Wednesday, August 27, 2014

NPR: Next Time You Want My Money, Forget It


Share the Road. Share the Love
Recently, NPR ran a story on cyclists cycling in groups in Los Angeles, and that story included a quote on how a motorist in LA bragged about buzzing and potentially hitting a cyclist. Apparently that got enough bad press that the NPR Ombudsman responded with another article. Well, no good deed goes unpunished, and among the worst comments that second post received were some by a person posting as a Jim Johnson, who had such gems as

"Bicyclists don't belong on streets or sidewalks. You are freeloaders and pests."
"I am okay with "vigilante justice" applied to bicyclists."
"Bicyclists need to know just how despised they are."
"Bicyclists are self-entitled freeloaders"
"Oh, I wouldn't be so blatant as to drive into a cyclist. But how would you like to be followed for the entire duration of your ride by someone who's leaning on the horn? There are plenty of ways to spoil your fun without actually touching you."
"But I am here. And behind the wheel. And you had better keep that in mind, because I'm not the only irritated driver."
"Better be careful when you're alone is all I can say."
"The difference between you and me is that I really do carry a gun in my motor vehicle. Spandex boy, this is not a fight you want to start."

Mr. Jim did his best troll imitation, trying to hijack the entire discussion thread with threats and abuse. I tried to report some, but as most of us know, Disqus is relatively insensitive to reporting abuse. Likewise, I tried to find a way, any way, to contact NPR's Ombuds. I left a phone message which was not returned and one of those "fill in this little box and some day, in your next life, if you are really lucky, we will get back to you" comment pages.

I find it interesting that it is soooo easy to reach NPR when they want my donation, and almost impossible to reach an executive, board member, or ombudsman when you want to say something of substance. So NPR, do me a favor. Don't ask for my money any more, either. I'll try to be as hard to contact as you are.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Don't Forget to Ride the TORGV



Hello bicyclists,

Hope you all will ride the 2014 TORGV with your friends, FAR FLAT FAST FABULOUS AND FUN!

Registration info at www.TORGV.com both mail-in and electronic.

Proceeds go to supporting the Bicycle Coalition of NM’s (a 501 c 3) advocacy work to support safe and fun bicycling in NM.  BCNM is the only state-wide advocacy organization that works at the national and state level for bicyclists’ rights.

Optional jersey for sale this year!

Tandem riders ride for a $60 fee, not $120!  Spread the word to your friends!mi

DIANE

Diane E. Albert, PhD, JD
Vice President and Board Member, Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico (BCNM)
League of American Bicyclists LCI #2292

Greater Albuquerque Bicyclists Advisory Committee member

League of American Bicyclists National Board Member

P.O. Box 30548
Albuquerque, NM 87190-0548
505.235.2277
www.BikeNM.org

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lessons From The Last Time Civilization Collapsed

Go over to National Public Radio and read this.

"Consider this, if you would: a network of far-flung, powerful, high-tech civilizations closely tied by trade and diplomatic embassies; an accelerating threat of climate change and its pressure on food production; a rising wave of displaced populations ready to sweep across and overwhelm developed nations.
Sound familiar?
While that laundry list of impending doom could be aimed at our era, it's actually a description of the world 3,000 years ago. It is humanity's first "global" dark age as described by archaeologist and George Washington University professor in his recent book ...."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

School Starts Tomorrow....be careful out there



With school opening tomorrow, we can expect the usual mass confusion and heavier traffic than we have seen in the last few months.  Watch out for distracted or harried parents ferrying their kids to our various schools (while blocking bike lanes and pulling across your path).

In addition, I would suggest that that folks bicycling or motorcycling to LANL along the Diamond Drive corridor should be extra careful in the section of Diamond Drive between North Road and the Omega Bridge. There are numerous side streets and curbcuts (driveways) where students will add to the existing confusion and we can expect a lot of sometimes oblivious turning and crossing traffic. Several of my LANL colleagues have been decked, at least one suffered major injuries, and many of us have had near misses, myself included.

