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By definition, pilot programs are charged with testing concepts and examples that could potentially be applied more broadly. The four Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) communities have been hard at work exploring ways that trips normally taken by automobiles can be easily shifted to walking or bicycling.
The four pilot communities have started over 150 projects; some projects are as simple as installing a sidewalk to allow a child to safely walk to school, while others involve complex engineering or multi-agency partnerships. All projects have been carefully designed to positively impact health, economics, livability, the environment, and traffic, consistent with the program goals.
Project innovation takes a different form in each community, which begins in a different place with existing pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and culture toward walking and biking. For example, walking and bicycling facilities that are common in some communities may be less familiar or have never been tried in another community. In addition to new types of designs and infrastructure projects, the NTPP communities have used educational, outreach, and marketing programs to promote the use of existing and new facilities. The following are examples of exciting and innovative projects in the four communities.
Sheboygan County, WI
An abandoned rail corridor - derelict for over 40 years - that runs through the heart of the city will be converted into a 1.7 mile multi-use pathway. Many destinations near this project are accessible by bicycle or foot. The area within one mile of this corridor includes 31 percent of the County population, 20 schools, 34 churches, over 90 manufacturers with over 5,300 employees, and many commercial businesses.
The business community is excited that this neglected industrial corridor will again be a vibrant part of the city. For example, a popular restaurant plans to expand to include outdoor seating near the trail, and several neighboring businesses are interested in purchasing excess right-of-way not needed for the trail's construction or amenities, to preserve the space and take advantage of proximity to the trail. Revenues from the sale of this right-of-way could allow the county to establish a dedicated maintenance fund for the trail. Completion of this project is expected in 2011.
Marin County, CA
The 2-mile Cal Park pathway and tunnel will soon become one of the few rails-with-trails projects in the country, consisting of a paved, multiuse pathway and interurban rail service. The tunnel project is a vital link in Marin's overall bicycle and pedestrian network and a key connection in the 24-mile North-South Greenway, providing a direct, level route through a 250-foot high ridge between Larkspur and San Rafael. In addition to serving as a key eastern corridor through the county, the path also provides access to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal (with direct ferry service and transit connections to San Francisco), as well as major employment centers and residential neighborhoods with a population of 35,000 on both sides of the ridge.
There are currently no other reasonably level options for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the ridge without a significant detour along heavily trafficked roadways. This project removes a major barrier to bicycle and pedestrian circulation in the county. It was made possible by leveraging funds from other sources to include a nonmotorized component to this larger project. Completion of the Cal Park tunnel segment is expected in summer 2010.
A public bike-sharing program will bring up to 1,000 easily accessible bikes to downtown, uptown, and the University of Minnesota campus. The "Nice Ride Minnesota" project strategically locates bicycles at 75 kiosks within commercial and other high-traffic areas, thereby allowing citizens and visitors the ability to make short bike trips for appointments, errands, shopping or dining with a modest subscription fee. Bicycles will be available with the swipe of a credit card at the kiosk.
This will be the first advanced bike-sharing program in the world to be operated and managed by a non-profit organization. The project roll-out is expected in June 2010.
Columbia will install the city's first bicycle boulevard - a low volume road that has been optimized for bicycle travel through traffic calming and diversion, signage and pavement markings, and intersection crossing treatments. The boulevard is nearly one mile in length; it starts at a city park, passes through a residential neighborhood, and enters the downtown art district. The corridor currently has high motor vehicle cut-through traffic and crosses a five-lane road.
As part of the redesign, a bicycle/pedestrian safety island will replace the center lane, eliminating left turning opportunities for motor vehicles. Bicycle priority lanes will be used along the corridor to calm local motorized traffic. In addition to the Bike Boulevard design, green bicycle lanes will be installed at select intersections - one such colorized treatment has already been installed and has been used successfully. Completion of colorized treatments and the bike boulevard are expected in summer 2010.
For more information, contact:
Spring 2010 -- Prepared by the USDOT/Volpe Center for the Federal Highway Administration and NTPP Pilot Communities
Section 1807 of the Safe, Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users established the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) in August 2005. Over the span of four years (2007-2010), the legislation authorizes $25 million for each of the NTPP's four pilot communities to construct and invest in nonmotorized transportation infrastructure and programs. The purpose of the NTPP is "to demonstrate the extent to which bicycling and walking can carry a significant part of the transportation load, and represent a major portion of the transportation solution, within selected communities."
* This research has been funded by the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Planning, Environment and Realty's Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP).