What’s in your bicycle plan?

Somebody in an online forum was invited to participate in a stakeholder group to develop a new bike plan for his city. I have other things going on today so this will be a cut-and-paste quicky as I copy elements from the municipal code from the city of Longmont, Colorado, which came about from its own multimodal transportation plan that was developed about 15 years ago.

Longmont, with a population of under 100,000, can be considered a car-dependent Anytown USA. Although it’s widely considered an exurban bedroom community for Denver and Boulder, Longmont has one of the highest “capture rates” — the ratio of people who live and work in the same city — along the Colorado Front Range.

These snippets from the municipal code are not a comprehensive bike plan, and there are missing elements that are now considered important, but I hope this serves as a starting point for discussion.

Longmont Colorado trail master plan

Look for these principals below:

  • For new developments and improvements, bicycle, transit and pedestrian access is not an afterthought, but is as important as motor vehicle access.
  • Just as developers are required to build streets and driveways to their new development, they’re required to build bike and pedestrian access.
  • Design standards for sidewalks, bikeways and bike parking are as important as those for streets and car storage.
  • Just as with the street network, pedestrian and bike facilities are 24-hour, not just “dawn-to-dusk” recreational parkways.

15.05.060. – Pedestrian and bicycle access and connectivity.

A. Purpose. These standards are intended to implement the city’s multi-modal transportation plan and to provide for a safe and convenient system of well-connected pedestrian ways and bikeways that link developments with shopping, employment centers, recreational facilities, open space, parks, transit stops, and schools. Within individual developments, these standards require safe and convenient pedestrian and bikeway systems that directly link buildings, parking areas, open space, transit stops, services, and other areas of interest. In addition, these standards encourage convenient access to transit services, including linking transit access to on-site pedestrian and bicycle systems.

C. Detached sidewalks.
1. Detached sidewalks meeting city standards shall be installed along all streets, except where attached walks are allowed or required in the CBD and MU districts (see subsection 15.03.150.F for the MU district).
2. Sidewalks shall be detached from the curb at least eight feet to allow for a landscaped planting strip between the edge of the right-of-way and sidewalk, except for transitioning at street intersections where sidewalks shall be attached.
3. Landscaped tree lawns along local streets that meet city standards shall be credited toward the common open space requirements in subsection 15.05.040.C, “Common open space,” above. Sixty-three percent of the tree lawn area shall be credited toward meeting common open space requirements, provided that all other common open space standards (pocket parks, landscape buffers, etc.) have been satisfied.

D. On-site pedestrian and bicycle access.
1. General standards. All new development shall provide on-site pedestrian and bicycle systems that comply with the following standards:

    a. On-site bicycle systems shall connect to the city’s existing and planned concrete path and bike lane network. Safe and convenient bicycle and pedestrian access from the site shall be provided to designated concrete paths or greenways located adjacent to the development.
    b. On-site connections shall be made at points necessary to provide direct pedestrian and bicycle travel from the development to major pedestrian destinations located within the adjacent neighborhood(s). In order to provide direct pedestrian connections to these adjacent destinations, the city may require additional on-site and off-site sidewalks, walkways, or concrete paths not associated with a street, or the extension of a sidewalk from the end of a cul-de-sac to another street or walkway.
    c. The city may require, when necessary to assure public safety, pedestrian and bicycle facilities (i.e., overpasses, underpasses, or traffic signalization) in the vicinity of parks, shopping areas, or other uses that may generate considerable pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

2. Pedestrian connections. All primary entrances of principal structures containing nonresidential uses, and each entryway serving dwelling units in a multi-family structure, shall have direct access (i.e., access without having to cross a street) to a sidewalk, pedestrian walkway, or trail that leads to a sidewalk adjacent to a public street. Each such sidewalk, pedestrian walkway, or trail shall be a minimum of five feet wide, or a minimum of seven feet wide where it is adjacent to areas where parked cars may overhang the walk or trail. See also section 15.05.120, “Nonresidential design standards,” for additional pedestrian connection requirements.

3. Bicycle connections. In developments containing nonresidential uses or multi-family uses, bicycle access routes shall be provided between public bikeways and on-site bicycle parking areas. Sites should be designed to avoid or minimize all conflicting bicycle/motor vehicle and bicycle/pedestrian movements. All bicycle access routes connecting to the city park, open space, and greenway system shall be constructed of concrete, shall be at least eight feet wide, and shall comply with applicable city standards.

4. Bicycle parking.

    a. Amount. Commercial, industrial, civic, employment, and multi-family residential uses shall provide bicycle facilities to meet the following standard:

      i. A minimum number of bicycle parking spaces shall be provided, equal to five percent of the total number of automobile parking spaces provided by the development, but not less than one space.

    b. Bicycle parking location. For convenience and security, bicycle parking facilities shall be located near building entrances (and no further than 100 feet away from such entrance), shall be visible from the land uses they serve, and shall not be located in remote automobile parking areas. For multi-family developments, at least one bicycle rack shall be located at each building with eight or more dwelling units, as applicable. Such facilities shall not, however, be located in places that impede pedestrian or automobile traffic flow or that would cause damage to plant material.
    c. Design. Spaces for short-term bicycle parking shall provide a means for the bicycle frame and one wheel to be attached to a permanent fixture (designed for securing bicycles) by means of a lock. The required design is the “inverted U” rack (as indicated in the city design standards), unless the decision-making body approves an alternative design. The inverted U rack is equivalent to two bicycle spaces.
    d. Off-street parking credit for bicycle parking. In commercial and industrial zoning districts, provision of bicycle parking spaces that meet the requirements of this subsection may reduce the off-street vehicle parking requirements of section 15.05.080 by one parking space for each four bicycle parking spaces up to a maximum of ten percent of the total off-street vehicle parking requirement. In order to qualify for this credit, the total off-street parking requirement shall be no less than ten spaces.

