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Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program Midterm Report: April 15, 2009



This report has been prepared by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy for submission to the Federal Highway Administration. It presents, in summary, the "spending" and "on the ground accomplishments" of the four Pilot Communities at the end of two years of the five year Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP).

Section 1807 of the Safe, Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) P.L. 109-59 established the NTPP in August 2005. Over the span of four years, the legislation authorizes $25 million for each of the NTPP's four pilot communities (Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin) "to construct... a network of nonmotorized transportation infrastructure facilities, including sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian and bicycle trails, that connect directly with transit stations, schools, residences, businesses, recreation areas, and other community activity centers."

The purpose of the NTPP as stated in Section 1807 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." The legislation also calls for the Secretary of Transportation to "develop statistical information on changes in motor vehicle, nonmotorized transportation, and public transportation usage in communities participating in the program and assess how such changes decrease congestion and energy usage, increase the frequency of bicycling and walking, and promote better health and a cleaner environment." Finally, the legislation calls for two reports to be submitted to Congress: an interim report by September 30, 2007 and a final report by September 30, 2010.

This report presents for the first time a review of accomplishments and expenditures at the mid-point of the four year program, roughly the end of calendar year 2008. It is organized to reflect the unique "accomplishments" of each Pilot Community in its own words in the first four sections.


Columbia, Missouri – Off to an Early Start

Summary: Columbia divided the NTPP into two parts: Infrastructure and Promotion/Education. The Infrastructure portion has progressed from planning to conceptual engineering and now is in detailed design with the first projects in construction. Two rounds of on-street markings are complete, with 26.5 miles of streets having bike facilities added. The first 18 months of the Promotion and Education campaign is nearing completion and a follow-up effort is being planned.

Planning: In 2007 an intense planning effort took place resulting in both an Infrastructure Plan and a Promotion/Education plan. The infrastructure plan intentionally included more projects that budget available. After additional planning, conceptual engineering and public input, in July of 2008 the City Council shortened the list and authorized implementation of 15 priority projects. The remaining projects were wrapped up into planning study documents.

Design: Four major engineering contracts were entered into, and detailed engineering is progressing on the priority projects. A rigorous public process has been integral to the design process and numerous neighborhood-specific and general public meetings have been part of the process.

Construction and Implementation: The first major construction project - $1.2 million of intersection work – is progressing weather permitting. On-street striping is well underway, with 26.5 miles of streets now having bike lanes or shared lane markings. The design of an additional 69 miles of on-street bikeways is underway, with 90% planned to be implemented in 2009. The bike rack program is going full steam with an additional 460 bike parking spaces added in 2008. An innovative cost share program has resulted in business installing 39 racks for public use.

The Promotion and Education campaign is budgeted for 15% of the funding and has been ongoing for 15 months. Four stages are being implemented:

  1. Awareness: The Awareness campaign was a multi-media approach to marketing the program to residents.
  2. Understanding: (motivation and education) is promoted through the Get About Columbia web site as well as through multi-media marketing, maps and publicity, and is ongoing.
  3. Try It!: Numerous events, loaner bike programs, Personal Travel Planning, and recreational rides comprise the Try It! aspect of the initiative.
  4. Encouraging Walking and Bicycling: is accomplished thru a very successful and nationally recognized Walking School Bus program as well as classes and workshops.

Marin County, California – Maintaining the Momentum

Summary: Marin County has been aggressively implementing its NTPP work program, Walk Bike Marin. Marin County and its eleven incorporated communities have all been eligible to participate in the NTPP. Nearly all of the communities have recently updated bicycle and/or pedestrian plans. The goals of Marin's NTPP program are similar to those identified by the other pilot communities – the County hopes to fund projects that realize shifts towards nonmotorized modes of transportation, and increases in ridership on buses and ferries. Broadly, the community is committed to the program's core themes: safety, health and physical activity, connections to transit and community facilities, improved planning process and policies, and public awareness.

Project Selection: The Marin County Department of Public Works, through Walk Bike Marin, manages the program. In 2006, Marin's Director of Public Works appointed a nineteen-member advisory committee composed of transportation, business, and health professionals, bicycle and pedestrian advocates, public works and planning staff, senior and disabled advocates, education and environmental advocates, a city manager, and others. Committee members participated in multiple committee meetings and two community workshops, assisted in the development of the project and program scoring and ranking methodology, solicited feedback from their respective constituencies, and presented a recommended schedule of projects and programs to be funded for consideration. The approach was designed to expand opportunities to engage the public in the planning process, and to strengthen policy discussions about nonmotorized transportation. Based on the outcomes of this process, the Board of Supervisors ultimately adopted a comprehensive funding package allocating all NTPP funds at once, in April, 2007.

