off right now--that's all.
Sunday, October 20, 2002Educating Officials About Safe Bicycling Practices
I think one reason it is difficult to convince certain people (including public officials) about safe bicycling practices is that several of them are counterintuitive to non-bicyclists. This would include things like:
* riding on the street is generally safer than sidewalk riding
* riding as far to the right as humanly possible is usually more dangerous than riding out in the lane closer to the motor traffic
* if the lane is very narrow it is usually safer and more comfortable to move towards the middle of the road (most non-bicyclists would assume that it's safer to move as far towards the edge as humanly possible)
* riding sidepaths is generally more dangerous than riding the streets they parallel etc.
One tack I tried to take in our Kansas City advocacy was to say that "Before I started bicycling seriously I used to believe XYZ just like you
did." I explained that I ccould see where they are coming from and that I, too, used to believe XYZ was the logical and reasonable position. Then I explain how I came to change my mind about the issue (the research I did, how at first I didn't believe it could be true, but then I tried it, and so on).
I thought this was pretty effective, but of course what is really effective in a particular case depends a lot of the particular circumstances and personalities involved.
Saturday, October 19, 2002Why the CMAQ Pedestrian/Bicycle Proposal Scoring System is Flawed
Following are comments on the evaluation process for CMAQ Bicycle/Pedestrian applications at http://www.marc.org/transportation/cmaq/overview.htm.
Explanation--Why the CMAQ Proposal Scoring System is Flawed
In separate messages I have criticized particular proposals submitted for CMAQ funding. But I think the following paragraph gets to heart of the problems I see with the type of proposals submitted and the criteria for evaluating them:
As I understand it, when projects are evaluated, about 70% of project score comes from a combination of emissions reductions and cost effectiveness. The projection of emission reductions are based on the idea that a percentage of the average daily trips (ADT) for automobiles of an adjacent road would be reduced by providing a facility on a road. There is no distinction as to type of facility (wide sidewalk, regular sidewalk, sidewalks on both side of road, bike lane & sidewalk, bike lane alone, etc.).
Here is the problem with this method of scoring: Since there is no distinction in the emissions reductions score of various facilities, and since wide sidewalk on one side of the road is the cheapest way to "accommodate" both cyclists and pedestrians, it is always going to win. A typical project priority listing under current scoring:
"best" 1. Wide sidewalks/"bike trail" on one side
2. Sidewalks on both sides
3. Good sidewalks on both sides
4. Bike lanes
"worst" 5. Sidewalks on both sides and bike lanes
Cities know this and thus they preferentially submit wide sidewalk/"bike trail" projects.
Where are the bike lane projects in the CMAQ proposals? The proposals for sidewalks on both sides of the roadway? Proposals for adding both bike lanes and sidewalks? Proposals for re-striping to create space for wide curb lanes or bike lanes?
The current scoring formula has the unintended consequence of putting all these types of proposals at a scoring disadvantage to wide sidewalks on one side of the street.
Yet all these other projects are likely to far better serve the needs of cyclists and/or pedestrians than are wide one-sided sidewalks.
The current scoring formula also has the unintended consequence of encouraging cities to slap down minimal-cost streets with no ped/bike facilities, then apply for federal funds to add on the most minimally acceptable ped/bike facility (wide sidewalk on one side), then advertise themselves as "Pedestrian/Bicycle Friendly".
We can and should do better.
One reason Kansas City metro area streets are in such a mess is that the cheapest possible band-aid fix has been applied time and time again. The end result is far too many roads that do not meet the needs of motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians.
We can and should do better than choosing the cheapest possible facility that meets the letter of the law.
Suggestions for Improvement in Project Review Scoring Process
I suggest that the scoring procedure for CMAQ bicycle/pedestrian project review needs to become considerably more sophisticated and nuanced. At the very top of the list must be a consideration of how well the proposed facility meets the needs of the proposed users--pedestrians and/or bicyclists, as appropriate for the particular project.
Well-designed, comprehensive pedestrian/bicycle projects can have a positive impact on an entire community; we should strongly encourage such projects and strongly consider their total impact. More community impact means more effectiveness; more effectiveness means more walking and bicycling on this particular facility and throughout the entire community; more walking and bicycling means less emissions and less traffic congestion.
