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Action Planning for Active

Making Cycling Irresistible
From Plan to Program
(in the suburbs)

Richard Layman
sustainable transportation planner
Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space
Our charge:

Significantly increase the

percentage of people
regularly bicycling to work,
school, & errands
Positive cycling trends & PR
focus on cities
America’s Top 50 Bicycling Cities

Source: Bicycling Magazine, April 2010

How do we take cycling from here . . .?
. . . To here?

To here
. . . But in the suburbs?
Is it a matter of willingness to cycle?

• 67% are willing to bicycle transportationally

• 7% actually do so
• Why? Perceived and real lack of safety on the street
A need for better facilities?
Regardless of place -- city or suburbs --
Changing paradigms is hard

But city-town spatial conditions make

achieving active transportation easier
Form, function and cycling:
cities vs. suburbs

Center Cities Suburbs

• Designed (1800-1890) to • Designed (> 1920) to optimize
optimize walking (+ biking and automobile trips
transit) trips
• Concentrated and mixed uses • De-concentrated and separated
• Short distances between
destinations • Long distances between
• Robust grid-based street destinations
network with plenty of parallel • Road network based on limited
road options number of arterials and curvilinear
• Complete sidewalk network street patterns
• Density of population • Incomplete sidewalk network
• Oddity/Perception of • Limited right of way
pedestrians, bicyclists &
transit users as weird or poor • Population is de-concentrated
• Oddity2 – Bicyclist as “The Other”
Infrastructure is more than the physical

• Technologies/Facilities
• Systems
• Processes
• Programs
Timelines of change

Copenhagen: 1962 ― ― ― ― ― ― ― → 2010

Davis: 1965 ― ― ― ― ― ― ― ― ― ― → 2010
Portland: 1970 ― ― ― ― ― ― ― ― → 2010
Arlington County: 1970 ― ― ― ― ― → 2010
DC: 2001*― ― → 2010
Baltimore County: 2006 ― → 2010

* DC created a bicycle program in the mid-1990s,

and shut it down later in the decade during a
period of financial crisis
Culture is constructed!
(Behavior is modeled/Behavior is learned)
• Starts with Vision, Visionaries, and Breakthrough
• Incremental improvements annually (continuous
process improvement)
- Portland: tore down Waterfront freeway,
prioritized transit over cars downtown, built transit
system, extended focus to walkability and biking
- Copenhagen: first prioritized the pedestrian and
later prioritized bicycling
- Arlington: Decided to integrate the subway along
Wilson Boulevard, within the community, not out
in the median of I-66
Remember what we’re dealing with:
60% of the population is willing to bicycle . . .
but they aren’t riding!
Bicycling as transportation
Trails are a foundation . . .

But we shouldn’t be satisfied with high

weekend recreational trail use
Diffusion of innovations
(U.S. percentage of bicycle trips to work: 2.1%)
• Innovators (2.5%)
• Early Adopters (13.5%)
• Early Majority (34%)
• Late Majority (34%)
• Laggards (16%)
-- Source: Rogers, Diffusion of

Copenhagen is at about 40% mode

split for bicycling (40 year process)
Our charge:
Significantly increase the percentage of people
regularly bicycling to work, school, & errands
• Systematically introduce children and
youth to bicycling, at all age levels
(elementary, middle, and high school)
• (Re)Introduce bicycling to adults, so
that bicycling may be (re)adopted as a
practical form of transportation
Rational planning isn’t about transformation:
. . . It’s about system maintenance

• Focused on system
maintenance not on
• Project scopes for planning
can be narrow
• Process is more static, not
• Implementation is handed
off to other agencies (or
no one)
Plans are the batons that too often get dropped
by the other (“implementing”) agencies
To make Active Transportation happen
Planners must keep the baton
. . . and run with it
Action planning as systems integration
1. Design Method over Rational Planning
2. Social Marketing
3. Integrated Program Delivery System
4. Packaged through Branding & Identity
5. Civic Engagement & Democracy at the
foundation = citizen at the center
Active transportation as a social movement