Be careful out there and if it’s your teen driving to the H.S. make sure he or she takes those car keys seriously.  Like loaded guns and alcohol, smart phones and moving cars don't mix very well.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Charles Pelkey for Wyoming House of Representatives


Hopefully, the race won't be an "endo" for CP!
Attorney, cyclist, bike racer, longtime cycling journalist, and Live Update Guy Charles Pelkey has tossed his hat in the ring for the WY State House. No, not that state house. The Wyoming House of Representatives. Here is a sort of announcement over at Red Kite Prayer. Drop by and offer him some advice, which he has asked for. I asked where his war chest is being kept so we can toss some funds into it, including some I just sent up that way. Yep, he is endorsed by this site. His Pelkey for House web site (below) covers his political thinking, which goes far and wide beyond cycling issues. It also has a link to the tip jar.

Pelkey for House Web Site.

Facebook page.


From the Pelkey for House Site

Monday, August 4, 2014

Some Background to the 2005 Los Alamos Bicycle Transportation System Document

Sharon and John on Patrick O'Grady's Maddogmedia site asked about the Bombtown bike plan. I dug out some of this stuff that disappeared when the original LA bikes site went belly up. This first document is something I cobbled together in 2003. Following that was an outline we put together on the Bike Subcommittee of the T Board back in '02. Finally, the county wide survey that was done by the bicycle subcommittee. Just thought I would dredge those out. Also note the 2005 "bike plan" was later augmented by the 2010 Policy for the Design of Streets and Rights of Way.

Creating a Bike and Walk-Friendly Los Alamos

Introduction
Los Alamos, NM will be a model of a bicycling-friendly community. Our weather is relatively mild, the traffic manageable, and our principal employer is "university-like" in attracting employees who are open to bicycling and walking to work. According to a recent poll (apendix 1), almost ten percent of our work force presently commutes by bicycle more than 50 times a year . This percentage compares favorably to some of the top bike-commuting locations in the U.S (Federal Highways Administration (FHWA-PD-92-041, online at  http://www.bikefed.org/PDF/CASE1.PDF). However, this number could be higher, and our children could be encouraged to ride to school in increasing numbers, if some basic impediments to cycling are removed. Removing these impediments will be the focus of a bike plan for our county.
Such a plan requires a vision, and here is a proposed vision for Los Alamos County:
Los Alamos County is a bicycle-friendly city where bicycling is a viable and popular travel choice for residents and visitors of all ages.
" Bicycle friendliness" suggests a city where it is easy to ride a bicycle. Fear is not a factor when riding a bicycle because the roads are shared, bicycling is safe and animosity between motorists and bicyclists does not exist.
"where bicycling is a viable..." Viable indicates a bicycle system that is easily accessible. The bicycle network will be a comprehensive and continuous one, making it convenient to fulfill transportation needs.
"and popular..." The word "popular" connotes social acceptance; not only is bicycling a viable choice, but lots of other people are bicycling as well.
It implies a variety of reasons to use a bicycle: commuting, recreation, exercise, and other trip purposes.
"travel choice..." Bicycling is not the only way to get from one point to another. However, it is one of a variety of transportation modes that our community offers.
"for residents..." A bicycle friendly city makes it easier for residents to choose to ride a bicycle. It benefits the community by reducing congestion and pollution as, increasing the safety on roadways, and promoting public health through exercise and an active lifestyle.
"and visitors..." Bicycling not only benefits our residents, but it is a choice that tourists have as well. This part of the vision alludes to the possibilities that bicycling can contribute to the diversification of our economy to include tourism, taking advantage of our natural setting.
"of all ages..." This captures the essence of the plan where riding a bicycle is for everyone. Los Alamos will offer bikeways that are safe for a child to ride to school, for an adult commuting to work, or an elderly person to ride to the post office.