Implementation: Since that time, funds have been transferred through Transportation Improvement Program (i.e., TIP) amendments to the various jurisdictions which were tasked with delivering the infrastructure projects. Besides the County and the cities and towns, the Transportation Authority of Marin and the Golden Gate Bridge District both have projects for which they are taking the lead.

Two projects, the County Health and Wellness Center Access Improvements and Medway Road improvements have been completed. The Cal Park Tunnel, a rail-with-trail tunnel reconstruction project is now under construction as well as the Puerto Suello Hill pathway, which is a component of a freeway construction project.

The remaining infrastructure projects are in various stages of design, with most expected to be out to bid this summer and construction being completed by the end of the year. With a few exceptions, all major gap closure projects are on track to be completed by the end of this year to enable sufficient time to educate the public about the facilities and build usage in time for the survey to be conducted in late 2010.

Education and Outreach: One million dollars were allocated to education and outreach programming. Programs are being implemented by multiple organizations. The largest program, Way to Go, which is a personal travel planning program, was rolled out in Sausalito in 2008 with favorable results. The program is being deployed in two other communities this year. Other programs, such as bike repair courses, safety campaigns, and riding with youth workshops are under way.

Overall, Marin County is on track to deliver the projects it funded with NTPP monies, despite the multiple challenges in negotiating the federal funding process within the short timeline of the pilot program.

Minneapolis, Minnesota – Highlights of Bike Walk Twin Cities

Summary: Bike/Walk Twin Cities continued implementation of projects awarded in 2007. These included 18 on-street operations projects and 6 on-street and off-street infrastructure projects. Six additional operations projects were awarded in 2008 in the categories of Bike Walk Streets (aka bicycle boulevards) and Livable Streets. These projects will incorporate designs innovative to the Twin Cities area. An award to the Minneapolis bike parking program will add hundreds of parking installations across the city; those located in commercially zoned areas are part of a 50/50 cost share system.

Planning: Work continues and nears completion on 6 planning studies. The Minneapolis Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan was completed in draft form, nearing final approval. This plan will result in recommendations in areas such as accessibility, bridge improvements, freeway intersections, complex intersections, and comprehensive streetscape; some recommendations will be implemented as part of the NTPP. A Metropolitan Transit Bicycle/Pedestrian Improvements study nears completion, as well as the Bike Walk Central Corridor Study of the proposed new intercity light rail line.

Design: Infrastructure work continues, with design modification on numerous other capital projects. From a list of dozens of worthy projects, up to ten will be selected for implementation. Projects will be selected based on mode shift potential and ability to meet the NTPP timeline as well as demonstrated community benefit, ability to address cultural and economic gaps, cost effectiveness, ability to foster community ownership, and incorporation of innovation and best practices. Design innovations and enhancements may include bike boxes, 4-to-3 lane conversions, bicycle boulevards, median islands, leading pedestrian intervals, crosswalk sidewalk enhancements, green waves for pedestrians, and a possible cycle track. A connection between Minneapolis and southern suburbs will greatly increase the region's connectivity. There will be significant attention to pedestrian investments with remaining NTPP funds.

Implementation: In December 2008 Bike Walk Twin Cities opened a category of demonstration innovations. Sixteen projects were proposed totaling over $12 million. The Bike Walk Advisory Committee has been involved in review, and selection of projects will be complete in spring 2009 for 2010 implementation. Proposed projects included a bike sharing program, employer and community-based bicycle stations, RFID tracking system for the new commuter benefit, bicycle parking, wayfinding projects, and free bike distribution programs.

Promotion: A highlight of the year was the launch of the Bike Walk Ambassador Program. This grassroots education and outreach program, with the goals of increasing biking and walking and decreasing driving, has been active at numerous large city and regional events as well as hundreds of smaller sessions. There is a strong youth component, working especially with Safe Routes to School. Other campaigns with employers and faith communities are part of strategic outreach across the NTPP area. The Ambassadors sponsored several safety trainings, resulting in an increase of over 300% of League Certified Instructors; these 24 new instructors will go on to conduct many safety trainings across the NTPP area.