In my opinion, project scoring should include, as top priority, such items as:
* SAFETY. Safe facilities will be used more; total overall cost to government and society will be less if injuries are reduced. Safe design practices are well known. We absolutely should follow them and not fund substandard facilities.
* COMFORT/AESTHETICS/USABILITY. Well designed facilities will be used far more.
* INTERACTION WITH OTHER ROAD USERS. Is this project part of a re-thinking of the road system to make it friendlier for bicyclist and pedestrians? Or just a slapped-on afterthought? High vehicle speeds and careless driving are major impediments to walking and bicycling. How will these problems be addressed on the proposed facility and on nearby roadways?
* TOTAL DESIGN. How will users get to this facility and how will they get from the facility to destinations? If a sidewalk, how will users cross streets, intersections, driveways? If a bike facility, what about intersections, hazard removal, on-street parking, traffic signal adjustment, maintenance, etc.? How is this facility going to work in terms of a total bicycle/pedestrian transportation system?
* INTEGRATION INTO NEIGHBORHOOD-, CITY-, METRO-WIDE BICYCLE OR PEDESTRIAN TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM. How well does this individual piece fit into the big puzzle? Does it enhance the value of nearby/intersecting roads and streets to pedestrians and cyclists?
* BEST USE OF FUNDS. Is this an appropriate use of special federal funds, or a project that cities should be funding as a matter of course during routine road building and maintenance?
All-in-all I am asking you to consider bicycling and walking as real, serious transportation systems held to design standards as high as those to which we hold facilities for motor vehicles.
Typical project scoring under this proposed scoring system:
"best" 1. Traffic calming project with bike lanes, sidewalks
on both sides, frequent crosswalks, many ped/cycle-
friendly small features, follows well-known best practices
for bike/ped design
2. Simple bike lanes and sidewalks
3. Bike lanes or sidewalks alone
"worst" 4. Wide bike/ped sidepath on one side
If we build real, serious, well-designed, well-thought-out, high quality bicycle and pedestrian facilities, bicycling and walking will increase in popularity and emissions and congestion will be reduced greatly.
If we build sub-standard bicycle and pedestrian facilities and continue to encourage motor vehicles to drive at high speeds with disregard for cyclists and pedestrians, bicycling and walking will increase little or not at all and impact on congestion and emissions will be negligible.
The most cost-effective project is not that which is cheapest but that which is best-designed.
Increasing bicycle and pedestrian transportation in the metro area is going to require far more than laying down a few facilities. It is going to require a sea-change in our total transportation design approach and philosophy. It will require us to seriously consider bicycle and pedestrian issues as a vital, integrated part of every street and road project. I feel that MARC and the CMAQ bicycle/pedestrian funding can be a vitally important catalyst in this change. I feel that MARC has being doing a better and better job of this over the years, but feel that MARC can do a better job yet!
Thank you for considering my comments and, again, thank you for your hard work in improving bicycle and pedestrian transportation in the area. I especially appreciate the openness and responsiveness of MARC to citizen response and input.
--Dr. Brent Hugh
Friday, October 18, 2002The Potential of Traffic Calming In the Kansas City Metro Area
I would like to offer some comments on the CMAQ Bicycle/Pedestrian applications at http://www.marc.org/transportation/cmaq/overview.htm.
I am discouraged to find among the CMAQ bicycle/pedestrian proposals, no proposals that deal with traffic calming.
Traffic calming techniques have been developed, honed, and are now broadly used in other countries and states. They are well proven create a better environment for and encourage far more people to walk and bicycle on short trips around their neighborhood and city.
It will be a l-o-n-g time before every street in the KC metro area has a sidewalk. But if we can use proven techniques to calm traffic we can leverage our existing road network to create far more pedestrian and bicycle trips at a far lower cost.
The need for this was brought home to me as I and my six-year-old son walked to a neighbor just three houses down a few days ago. We live on a narrow, two-lane 25MPH street that, despite its lack of sidewalks, should be a nice quiet neighborhood street suitable for walking or bicycling. But because it is a 4-block "straight shot" with a steep hill and no stop signs, motor vehicle speeds commonly approach 50 MPH.
My son and I were nearly run down by an automobile approaching over a blind hill at well over 40 MPH. Trucks roared by just inches from us at well over 45 MPH.