 Prevailing Conditions in Los Alamos and White Rock
In order to design a bike plan, one must first describe the prevailing conditions. With that in mind, on December 2, 2002, County Councillors Diane Albert and Mike Wismer joined Los Alamos County Cyclist's Coalition member Khal Spencer and Los Alamos Walks Chairperson Dave Collins for a bike ride through Los Alamos and White Rock. The purpose was to look for ourselves at our transportation infrastructure through the eyes of cyclists and recommend ways to improve our county's transportation resources to fully integrate bicycling into our transportation options. We did this to add a personal set of observations to the results of the (Appendix I) LA County Bike Survey.
The trip concentrated on two main questions. First, what are the conditions of our infrastructure connecting homes to our destinations, i.e. roads and pathways? The answer can make the difference between wanting to ride or not wanting to risk injury. So called choke points or danger points, such as a dangerous intersection or a narrow section of high speed road lacking adequate space for cars and bikes to coexist, inhibit cycling far out of proportion to their share of trip distance. We particularly focused on conditions leading to our schools as young cyclists are known to be at greater risk than their more experienced counterparts.
Secondly and just as importantly, what is the availability of destination resources (bike racks, lockers)? The answer to this question either rewards or penalizes cyclists who take the effort to ride to work, shopping, or to other activities. It is difficult to ride to work or to a store if there is nowhere to lock a bicycle or change into work clothing.
Finally, infrastructure alone does not make for a bike-friendly community. Through good will and supportive activities, a community makes known to itself that cycling, like walking or riding a bus, are welcome additions to our transportation mix. Attitudes, traffic enforcement, encouragement, and education are essential "non-steel and concrete" elements of a bike friendly community.

I. Infrastructure
Cyclists in Los Alamos face serious obstacles upon leaving home. Many roads lack adequate width to be conveniently shared by cyclists and motorists. Diamond Drive is a good example, although other roads (Pajarito, Trinity, State Route 4) are only slightly less formidable. While even a narrow road can be safely and legally shared by careful, law-abiding users, such cramped conditions, in practice, not only shave the margin of safety, but often exacerbate tensions and risk-taking by both motorists and cyclists. Worse yet, there often are no alternative bike-friendly routes available. Diamond Drive is a particularly glaring exmple, being the only road connecting North and Barranca residential mesas to downtown and to LANL. It must be made bike-friendly with some combination of added space: wide outside lanes, bike lanes, or paved shoulders. Likewise, the main routes connecting White Rock to Los Alamos are 55 mph highways with narrow or intermittent shoulders. As East Jemez Road is a truck route with very heavy high speed commuter traffic during rush hour, Pajarito Road is a better candidate for improvement.
In all cases, shoulders, bike lanes, or wide outside lanes must be made continuous at widths specified by national standards (such as the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials guidelines). Where grade-separated pathways would strongly encourage ridership (especially on steep, fast roadways or when used to connect to schools or other community destinations such as libraries and parks), such a separate facility should augment shoulder space. Where additional road width cannot be added, restriping lanes to include space for cyclists must be considered. And of course, cooperation between Los Alamos County and its principal employer, Los Alamos National Lab, will be necessary if a County Bike plan is to be a success.
Encouraging our children to ride to school is important for several reasons. School-morning drop-offs contribute a considerable amount of traffic to rush hour congestion. Students who are dropped off in automobiles lose a valuable opportunity to obtain exercise and independence through cycling or walking. American students, like their adult counterparts, are experiencing an epidemic of obesity that raises their risk for cardiovascular disease, Type-II diabetes, and other problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. We must reintroduce walking and riding to school in order to improve the health and self-confidence of the next generation.
Conditions leading to our schools vary considerably from a cyclist’s perspective. Chamisa and Pinon Elementary Schools in White Rock are served by wide roads having good visibility. Reportedly, many, if not most of Chamisa's students walk or bike to their school, which greets the visitor with an expanse of bike racks. The approaching roads are relatively flat, wide, and have good sidewalks. At Barranca Elementary, residents Ann Thoma and Loida Rowberry commented that speeding on the main Barranca mesa roads was a concern and that the school parking lot is on the "quiet side" of the school, a space better left to a playground. At Aspen Elementary, resident John Ullman noted that Diamond Drive is an impediment to bicycling, even for experienced adults. Traffic calming at Aspen, designed to slow speeding cars, has been a mixed blessing. Although many residents are in favor of the calming program, its design speed of 20 mph instead of the posted speed limit of 25 has lead to criticism of it as being too restrictive. Mountain Elementary school is located in a hollow, potentially leading to acceleration of both cyclists and motorists headed towards the school crosswalk. Some method of controlling speeds and managing crossing student cyclist traffic, needs to be considered.
Although older students can perhaps be expected to be more cycling-savvy, such is not often the case as few children ride to school compared even a generation ago. Thus, conditions for older students must be addressed to provide a margin for safety as students learn the rules of the road. Middle School students must presently face substandard, dangerous conditions along major arterials leading to North Mesa from elsewhere. At Los Alamos High School, the biggest problem is its location on Diamond Drive. Those students who do ride to LAHS sometimes find their bicycles vandalized as well. These conditions must be addressed using engineered solutions.
Finally, no community can be considered bike-friendly if major community destinations are reached with considerable hassle. Our library, government buildings, and shopping centers lack bike racks and storage lockers. Indeed, some businesses post vague, anti-cycling signage that discourages cycling; signs do not discriminate between law-abiding bike riders and those riding recklessly.

