Minutes and Brainstorm Ideas From 110712



Minutes and Brainstorm Ideas From 110712
Bicycling Friendly Community
Brainstorming Ideas
Kalamazoo County Exposition Center
July 12, 2011
Deb Carpenter, Bronson Health Group, Childhood Injury Prevention Coordinator
Ron Fuller, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency, Superintendent
Dr. Harold Glasser, Western Michigan University, Exec. Dir. Office of Sustainability
Darrell Harden, Michigan Department of Transportation, Transportation Planner
Dave Healy, Texas Township, Supervisor
Joanna Johnson, Kalamazoo County Road Commission, Managing Director
Fred Nagler, City of Kalamazoo, Assistant City Engineer
Lt. James VanDyken, Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office
David Rachowicz, Kalamazoo County Parks Department, Director
Paul Selden, Kalamazoo Bicycle Club, Director of Road Safety
Toni Thompson, Friends of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, President
Next Steps – Action Items From Discussion / Follow up After Meeting
Distribute these minutes to participants for use as each sees fit, “as-is.” Distribute minutes of
previous meeting to July 12 participants for similar use, as-is.
Consolidate ideas presented, synthesize actionable plan.
Name our group.
Take inventory of what various groups are doing to promote BFC already.
Conduct gap analysis vis a vis where community now stands versus related existing award
Inventory current resources / infrastructure to assess where area currently stands.
Create plan for moving forward.
The following are participant’s answers to the question, "What would Kalamazoo County need to
do, to earn the title 'Bicycling Friendly Community?'"
Kalamazoo County - the greater community, not a specific entity
“Bicycling Friendly Community” - hypothetical award title
Thought Starters – Community Groups – Resources
"What would ___________ need to do, for the area to earn the title 'Bicycling Friendly Community?’”
Agencies/Specific Departments: Law Enforcement – Road & Transportation Planning –
Road Commission – Tourist Bureaus
Develop a sound, integrated non-motorized transit planning process
Respect and appreciate that bicyclists pay taxes too – all roads should be designed to be bike
Major bike transit thoroughfares should have bike lanes!
Identify safe bike commuting/transit routes
As with Madison WI and other cities – bike pathways should be clear of debris and snow
Educate the public regarding laws and courtesies that should be followed
Clarify and communicate the coordination that takes place between law enforcement and the
bicycling community
Show support, partner with in various programs and projects related to the trail, for example –
law enforcement – be out and visible to show people it is a safe place to be
Promote and work on increasing awareness of “rules of the road”
Incorporate non-motorized into regional and local planning and construction projects
Promote region for recreation and tourism related activities (bike related)
Continue to plan, build and maintain the “trail system”
Convert existing roads from multi-lane to accommodate bicycle lanes
Emphasize the Kalamazoo Trails in Tourist Brochures
Law enforcement agencies should more aggressively enforce moving violations that relate to
bicycle/vehicle interactions
Transportation agencies should become ore open to designing facilities that easily serve
multiple modes
Tourist bureaus should actively engage non-motorized user groups, to develop materials and
programs that will attract more visitors and encourage them to bring their bikes and use them at
Law enforcement and transportation agencies should facilitate safe, active student
transportation agencies through infrastructure and enforcement.
Transportation agencies should include bicycle parking standards in parking
(Each Group) establish a liaison for future interaction
Plan and establish specific routes for travel
Designate specific roadways for group events
Determine best bicycling routes, then start to enhance them, patterned after best-in-class cities
in Netherlands, Spain, US, rest of world
Law enforcement – publish / create public service reminders and announcements re. bike
related laws, bike related safety (helmets, lights, reflectors, mirrors, etc.)
Tourist bureaus and parks departments – create bike camping stay-cation itineraries within the
county – park to park, with fun things to see/do en route
Post signs at intersections with high probability of car/motorist interaction to be extra alert for
each other (similar to deer warning signs) – for example at 10th St and Q, where bikers often
cross Q as they head north/south on 10th, and visibility can be a problem
Delay green traffic lights at intersections where bicyclists are most likely to disobey a red light,
while trying to speed through intersections especially where they are going fast downhill through
an intersection and don’t want to brake the way they should for a yellow light
Tourist bureau – publish / distribute bike routes
Make new roundabout at 12th St / Milham a model for safe bike/vehicle use that rest of country
can emulate
Bicyclists – Motorists
Bicyclists – respect rules of the road
Motorists – respect rules of road and bicyclists’ right to be on the roads
Signage that helps bikers identify bike-friendly routes
Bicyclists and motorists – learn the rules of the road
Increase awareness of “rules of the road”
Bicyclists could encourage new users of facilities
Courtesy on the road and know the rules and laws
Understand laws/rules of the road
Share the road mentality
Best practice / helmet use, visibility
All users of the roadway must be more accepting of users who choose a different mode than
their own
All user groups should emphasize adhering to the specific rules of the road as they pertain to
Specific routes of travel designed in low populated areas
Signs marking specific bike routes
Bicyclists – wave in friendly manner to motorists who give you plenty of room and courtesy –
embody what it means to be bike-friendly in return for courtesy
Motorists – clearly provide space for bicyclists when passing – not road rage
Bike Clubs – Bike Shops
Support bike commuting – bikes as transportation – not just recreation or support
Pledge some small % of net earnings (1%) to build a fund (match) for bike infrastructure
Designate an area in the store for free maps, literature, etc.
