After more than a decade, Colorado Springs has a new bike master plan.
The plan, adopted Tuesday by the City Council, aims to make the city more cyclist friendly, with a map that envisions 379 miles of corridors equipped with bike lanes. By keying in on those corridors, planners foresee a city in which residents can seamlessly and safely pedal to their daily destinations.
But the so-called "Vision Network" won't be realized anytime soon. The plan calls on city leaders to pick at least one project a year to finish in "priority areas," identified as downtown, the Old North End and the West Side, "where the bicycling environment is strong."
Planners noted their failed attempt on the city's north side, where barriers forming a buffered bike lane on Research Parkway were removed less than four months after being installed. Public outcry over the lane's dangers prompted the decision to scrap it.
The master plan "recognizes that as in many other cities, past bicycle projects have not always been embraced by the public." The plan says it will focus on "areas where success is likely," can help "change the narrative about bicycling" and promote future infrastructure in other parts of the city.
Most bike projects in the Springs are funded by the sales tax-supported Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority and by the tax collected on each bike purchase in the city. The master plan does not specify how much the Vision Network will cost, but it does recommend cost-effective approaches to building, based on national trends.
The proposals assume full cooperation of the city's Public Works Department. One is for bike lanes to be considered during all resurfacing and striping projects. Another is for the city to create a public process that considers reconfigurations; Research Parkway is an example of a street deemed as having enough space for bikes but where vehicles were found to be frequently speeding.
That study took place in the 18 months that city bike planner Kate Brady took to plot the master plan, alongside contractor Toole Design Group. That group helped Fort Collins devise its network, which has the highest platinum rating by the League of American Bicyclists.
Brady was hired in 2016 to raise the Springs' silver rating, as Mayor John Suthers prioritized the city's need to improve multimodal transportation. Gov. John Hickenlooper has called on all of Colorado to do that throughout his two terms in office, citing health and environmental benefits.
To view the master plan, visit www.coloradosprings.gov/bikeplan.