Solutions that will create a Bike-friendly community
Having laid out the problems, many of the solutions can be found in implementing the so-called "4-E’s" : sound Engineering, traffic Enforcement, active Encouragement, and cyclist-motorist Education. Overall, a concerted effort to provide programmatic change through intergovernmental communications is needed so that community planning includes bike-friendly designs.

Engineering solutions.
Important connecting roads must be modified to provide adequate space for shared use by cyclists and motorists. In some cases, this can be provided through added width. Where neccesary, the present roadway must be restriped to provide some combination of shoulders, bike lanes, or wide outside travel lanes. Diamond Drive, the main access roads leading from the traffic circle into North and Barranca Mesas, Trinity Drive, and Pajarito Road (or its revised successor, depending on LANL's plans) have the highest priority. More specifically, the following roads should be improved to provide cycling-friendly infrastructure:  The specific nature of bicycling improvements will be left to the Los Alamos County Traffic Engineering staff in consultation with the County Transportation Board and County Council.
I Main Tranportation Routes will be improved as cycling-friendly facilities.
a. Diamond Drive--from the traffic circle to the Omega Bridge (all).  Right of Way difficulties in some locations (i.e., near the high school) may require that different segments of this road be treated with different solutions. The present squeeze on the Omega Bridge to LANL could be remedied by several possible solutions:
designate and improve West Road as a bike route,
widen the present sidewalk to a multiuser facility meeting AASHTO guidelines,
provide a separate "bike bridge", possibly by cantilevering it from the present structure.
 
