TO: Mayor and Town Council
FROM: Council Members Jim Ward and Ed Harrison
SUBJECT: Bicycle Facilities Policy
DATE: November 10 , 2003
The purpose of this memorandum is to recommend an alternative to the current Bicycle Facilities Policy. It is offered as a response to the petition received from the Transportation Board in March 2003, to change the current policy.
Background for this matter is set out in a separate memorandum from the Town Manager.
Over the past few months, we have offered a draft resolution for consideration by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board and the Transportation Board. We believe that bicycling should be a practical transportation alternative and safe form of recreation. We also believe that the revised policy will give the Town greater flexibility to determine what the appropriate type of bicycle facility would be for each situation.
We are pleased to report that the revised policy as contained in the attached resolution has been considered by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board and the Transportation Board and includes the amendments recommended by the respective Boards.
We request that the Town Council consider a revision to the current bicycle facilities policy that provides for a more context-sensitive appraisal of the appropriate design, type and width of bicycle facilities for streets in Town. Such appraisal would be carried out on a case by case basis by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board and the Transportation Board working with Town staff and consider factors including but not limited to topography, vehicle speed and volume, hazards such as parked vehicles, drainage grates or raised reflectors, access to public facilities and activity centers, and available right of way.
A presumption would be that for arterial streets striped bike lanes would normally be the preferred facility.
A further presumption would be that on local streets the Town would not normally plan to widen streets to create bicycle facilities.
Educational efforts need to be undertaken and appropriate signage needs to be provided, also a commitment to provide the resources to keep facilities clear of debris.
Current preparation of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Action Plan provides an opportunity for the Town to assess what type, design and width of facility may be appropriate for different streets of the Town.
We believe that what the Town is looking for is a flexible, context-sensitive approach to the provision of bicycle facilities to encourage more citizens to bicycle safely and we offer this resolution for your consideration.
A RESOLUTION ADOPTING A POLICY FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF BICYCLE FACILITIES WITHIN THE TOWN (2003-11-10/R-10)
WHEREAS, it is the goal of the Town of Chapel Hill to accommodate the needs of existing bicyclists; and
WHEREAS, it is the goal of the Town of Chapel Hill to encourage greater use of bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation; and
WHEREAS, the Chapel Hill 2000 Comprehensive Plan includes the objective “develop and maintain a system of safe and efficient bikeways (on-street bike lanes and off-street paths within greenways) designed to contribute to Town-wide mobility, connecting neighborhoods with activity centers, schools, parks, and other neighborhoods”; and
WHEREAS, the Comprehensive Plan recommends the Town “adopt revised roadway standards incorporating on-street bike lanes, including a commitment to install bike lanes in roadway resurfacing projects where feasible; and
WHEREAS, variable circumstances exist in the Town of Chapel Hill such as topography, vehicle speed and volume, impediments such as parked vehicles, drainage grates or raised reflectors, access to public facilities and activity centers and available right of way.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Town of Chapel Hill, that:
· Within the Planning Jurisdiction of the Town of Chapel Hill, the appropriate design, type and width of bicycle facilities will be assessed on an individual and site-specific basis depending on the circumstances that exist.
· Striped bicycle lanes will normally be provided on newly constructed or reconstructed Arterial Streets; however, when existing Arterial Streets that do not currently have bicycle lanes are resurfaced they will normally be re-striped with bicycle lanes to the extent practicable.
· Either striped bicycle lanes or wide outside lanes may be appropriate on Collector Streets depending on site specific circumstances.
· Local Streets will not normally include extra width for bicycle facilities.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Council directs the Manager to utilize this policy in reviewing development plans and in the design of roadway improvements within the Chapel Hill Planning Jurisdiction.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Bicycle and Pedestrian Action Plan include discussion of the type, design and width of bicycle facilities that may be appropriate for different streets within the Planning Jurisdiction of the Town of Chapel Hill. Until such time that the Action Plan is completed and adopted by the Town Council, Town staff shall recommend bicycle accommodations on a case by case basis and in accordance with this policy, subject to approval by the Town Council.
This the 10th day of November, 2003.