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Lawrence, KS named a best city for bikes in 2019 PlacesForBikes City Ratings

PeopleForBikes released its second annual ratings of the top U.S. cities for bicycling, and the City of Lawrence is excited to share that it was ranked sixth overall.    

The PlacesForBikes City Ratings are a data-driven analysis that evaluates the safety, appeal, and infrastructure of bicycling in more than 500 communities. Rankings are designed to show cities where they stand — and provide insight into where infrastructure investments should be made to build complete, connected bike networks.
 
The 2019 PlacesForBikes City Ratings scored 510 U.S. cities based on five areas:

  • Ridership – How many people ride bikes?
  • Safety – How safe is it to ride bikes?
  • Network – How easy is it for people to get where they need to go?
  • Acceleration – How fast is the bike network expanding?
  • Reach – How well does the network serve all neighborhoods in the community?

Lawrence performed best in the safety and acceleration categories, with scores of 3.9 and 3.8, respectively. The city scorecard specifically noted high scores for growth in bike facilities and events as well as for a low number of bicycle-related fatalities and injuries. All individual scores combined to result in a comprehensive score of 3.3, which earned Lawrence its ranking of sixth overall.
 
“We’re excited that Lawrence was recognized as one of the best places in the country for bikes,” shared Jessica Mortinger, transportation planning manager, Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization. “The top ranking recognizes the work that our team – and a variety of organizations throughout Lawrence – has put in to make our city bicycle-friendly. We look forward to continuing those efforts and providing even greater bike-riding opportunities in the future.”
 
Data for the ratings comes from existing sources (including the U.S. Census American Community Survey and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System), as well as new sources developed by the PeopleForBikes team to capture city-specific data based on mapping, city planning information and survey responses from community members. From these sources, 184 calculations are performed per city to determine individual category scores, as well as a city or town’s overall score. Read more about the methodology here.
 
“We focused this year’s efforts on engaging more cities to improve accuracy of ratings,” said Jennifer Boldry, PeopleForBikes director of research. “Better accuracy provides a more valuable tool that helps cities benchmark, set goals and measure progress.”
 
Lawrence will be able to utilize the additional insights from the PeopleForBikes report to continue improving the city’s bicycle infrastructure. The scorecard outlines different ways Lawrence can improve the score for next year, including launching/expanding public bike share and partnering with community groups for outreach to assess transportation and recreation needs.
 
City Ratings is a key component of the PlacesForBikes program, which provides measurement tools, guidance, peer networking, and storytelling to help U.S. cities plan, build and promote great places to ride. PlacesForBikes is supported by a generous grant from Trek Bicycle Corporation, as well as contributions from other bike businesses, foundations and individuals.
 
For complete results and additional program details, please visit cityratings.peopleforbikes.org.

Lawrence hosting open houses on bicycle boulevards design

Community members are invited to attend open houses on the final conceptual design developed for the 21st Street and 13th Street Bicycle Boulevards. Open houses will be held on Wednesday, May 15 and Thursday, May 16 at the following locations:

  • Wednesday, May 15 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    Meeting in the City Commission Room at City Hall (6 E. 6th Street)
  • Thursday, May 16 from 4 – 6 p.m.
    Meeting at the East Lawrence Recreation Center (1245 E. 15th Street)

Open houses will be hosted in a come-and-go format where attendees can review and discuss the final conceptual design with project staff and the design consultant. Both open houses will cover the same content.
 
The Bicycle Boulevards design has evolved to account for safety considerations, best practices, and public input. Feedback from previous open houses in February and March 2019 as well as from Lawrence Listens surveys was incorporated into the final conceptual design.
 
For anyone unable to attend an open house, the Bicycle Boulevards design will also be made available for review online at lawrenceks.org/bike-blvds starting the week of May 13. Feedback on the final conceptual design can be provided online through a Lawrence Listens survey. The survey will be available once the final conceptual design has been shared online.
 
