BICYCLE & PEDESTRIAN
Providing high-quality infrastructure to support biking and walking is an important component of improving quality of life and achieving healthy, vibrant communities. Encouraging residents to incorporate active travel into their daily routine can improve their health and reduce their healthcare costs.
Recognizing the benefits of encouraging active transportation, VISION 2050 recommends a well-connected bicycle and pedestrian network that improves access to activity centers, neighborhoods, and other destinations in the Region. This includes providing on-street bicycle facilities (such as bike lanes or paved shoulders), enhanced bicycle facilities (such as protected bike lanes or a separate path within a road’s right-of-way), off-street bicycle paths, and accessible pedestrian facilities.
Expand the on-street bicycle network as streets are resurfaced and reconstructed.
Add bike lanes, paved shoulders, widened outside travel lanes, or enhanced bicycle facilities, if feasible, as the existing surface arterial street network of about 3,300 miles is resurfaced and reconstructed. VISION 2050 considers providing one type of bicycle facility to be sufficient to accommodate bicycles on a given surface arterial street. In other words, if a separate path is provided adjacent to a surface arterial street, another type of bicycle facility would not be needed. Local nonarterial streets, because of low traffic volumes and speeds, should be capable of accommodating bicycle travel with no special accommodation for bicycle travel.
Implement enhanced bicycle facilities in key regional corridors.
Within the most urban parts of the Region, provide 393 miles of enhanced bicycle facilities that connect multiple communities, serve important regional destinations, and link segments of the off-street bicycle path system. Enhanced bicycle facilities—such as protected, buffered, and raised bike lanes and separate paths within a road’s right-of-way—are bicycle facilities on or along an arterial that go beyond the standard bike lane to improve safety, define bicycle space on roadways, and provide clear corridors for bicycle usage. Alternatively, if an enhanced bicycle facility is not feasible on a surface arterial street, a parallel local road could be optimized for bicycle traffic (known as a neighborhood greenway or bike boulevard).
Expand the off-street bicycle path system to provide a well-connected regional network
Construct off-street bicycle paths between the cities and villages within the Region with a population of 5,000 or more. These paths would primarily be located in natural resource and utility corridors. Achieving the 731-mile off-street path system would improve bicycle connectivity in the Region by addressing gaps in the bicycle network. In some cases, on-street bicycle connections would be necessary to connect segments of the path system.
Expand bike and scooter share program implementation
Expand bike and scooter share programs, including those that incorporate adaptive bicycles and e-bikes, to make these options a viable mode of travel for short distance trips in the Region. These programs can provide important first-mile/last-mile connections, functioning as a feeder service to transit systems. VISION 2050 also recommends that local governments adopt and enforce regulations that address the potential safety concerns relating to this type of micromobility, including requiring that users obey traffic laws and that dockless bike and scooter parking is located in safe locations that do not impede the pedestrian clear zone.
Provide pedestrian facilities that facilitate safe, efficient, and accessible pedestrian travel
Construct and maintain accessible sidewalks along streets and highways in areas of existing or planned urban development. Address gaps in the pedestrian network through neighborhood connections to regional off-street bicycle paths, transit, and major destinations. Design and construct sidewalks using widths and clearances appropriate for the levels of pedestrian and vehicular traffic in a given area. Provide terraces or buffered areas, where feasible, between sidewalks and streets for enhancing the pedestrian environment. Maximize pedestrian safety at street crossings by:
Improving the timing of walk signal phases
Constructing pedestrian median islands in wide, heavily traveled, or otherwise hazardous roadways
Constructing curb extensions (“bulb-outs”) that narrow the crossing distance for pedestrians at intersections
Implementing speed humps, raised crosswalks, and raised intersections to slow traffic and increase the visibility of pedestrians
VISION 2050 emphasizes that all pedestrian facilities be designed and constructed in accordance with the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its implementing regulations. The ADA requires all pedestrian facilities that access public and commercial buildings and services to accommodate people with disabilities.
Prepare local community bicycle and pedestrian plans
Local units of government should prepare community bicycle and pedestrian plans to supplement the regional plan. The local plans should facilitate bicycle and pedestrian travel within neighborhoods and convenient travel between residential areas and nearby shopping centers, schools, parks, and transit stops. Communities should also consider preparing pedestrian safety action plans and developing Safe Routes to School programs.