Many of us who have seen the construction stages of the Cascade Bike Ped bridge, have been impatiently waiting for this to be finished. It carried a pretty hefty price tag, almost as much as a few hundred yards of Capital Circle, but now we can enjoy passing over this unique bridge connecting Capital Cascade Park with FAMU Way, constituting a crucial section of the Capital Cascade Trail that will connect downtown Tallahassee to the city of St Marks with a continuous multi-use trail. For those that have not been on the bridge and on FAMU Way, you should certainly give it a try. And you will count, literally. There is an official bike and pedestrian counter on the bridge. You’ll see that the city and the Blueprint folks have not forgotten about bicycles. There’s 2 bike repair stations along the trail along FAMU Way, as well as some misters. Certainly a great addition to Tallahassee, which recently made the list of the 50 Best Bike Cities in Bicycling Magazine.
The 2016 National Bike Challenge has just kicked off on May 1st. This fun program is organized by the People for Bikes with the goal of getting more people on the bike for both recreation and transportation. As the challenge aims to change our transportation habits, it runs for five whole months from May 1st to September 30th.
You should sign up, but this is also a great opportunity to get your family, friends, and colleaques to sign up to get them on the bike more often.
Getting more people riding in and around Tallahassee is one of the goals of the Capital City Cyclists and we are therefor hosting the local part of the challenge. We’re covering the counties of Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, and Wakulla. It’s free, and there are great prizes to win. It’s also fun to see how you and your workplace or team is doing with respect to the rest of Tallahassee and the rest of the country.
Just go to www.nationalbikechallenge.org and sign up. You can join existing teams, or you can start your own team. Also, look for your workplace and/or school, or consider becoming the coordinator for your school or workplace.
The challenge runs from May to the end of September, and each month there are prizes to win. The rules are simple, 20 point for each day you ride, and one point for each mile you ride. You can log your miles manually, or use your smartphone or Garmin GPS device to upload your rides to endomondo, mapmyride, and also Stava !! The bike challenge website can then sync the rides you enter there. While all rides count towards points, miles, and calories burnt, miles you ride instead or using your car for transportation count towards dollars and CO2 saved, so you can keep track of your savings and your reduced CO2 footprint.
Those that participated last year had great fun with the challenge. It’s a great and free way of contributing to the cause. Give it a try yourself and spread the word among you colleagues and friends! Go to www.nationalbikechallenge.org and sign up!
If you care about transportation and have some time to spare, you can help decide the regions transportation priorities. This is close to the last possibility of providing your input in the long range transportation plan. The Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency (CRTPA) is now finalizing the list of projects that our region will try to get (partially) funded with state and federal dollars. This list will not change much in the next five years until the next long range plan, and it’s important that missing links for cyclists are included in this list.
The current draft list of bicycle and pedestrian projects can be found here, and the draft list of proposed roadway projects here. These lists are very much reduced from the original list of about 1500 projects. Some of these projects were duplicates, others were already under construction while some have already been funded. There is also a long list of bicycle and pedestrian projects that are expected to cost less than $300,000.00, and which are supposed to vie for a very limited amount of federal and state dollars dedicated mainly to bicycles and pedestrian projects. But a large number of suggested projects in what the planners refer to as the opportunity plan have been relegated to a longish list of projects called miscellaneous projects. The idea is that these projects are mostly maintenance of existing facilities in which the CRTPA has very little say. You can find that list here. What is of concern for cyclists is that a large number of projects concern the addition of paved shoulders on various roads. While the state currently as a rule adds paved shoulders to state roads when they are up for resurfacing, that does not seem to be the case for county roads like Tram road. If you share my concern about that, please let the CRTPA know.
All comments with respect to the draft lists should be provided soon, preferably before March 21. You can send your comments to Jack Kostrzewa (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I’d appreciate if you copy us on that as well (email@example.com).
While you might not be a transportation planner, you are driving, walking and especially riding our local roads. You’re the expert. Now is the time to submit projects that you think could be good improvements to our mobility and safety. You only get that chance once every five years, so it is important to make good use of it. The regional transportation planning agency (CRTPA) has started the new long-range transportation plan, called Connections 2040. Currently they are gathering information and the needs and ideas of the citizens, which will ultimately be compiled in a list of needed projects and prioritized. In order to receive state or federal funding, projects need to be on that list. This time around, a new online tool is being used, Metroquest, and I would strongly urge you to go there (http://connections2040.metroquest.com) and provide your input for the future of transportation in the region.
The Capital City Cyclists aims to present the cyclists during the process, through our representation in the City-County Joint Bicycle Workgroup and the Citizen and Multi-modal advisory committee of the CRTPA, and by attending and speaking at public meetings. Please also let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org) what projects are important to you, so that we can keep track of it in the coming year.
The next public workshops for Connections 2040 are Oct 6 (Gadsden, Jefferson) and Oct 7 (Leon, Wakulla). The Leon county public meeting will be Oct 7 from 6-8pm at the Jack McLean Community Center on 700 Paul Russell Rd. Everybody is encouraged to come and talk to planners and provide input.
More information can be found at connections2040rmp.com.
—Hans van Tol
Riding the St Marks trail one of the July nights, you had a good chance to encounter a lonely cyclist putting in many miles on his tricycle. Dick likes a challenge. Strongly motivated by the National Bike Challenge, he aimed to finish on top in July. And he did. Riding on average close to 100 miles a day, he collected more points than anybody else in Florida, and finished July in third position nationally. An amazing feat. In the first three months of the challenge he put in more than 5000 miles, riding every single day. The only one coming close is … Trish Rogers, with about 2500 miles so far. She finished the month in fifth position among Florida women. Kudos to Dick and Trish!