Enforcement alone will never stop this kind of driving--which would make walking unpleasant and dangerous even if sidewalks were provided--because a "straight shot" is just too tempting to motorists. But relatively inexpensive traffic calming techniques could easily change the character of this neighborhood and encourage far more walking and bicycling.
Four-lane roadways in the KC area typically lack sidewalks and any sort of bicycle facility. Motorists race each other, pass on both right and left, and generally create an environment very uncomfortable and discouraging to pedestrian and bicyclist.
I live only three blocks from a nearby strip mall, but even though I like to walk, I rarely walk there because the route involves a sidewalk placed immediately adjacent to a 4-lane, 50MPH "racetrack".
Meanwhile, shopping centers around Raytown are drying up because nobody shops at them, even though they are within easy walking distance of hundreds of homes.
Nationally recognized bicycle/pedestrian expert Dan Burden has demonstrated an inexpensive way to turn these difficult roadways into roadways that are inviting to pedestrians and bicyclists and more pleasant for motorists, as well. He calls it a "road diet" and it involves re-striping 4-lane roads to create 3 lane roads with center turn lane and bicycle lanes on each side.
He finds these positive outcomes from "road diets":
* bike lanes give motorists more border width
* cars move at more uniform speeds (prudent drivers set prevailing speeds)
* people are able to enter and exit driveways more easily
* pedestrians have six feet more separation from motorists
* automobile crashes reduced 30-70%
* overall motorist trip times were unaffected
* property values along the road rise
* commercial businesses along the routes benefit
* the treatment works well with 20,000 and even up to 30,000 vehicles per day
I strongly feel that traffic calming could be an effective and inexpensive way of changing the character of our entire metropolitan area to encourage more walking and biking as well as having very broad benefits to all citizens in creating a more liveable and vital city.
* MARC should discourage substandard projects such as sidepaths
* MARC should educate communities about traffic calming
* MARC should encourage communities to incorporate traffic calming
* MARC should give priority to projects involving traffic calming
* CMAQ funding criteria should be refined enough to detect the difference between a substandard project of dubious value (sidepath) and a sophisticated approach capable of changing the entire dynamic of a business district or neighborhood (road diet)
Thank you for considering my opinions and I appreciate the work you do to make the metro area a better place for pedestrians and cyclists.
--Dr. Brent Hugh
Thursday, October 17, 2002Why On-Street Bicycle Transportation Projects are Beneficial
I would like to offer my comments on bicycle transportation projects in the CMAQ Bicycle/Pedestrian applications at http://www.marc.org/transportation/cmaq/overview.htm.
I strongly support on-street bicycle transportation projects such as KCMO's Bicycle Transportation Plan (BP11). I feel that projects like this are a much more effective way to spend scarce transportation funding than are most proposed CMAQ bike/ped projects. Such bicycle transportation projects should be receiving the lion's share of MARC's attention and funding when it comes to bicycle-related matters. Here is why:
1. LEVERAGE. On-street bicycle facilities leverage pre-existing bicycle-friendly neighborhood streets. I have estimated that each mile of designated bicycle route in Kansas City intersects with an average 20 miles of quiet neighborhood streets that are already bicycle-friendly. Thus, the 100 miles of signed bike routes create good bicycle access and interconnection to approximately 2000 miles of adjoining streets. BP11 costs approx. $900,000; dividing by 2000 miles this is only $450 per mile.
2. ANTI-LEVERAGE. By contrast, the 135th Street "sidepath" Project (BP8) will cost $225,000 for 4100 feet; that is $290,000 per mile for a dangerous bicycle facility that is sub-standard for both bicyclists and pedestrians.
3. AASHTO COMPLIANCE. The short "sidepath" on 63rd Street that is part of BP11 is exactly the sort of exceptional sidepath endorsed by AASHTO--a short, interconnecting link with no cross-streets or driveways, designed to help cyclists cross a difficult obstacle (the Blue River).
4. REACH. This is a true transportation plan designed to help and encourage cyclists safely travel all over the city to any destination reachable by motor vehicle.