b. East Road-Central-Trinity Dr. from the Airport to Diamond Drive.
c. Traffic lights along major routes that are controlled via magnetically actuation should be sensiitive to a bicycle. These sensors shoujld be periodically tested, and marked with paint overlays so cyclists know where to position themselves to actuate the lights.
d. Bike lanes on main streets within Barranca and North Mesas will narrow the travel lane and double as traffic calming.
II. Safe Routes to School related improvements require that for a distance of one mile either side of a school, roads should be walkable and bikeable. Spot improvements by each school would be included if needed.
a.  North Mesa Middle School: San Ildefonso and North Mesa Road from Sioux Street to the Traffic Circle.
b. Barranca Elementary: Barranca from San Ildefonso to Navajo. Los Pueblos to Tesuque. San Ildefonso to connect to the Traffic Circle.
c. Aspen Elementary: 38th to Conoco Hill, Villa to 33rd.
d. Mountain School: Arkansas to North, North to Diamond Drive.
Potential danger spots must also be remediated. As Mountain School is in a downhill "hollow", there will be a natural tendency for both motorists and cyclists to speed up in front of the school. A "bike roundabout" could be constructed where the bike lane (on the side opposite the school) would turn right, do a half circle, and "corral" young cyclists, who would then wait until a crossing guard directed them across the street [figure would be useful here].
Traffic calming and dedicated bicycle facilities at all public schools (bike lanes and or paths providing turning and crossing protection, racks, lockers, automobile speed control)
III. Secondary Recommendations:
a. A loop along Sandia to Trinity, connecting to Diamond at both ends, should be designated as a Bike Route with improvements made as resources permit.
b. A "Canyon bike path" that would run along the canyon rim near Los Alamos Bench trail shall be constructed.
c. The walkway along the Golf Course shall be improved to a MUP as far as feasable from the Traffic Circle towards Conoco Hill. The pathways along the back side of the Golf Course should be maintained and advertised as Public Multiuse Paths, and if possible, connected to the town center via bridges and pathways between the Golf Course and the town center (aquatic center, library, etc.)
IV.  Strategically placed traffic calming measures will control motorist speeds.
V. At the Civic Center, surface parking can be removed and replaced with a greenway and a partially buried parking garage. This garage would tie into a subterranean walking system connecting the Library, parking, County buildings, retirement community, and continue across Trinity Drive to businesses and housing along Oppenheimer Drive. Parking would be consolodated and community resources combined into a common area connected by pedestrian pathways and a tunnel complex (great for winter).
 
 
VI. An ordinance will mandate bicycle parking facilities whenever new construction or renovation is occuring.
VII. Pajarito Road or its successor will be widened with continuous, 6 ft. bike lanes/shoulders (AASHTO guide recommends wide shouders or bike lanes for >50 mph roads). Study the feasability study of a parallel, off-road facility in the "steep" section.
 
VIII. bike and walk friendly government center connecting library, municipal buildings with walkways and bikeways.

Enforcement
A recent Monitor article co-signed by the Chief of Police and LANL County Bicycle Advisory Committee clearly defined the rules of the road, and laid the groundwork for more rigorous enforcement of the traffic code. In addition, we propose that citizens sign up for the Citizen's Police Academy and form a Citizen's Bike Patrol. Councillor Albert has already graduated from the LAPDCA; Councillor Wismer and LACCC member Spencer have signed up for the next available class. By creating a citizen's bike patrol, the Police Force will have a much greater awareness of cycling issues.

Encouragement
Secure bike racks, clothing lockers, and other destination facilities will show the community that we take cycling seriously. Those who ride to work must be welcomed upon arriving just as motorists are with adequate, often free parking. Competing costs for such services should be calculated so that cyclists are not burdened or asked to pay for services that motorists take for granted (i.e., infrastructure that supports cyclists should only be charged for if auto parking is).
Annual event such as Bike To Work Day should be expanded to include LANL, LAC, our schools, and private establishments.
A Los Alamos "Century" 25-50-75 mile ride should be coordinated with the Tour de Los Alamos in order to promote a bike-friendly town.
Share the road signs should be posted on the entraces to all communities and on all major roads. STR bumper stickers belong in bike shops, County Building, county vehicles etc..
Youth cycling clubs and racing should be established and supported by local bike shops, the LANL Pajarito Riders club, and our schools, as competitive athletics.

Education
Bicycling Education should be established in our public schools at several grade levels (i.e. basic education at the low elementary level when children are first learning to ride, more advanced towards 5th or 6th grade, and a final, Bike-Motorist education program in high school. Such a program can be modelled after those found elsewhere (i.e. John Forester, Hawaii Bicycling League, League of American Cyclists).