Support events
Give good advice, making sure people have the right equipment
Work together to promote and grow regional bicycling efforts
Promote bike safety programs
Bike rental and other business ventures tied to bicycling in the community
Plan for events and hold training sessions
Organize clubs for multi-age groups
Fitness, fitness and more fitness
Affordable bikes / gear and repair programs
Educational program for youth and adults
Recreational programs
Bike clubs should encourage their members to adhere to the rules of the road
Bike clubs should educate other groups about the laws respecting bicycle/vehicle interactions
Bicycle shops and clubs should conduct educational outreach to drivers: many people use
multiple modes, and not all are the highly driven, extensive users. Many are casual users, too,
who may not be aware of the laws/rules
Communication on specific bike routes
Safety plans / protocols for group travel
Bike clubs should publish their standard routes and work with local agencies to create special
signage, consideration for pothole maintenance, debris sweeping, etc. so that they receive
some sort of priority
BC and BS – publish each other’s standard routes/rides on each other’s websites
Offer bike rentals near our nicest routes ala the way shops do near Stanley Park in Vancouver,
Figure bike route(s), which if developed properly, could become a tourist attraction in its own
right. People like water and overlooks. Enhance the route with sculptures and similar
permanent outdoor pieces commissioned from Kalamazoo Institute of Art and local
primary/secondary/college/university students. Encourage vendors of ice cream, hot dogs and
merchandise normally seen in bigger city venues at tourist attractions, to try selling on those
KBC – teach “how to hold a Bike Camp” to employers, schools, churches, libraries and other
institutions serving major portions of our population
KBC and Tri-Kats – offer speakers and instructors to these institutions (in exchange for a
reasonable donation to fund bike infrastructure)
Churches – Employers – Hospitals – Libraries – Schools
Bike safety education – to build community “bike culture”
Employers – incentives for bike commuting (reductions in health-care premiums, for instance
Bike racks, support facilities, repair/safety trainings
Provide nice bike racks (covered?, secure)
Be somewhat flexible with working times for bike commuters (weather related)
Include bike commuting as part of wellness program initiatives
Schools and how they might integrate a trail system into their athletic programs.
And if near a trail how can we have a safe route from the school to system be off road or on.
Provide facilities for bikes (racks, etc.)
Establish program that gets people out on the trail
Education is most important for both the biker and motorist. I think we should have questions
on driving tests regarding bike safety; also part of driver’s ed.
Activities and programs to encourage bicycling in the community
Hospitals – promote and encourage bicycling as a healthy way of life for residents, financially
support bicycling awareness and growth efforts
Open facilities to bikers re: restrooms, drinking fountains and bike racks
Promote bicycling to work and convert facilities to accommodate
Promote bicycling as a major rehabilitation movement
Accessible bike racks
Educational opportunities / programs
Lockers for gear
Schools should promote active transportation, reducing cars/buses needed while enhancing
student health
Any and all of these institutions should proactively install facilities – parking, shelter, etc., -- that
will support/promote active transportation, and should promote the availability of those facilities
to encourage alternatives to car transportation
Create an educational document to advise the public of bike routes, safety, and general
Offer bike racks to riders
Schools - ask students to create posters, promoting bike safety and ridership – make it cool to
ride bikes
Work with insurance companies to offer bike-related wellness programs
Encourage biking to work when possible
Figure way for small business to participate
Teach wellness coordinators how to hold Bike Camps
Teach schools how to hold summer Bike Camps
Elected Officials & Government (Local: County, Cities, Townships, Villages; State;
Grants/financial support for bicycle infrastructure
Coherent cross-community, integrated bike infrastructure planning that can be implemented in a
strategic, incremental manner
They should ride their bikes to the events, office, etc., whenever possible
Pass out trail maps at every opportunity
Develop trail maps that clearly identify trails and paved shoulders
Support open outlooks, so we can not only have Kalamazoo County Bike Friendly but our region
Create senses of place along the trail. This could be a bench, flower garden, art, etc.
Work together on true regional plan and efforts.