5. MULTIPLE BENEFITS. True bicycle transportation initiatives benefit all road users, not just bicyclists:
* bicycles are practical transportation over the distances involved in KC
* bicycle average speed is equal to or faster than mass transit
* bicycling is already more often used in the U.S. the mass transit
* more bicycle use equals less traffic congestion
* more bicycle use helps solve parking problems
* smoothing roads for bicyclists makes better roads for all road users
* shoulders/bike lanes give motorists a wider clear zone and
give pedestrians more separation from automobiles
In short, when money is spent on true bicycle transportation, we get a lot of bang for our buck and create benefits for all road users.
--Dr. Brent Hugh
Wednesday, October 16, 2002Proposed Bicycle/pedestrian "Sidepaths" in the Kansas City Area
I recently read the CMAQ Bicycle/Pedestrian applications at http://www.marc.org/transportation/cmaq/overview.htm.
I would like to offer my comments on the proposals that involve bicycle/pedestrian "sidepaths".
The number of proposed CMAQ projects involving "sidepaths" (designated bicycle/ped paths running parallel to a roadway, like a sidewalk but usually wider) is disturbing. This type of bicycle facility has been tried in other states over the previous decades and has been abandoned as dangerous. It is very unfortunate that we must make the same mistakes, and learn the same lessons, all over again.
Here are the reasons we should be building very, very few bicycle sidepaths:
A. AASHTO GUIDELINES. All proposals state that they adhere to AASHTO guidelines yet bicycle sidepath/sidewalk projects BP8, BP9, and BP17 quite clearly do not follow AASTHO guidelines, which severely denigrate designating sidepaths/sidewalks as bicycle facilities, only allowing them in specific situations which clearly do not apply to BP8, BP9, and BP17 (B5 also involves "wide sidewalks" which present the same problem). Detailed references to the AASHTO guidelines are provided at the end of this message.
B. KNOWN DANGER. Sidepaths are known to be dangerous bicycle facilities. Due to Kansas's mandatory sidepath law, cyclists are legally required to use sidepaths if they are provided. Since the proposed sidepaths are on one side of the road only, this forces bicyclists to ride against traffic. Riding the "wrong way" on the sidewalk is the most dangerous known type of urban bicycling, approximately 20 times more dangerous than cycling with traffic in a shared lane. The reason is that bicycle accidents most often happen where traffic paths cross. Bicycle traffic on the street, like all other traffic, is protected from traffic on sidestreets and driveways. Sidepath bicycle traffic has difficult conflict points at every driveway and sidestreet.
C. ENCOURAGE WRONG-WAY RIDING. Bicyclists riding against the flow on the sidepath will be encouraged to ride wrong-way on the street in order to enter the sidepath and after the sidepath ends. Wrong-way riding on the street is extraordinarily dangerous.
D. LIABILITY ISSUES. The known danger, mandatory sidepath law, and lack of safety review in MARC's approval process opens MARC, the city, and the state to serious liability issues. Facilities are created that are known to be dangerous (more dangerous, in fact, than existing facilities), cyclists are legally required to use them, and safety issues are not seriously considered in the funding process.
E. POOR PEDESTRIAN SERVICE. Particularly on busy streets with fast-moving traffic sidewalks must be provided on both sides of the roadway. Pedestrians should not be expected to cross 5 or 6 lanes of fast-moving traffic, walk two blocks to their destination, then re-cross the same 5 or 6 lanes again. 20 MPH bicycles and 3 MPH pedestrians are not a good mix. Sidewalks should be built in the regular course of road building; they should not be a specially funded federal project.
A. Sidewalks/paths should be for pedestrians only.
B. Sidewalks/paths should be on both sides of the street. 5-foot
width on both sides of the street is far preferable to 10-foot width
on one side.
C. CMAQ money should be used for sidewalks/paths only in exceptional
Thank you for considering my opinions. Generally I feel that the environment for bicycle and pedestrian transportation is improving in the Kansas City area and I appreciate your hard work on this issue.
Relevant quotations from the AASHTO Guide are below.