• Focused on behavior change (social marketing)

• Starts with a vision and plan
• In a difficult economic and political environment
(Executive, Council, neighborhood groups,
citizenry, business groups)
• Requires a marketing (advocacy) and sales
(program delivery) approach
• Focused on improving places (placemaking)
• Positioned around improving quality of life
Many interests & stakeholders
• Citizens: residents, neighborhood organizations, county-wide groups, other advocacy groups
(Washington Area Bicycle Association)

• Business interests: Property owners/developers, business-urban improvement districts, business

• Local government: Planning, DPW-Traffic Engineering, DPW-Highway Design, DPW- Transportation
Demand Management, Municipal Transit System, Permits and Zoning, Community Development,
Economic Development, Tourism/CVB, Parks, Recreation, Police Department-Precincts, Police
Department-Traffic, Schools, Aging, Neighborhood Services, Executive (County Executive or Mayor),
Budget Office, Facilities Construction + separate municipalities
• Local elected officials: Executive (Mayor, Executive), Council, School Board
• Other organizations: private schools, private recreational facilities -- nonprofit (e.g., YMCA) and for
profit (fitness centers), public and private colleges and universities, hospitals, federal facilities and
corporate campuses

• Regional considerations: regional planning (MPO); abutting jurisdictions; Regional Transit System

• State: SHA-roads, SHA-funding, State Dept. of Planning, Governor’s Office, Dept. of Housing and
Community Development, State Legislators, State Parks, State University system and planning
mandates, State Board of Education (K-12 schools), Heritage Areas Authority
• Federal: Federal Highway Administration, US Department of Transportation, Members of Congress,
Senators (earmarks)
Our charge:
Significantly increase the percentage of
people regularly bicycling
How to make it happen
1. Local (and state) Government policy,
regulatory and organizational framework
2. Complete route network and facilities
3. Programming and support to help people take
up bicycling (and walking and transit)
4. Implementation strategy and structure.
Changing Government Practice to enable
• Institute METRICS
• Complete Streets policies
• Transportation demand management paradigm
• Bicycle program focused on programming as well as
• Create plans at the district/sector/neighborhood scale
• Coordinated effort across agencies
• Make necessary zoning changes
• Be strong -- Don’t wimp out (ICC & biking, failure to include
a bicycle station in the Sarbanes Transit Center, etc.)
• Internal support programs for government agencies
Focus on opportunities for transformation

• Type of trip: Work, School, Errand

• Demographic segment: Age, gender, race,
income, household type
• Planning area: Sector, neighborhood, urban
district, council district
• Residential population density
• Areas of opportunity: Campuses (school, college,
hospital, employment); Multiunit residential
• Transit stations and stops/catchment area
People want to be able to get to places that matter:
Schools, parks, recreation facilities, libraries, stores etc.
Suburban bicycle facilities:
Plan and implement at five scales
• 1 mile radius from school and transit
• 3 mile radius from town/urban centers (“retail
trade areas”)
• Between town centers
• Across corridors/”cross county”
• Regional linkages
Safer cycling in the suburbs:
Near term options
Cycle tracks are hard Wide shoulders

Off-road Trails

Bicycle Boulevards
Prioritize/phase facilities:
Develop critical mass
• Build for and from success: start with places that have the
most supportive conditions
• County-wide network of multi-user trails serving
transportation and recreation is the foundation
• Develop critical mass of bicycling infrastructure at the
sector/district level (including supporting facilities such as
parking, bikestations, lockers & showers, etc.)
• On-street and off-street
• Grow facilities outward, focused on connections between
districts and sub-districts and an integrated network
• Prioritize walking-placemaking-transit improvements also
(e.g. White Flint “idea[l]”)
Develop facilities management and
operations policies
• Multiple agencies must
• Address after-hours demand
for bicycle commuting in parks
which normally close at night
• Lighting for night riding
• Maintenance of way for
pedestrians, bicyclists, and
transit users, e.g., snow,
vegetation, etc.
Provide integrated support facilities
Showers & Lockers
• Parking (long term and short term)
• Showers & lockers for commuting
• Flexible bicycle sharing systems

