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Monthly Archives: January 2014

         
The headline in the printed St. Louis Post-Dispatch was:

After months, county gives OK to Complete Streets policy
Goal is better access for cyclists, pedestrians

The on-line headline was:

Better roads for bicyclists, pedestrians the goal of bill OK’d in St. Louis County

But HOW will roads be better? Bike lane advocates argue that this is accomplished by re-striping roads to accommodate bike lanes, as MoDOT has done recently on several St. Louis City streets after resurfacing. However, there’s no reason to believe that roads with bike lanes WILL be better for cyclists and every reason to expect the opposite. While more cyclists MAY be encouraged to bike on such roads, car-bike crashes will increase at a faster rate than usage rate.

That is not based only on expectations, including cyclist “dooring” with parked cars, and car-bike collisions caused by turning movements when bike lanes are present. A 2007 published Danish paper by Jensen Bicycle Tracks and Lanes: a Before-After Study, includes data showing such road treatments significantly increased crashes due to turning movements. This will be a later subject, following a blog featuring testimonies I’ve received to date from those both opposing and supporting this bill is published.

Karen Karabell at MetroLink with groceries

Karen Karabell at Clayton MetroLink station on return home with groceries
photo by Robert Cohen

Better roads for bicyclists, pedestrians the goal of bill OK’d in St. Louis County
Steve Giegerich 314-725-6758

CLAYTON • More than two months of polite but contentious debate drew to an end Tuesday evening with a near-unanimous vote by the St. Louis County Council to adopt a Complete Streets policy that will eventually make it easier to bicycle and walk along county roads.
         The vote, 6-0 with one abstention, carries the potential to alter the transportation landscape in St. Louis County and across the region.
         “I do believe the future dictates that we become more friendly to bicycling and walking,” said Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett, one of the six to cast a vote in favor of the Complete Streets bill.
         Council Chairwoman Hazel Erby abstained.
         The measure approved Tuesday represented the third version of legislation meant to align the county with a nationwide movement to improve street access for bicyclists and pedestrians.
         The first bill, introduced by County Executive Charlie Dooley, loosely recommended that the county highway and planning departments consider additional sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes in the design of future road improvement projects.
         In late November the council presented tougher, alternative legislation intended to pressure the highway department to broaden the scope of Complete Streets across the county.
         That proposal drew the support of Trailnet, a nonprofit organization that promotes healthier lifestyles, and the ire of highway department officials who saw it forcing the agency to add costly and sometimes unnecessary bike lanes to the county road system.
         The objections from the highway department in turn spurred an outcry from a contingent of bicycle commuters and activists who appeared at successive council meetings to argue that bike lanes, contrary to popular belief, pose a safety hazard.
         Bill No. 3, a compromise introduced last week by Councilman Pat Dolan, appeased some and displeased others.
         “It’s obviously weaker than (the second bill), but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Rhonda Smythe, the Trailnet policy and advocacy manager. “It lays out a different direction for the county than what we have now.”
         Highway department spokesman David Wrone praised the adopted legislation for its “greater flexibility to ensure that financial constraints and accepted engineering principles are acknowledged, critical factors in the process.”
         Critics made on Tuesday a final and ultimately unsuccessful plea for the council to reject the Complete Streets policy.
         Cycling instructor Karen Karabell, among the opponents who has marched before the council week in and week out, expressed fear that Complete Streets would line the pockets of consultants and other beneficiaries of what she labeled the “bicycle industrial complex” — “a lucrative new industry (that) has developed around advising municipalities (how) to create and install on-road facilities for bicyclists.”
         

Susan Herzberg testifying

Susan Herzberg testifying

Another critic, bicycle commuter Susan Herzberg, related how she’d been struck by a car while riding along Manchester Road in a recently striped bike lane.
         “Cars don’t know you are there. They don’t know how to deal with bike lanes,” Herzberg told the council.
         “It gives the illusion that it’s a safer place to be. But it’s not. The safest place is to (ride in the lane) with traffic.”
         The points made against Complete Streets did not fall on deaf ears. But ultimately the council decided in favor of a bill that members emphasized would require the county to take cost and other factors into consideration before moving ahead with Complete Streets projects.
         Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger noted that the policy, as written, dictated that the access for bikes and pedestrians be “considered, not mandated” during future road improvements.
         And no Complete Streets upgrade can proceed, Councilman Greg Quinn added, without council approval.
         “I don’t foresee runaway expenditures with this bill,” Quinn said.