--Dr. Brent Hugh
- - -
Relevant quotations from AASHTO Guidelines (from 1999 AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities). Please note that I am quoting the AASHTO Guide to give authority to the statements. But I have personally found these statements to be true in my own riding on such facilities. So these statements closely reflect my own personal feelings on the matter, as a Kansas City area citizen, pedestrian, and cyclist:
* Shared use paths should not be considered a substitute for [bicycle-related] street improvements even when the path is located adjacent to the highway (p. 33)
* Sidewalks generally are not acceptable for bicycling. However, in a few limited situations, such as on long and narrow bridges and where bicyclists are incidental or infrequent users, the sidewalk can serve as an alternate facility... (p. 8-9)
* In general, the designated use of sidewalks (as a signed shared facility) for bicycle travel is unsatisfactory. (See Undesirability of Sidewalks as Shared Use Paths, page 58.) It is important to recognize that the development of extremely wide sidewalks does not necessarily add to the safety of sidewalk bicycle travel, since wide sidewalks encourage higher speed bicycle use and increase potential for conflicts with motor vehicles at intersections, as well as with pedestrians and fixed objects.... (p. 20)
* Utilizing or providing a sidewalk as a shared use path is unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons. Sidewalks are typically designed for pedestrian speeds and maneuverability and are not safe for higher speed bicycle use. Conflicts are common between pedestrians traveling at low speeds (exiting stores, parked cars, etc.) and bicyclists, as are conflicts with fixed objects (e.g., parking meters, utility poles, sign posts, bus benches, trees, fire hydrants, mail boxes, etc.) (p. 58)
Saturday, October 12, 2002TEA21 Reauthorization, Safe Routes to Schools, Interesting Letter from Congressman Sam Graves
I recently wrote Sam Graves, Missouri Representative from the 6th District (which includes Liberty & St. Joseph) about supporting the inclusion of "Safe Routes to Schools" in the TEA21 re-authorization. You may know that this has been proposed recently and seems to have some substantial support.
Graves is a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and so is very involved in the TEA-21 re-authorization question.
I received a reply from Graves just yesterday (dated September 25th, 2002). It included the following interesting tidbits:
"As you may know, Congress enacted the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century Act (TEA-2 1) in 1998. A federal funding formula known as the Revenue Aligned Budget Authority (RABA) mechanism guaranteed minimum levels of funding for infrastructure projects. The RABA mechanism determines how much of the collected gas tax in the Highway Trust Fund would be returned to the states. Essentially, RABA was calculated using previously collected gas taxes and projected gas tax revenue. While the mechanism returned record amounts to the states at the height of the economic boom, an economic slowdown has returned the actual funding to lower numbers. These lower numbers limit which programs receive federal funding.
"As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I look forward to working on the reauthorization of TEA-21 in 2003. First, I will support stable funding levels for our infrastructure and will fight to ensure that the Highway Trust Fund is used solely for transportation projects, as it was intended. I also will give attention to trail programs that will ensure the safety of pedestrians."
1. This explains why federal funds have become harder to get recently.
2. It sounds as though Graves would oppose things like recreational bicycle trails funded by TEA21's successor. He may have other things in mind when he says "ensure that the Highway Trust Fund is used solely for transportation projects", but I'll bet (although he doesn't say so explicitly) that the multi-use trail funding is high on his list of non-transportation projects.
3. This could be an opportunity for bicyclists to push for a higher proportion of Highway Trust Funds to be used for on-road bicycle plans and on-road improvements that help bicycling. Under TEA21 the proportion has been something like 70% or 80% of the bicycling-related money towards multi-use trails (which, let's face it, mostly tend to be recreational in nature) and the rest for on-road projects. Personally, I would like to see the proportion changed and approximately reversed. I think more money put into making streets more bicycle-friendly would get more people riding, for the simple reason that streets already go close to where most people live and trails never will.
The rationales for changing the funding proportions to favor on-road projects would be:
a. On road bicycle projects serve a transportational purpose (thus diffusing the arguments of those like Graves who argue that gas tax funds should be used solely for transportation). Bicycling is already a more popular transportation choice than mass transit, so it is a real, legitimate transportation alternative and deserves funding at least on par with mass transit funding.
b. More bicycling helps reduce congestion (another transportational purpose).
c. On major roads, almost all bicycle-related improvements are also improvements from the motorist's perspective: wider, smoother, cleaner roads with good shoulders, greater separation between autos and pedestrians (because there is a bicycle lane, shoulder, or wide curb lane giving more space between sidewalk and motor vehicle travel lane), and so on.
