Resolving to become “bicycle friendly”

What follows is the text of the resolution approved Wednesday by the Cedar Rapids City Council. Among other things, it identifies many of the benefits the city hopes to realize by becoming bicycle friendly.

WHEREAS, the City of Cedar Rapids seeks designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community, which is consistent with the City Council’s vision to make Cedar Rapids a vibrant urban hometown – a beacon for people and businesses invested in building a greater community for the next generation, and

WHEREAS, the City Council’s Strategic Plan lists priority objective #10 as Multimodal Connectivity to Schools, Recreation and Work.  The objective is to develop a citywide connectivity plan will allow access to work, play and shop without relying on automobiles, and

WHEREAS, the City Council recognizes the significance of an adopted Complete Streets policy.  The Corridor MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) is currently working on developing a formal policy.  This policy will provide for the safe and reasonable accommodation of all modes of transportation, including the use of bicycles on all City streets, and

WHEREAS, it’s recognized that increasing bicycle use can:

  • Improve the environment by reducing the impact on residents of pollution and noise, limiting greenhouse gases, and improving the quality of public spaces;
  • Reduce congestion by shifting short trips out of cars.  This will also make cities more accessible for public transport, walking, essential car travel, emergency services, and deliveries;
  • Save lives by creating safer conditions for bicyclists and as a direct consequence improve the safety of all other road users.  Research shows that increasing the number of bicyclists on the street improves bicycle safety;
  • Increase opportunities for residents of all ages to participate socially and economically in the community, regardless of income or ability.  Greater choice of travel modes also increases independence, especially among seniors and children;
  • Boost the economy by creating a community that is an attractive destination for new residents, tourists and businesses;
  • Enhance recreational opportunities, especially for children, and further contribute to the quality of life in the community;
  • Save city funds by increasing the efficient use of public space, reducing the need for costly new road infrastructure, preventing crashes, improving the health of the community, and increasing the use of public transport;
  • Enhance public safety and security by increasing the number of “eyes on the street” and providing more options for movement in the event of emergencies, natural disasters, and major public events; and
  • Improve the health and well being of population by promoting routine physical activity

WHEREAS, the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee supports an Action Plan to establish the City of Cedar Rapids as a Bicycle Friendly Community.  The action plan covers the 5E’s: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Evaluation & Planning and Enforcement,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the City of Cedar Rapids is committed to taking the following steps to improve conditions for bicycling and thus to realizing the significant potential benefits of bicycling in our community:

  1. The City Council recognizes the Bicycle Advisory Committee and Bicycle Coordinator as essential to the development, implementation and success of the Bicycle Friendly Community designation.
  2. Adopt a target level of bicycle use (e.g. percent of trips) and safety to be achieved within a specific timeframe, and improve data collection necessary to monitor progress.
  3. Provide safe and convenient bicycle access to all parts of the community through a signed network of on- and off-street facilities, low-speed streets, and secure parking.  Local cyclists should be involved in identifying maintenance needs and ongoing improvements.
  4. Establish information programs to promote bicycling for all purposes, and to communicate the many benefits of bicycling to residents and businesses (e.g. with bicycle maps, public relations campaigns, neighborhood rides, a ride with the Mayor).
  5. Make the City a model employer by encouraging bicycle use among its employees (e.g. by providing parking, showers and lockers, and establishing a city bicycle fleet).
  6. Ensure all city policies, plans, codes, and programs are updated and implemented to take advantage of every opportunity to create a more bicycle-friendly community.  Staff in all departments should be offered training to better enable them to complete this task.
  7. Educate all road users to share the road and interact safely.  Road design and education programs should combine to increase the confidence of bicyclists.
  8. Enforce traffic laws to improve the safety and comfort of all road users, with a particular focus on behaviors and attitudes that cause motor vehicle/bicycle crashes.
  9. Develop special programs to encourage bicycle use in neighborhoods where significant segments of the population do not drive (e.g. through Safe Routes to Schools programs) and where short trips are most common.
  10. Promote intermodal travel between public transport and bicycles, e.g. by putting bike racks on buses, improving parking at transit, and improving access to rail and public transport vehicles.
  11. Establish a citywide, multi-disciplinary committee for non-motorized mobility to submit to the Mayor/Council a regular evaluation and action plan for completing the items in this Charter.

Passed this 27th day of May, 2009.

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3 Responses to “Resolving to become “bicycle friendly””

  1. 2 sam bergus May 30, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I was glad to hear this passed. I think this makes a lot of sense for many reasons.

    Do you know how one can get involved in the decision process on this? I would love to have some sort of input into this.

  2. 3 bjsmith May 30, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    For input, you might keep an eye out for an announcement of an open house regarding this on June 3 at the African American Museum in Cedar Rapids. I don’t know what time that will be.

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