Plan “C” : Mind the Gap

 

This past week the Council Subcommittee (formed to analyze the proposed hike and bike plan) was presented with their third option – Plan C – which actually adds some additional on-street bike routes back in. Only some though.  

While this is an improvement from Plan B, the amount of coverage and connectivity is still drastically less than what is proposed in Plan A and what is in the current 2002 bike plan. Plan C, with its focus on bike routes and not bike lanes, does little to bridge the experience gap between novice cyclists that only feel comfortable riding in parks on trails, and experienced cyclists who already feel comfortable riding in the street with traffic. As the original plan points out:

Bicyclists typically have a wide range of skill levels from expert to novice. These skill levels are commonly designated as Type A, B, and C. Type A bicyclist is an expe­rienced adult who is capable of riding in motorized traffic in a shared road situation. Type B bicyclist has less experience and is most comfortable riding in a separated bike facility such as a bike lane. Type C bi­cyclist is a recreational bicyclist who is most comfortable on a low-volume residential road or off-road greenway (often a child or senior adult). These groups are not al­ways exclusive and are often mixed on a shared-use path. It is critical to ensure that safety and convenience of all users of a transportation system are accommodated in all project planning and development projects. At a minimum, the facilities will be designed for Type B bicyclist use, with the overall goal to meet the needs of Type C bicyclists to the greatest extent possible. In areas where specific needs have been identified (i.e., near schools), the needs of appropriate types of bicyclist will be ac­commodated.”

(Source: Arlington Hike & Bike Plan, Chapter 8: Design Guidelines, 8-4)

Bike routes (which are painted symbols on the street at distant intervals, not stripes) tend to serve already experienced cyclists and mostly function to raise awareness of a cyclists’ right to be on the road – a great thing, but they’re simply not enough to accommodate Arlington moving forward over the next thirty years. To make Arlington more bike friendly, Plan “C” needs to be updated with more bike lanes. The entire idea behind updating the Plan in the first place was to make Arlington more accessible, by more people, through bicycling and walking. Until the Plan reflects that with more bike lanes, Arlington is getting a raw deal.

 

Check out our analysis of all three plans below:

Plan A: 163 miles of on-street facilities ($980,000), 118 miles of off-street trails ($71,700,000)
The original proposed Hike and Bike System Master Plan was developed by city staff and consultants over the course of almost two years with substantial public input. The plan is available for download here.

“The primary goal of this Master Plan is to create an integrated, seamless transportation and recreation framework to facilitate hiking and biking as viable transportation alternatives throughout Arlington. The Plan defines an important connection between public health and the diminishing access to outdoor landscapes and provides action-oriented guidance for the development of an interconnected system of greenways, on-road bicycle facilities, and sidewalks.”

[ from the executive summary of the plan, available here (PDF) ]

The 163 miles of on-street bike facilities in the original plan consists of:

Plan B: 41 miles of on-street facilities ($200,000), 61 miles of off-street trails ($37,650,000)
Plan B was created in response to a vocal minority of opposition and their misinformation campaign. The original Hike & Bike Plan has been scaled back significantly, with input from the City Council subcommittee formed to further study the original plan (Councilmembers Shepard, Bennett, and Wilemon).

The 41 miles of on-street bike facilities is made up of the following different types of facilities:

  • Bike Lanes: 17 miles
  • Bike Routes: 24 miles
  • Other On-street bike facilities: 0 miles

Plan “B” is a drastic step backward from not only Plan A, but also the 2002 bike plan already in place. Implementing Plan B will not produce the stated goals of providing connectivity and safety to a wider range of Arlington residents that choose to walk or ride their bikes.

Plan C: 61 miles of on-street facilities ($230,000), 61 miles of off-street trails ($37,650,000)
At the request of the subcommittee, staff has added back in approximately 20 miles of bike routes to Plan B.

The 61 miles of on-street bike facilities is estimated to be comprised as follows:

  • Bike Lanes: 17 miles
  • Bike Routes: 42 miles
  • Other On-street bike facilities: 2 miles

What you can do

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  1. 1 An Update on the Proposed Arlington Hike and Bike Plan « Bike Friendly Arlington

    […] The City Council changed the Hike and Bike plan from a comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian transportation system to a plan that emphasizes cycling and walking for recreation rather than transportation. The plans are now referred to as Option A, B, and C.  The plan that will be put for a vote before Council is Option C.  But, “Plan C, with its focus on on-street bike routes and not bike lanes, does little to bridge the experience gap between novice cyclists that only feel comfortable riding in parks on trails, and experienced cyclists who already feel comfortable riding in the street with traffic” (Plan “C”: Mind The Gap). […]




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