5. Concrete paths. Concrete paths not located in greenways shall be at least eight feet wide if detached from the street, or ten feet wide if attached to the street.

6. Transit access circulation. Nonresidential and multi-family residential developments shall incorporate bus stop locations within their site plan if requested by the Regional Transit District (“RTD”) or other transit provider. Bus stop locations shall accommodate a bus shelter and passenger-loading apron complying with RTD (or other transit provider) design criteria. All existing and proposed bus stops and park-n-ride facilities shall be linked by paved walkways to at least one sidewalk and to at least one internal walkway within each adjacent nonresidential and multi-family development that contains more than one building. Applicants are responsible for contacting and coordinating with RTD or any other transit provider to assure compliance with this provision.

7. Pedestrian street crossings. Pedestrian access and safety shall be emphasized when a pedestrian walkway crosses drive aisles or internal roadways. The material and layout of the pedestrian access shall be continuous as it crosses the driveway, with a break in continuity of the driveway paving and not in the pedestrian access way. The pedestrian crossings shall be well-marked using pavement treatments, signs, striping, signals, lighting, traffic calming techniques, median refuge areas, and/or landscaping.

8. Security, lighting, and visibility. On-site pedestrian walkways, bicycle routes, and transit stops shall be illuminated to ensure personal safety. Lighting fixtures shall be compatible with the architectural character of the principal structures. Clear and direct lines of sight shall be provided to the maximum extent practicable in pedestrian settings to increase visibility and security. Any service areas (loading docks or storage areas) adjacent to pedestrian walkways or bicycle routes shall be fully screened from view.

15.05.050. – Streets and vehicle access and circulation.
A. Purpose. Within each development, the vehicle access and circulation system shall accommodate the safe, efficient, and convenient movement of vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, and transit through the development and to and from adjacent properties and land uses.

a. The “local street system” for a proposed development shall be designed to be safe, efficient, convenient, and attractive for multi-modal use (including, without limitation, cars, trucks, buses, bicycles, pedestrians and emergency vehicles).
b. The local street system shall provide multiple direct connections to and between local destinations such as parks, schools, and shopping. Local streets shall provide for both intra- and inter-neighborhood connections to connect separate developments together, rather than forming barriers between them. The street configuration within each individual development shall contribute to the street system of the neighborhood.
i. For purposes of this section, the “local street system” shall mean the interconnected system of collector and local streets providing access to development from an arterial street.
c. Where rights-of-way for arterial, collector, or local streets exist or are designated on property adjacent to a proposed development, and those rights-of-way extend to the property or boundary line of the proposed development, the city may require the proposed development to designate rights-of-way to connect those adjacent rights-of-way into or through the land contained in the proposed development.
d. Gated developments are prohibited where access to a public street would be restricted.

Pedestrian and bicycle connections.
i. All cul-de-sacs greater than 250 feet shall provide pedestrian ways and bicycle access routes at the bulb-end of the cul-de-sac to connect the cul-de-sac to an appropriate street to provide pedestrian/bicyclist circulation and access unless the decision-making body approves an alternative pedestrian access plan with the subdivision that provides adequate access.
ii. On all other cul-de-sacs, the decision-making body may require pedestrian ways and bicycle access routes connecting the cul-de-sac to an appropriate street when necessary to permit easy pedestrian/bicyclist circulation and access to adjacent transit service, community facilities such as parks or schools, or employment centers.

Vehicle access and circulation.
1. Access design—General. Primary vehicle access points to a development shall be designed to provide smooth traffic flow with controlled turning movements and minimum hazards to vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic. Vehicle access to any property shall be controlled to protect the traffic-carrying capacity of the abutting street. Vehicle access shall generally be directed to lower volume streets first, and then to higher volume streets.

General parking lot layout.
1. Circulation routes. Parking lots shall provide well-defined circulation routes for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. Parking lots of over 100 spaces shall include walkways to maximize connectivity.

Parking Lot User needs. Layout and design shall consider user needs and provide continuity between vehicular circulation, parking needs, pedestrian and bicycle circulation. Pedestrian drop-off areas shall be provided where needed, especially for land uses that serve children or seniors.

13.36.050. – Rights-of-way or easements for certain roadways, greenways and access and transportation corridors.

The city may require the dedication of rights-of-way or an agreed-upon easement in order to provide for:

A. Adequate land for the development of roadways or primary greenways indicated on the land use map of the Longmont Area Comprehensive Plan. When the roadway or primary greenway is totally included in the parcel of land affected by the request, the entire required right-of-way shall be dedicated; when it is adjacent to the property, one-half the required right-of-way shall be dedicated;
B. Local access corridors and pedestrian/bicycle corridors (secondary greenways) in accord with city standards, with special consideration given to safety, capacity, alignment with existing or planned rights-of-way and pedestrian and bicycle movement to and from schools, public/semi-public facilities and existing or planned bikeways.

Access. All new site development shall address … Promotion of alternatives to vehicle travel, including pedestrian and bicycle modes of travel (e.g., adequate bicycle parking and storage).

15.04.040. – Temporary uses.

Mobile retail food establishments and pushcarts must not obstruct pedestrian or bicycle access or passage, or parking lot circulation nor impede traffic flow.

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