There are two months left in the National Bike Challenge, and it is not too late to join the fun. You’ll make a chance of winning monthly prizes for August and September, as well as the grand prizes at the end of the challenge. Just go to http://nationalbikechallenge.org and sign up !
Sometimes it is hard to find a good parking space for your bike at businesses and parks around town. There’s not always a convenient traffic sign around, and trees are not very amenable to U-locks. While new construction in central Tallahassee ( the Multi-Modal Transportation District or MMTD ) is required to provide bike parking at a rate of 10% of car parking, existing businesses have no such requirement. Therefor the city has decided to start a bicycle parking program.
There are two types of bike parking that are proposed: bike racks and bike corrals. The bike racks are black inverted Us with a City logo, and will be only be installed at city owned properties like parks and community centers, and in public right of way. Businesses interested in installing bike parking on private property can contact the city planning department for help with placement and design. Also a “Bike Parking Guide” will be developed by the city/county planning department. It is also proposed bike racks and art can be combined with the installation of artists designed racks, similar to a very successful program in Toledo.
Bike corrals typically replace one parking space for cars with 10-16 parking spaces for bikes. A first proposed location is College Avenue, near Jasmin cafe, with additional locations along Gaines, All Saints, South Monroe, and Midtown.
The enthusiastic support by the mayor and commissioners at their March 26 meeting now make it possible to find funding sources for this program.
This is a reminder about the Capital City to the Sea Trails Public Workshop #3! There will be two corresponding workshops, one in Leon County and one in Wakulla County. Below is the information for each workshop. You can also visit the project website at www.CC2ST.com for more information.
Public Workshop #3 for Leon County
December 3rd at 6:00PM
Jack McLean Community Center
700 Paul Russell Road, Tallahassee, FL 32301
Public Workshop #3 for Wakulla County
December 5th at 6:00PM
Wakulla County Commission Chambers
29 Arran Road, Crawfordville, FL 32327
We encourage you to attend one of these workshops and ask that you send this information to coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends in the region! This is the final workshop for CC2ST, so come prepared to participate and provide your input!
Please feel free to contact Kate Widness (contact information below) if you have any questions or comments.
Capital City Cyclists to Receive Award at the first annual Share the Road Celebration of Cycling
Capital City Cyclists is honored to be recognized as leader in the state for our Kids on Bikes program and it’s work in educating school children about safe cycling.
In the last two years our club has worked hard to provide a sustainable funding and infrastructure to run this program in the Leon County and surrounding areas. The mission of Kids on Bikes is to provide engaging, educational opportunities for kids to learn skills and awareness of how biking positively impacts their health, environment and lifestyle. The two major programs that we put on under Kids on Bikes are:
- Florida Traffic and Bicycle Safety Education Program – where we taught at 8 different Leon County Elementary Schools and reached about 5,000 3rd-5th graders to teach them properly Bicycle Traffic safety. We provide the bicycles, helmets and student intern instructors to help teach this course at the schools along side their PE teachers.
- Trips for Kids – we connect with local children groups such as the Boys and Girls Club and Boys Town (foster kids) and take these kids out on a fun mountain bike ride around Munson Hills and use bicycles as a vehicle for lessons in confidence building, achievement, health, and fitness. We’ve reached out to over 100 different kids this past year and even trained 19 Boys Town kids to ride in The Ride for Hope.
Club president, Zach Finn, will be at the award ceremony taking place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 26, 2013, at Hollis Center in the Rinker Fieldhouse, on the Stetson University Campus in the City of DeLand, Florida.
You can learn more and register for the event at: http://bikeflorida.org/events/share-the-road-celebration-of-cycling/.
Limited to 15 ton vehicles since May of this year, the bridge over the St Marks trail at Orange Avenue is in a bad enough state for an accelerated replacement. Not much of a surprise to those of us that ride under it: the combination of wooden pilings and termite mounds doesn’t seem a good sign. As firetrucks now are forced to make a large detour, it also affects the emergency response times for some neighborhoods.
At the Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency board meeting Sept 16th, the Florida Department of Transportation proposed a very fast replacement with concrete block piling and prefabricated concrete slabs, during the 2014 school summer break, essentially aiming to get it done in 9 weeks starting June 2nd 2014. Both Orange Avenue and the St Marks trail will be closed during that time, and the trail probably being closed there from mid May to the beginning of September. The resurfacing of Orange Avenue that was planned for this fall will be postponed until next year.
The bridge design includes two 12′ traffic lanes, 4′ bike lanes, and a sidewalk on the south side. It will still stay a bridge. Proposals for eliminating the bridge with an at level crossing, a bicycle/pedestrian tunnel, or a bike-ped overpass had been eliminated already. The passage will be slightly more tunnel-like in comparison with the current configuration, as the passage under Orange Ave will be longer, narrower, and lower. In spite of that, with the addition of bikelanes on Orange, this is probably the best achievable outcome for cyclists. This part of the trail will be more heavily used in the future with the connection to the Capital Cascade Trail and the downtown area, and (hopefully) a connection to the FSU campus and the northern part of the St Marks trail to Ocala Rd. What is still missing is a way to get to the trail from Orange Avenue. – Hans van Tol-