Leading the committee is Dennis Blind, a leader in OKC’s planning department. There are several committee members that work for the city. Other members include cycling advocates and health advocates.
The Master Plan will address many modes of transportation, including public transportation. It will recognize the increasing interest in cycling and walking as alternatives to travelling by car. The city council has indicated a priority for 2015-2016 to develop at transportation system that works for all citizens, and this Master Plan will help to realize this goal.
bikewalkOKC comes on the heels of the “planOKC” initiative that specifies OKC planning for a Healthy Future. This includes the development of a transportation plan for everyone, and building an urban environment that facilitates health and wellness. Within planOKC was a section named connectOKC that lists these goals:
- Providing a safe, convenient transportation system with a variety of interconnected modes.
- Encouraging the use of bicycles as a form of transportation for riders of all levels and experience.
- Developing trails that connect to the places that people live and want to visit.
- Improving sidewalks to make it easy for people to walk to parks, work, school and shopping.
- Providing public transportation that is convenient, efficient and effective.
The city’s active transportation initiatives include two components:
- A Livable Streets Policy that gives city planners a template when doing street design.
- The city-wide Bike and Ped Master Plan.
The Bike/Ped Master Plan will be a comprehensive assessment of and recommendation of OKC’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
Outcomes of the 2008 Master Plan was the addition of the river trails, Katy Trail, the Hefner/Overholser connector, Eagle Lake Trail, the West River trail ( Grand opening is June 13 ), the I-44 trail ( Sept. 2016 ) and the Deep Fork trail ( connecting McGuiness to the Cowboy Museum – opening tbd.)
A bond issue from 2008 helped pay for several of these projects. Other projects were funded from the MAPS-3 penny tax. There were some funds remaining from the 2008 bond which will be used this year for a city-wide Bike/Ped/Motorist Safety Education Campaign. You can expect to see ads, billboards and P.S.A.s. Also planned is a permanent bike skills safety course which will be located at the boathouse district. It might look something like this one in San Francisco.
The city’s transit system is named EMBARK. It includes the bike share program named SPOKIES which is getting a major makeover this year. OKC is one of the few cities that have a bike rack on every city bus. Last year it carried over 40,000 bikes for citizens.
The bikewalkOKC initiative includes these guiding concepts:
The project approach will help drive OKC into a regional destination for biking and walking, much like N.W. Arkansas and Fort Worth with their great cycling/walking facilities. The committee will help develop recommendations and implementation strategies to get projects started and successfully completed.
The committee will encourage public input on the projects, as well as provide long term vision and short term action to help OKC be recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bicycle Friendly Community.
In the coming months, the committee will review existing conditions of our cycling facilities. It will gather public input on what is needed ( via survey and public meetings), document where bike accidents are occurring, and document a “needs assessment” report. It will develop a network map that identifies the current and future bike trails and routes that cyclists and walkers can use to get to parks, schools, neighborhoods, shopping, work, and regional destinations. A “5 E’s” report will be created to show the best practices of: