Capitol Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Metropolitan Transportation Plan - MoBikeFed's Response

The Capitol Area Metropolitan Planning Organization has completed a draft Transportation Plan and is asking for citizen feedback.

The Capitol Area MPO covers Jefferson City and immediately surrounding towns: St Martins, Holt's Summit, Taos, Wardsville, and a few others.

You can read the entire plan and submit feedback here. A public meeting is planned for May 1st, 2013, and a public hearing on May 15th, 2013.

Below is MoBikeFed's response to the plan--or view our response in PDF format.

Main points:

  • CAMPO and cities should adopt Complete Streets policies
  • All proposed road/bridge projects should be examined for complete bicycle and pedestrian needs
  • CAMPO and cities should create an on-street bicycle plan to complement the existing sidewalk and trails/greenway plans
  • CAMPO should fully integrate bicycling, walking, and transit into its plans, staffing, and committee
  • Jefferson City should apply for Bicycle Friendly Community and Walk Friendly Community recognition

   

Department of Planning and Protective Services
Planning Division
320 E. McCarty Street, Room 120
Jefferson City, MO  65101

RE: Metropolitan Transportation Plan Response

April 17th, 2013

We appreciate the chance to respond and give input to CAMPO’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation is a statewide coalition of bicyclists, walkers, runners, trail organizations and related businesses which represents over 50,000 Missourians and advocates on behalf of the state's two million ardent bicyclists and six million walkers.

The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation has members and supporters in the area of every Metropolitan Planning Organization and Regional Planning Commission in Missouri, including over 100 members within CAMPO’s boundaries.

We appreciate the work CAMPO and the municipalities within CAMPO have done to better accommodate non-motorized transportation within plans and projects.

In our view, strengths of the plan and the region’s current efforts to provide far safe, convenient, and connect bicycle and pedestrian transportation and recreation options include:

  • Sidewalk plans, ongoing assessments, strong recommendations to communities about sidewalk maintenance, and significant funding dedicated to filling gaps in the sidewalk system.  We would encourage CAMPO and municipalities to continue and increase funding for sidewalk infill and maintenance.
  • Greenway and trail plans and projects.  Jefferson City’s Greenway Plan is impressive.
  • Objective to improve number and locations of crosswalks.
  • Assessment of available transit services

We recommend that CAMPO give strong consideration to development and inclusion of the following elements:

  • A Complete Streets policy for the MPO, as well as for individual municipalities within the MPO. 
    • Complete Streets policies have been integrated into the Long-Range Transportation Plans of MPOs in St. Louis, Kansas City, and St. Joseph. The Complete Streets policy is surprising easy to adopt in an MPO the size of CAMPO and simply provides tools to ensure that the goals for safe, connected nonmotorized transportation—already identified in the Transportation Plan—are fully realized in every transportation project.

      A reasonable path to adoption of a full Complete Streets policy by CAMPO would be for the current LRTP to include a statement of support for Complete Streets principles and that CAMPO will study the issue and adopt a comprehensive policy in the next LRTP. The route to this would be relatively easy, because the current plan all but endorses the type of routine accommodation that Complete Streets is meant to encourage. This paragraph from East-West Gateway’s 2007 LRTP could serve as a model:

The transportation system should provide choices to people and be safe, convenient, efficient and accessible for all users. To achieve these goals, every road project should provide routine accommodations. That is, as a matter of standard practice the transportation system should be designed, built, and maintained in a manner that accommodates not only automobiles but transit vehicles and non-motorized modes of travel as well. Accommodating travel by all modes in this fashion expands the capacity of the road and the ability to serve everyone who travels, be it by private vehicle, public transit, foot, bicycle, or other means.

See page 31 here: http://mobikefed.org/sites/default/files/completestreets-policies-packet-2011-02.pdf

  • Complete Streets policies have now been adopted in 17 Missouri cities, including St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia, Ferguson, Clayton, Elsberry, De Soto, Festus, Crystal City, Herculaneum, Pevely, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs, Grandview, and Belton.

    Several of those cities are similar to Jefferson City in size, and with many precedents now in Missouri, there is no reason for Jefferson City to not take the lead in its region of the state and adopt a Complete Streets policy as well.

  • In the spirit of Complete Streets ideals, consider each road, bridge, and intersection project in the Plans’ project list. Will there be any nonmotorized users in this area? (Keep in mind that Jefferson City area bicyclists routinely range 10-50 miles from home; many regular bicycling groups are based in the area).   Does each project provide the sidewalks, shoulders, crosswalks, traffic signals, bicyclists and pedestrians need to operate safely? In particular, we recommend:
  • Marked crosswalks, pedestrian signals, and pedestrian phases of adequate length at every intersection in populated areas, unless pedestrians are prohibited by law from using the intersection.

  • Pedestrian phases of adequate length for safe crossing for known users—if elderly, young, or disabled citizens form any part of the projected non-motorized users of an intersection, pedestrian walk phases should be meet or exceed AASHTO recommended crossing times for those users.

