City leaders unveiled a 32-page draft Bike Master Plan this week, offering an outline for building biking infrastructure and support for cycling in Colorado Springs.
The plan, called COS Bikes!, aims to design more bicycle-friendly streets, promote a stronger bicycle identity for the city, and build a better on-street bike network.
“Though there is a favorable landscape for biking and an enthusiastic recreational focus, relatively few people bike for transportation in Colorado Springs,” the city’s web site notes. “The bikeway network has large gaps, both in coverage and in types of facilities.”
The plan aims to shift the perception of biking from a purely recreational activity to a safe, convenient everyday transportation option for a large segment of the population.
“The hope and the purpose is to have more people riding to get to places,” said Kate Brady, the city’s senior bike planner. “The city wants to give people choices of how to get around our community and how to do that safely.”
According to the draft plan, U.S. Census data shows only 0.7 percent of the population cycled to work in 2014.
“While there will always be people who are not interested or physically able to bike, there are many others who do not currently ride because they feel unsafe … interacting with motor vehicle traffic,” the plan said. “This Interested but Concerned group accounts for as much as 60 percent of the adult population.”
Brady said the draft plan includes a ‘toolbox’ for matching the right kinds of biking facilities with the characteristics of various roadways, “meaning the busier and scarier that a street is, the more protection we should give bicycle riders so they still feel comfortable riding on it.”
It also includes a map of corridors for focused planning to create a connected network of bicycle infrastructure. The plan envisions expanding biking corridors as far south as Broadmoor Oaks and Cheyenne Mountain State Park, as far north as Northgate, as far west as Mountain Shadows and as far east as Falcon.
“To a certain extent this is an aspirational plan,” Brady said. “It’s nowhere near the level of detail to say, ‘These are the projects that we will be doing in these locations, this is what it’ll look like and this is how much it will cost.’ This has a longer horizon than that and is really looking at … programs that’ll make it easier for us and more welcome for us to put in facilities in the future…
“The plan covers the entire city, and it also recommends some higher priority geographies where we can start, because it’s more helpful to start with good connectivity in a couple of places and connect those and move out from there, rather than … a piece of bike lane here, piece of bike lane there.
“We also looked at destinations — places where you have a good concentration of density, places where you have a gridded street network that helps people get around by bike, and then places where people have lower income or fewer cars per household.”
The city invited public comment at the Active Transportation Advisory Committee meeting Nov. 14, and the Bike Master Plan will be presented before several committees and boards before final presentation to City Council for approval in early 2018.
The next presentation is at the Active Transportation Advisory Committee Dec. 19. Residents can also provide feedback on the draft plan in an online survey.