Programmatic and Policy Options
Ideas must be shared between boards and commissions. For example, the Transportation, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Zoning, Small Business, and Community Development associations share responsibilities for designing our community. New development must have bike and walk friendly designs stipulated in the "blueprint" stage. We need to work out neighborhood plans, destination requirements, and infrastructure requirements before they are actually cast in asphalt and concrete. Finally, we need to examine cities such as Boulder, CO, and Davis, CA which have integrated cycling into their transportation planning process and take the best ideas from these other communities.
As we live in a four-seasons community, snow removal must take into full consideration MUP's, sidewalks, and bike lanes.
Goals,
first five years: Increase cycling trips to 15% with no increase in crash/injury rate
second five years. Increase transportation mode split to 20% cycling trips. All schools and major destinations in LA County are "bike friendly" by design.

Original Outline.


I.       Introduction
A.    County policy statement regarding bicycle usage
B.    Use existing introduction as in strawman plan.
C.    Linkage to LAC Pedestrian Plan and State/Other County Plans
1.     Pedestrian Plan (includes Walkable Community Plan)
2.     Transportation Plan
3.     Comprehensive Plan
4.     Trails Plan
5.     Mainstreet Futures Master Plan for Downtown Los Alamos
D.    Plan Adoption & Implementation Process
1.     Public Participation
2.     Bike Plan Availability
3.     County & Regional Bike Map Availability (include key plan info)

II.     Mission, Vision, Goals, Objectives
A.    Mission Statement / Executive Summary
B.    Goals
1.     Decrease Congestion
2.     Improve Transportation Economics (Car parking vs. bike parking)
3.     Promote Safety
4.     Improve Environment
5.     Improve Health & Fitness
6.     Promote Tourism
7.     Promote Economic Development
C.    Dual Focus
1.     Priority A:  On Street Biking Improvements
2.     Priority B:  Off Street Bikeway Network (Multiuse Path System)
D.    Assessing Progress (Metrics) – suggest traffic studies are performed before and after project is performed.

III.    Bicycling in Los Alamos
A.    Existing and Forecast Bicylce Usage (use LAC survey results and other sources)
1.     Brief Discussion of current vs. forecast use.  Refer to appendix of LAC bicycle use survey.  We suggest a new survey that describes current use numbers as well as survey data for use if we were to implement projects/improve infrastructure (Present options to determine if people would be more likely to cycle if certain projects were completed.)  The survey should be distributed at various informational meetings that the BSC / LAC transportation engineers sponsor.  Questions in the survey might include the following:
(a)  Do you currently ride your bike to work?
(b)  Would you ride your bike to work if the bike lanes were widened and made more visible to drivers?
(c)   Do your children currently walk or bike to school or other locations?
(d)  Would they walk or ride their bikes if there was a path that they could take to get to their destination that did not travel along a major travel artery / road?
(e)   If you answered no to the question above, please tell us what would encourage you &/or your family members to walk or bike?
2.     Existing and Future Land Use Patterns
(a)   Key Generation Nodes for Bicycle Use (Activity Centers)
(b)  Protection of Rights of Way Conducive to Bike system development
3.     Existing infrastructure and facilities - include maps showing current location
(a)   Miles of trails or forest roads useable by bikes.
(b)  Miles of bike lanes or paths.
(c)   Miles of roadways with useable shoulders.
(d)  Total miles of paved and/or maintained roadways in LAC (for comparison purposes).