Parking Bicycle Sharing

Enable (and leverage) citizen engagement
& empowerment
• Involve and engage citizens in service delivery
• Neighborhood, youth, park/trail ambassador programs
(biking, walking, transit) [Anchorage, Minneapolis,
• Main Street Approach as a model (“Action” committees of
volunteers, supported by staff)
• BUGs: Bicycle User Groups (Toronto)
• Develop Ward/Borough/Council district level organizing
and support--standing committees/action groups (e.g.,
London Cyclists Campaign, Toronto Cyclists Union,
Transportation Alternatives—NYC)
Programming at the sector/district level:
Neighborhoods, Commercial districts, Parks, etc.
• Create plans for facilities and programs at the
district/sector/neighborhood scale
• Develop intra-district trails that link civic assets and
commercial districts to neighborhoods
• Work with community groups, recreation centers,
other stakeholders to deliver programs
• Organize walks and rides – Tour dem Parks,
BikeArlington, WalkArlington, history walks
• Extend concepts from walk & bike to school
programs into neighborhoods
Programming for children & youth
• Develop and deliver programs through the School
System, Recreation Department, Parks
• Public Schools
- Mandate district-wide walk and bike to school program
(State policy change needed)
- Set goal of 100% participation by elementary schools in
pedestrian and bicycling education programs
- Add programs for middle school and high school students
• Integrate private schools, day care, and other
youth-serving groups
Programming for adults
• Use the curriculum by the League of American
Bicyclists as a model:
- Traffic Skills 101 - ages 14+ (9 hours)
- Traffic Skills 201 (14 hours)
- Motorist Education (3 hours)
- Bicycle Commuting (3 hours)
- Kids I - oriented to parents
- Kids II - 5th & 6th grade (7 hours)
• Certified Instructor program
• Other best practices curricula can be harvested too
Programming for adults
• Ensure that programming is
available to all targeted
demographic segments (e.g.,
women, seniors, families,
people of color, language
groups, etc.)
• Work to replicate quality
programs and model Such as Senior Centers,
Community College System,
curricula in other settings Recreation Centers
Programming at worksites and campuses

• Transportation demand management programs

shouldn’t be an option, should be mandatory
• Worksite support for bicycle commuting
• Special gym memberships for bicycle commuters
• Bike to Work Day and other promotions
• College programs to support walking and biking
to school for students, faculty and staff
Communications & Media
• Provide pedestrian and bicycle
education materials – not just
online. Print too!
• Active outreach at community
• Maps (web, print)
• Utilize transit stations and
stops to display information
• Kiosk information systems at
major public facilities and
destinations (and bicycle
Wayfinding systems are a key element in
branding a bicycle & pedestrian program
Enhanced wayfinding systems as
marketing and communications systems
Bicycling as Economic Development
• Bicyclists buy local
• Technical assistance to bicycle
• Retailer roundtable
• Business development
opportunities to serve visitors—
Pennsylvania’s Trail Towns
• State of Maryland Strategic
Implementation Plan for Trails
• Carroll, Caroline, Talbot
Counties bike tourism initiatives
• Police officers (generally) aren’t planners and they
need our help
• Engage police departments in active transportation
• Create coordinated process to analyze pedestrian and
bicycle accidents; create system for responding to
findings (design flaws?) (Bikesafe, Pedsafe programs
from FHWA)
• Expand police training on pedestrian and bicycling
• Enforcement/presence on trails, crime concerns
• More high-profile enforcement efforts – not just
motorists – pedestrians and cyclists too
What’s the endgame?
Transformation and creating
a reinforcing cycle
More awareness of
pedestrians and cyclists More safety


More demand for

More accommodation Facility improvements
Thank you!

Richard Layman

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

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