Approach MDOT with community plan
Build unique infrastructure to specifically support bicycling in community … bike lockers, shower
facilities, bike racks
As we convert our roads and facilities, look to multi-use to include bicycling into the planning
Clear and visible signage
Bicycle Lanes, trails, paths – connecting
Local agencies should review planning/zoning requirements to ensure a better mix of
vehicle/bicycle parking
Local agencies should also review planning/zoning requirements to ensure new developments –
either residential or commercial – are suitable for use by multiple modes of transportation
Local agencies should develop transportation plans that respect and consider all users and aid
transportation agencies in targeting infrastructure improvements to the best effect
Local agencies should reach out to schools, law enforcement, and transportation officials to
engage in developing active transportation opportunities
Elected officials should consider whether registration / user fees are appropriate for bicycles.
The funding could be used to support needed infrastructure. It would be controversial.
(Disclaimer: Neither MDOT or I are advocating for or against this. I have heard it discussed in
other outlets and wanted to share.)
Local government could join/partner with the local bike groups in the area
Travel routes and safety information could be place on their web sites
Ask taxpayers if they would like to set aside a larger portion of highway funds or tax dollars to
support bike related road infrastructure
Check to see how the current allocation of public funds that is supposed to be dedicated for
non-motorized infrastructure, is really being spent
Foundations – Philanthropists
Encourage to support the sound, integrated non-motorized transit master planning process
Help support large-scale fund raising for implementation
Offer matching gifts/grants that favor building trails where they are most needed (lower match
for underfunded communities that have good riding opportunities)
Donations to construct community wide non-motorized system
Financial support for facilities to encourage bike use
Provide bikes to underprivileged
Fund more trails to get bikes from busy roads
Grants to support trail, road environments
Foundations should continue to support development of needed infrastructure, to help
communities make needed improvements in the wake of shrinking budgets
Foundations should support community planning / development activities that will help target
infrastructure development and enable community minded private development
Sponsorship could be provided for public service information
Provide funding for future signs / markings
Fund bike-related facilities – bike racks, lockers, safety displays / posters
Investigate grant/research funding opportunities to fund bicycle friendly community efforts
Media (Magazines: Bicycling, Tourism, Vacation Oriented; Newspapers, Radio, TV)
Once we start making inroads…to help advertise that we are a bike-friendly community
In the beginning (early stages) … communicate to as wide an audience as possible that an
effort is underway to spearhead bike infrastructure improvements
Recognize those communities, companies, etc., that are making progress relating to becoming
a “Bicycle Friendly Community”
Promote activities and facilities in community
Promote “green economic” benefits
Continue to promote the ever-expanding trail system and Kalamazoo County as a destination
for bicycle enthusiasts
Promote various age groups
Promote biking environments
Promote safe biking practices
Promote health benefits
Media outlets should highlight laws that related to non-motorized transportation and its interface
with other modes
Public service information can be distributed by these media groups
Continue to publish / air stories about bicyclists and bicycling events
Promote our local area bike teams in sports, travel features, scoreboards, etc.
Bring in news media – Gazelle Sports – get buzz going
Paul - your [Bicycle Friendly Community Group] needs an identity – “Bike Friendly Kalamazoo”
“Bike culture” – motorists respect bicyclists and recognize/appreciate that they share the road
too. This works in many countries (particularly in Europe) and fairly well in some states (MN,
Open community meetings to brainstorm further ideas
Create opportunities to send Kalamazoo transportation planners and engineers to major biketransit planning meetings so that they can get excited and imbued with bike culture
Review best practice broadly around the country and possibly beyond (start with Portage)
Focus on why and how some communities made the leap from poor quality bike infrastructure to
superb bike infrastructure
We need an inventory of what we are doing well and opportunities for improvement
Bring kids and teenagers and regular citizens into the planning and brainstorming process
(make it more open over time) that will hopefully develop
In your last statement you talked but the complaint of many "Why do we spend money on bike
trails when we should be fixing up the roads" In fact that just happened to me at a Bakery in
Parchment. So I proceeded to tell then how enhancement $s paid for trails not designated
road $s. So many people do not know how the Federal Transportation Bill works. And I think it
is hard for them to understand even sometimes with an explanation.
When we have a interconnected bike community of off road and on road paths how will the
County make sure they (especially the on road paths) are kept clean for safe travel? This
would happen in the more rural areas. The road seems to stay clean because of car traffic but
the 2 foot edge often has misc sticks, stones etc. which is where the bike goes when car traffic
is present.
Southwest Michigan First / Chamber / Economic Development
Lead efforts to understand and define economic return on the investment of bicycling facilities
Create identity for Bike Friendly Community Advocacy Group
While this is definitely a bicycle-focused effort, try to remember that multiple modes of
transportation need to work together seamlessly. I think part of being bike-friendly is facilitating
easy modal transitions
SW Region Non-Motorized Plan – www.swmpc.org/smart_plan.asp
Bicycling Friendly Community in Kalamazoo County

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