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Rochester, You Have a Bike Plan. Now What?

March 7th, 2011

The first marked bike lanes and shared use lanes will begin to appear this construction season across the city. [PHOTO: Phillip Barron]
Last summer I posted a progress report on Rochester’s Bike Master Plan and I commented on the importance of such planning—even if you don’t own a bike. Well, I’m all giddy with excitement to report… Rochester has a bike plan! Officially.

This from Rochester’s Transportation Specialist, Erik Frisch:

Just in time for Spring, the final Rochester Bicycle Master Plan and Appendices have been posted to the project websiteexternal link. Thank you for your involvement in shaping this plan. Now we begin the important work of implementation! The first marked bike lanes and shared use lanes will begin to appear this construction season across the city. Additional bicycle parking in our neighborhood business districts and sheltered bike parking in the downtown area are also on the way. And there is much more on the horizon.

So just what is in the plan? You’re gonna have to read it (PDF). But here are some highlights:

First, the plan makes mention of just about every related initiative, study, plan, or report the City has done previously, or is in the process of doing. Next, four “peer” cold/snow weather cities with bicycle programs are reviewed for best practices: Boulder, CO; Montréal; Minneapolis, MN; and Madison, WI.

Rochester's Existing Bicycle Conditions
Rochester Bicycle Facilities Prioritization Map

The plan then takes an inventory of most major surface streets in the City giving each a letter grade for its current level bike-friendliness, or “level-of-service”. As you can see from this map there are quite a few failing grades (but maybe not as many as you might think). There’s a good stretch of East Avenue that makes the grade, and a nice loop you could ride for a few blocks on Clifford and Norton. Other than that you’d be wiser to take your bike off-roading.

Roadways are then prioritized for restriping, the conversion of auto lanes, or in some cases, more detailed corridor studies to be done. The second map (to the left) color codes this prioritization. Tier 1 (red) being top priority. Looks like the east side of the city and the area between UofR and MCC will see the most improvements early on. But overall attention seems to be pretty well distributed citywide; with Tier 1 projects aimed at making the biggest impact by improving connections between those areas with higher service levels.

In addition to bike lanes the plan mentions bike facility types and treatments including shared Lane Markingsexternal link or “sharrows” (where roads may not be wide enough for dedicated bike lanes), bike boulevardsexternal link, bike routes, bike parking, contra-flow bike lanesexternal link, buffered bike lanes, cycle tracks,external link bike boxesexternal link, colored bike lanes, bicycle traffic signals and raised crossings. Explanations and fairly detailed design guidelines are given for many of these.

Finally, outreach, education, and zoning recommendations are made. All good stuff. And I’ve only glossed over it here.

Though I am a bit disappointed that the “action” portion of this plan is not explicitly outlined, at least we now have a set of design policies that can be used to guide and shape all future transportation and roadway projects in Rochester. These projects don’t happen over night. They take decades. Administrations and City Planners will come and go. It will be up to all of us to make sure this plan stays on the front burner and becomes reality – street by street.

I’d be interested to hear what the cycling community has to say in the comments. Good first step? Anything I missed? Anything the plan is missing??

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 7th, 2011 at 11:09 pm and is filed under Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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