IV.  Developing a Bicycling Friendly Los Alamos
A.    Needed infrastructure and facilities
1.     Types of riders and specific needs (as in strawman plan). Mention Problem Areas here and examples of how to improve.
2.     Desired # of Miles of shoulders, bikeways, trails needed to meet our goals.
3.     Infrastructure and services needed to support bicycling.
(a)   Bicycle Parking and Locker/Shower Facilities
(b)  Transit Connections (i.e., Buses)
B.    Engineering Design and Implementation Practice (include entire section from Bob’s Strawman).
1.     Design Standards
(a)   New Paths
(i)    Bike Boulevard
(ii)  Multi-use Paths
(b)  Bike Lanes
(i)    Created by Reducing Existing Vehicle Lane Widths
(ii)  Created by Removal of Existing Vehicle Lanes
(iii)     Created by Removal of On-Street Parking
(iv)Created by Widening Curb Lane
(c)   Shared Roadway
(i)    Wider Outside Vehicle Lanes
(d)  Bike Route, Lane and Path Planning
(i)    Markings and Signs
(ii)  Crossings and Traffic Signals
(iii)     Left Turn Provisions
(iv)Right Turn Lanes
(i)         Removal of Two-way Turn Lanes
(e)   Construction Practice
(i)    Biking Improvements in All Major Traffic Projects
(ii)  Construction Zones
(iii)     Maintenance – snow removal, sweeping, standard equipment, etc.
C.    Rules and Good Practices
1.     LAC code
2.     Enforcement

County-wide Bike Survey Findings by the Bicycle Subcommittee of the Los Alamos County Transportation Board

Over one thousand County residents/households have provided extensive data regarding their concerns and desires with respect to bicycle riding within Los Alamos County.

Drawing from one thousand questionnaire responses from households representing all age and neighborhood groups, the Bike Survey found that there is a strong desire for safe and favorable bicycle ­ and pedestrian ­ infrastructure throughout Los Alamos County. Over 70% of the respondents favor paved bikeways safely separated from roadways, while 60% also want on-street bike lanes widened and made more visible. Safety concerns were by far the greatest hindrance faced by both recreational and commuter bikers, with Pajarito Road, Diamond Drive and Trinity Drive being cited as particularly dangerous routes. The Bicycle Subcommittee will use these results to assist the County Council and the County Traffic Engineer in developing policies and plans for improving biking capabilities throughout Los Alamos County.

The purpose of the survey was to establish statistical information and to collect resident comments regarding (a) the need for biking infrastructure (i.e., bike lanes, off-street pathways, bike racks, bike lockers, etc.), (b) current impediments for biking (e.g., safety, weather, commuting distances, hilly terrain, etc.), and (c) desired improvements (e.g., on street bike lanes, off-street paths ­ either paved or unpaved, sidewalks, pathway widths, or no preference for changes). While the survey, due to the charter of the subcommittee, was focused on biking, numerous responses addressed the equally important need to improve pedestrian infrastructure throughout the County, especially for school children and people with restricted mobility. The Bicycle Subcommittee is preparing a report that will be presented to the Transportation Board, where specific recommendations will be considered and, as approved, will be forwarded to the County Council and, through the Council, to the County Staff for action. A key goal will be bicycle-related input into the County’s planning processes, from the "big picture" Comprehensive Plan (currently being updated via a 2020 Visioning Program) through multimode transportation plans to specific traffic improvement projects. One purpose of the County Bicycle Plan will be to allow residents to view both long range goals and specific, time-phased projects (all of which will be subject to advertised community reviews prior to implementation).

The bicycle survey was conducted as volunteer effort and was sent via monthly utility billings to 7000 households. In addition to use-related responses, demographic data was also collected (e.g., age, address or neighborhood, work/school location, etc.). Current bike user age groups ranged from youth (37% of respondents) to seniors (12% of respondents), with the intermediate age groups ranging from 5% to 17% of respondents).

Following are graphic representations of the survey findings:

In addition to statistics, numerous comments were collected, some of which are listed below:

* Make Conoco Hill more bike friendly!

* The left turn lane at the High School is GREAT!

* Thanks for working on this! For an outdoorsy town, we sure are lacking in bicycle paths and lanes!

* The lab needs to pull their end of the saw. Right now, most bicyclists store their bikes in their office. This is because there are few secure bike parking areas.

* Please do not forsake walkers and runners. They need a place for their activity. Plan bikeways and walkways that can be shared easily and safely.

* I ride LA Bus to work, but if it were safer I would ride my bike part of the way (along Pajarito Road).

* A bike path (is needed) connecting White Rock and Los Alamos separated from traffic.

* Keep bike lanes clean. When I see a bike out of their lane it is because it is unsafe/dirty.