  • All traffic signals should properly detect and change for bicyclists.  Where necessary, the detection ‘hot spot’ should be marked for bicyclists with a small bicycle symbol (see the MUTCD for standard symbol). By Missouri law, if traffic signals do not properly respond to bicyclists, the bicyclists can proceed through the red signal when there is no cross traffic.  However, training bicyclists to expect this behavior from traffic signals is counterproductive for both bicyclists and other traffic.  Far better is properly functioning signals that properly detect bicyclists.

  • We strongly recommend the installation of bicycleable shoulders on all state highways within a few miles of populated or urbanized areas. This encompasses essentially all state highways within CAMPOs area.  Installation of bicycleable shoulders provides bicyclists with the through routes they need while reducing conflicts between bicyclists and motorists. The shoulders also act as breakdown lanes for motorists and a safe area for mobility for pedestrians, stranded motorists, and people with a disability who must travel in these areas.

    A bicycleable shoulder leaves a minimum 4.5 foot clear space on the shoulder, excluding any rumble strip.  This is the Federal Highway Administration minimum recommendation.

    We oppose the installation of rumble strips on any road or highway where bicycles are allowed to operate and the shoulder will lack a minimum 4.5 foot clear area after the installation of rumble strips. Installation of rumble strips with less than 4.5 foot clear space forces bicyclists further into the traffic lane, increasing conflicts between bicyclists and motorists.

  • The very excellence of the very strong sidewalk and greenways/trails plans in the region, and existence of the nationally-recognized Katy Trail that serves as a focal point for the region’s trail and greenway system, only serves to highlight one very obvious missing piece in the region’s nonmotorized transportation plan: An on-road bicycle plan.
  • On-road bicycle plans should be adopted by both the MPO and all involved municipalities (or perhaps as a unified regional plan).

  • Because they make extensive use of existing roads and bridges, on-road bicycle plans are generally simply and more inexpensive to implement than sidewalk or greenways plans. 

  • At the same time, an on-road bicycle system complements and completes the region’s greenways and trails system.  Greenways and trails will never reach to every neighborhood, residence, commercial area, and business, but roads and streets already do.

  • The increasing amount of bicycling caused by the expansion of the area’s trails and greenways program creates a larger community of regular cyclists in the area, who want safe on-road bicycle access as well.  The two systems—on-road and trail—go hand in hand.

  • Roads and streets are already used extensively by area bicyclists. Much of the work of creating an on-road bicycle system is simply in identifying the routes already used by area bicyclists.

  • An on-road bicycle plan and system is by far the most inexpensive way to create recreational, fitness, and transportation access to bicyclists across the MPO at the lowest possible cost.

  • With the upcoming move towards full recognition and funding for all transportation options with proposed new state transportation funding, and the multi-modal emphasis of MoDOT’s Missouri On The Move initiative, we urge CAMPO, and all Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Regional Planning Commissions in Missouri, to fully integrate planning and consideration for non-motorized transportation into all of CAMPO’s transportation-related activities.

    Non-motorized transportation and other multi-modal transportation options should receive full consideration in all committees, plans, programs, and activities, just as motorized transportation, roads, and highways do now.

    Among our recommendations:
  • Ensure full representation of non-motorized modes on all transportation-related committees.

  • Ensure that staff have required experience and training in planning for non-motorized modes, and that staff have the time and resources needed to adequately plan for non-motorized transportation, as they do for motorized transportation.

  • If specific modal committees or subcommittees do not already exist, consider development of specific modal subcommittees of the larger transportation committee, with appropriate organizations and areas of expertise represented, for bicycle, pedestrian, trails, and transit.  Depending on your particular needs and resources, this could be one, two, three, or four separate committees.  These committees might be standing or convened only for specific projects or purposes, as needed.

  • Create plans and prioritized project lists—either as separate plans or as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan—for each of these areas: Sidewalks and walking, trails and greenways, on-road bicycling, and transit.

  • The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation can help you locate individuals and organizations from among our members and supporters, to serve on these committees—just ask.

Additional recommendations:

  • With the region’s strong trails and greenways system, programs and events in support of bicycling, and the recent addition of on-road routes and the Missouri River bridge crossing, we strongly urge both CAMPO and municipalities, particularly Jefferson City, to apply for Bicycle Friendly Community recognition.

Adoption of a Complete Streets Policy and a Bicycle Plan would strengthen the Bicycle Friendly Community application—but with the work already done, a reasonable application for Bronze-level status is very achievable now.

Furthermore, there is now a concerted effort among communities along the Katy Trail to work towards Bicycle Friendly Community status—because a series of truly Bicycle Friendly Communities along the Katy Trail will help stimulate visitors and tourism dollars.

Find out more about the Bicycle Friendly Communities program here:

/content/bicycle-friendly-missouri

  • With a strong sidewalk and trails plan, a walkable downtown, and the new walkable river bridge, we urge Jefferson City to apply for Walk Friendly Community status.  Jefferson City could become only the second community in Missouri to receive this designation—and it would be fitting recognition for the city’s work in this area.

Find out more about the Walk Friendly Communities program here: http://mobikefed.org/2011/09/lees-summit-becomes-missouris-first-walk-friendly-community

 

Thank you for this opportunity to respond to the excellent Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

 

Sincerely yours,
Brent Hugh
Executive Director
Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation