Funding Bike Infrastructure in SLO
On March 17th (meeting starts at 6 PM) the SLO City Council will allocate budget surplus to various projects. Several months ago, the City indicated that there was a potential surplus that could be allocated to some quick build projects. Recent meetings with the City indicated they are needing to allocate funding to project overages and other “non-discretionary” items. It’s a bit disappointing that the budget for bike and pedestrian infrastructure that will make all roadway users safer are still not considered essential, while a huge amount of the capital budget continues to be spent on repairing and expanding vehicle infrastructure. BSLOC is going to continue to push for the City to SLO to build out a core network of separated and protected bike routes.
There is still an opportunity to show your support for better bike infrastructure at the March 17th meeting. Please write council (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell the council that you want to see a measurable commitment to building out a protected and separated core bicycle network by 2025. In order to do this we will have to plan to build 2-3 miles of protected bike lanes every year. In order to accomplish this we are asking council and staff to consider reallocated on-street parking or vehicle travel lanes to fit protected bike lanes, shorten pedestrian crossings, and slow vehicle traffic to safer speeds for vulnerable roadway users. Ask the council to make a strong stand against the car culture and make our streets designed to move everyone safely.
What are “Quick Builds”?
You may have heard this term being used recently. BSLOC has been working hard to create a buzz and support for Quick Builds. So, what are they? Quick Builds are a tool that activates and excites citizens who want change, instead of those who fear it. Quick builds are pilot projects and interim designs which are meant to show proof-of-concept and collect data ahead of permanent installations. They are designed to be in place for at least 2 years to allow roadway users to adapt their behavior and eventually be replaced with more robust and permanent infrastructure. As a software engineer put it recently “is beta testing for bike and pedestrian infrastructure”.
Quick Builds started a handful of years ago after Cities like New York starting using new strategies to reconfigure their streets using lower cost materials, primarily paint and bollards, to create separated and protected places for people biking, walking, and taking transit. Since then many cities have follow suit created policy and processes to build “people oriented” streets as part of any resurfacing effort or as part of a very aggressive timeline to build out a core bicycle network.
Usually a quick build project will require sacrificing some sort of vehicle space to provide adequate space and protections in place for people biking and walking. There will be resistance and hesitation by many who think that our roadway should only accommodate vehicles. There will need to be strong political will and reinforced support from those of us in the community that want to see change. When the time comes, remember that these are new roadway design concepts that most people have not experienced here in the States. It will take some time to adjust our habits and there may be hiccups along the way. Remember to continue to provide positive support for the concept of protected bike infrastructure instead of picking out the deficiencies. Quick builds are designed to be adjusted along the way to create the safest experience for all roadway users.
Witness bad drivers while trying to bike to school or work?
Want to do something about it? Download OurStreets app and start reporting aggressive and bad driving behaviors. BSLOC has partnered with the OurStreets team to use the data to help our advocacy efforts. BSLOC will have access to the data and will work with local law enforcement and city official to advocate for data-driven changes in enforcement, education, and infrastructure throughout the county.
In most cases there is very little to no data collected on near misses, aggressive drivers. Data on bad driving behaviors like running stops signs, not giving adequate space while passing, and speeding rely on the driver being caught in the act. Most of the time it takes a deadly accident to change the way these streets are designed and enforced. Just because someone has not been severely injured or killed on a certain street does not mean that that street is safe or comfortable to ride or walk on. OurStreets allows us to crowdsource documenting unsafe driving behaviors to paint a new picture and solicit change. Lets all work together to because these are OurStreets too.
Want to advocate for change in your area?
Effective advocacy efforts require a lot of time, energy, and passion. All these efforts, including the updates you are reading, were done by volunteers spending their days, nights and spare moments working tirelessly to make our communities more bike friendly. If you are passionate about making your community, BSLOC is looking for motivated advocates to lead the charge in your cities and unincorporated areas. BSLOC is here to help you in your advocacy efforts and spread the work. If you are interested in applying to be an area lead please email email@example.com.