* Traffic is out of control. When police get it in control I’ll think about riding in the street. Otherwise I’ll ride the sidewalks against the traffic to protect myself.

* Present bike lanes are dangerous ­ they dump bikes into car lane traffic to the detriment of both.

* People who pass using the oncoming lane when a cyclist is approaching need to understand that the cyclist is NOT expecting a car coming at them in their lane.

* More unpaved paths and on-street bike lanes (are needed). Almost no bicyclists use the paved bike path from Pajarito Acres to White Rock.

* Stay off the streets and highways, you (bikers) are a hazard to drivers.

* This county desperately needs to get cyclists off HWY 4 and onto a bike lane on the highway on either side. We have seen many near head on (accidents) of those who try to pass bikes in the middle of the traffic lane.

* Put sidewalks on residential streets in White Rock! It is very dangerous for our children to walk or ride their bikes to school with no sidewalks. Also, we as parents have taught our children not to go in the streets ­ but suddenly it’s OK.

* Boulder, CO, has an impressive bike-car system where everyone seems to have their own space.

Lessons Learned from the Survey and Tentative Conclusions/Recommendations:

Survey responses represent 15% of County households that received a questionnaire, which is considered a very good response for any voluntary survey. Respondents, by a majority in excess of 70%, strongly favor improved biking infrastructure ­ particularly enhancements that will improve safety. Numerous comments suggest that people are equally desirous of improved pedestrian infrastructure, including multi-use pedestrian-bike paths and trails.

There is strong support for a variety of bike infrastructure improvements. Experienced bikers who commute regularly largely want improved on-street infrastructure; i.e., well designed/marked/signed bike lanes ­ since they essentially want to get from Point A to Point B as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible. Seniors and many recreational bikers predominately want paved off-street bikeways. However, they want these paths located in attractive and convenient settings ­ with particular attention to safety. Parents want assurance that children will have very safe routes to school and other destinations, such as play areas and community facilities (such as swimming pools). Generally, there is support for biking on sidewalks (which is allowed in most cases by the County Traffic Code), but there is concern that too many sidewalks are in severe disrepair and/or are not a contiguous system ­ that is, they dead end, requiring bicyclists to use busy streets, which often are made even more dangerous because of parked and turning vehicles. The fundamental orientation of the Bicycle Subcommittee will be to emphasize the need for a dual approach to bicycle infrastructure improvement. First, a contiguous on-street bike lane system should be planned, with every future traffic engineering project being assessed for bike infrastructure improvement opportunities. Second, a contiguous off-street bikeway system should be planned that will integrate every neighborhood, community center, recreational complex, educational facility, and employment complex throughout the County. This pathway network should be planned as unpaved routes and, when feasible and appropriate, paved to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Additional recommendations include an off-road multiuse pathway (i.e., for both bikes and pedestrians) between White Rock and Los Alamos largely paralleling the Pajarito-Diamond route through DOE lands. (The Subcommittee appreciates potential DOE concerns about creating a public pathway through its land; however, the reality is that both the DOE/Laboratory and the Community must endeavor to be mutually supportive of multimode transportation and community integration needs.) Lastly, there are additional "alternative transportation" needs, such as equestrian and mountain biking, that were not a focus of the survey, but which must be considered by the County when developing comprehensive transportation plans.

The Bicycle Subcommittee of the Transportation Board is pleased to have had the opportunity to help citizens inform the County Council and the County Staff regarding their concerns and desires with respect to biking improvements. The Bicycle Subcommittee was reconstituted in February, 2000, by County Councilor and avid bicyclist Diane Albert, with members drawn from County citizen volunteers. Current membership consists of Wolfgang Dworzak, Chairman, Thomas Arminio, Gabriela Lopez Escobedo, Beth Nordholt, Amy Nuckols, Khal Spencer, and Robert Wells, with Nancy Talley, County Assistant Traffic Engineer serving as Staff Liaison.