Project staff will present the final conceptual design to Transportation Commission on Monday, June 3. A presentation to City Commission will follow.
 
Questions on the Bicycle Boulevards project can be directed to:

Lawrence receives a Transportation Alternatives Program grant for part of the Lawrence Loop

The City of Lawrence is excited to announce that the Municipal Services and Operations Department has received a Transportation Alternatives (TA) Program grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation for Fiscal Year 2020. The grant, in the amount of $480,000, requires a twenty percent match and was provided to aid in the completion of a ten foot shared use path for sections of the Lawrence Loop from 8th Street to 11th Street and 29th Street from Burroughs Creek Trail to Haskell Avenue.

Construction of the Lawrence Loop began over 20 years ago with completion of the west-leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway. Segments have been added incrementally through Transportation Alternatives (TA) Program and other grants.

In response to receiving news of the grant award, City Engineer David Cronin said, "The creation of the 22 mile Lawrence Loop has involved the whole community. As many know, we're down to the last four sections of the Loop which comprise about four and a half miles (map). This grant will help us continue to make progress to complete the Lawrence Loop and implement our community's Priority Bikeway Network.”

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, information about the other TA grant recipients is forthcoming. 

New videos educate drivers and bicycle riders on how to share the road

As part of the development of the Lawrence Bike Plan, eight videos were produced. Celebrate the work of 28 volunteers and City staff in creating these valuable resources.
 
Bicycle safety education has historically only focused on teaching bicycle riders how to navigate the roadways safely. These videos offer a new perspective, one to which more people can relate, from the motor vehicle driver perspective modeled off The Bicycle Friendly Driver curriculum created by the City of Fort Collins, Colorado.
 
The curriculum aims to educate motorized vehicle drivers about how and why bicycle riders travel the roadways in the ways they do with the objective of developing a shared understanding for all users. 
 
You can see the video series through this link https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzt8e_efB6wV3FdmE-FOVJa_RbEog_qvD

 

Have You Shoveled From The Recent Snow!?

Snow and ice removal on sidewalks

We got a little reminder from the city about shoveling and thought we'd pass it along. (The pic is from YouTube 😆 )

Since December of 2008, to make public sidewalks safe for pedestrians, the City of Lawrence enforces Ordinance Number 8324. This ordinance requires all Lawrence property owners to keep the sidewalks adjacent to their property clear of snow and ice within 48 hours of a winter storm. Get the Facts: Sidewalk Snow Removal

The owner of property immediately adjacent to a public sidewalk is responsible for the removal of any snow or ice that accumulates on the sidewalk.  Removal must be done within 48 hours after the ice forms or the snowfall ends. For example, if snow stops falling at 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, then by Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m., the sidewalks should be clear or the property owner could potentially face a citation from the city’s Code Enforcement division.

In the event that removal of ice is impossible, the property owner is required to place sand on the sidewalk within 48 hours.

“The purpose of this snow and ice removal ordinance is to create an environment of safe walkways for pedestrians,” said Brian Jimenez, code enforcement manager. The ordinance applies to all public sidewalks in the city and is primarily handled on a complaint-based system, not staff-initiated code violations. “If a resident sees a sidewalk that has not been cleared within 48 hours of a snow event, they can call our division at (785) 832-7700 or go online and submit the violation online,” said Jimenez. “It is helpful if the complainant can provide a specific address instead of a general area; this allows us to be the most efficient we can be when processing complaints.”

In a situation where a property owner fails to comply with the ordinance and the Development Services Department receives a complaint, a citation will be written. Property owners will be assessed a fine of $20 for each day the violation occurs, plus $63 in court costs if found guilty of the violation. For more information on the snow and ice removal ordinance, contact the Development Services Department, (785) 832-7700.

The Safe Winter Walkways program is seeking volunteers who can assist residents with sidewalk snow removal. Safe Winter Walkways is a program provided by the City of Lawrence and the Senior Resource Center for Douglas County.

For city snow operations and live traffic cameras, visit www.lawrenceks.org/snow.

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