Education: At the conclusion of 2008, Bike Walk Twin Cities begins more significant education and communication work. Working with several partners, an online mapping tool that jurisdictions can use for more integrated planning of bicycle facilities is being produced. The Bike Walk Twin Cities Web site is under extensive redesign. A monthly electronic newsletter for all stakeholders will be launched in January 2009. Means of enabling jurisdictions to conduct more effective public participation in project development are being explored. Conversations about enforcement and awareness campaigns in 2009 and 2010 have begun. Evaluation: Bike Walk Twin Cities conducts annual bicycle and pedestrian counts, and will begin monthly counts on a smaller scale. These data provide critical benchmarks and tracking not only for the NTPP program, but also for effectiveness across the region in funding, safety, and planning considerations. The measurement program will be an important legacy of the pilot.

Sheboygan, Wisconsin – A Community Affair

Summary: Sheboygan County, Wisconsin received nonmotorized funding in July 2005 as part of SAFETEA-LU's NTPP. Many positive things happened in the community because of the NMTPP funding, and the County has made great strides in establishing an integrated nonmotorized network using the NMTPP funds.

Citizen Participation: When Sheboygan's process was originally crafted, a thirty person volunteer citizen committee was established to help guide the process. This thirty person committee is made up of a varied citizenry from throughout the County bringing their local knowledge to the process. After reviewing roughly sixty projects and working on the NTPP for over three years, this thirty person committee still meets monthly and has roughly a 90% attendance rate. Importantly, the citizens committee is working on creating a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization to perpetuate the momentum gained through the NTPP after funding runs out.

Planning and Implementation: The County now has completed a Comprehensive Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan. A variety of project have been awarded: a Bicycle Parking program, bicycle racks on buses, bicycle lane striping, shoulder paving for bicycle lanes on important county roads and bicycle lane markings in urban areas. A new project in the City of Sheboygan Falls includes all these project types and, when finished, will provide complete network connectivity for bicycles and pedestrians throughout the community. Other projects being considered for funding are a rail-trail conversion, multi-use paths along high-speed arterials, and bicycle lanes on busy collector streets in the city of Sheboygan. Thirteen of the County's fifteen urbanized areas have received funding and in doing so, passed resolutions supporting the respective project(s) and signed maintenance agreements to ensure long-term accessibility and use (one infrastructure project has been completed and roughly a dozen are in the design stage).

Outreach – Bike to Work: The Sheboygan County NTPP has perhaps seen its largest successes in its outreach and educational efforts. Sheboygan County residents, employers, and employees participated in their first-ever Bike and Walk to Work Week. Many of the area's large and small employers took part. Nemschoff, an employer of roughly 450 local people, saw over fifteen percent of their local workforce pledge to participate. Kohler Company and Aurora, two of the area's largest employers, each with thousands of employees, had formal competitions to promote the week. And employees from the three largest public employers, the County of Sheboygan, the City of Sheboygan, and the Sheboygan Area School District, sponsored a competition for most miles walked and biked. Four individual awards were arranged and a traveling trophy was also presented to the City of Sheboygan as the entity that tracked the most mileage per employee.

Outreach -- Bike to School: The Sheboygan County NMTPP hosts two Walk to School Day events each year. The spring 2008 event witnessed a 50% increase in participants over the Fall 2007 event and a 500% increase over the Spring 2007 event. Many schools are getting the staff to participate. The day of the event one school averaged twenty cars in the staff lot compared to the typical day of fifty-five, a 65% reduction. Kohler School District, in the Fall 2007, required staff who drove to park in a lot a half mile away from campus forcing them to walk part of their trip to work.

Promotion: The summer of 2007 saw another Sheboygan County first, bike corrals (i.e., bike valets). Six festivals and events throughout the County were targeted. Local bike shops got involved by providing discount coupons to their stores. Over four hundred citizens used the corrals.

Education: In the last two years over forty presentations detailing Sheboygan County's NTPP have been made to area employers. Many of the employers have taken the provided information and started promoting biking and walking on their own. Local community organizations such as Rotary and the Kiwanis Club have also embraced the NTPP. Staff has presented to over twenty of these groups in the last two years.

Media Support: Sheboygan's local media has been outstanding in its coverage of the NMTPP. Since the program's inception in 2005, print media has covered the NMTPP over 300 times. The NMTPP writes a monthly column with most months seeing additional articles on NMTPP events. Staff has been interviewed on radio broadcasts and maintains a monthly show on the local cable access station.

Summary: To date, Sheboygan County's NMTPP has been able to accomplish:

This Report was submitted to the Federal Highway Administration by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy In Accordance With Cooperative Agreement DTFH61-06-H-00016

Updated: 12/8/2016
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