[By the way, please don't cast me as a "trail-hater", because I'm not. We can have that discussion another day, but in short my position is: Both have their place; the proportion between them in a transportation funding package should be different than it has been.]
4. To make "Safe Routes to Schools" really helpful for bicyclists will require it to be written carefully with input from bicycle advocacy organizations--"the devil is in the details". But, in general, and hoping that the details turn out right, I think bicyclists should support the "Safe Routes to Schools" proposal in the TEA21 re-authorization, for these reasons.
a. "Safe Routes to Schools" helps cast bicycle-related improvements in terms of a clear and very popular transportation purpose: getting kids safely to and from school. This helps both in terms of helping make bicycling a viable transportation choice in the U.S. and in getting a powerful coalition of parents, teachers, and schools on "our side".
b. Routes from home to school, in every city and town throughout the entire country, encompasses a tremendous number of streets and roads. Imagine all those roads as being made bicycle-friendly! As is the case with current TEA21 projects, nothing will force communities to participate in the Safe Routes to Schools project. But this federal funding will give communities a powerful funding incentive to join the Safe Routes to Schools program and make streets and roads throughout their communities more bicycle- (and pedestrian-) friendly.
c. Bicycle advocates have long noted the decline in child and teen bicycling in the U.S. Safe Routes to Schools could be a powerful way to get more kids (and their parents) out there walking and biking. This can only be good for the future of bicycling.
Sunday, October 06, 2002My Bike Tour of KC Area Today
I had a nice tour of Kansas City this afternoon/evening.
I left Raytown about 4:30PM. North on Raytown Trafficway to Manchester-Winchester-Belmont Ave-West on Gladstone Blvd to Cliff Drive to Independence Ave to 5th St. to River Market.
I stopped at the new "Randy Niere Memorial" bridge--very interesting overlook of the river & riverfront, even though the stairs & elevator to the lower level aren't even open yet (the trail is supposed to be open next summer, I heard). You should stop & see the bridge/overlook if you're in the area. It's right at the end of Main (about 3rd & Main).
I discovered some very strange and wonderful things under the Broadway Bridge--stop & have a look if you're ever in the area. Also, I found two cobblestone streets in the general vicinity (I didn't know we had any of those left . . . ).
Then Woddswether to Ohio, across the Kansas River on the lower level of the Woddswether Bridge (under I-70). Then 7th Street (169) south across the river again, then west on Metropolitan, south on 21st street which somehow curves & becomes 18th street & then curves again as it goes under I-35 and becomes Foxridge. Then 51st Street (some nasty hills there--needed my new granny gear) to Elledge to 47th Street to Rainbow to east on Johnson Dr-Ward Pkwy-Volker-Swope Pkwy-Blue Pkwy.
I discovered that Blue Pkwy actually has some long sections with curb lanes wide enough to be easily shareable. Wo-wee! Maybe I'll ride that way more often.
Unfortunately, Blue Pkwy has some nasty narrow sections, too (bridge over the Blue River is very narrow, poor sight lines, and traffic moves very fast; and after the intersection with Coal Mine/Sni-a-bar traffic speeds up to well over 50 MPH and lanes narrow; then shoulders disappear--that's just when YOU want to disappear on your bike . . . ).
So, at this point I would have taken either Coal Mine or Sni-a-bar except that they are both under construction. So it was Eastwood Tffy to Eastern to 52nd Terr to Skiles to Byram's Ford to 57th . . . finally to 59th & then to the starting point at 59th & Raytown Trafficway. Arrived home at 9:00PM.
Altogether, Raytown to City Market to KCK to Mission to the Plaza & back to Raytown, total distance 40.2 miles. Lots of new areas I hadn't visited on bike (or any other way) & lots of fun!
Three Bicycle/Ped Injuries/Fatality in Independence Last Week
Did you all see this in the Star?
Complete KC Star article
"Three young people in Independence were struck by vehicles last week while bicycling or walking on city streets. One of them, a 14-year-old boy, was killed near 23rd Street and Arlington Avenue, while riding his bike."
The 14-year-old's accident was about 8PM, which makes one think that lack of lighting on the bicycle as well as the typical fast automobile speeds on 23rd Street are likely contributing factors.
Does anyone know more about these incidents?