RECORD OF MEETING
BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN ISSUES TASK FORCE
DATE/TIME/PLACE: Thursday, August 11, 1994, 5:30 - 7:15 PM, CDTC Offices
IN ATTENDANCE: Emily H. Goodman (citizen member), Jerry Mueller (Green City Transportation Council), Katrina Neugebauer (Troy Architectural Program), Don Odell (Albany County Planning Department), Don Robertson (NYSDOT - Region 1), Ivan Vamos (Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council), Russell Ziemba (Rensselaer County Environmental Action), Steve Allocco (CDTC)
Regional Bicycle Network: The Task Force reviewed copies of the draft network map (enclosed for those who did not attend the meeting), considering the question of how the network should influence planning and investment decisions. The network presented two basic problems for the group: it arguably designates too many facilities to appear "selective," and without any sort of prioritization, there is a real question of what the group feels the most important facility types or locations are within it.
As the group discussed these issues, what seemed to evolve was a place for the network in the planning process which does not entail the network's having the "rule of law" with regard to the treatment of specific facilities. In this place, the network could serve a number of functions:
1. Identify desirable bicycle travel corridors
The map presents a system for intra- and interregional travel towards which the region can build over time. It reflects consideration of major travel patterns; the need for some "minimal coverage" of rural areas; and recreational bicycle travel opportunities both within the Capital District and between this region and others (e.g., the Adirondack Park, the Hudson and Mohawk River Corridors). It is recognized that it will not always be feasible to improve the specific facilities marked on the map; in these cases, the potential to either use "softer" treatments (e.g., "if no shoulder can be provided along part of a road, put up 'Share the Road' signs") or provide accommodations on nearby alternatives should be explored. In addition, the group was reminded that in rural areas, bicycle treatments also serve as pedestrian treatments; it was suggested that this point, along with a reinforcement of the message that policies on sidewalk construction and maintenance need to be developed and consistently applied, be prominently noted in the Task Force's next report.
2. Provide a "model" to get a sense of the magnitude of needed improvements at the regional level
The Task Force set forth the idea of using the network to determine what treatments would be necessary at the regional level based on prevailing standards -- particularly, the FHWA standards set forth in the Selecting Roadway Design Treatments to Accommodate Bicycles document (tables from which were distributed at a Task Force meeting a few months back). A sense of the total cost -- and time frame -- of accommodating bicycle travel in the region could be developed in this matter. This is one of the tasks to be pursued by the CDTC staff in the next month or so (see "Action Items").
3. Serve as a long-range plan for bicycle travel
ISTEA requires that a bicycle and pedestrian transportation plan be developed and incorporated into the MPO's long-range plan. In turn, bicycle and pedestrian projects can be pursued using Surface Transportation Program funds if they are designed pursuant to this plan. The Regional Bicycle Network, by virtue of its coverage, offers a strong regionwide reference for development of a system of bicycle accommodations. Coupled with the other products of the Task Force's work, and enhanced by the inputs of CDTC's Subcommittee on Bikeway and Pedestrian Planning, this network will clearly meet the ISTEA requirement for a plan.
4. Serve as a starting point for local planning
Municipal bicycle/pedestrian circulation plans tend to include more local roadways than do plans such as the Regional Bicycle Network. Still, the regional network provides these local plans with a "spine" of sorts for their networks, identifying the primary facilities for both through and local traffic.
The group took up the issue of pilot projects -- proposed projects illustrating application of a range of the tools it sees as important to enhancing the environment for bicycle and pedestrian travel. In previous discussions, the group seemed to be leaning towards developing one or a few free-standing corridor projects (e.g., the "Downtown Albany to SUNY" corridor); at this meeting, however, the idea generating considerable enthusiasm was that of using projects on the current TIP as the pilot projects. As envisioned, the TIP would be reviewed for projects having some potential for inclusion of bicycle and/or pedestrian elements; projects meeting this condition would then be examined so as to determine what treatments would be desirable. To keep manageable the amount of technical work necessary to do this, it was decided to limit the examination to projects being designed in the next three years -- on the TIP tables, this would be those projects shown as having preliminary engineering work taking place in the 1995-96, 1996-97 and 1997-98 budget years. (This also seems appropriate given the expected May 1995 date for the next New Visions conference, at which these pilot projects would be set forth for all the other Task Forces' consideration for the first time.) Projects either earlier or later than these years will be checked in a more cursory fashion, to ensure that no critical opportunities are missed.
In addition to being examined "by themselves," the TIP projects will be mapped so as to determine whether relatively small, additional bicycle/pedestrian projects not on the TIP would if pursued bridge gaps in the bicycle/pedestrian travel system. Destination treatments and intermodal connections will also be explored. Finally, it was suggested that statistics on accidents involving bicycles or pedestrians could be reviewed as a way of identifying additional locations in need of bicycle or pedestrian accommodations. The availability and quality of such information will be investigated by CDTC staff.
* CDTC to:
* apply FHWA bicycle treatment tables to Regional Bicycle Network
* start examining the 1994-99 TIP as a source of pilot projects
* look into the availability of statistics on accidents involving bicycles and pedestrians
* start preparation of a writeup on the Task Force's Phase Two products (bearing in mind that a "common format" for Phase Two reports is still to be developed)
* Next Task Force meeting: Wednesday, October 12, 5:30 - 7:30 PM, Colonie Community Center, 1653 Central Avenue (across from Lake Electronics). Room assignment to be announced in future mailing. Meeting agenda to include presentation/discussion of early results of staff work listed under "CDTC to:" above.
include explan. of context for network
comment on "14/4 as minimum"
check out accident statistics stuff
note that in rural areas, bike accom often=ped accom
Ivan's comment on need to have sidewalk policy, coherent and consistently applied