KC Area CMAQ Projects Under Review Late October 2002

The Mid-America Regional Council has quite a lot of money to spend on CMAQ (Congestion Management/Air Quality) projects. Mostly these involve bicycle and pedestrian projects. Projects proposed include sidewalks, sidepaths (one-sided wide sidewalks for both bikes & peds), multi-use paths along riverfronts/streams, Phase IV of BikeKC (on-street bicycle routes), and a few miscellaneous projects.

With such a large amount of money involved, MARC receives astonishingly few public comments. I (Brent Hugh) wrote some lengthy comments about the projects (specifically, criticizing "sidepath" projects and the scoring procedure for projects).

Here is more detail about the projects and issues from Dale Crawford:




Forward comments to CMAQ Committee Project Evaluation Workgroup, MARC, via MARC's web site would be quickest:

On the following link that also includes the project descriptions, send your comments to James Joerke and Aaron Bartlett.

http://www.marc.org/transportation/cmaq/overview.htm

Their email links are at the bottom of the page. State that you've read the projects and do not support wide sidewalks as viable bicycle transportation. Joerke is the CMAQ Workgroup Committee staff laison. Bartlett is the bike/ped coordinator and understands this concern, but needs to hear from the masses in able to be effective when contradicting recommendations from local governments. Emails should be addressed via MARC to the Conni Hadden, Chair, CMAQ Project Evaluation Workgroup. Hadden is a Liberty Council member and on MARC's CMAQ Committee, the Total Transportation Committee and is the only politician on the CMAQ Evaluation Workgroup. She is supportive of bike/ped, but needs to be effectively educated. As Chair she is directing the meetings, not making the recommendations so, as always with politicians, be respectful and to the point. Remember KCMO Councilman Ed Ford. Although he did not agree with us, we gained respect from him by our po sitive actions. We can have greater influence right now citywide on pavement be ready to be laid.

70% of a projects score come from two categories: Emissions reductions and cost effectiveness. The emissions reductions are based on the theory a percentage (usually +/-2%) of the average daily trips (ADT) for automobiles of an adjacent road would be reduced by providing a facility on a road, including wide sidewalks. There is not distinction as to the type of facility. Bike lanes have the same reduction value as wide sidewalks. The applicants claim wide sidewalks promote "non-traffic experienced" cyclists usage of the facility for utilitarian purposes. But AASHTO says there still the most dangerous.

Here are a few of the questions/points I raised at the evaluation meeting for bike/ped projects. Why would we put less experienced cyclists on more dangerous facilities? If wide sidewalks are not used by the "experienced" cyclists, what is the resulting emissions benefit after they are factored out of the percentage ADT reduction? How does this reduction affect the scoring? Why are AASHTO guidelines (safety) not a factor in the scoring CMAQ projects? Why are limited federal funds being used to build new sidewalks and new roads that should have had them built on them to begin with? Why should federal funds be used to pay for the entire sidewalk instead of just the additional width for the "bicycle" accommodation when most cities require sidewalks be built with all roadways?

Please personalize with your own experience/opinion as you see fit, just keep the comments brief. The next evaluation group meeting in Oct. 23. So do not delay forwarding comments. Please blind copy your emails to me so I can know what was sent to MARC. Avoid sending the same email to the bike list as responses from other list members will be responded to MARC as well. Copy your email into a separate email for the list, if you desire.

Dale Crawford