Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Master Bike Plan Expenditures

Cities and regions across the country have been steadily building bicycle infrastructure as bicycling becomes a more accepted mode of transportation. One way to compare expenditures on bicycling nationally is to look closer at the Master Bicycle Plans being developed around the country.

Development & Implementation of Master Bike Plans

As many cities are creating these plans, there needs to be a way to implement the plans. Expenditures on Bicycle Master Plans are just one way cities are spending money on bicycling infrastructure and projects. However, for many cities the development of the comprehensive bicycle plan with outreach and public involvement would make it hard to ignore these plans. Unfortunately, very few cities have the funding available to spend on implementation and therefore spend little on the projects outlined in their plans.
Outlined below are examples from around the country of spending on implementation of Bicycle Master Plans.

Implementation Examples

Minneapolis, MN

Our own local example, Minneapolis’s Master Bicycle Plan, was developed and adopted in 2011. As part of this plan, one chapter is devoted to funding of projects identified and prioritized during the initial planning process. This plan identifies $284 million in bicycling infrastructure projects, which according to the plan would mean spending $9 million per year until 2040 to complete all the projects listed, not including maintenance  As state aid and federal funds are not adequate, and actually have declined in recent years despite the interest in funding bicycling projects, the plan calls out private funding and grant opportunities as a means to pay for plan implementation. In recent years, projects have been funded through the remaining Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP).

Columbus, Ohio

In 2008, Columbus created a 2012 Bicentennial Bikeways Master Plan with goals for implementation of a number of bicycling projects. This plan includes the following:

  • 100 miles of new bikeways by 2012
  • 200 miles by 2018
  • 100 bike friendly intersections
  • Share the Road campaign
  • 1000 new bikes racks

Proposed funding could come from:

  • 2008 bond package to pay for Bikeways
  • Federal funding
  • Park and recreation funding
  • Private sector funding

While all these projects and potential funding sources have been identified, as of today they have not been implemented to the level recommended in the plan.

Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma, WA adopted their Mobility Master Plan at the City Council in 2010. While their list of projects went further than one year out, they had a one year action plan with designated funding in place around this time. After the completion of their plan they took the top 4 Bikeway infrastructure projects that came out of the process and set aside money for the projects. This included $500,000 from grants and $500,000 from bonding. Additionally in 2012 another prioritization list was created for implementation as funding becomes available.

Final Thoughts

As the plans above illustrate, there are opportunities to spend significant amounts of money from a variety of funding sources on bicycling. The limiting factor does not appear to be interest or well-intentioned plans but rather is an inability to have bicycling expenditures without a dedicated revenue sources at a more local level. In Minnesota, the passing of a proposed transportation bill that includes designated state funding could make funding these projects at the local level easier.


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