Martin Pion

Martin Pion

The following crop of St. Louis Post-Dispatch Letters to the Editor, published so far in January 2014, again reveals sharp divisions on this issue. An assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University writing in support today (January 20th), points out that this bill isn’t just about cycling, which is true. He writes, it’s all in the name, “Complete Streets,” which I agree is a brilliant piece of marketing, since before the name “Complete Streets” was adopted, supporters were merely pursuing “routine accommodations.”

The reality though is that modes other than the private auto ARE being accommodated routinely now on public roads, including public transit, walking and cycling. We have buses (and MetroLink, although expansion of the latter has been stymied by public resistance to additional funding, which Complete Streets legislation won’t change). Most urban and suburban areas in the county already have sidewalks. They are not always as well-designed as one would wish; for example, they are sometimes partially obstructed by utility poles or street furniture, and typically they are rather narrow so that two people cannot walk comfortably side by side. Complete Streets won’t change that.

Finally, this legislation is supported by Paraquad which represents the disabled community, but you have to wonder why. There is already the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, which has existed for decades, and which has wrought major positive changes. Curb cuts at intersections are one of the most visible examples, but providing them is, as is often the case, governed by available financial resources. And even with a federal law sometimes they are poorly designed.

Which brings me back to bicycling infrastructure of the kind aggressively promoted by Trailnet, a leading supporter of this bill and of bike lanes. Informed cyclists, especially those like myself who are trained bicycle safety instructors with decades of experience, know that bike lanes actually make roads more dangerous for cyclists, and that is the basis for our opposition to them and to this bill.

Article on ‘Complete Streets’ was overly negative
January 16, 2014
Joellen G. McDonald • Richmond Heights

Your front-page article on the “Complete Streets” program under consideration by the St. Louis County Council was incredibly biased and overly negative (“Bike-friendly planning hits bumps,” Jan. 12).

With all the hard work that has gone into getting this program set up and before the County Council, why have you elected to present such a negative picture? How unfair of Steve Giegerich to focus on Karen Karabell without presenting at least one opinion of another regular bicycle commuter who thinks Complete Streets is both needed and wanted.

County Councilman Pat Dolan is my representative, and I give him my full support for what he is doing to get this program implemented.

‘Complete Streets’ improve quality of life for everyone
George Hazelrigg • St. Louis
January 17, 2014

Noted in your “Bike-friendly planning hits bumps” article (Jan. 12), the move to accommodate additional bicyclists on roads designed for cars and trucks is “basically a change of philosophy.” True. But the supporters of “Complete Streets” policies are not promoting bikes over cars. Yes, America’s streets were originally designed for cars and trucks. But supporters are not anti-car; many if not most bicyclists drive cars as well. This is not a bicycle issue, although even commuter cycling in St. Louis has “soared,” according to a recent Business Journal article.

Complete Streets simply reflects a growing nationwide belief of citizens and cities that streets are public spaces that should afford all users safe access and enjoyment regardless of their age, ability or means of transportation. Trailnet is but one advocate. Add pedestrians, transit users, the elderly and disabled, and school kids. And for an opponent to accuse Trailnet of “self-interest” when she is teaching bike safety to those few bikers who prefer to ride in vehicular traffic … please!

The good news is that Complete Streets really work, they are not busting tight city and county budgets, and more and more street engineers, motorists and editorial page writers around the country are signing on to a change of philosophy that improves the quality of life for all of us.

Bicyclists should pay for license to use roads
Tom Lehman • Webster Groves
January 17, 2014

To County Council member Pat Dolan and the supporters of the “Complete Streets” program regarding the slowdown in their efforts to spend more public money for bicycle-friendly roads, I say “Thank goodness” (“Bike-friendly planning hits bumps,” Jan. 12).

The time has come for the many bicyclers out there to pay their own way to use the public roads. It’s time for them buy a license from their city, county or state government and to have the license displayed on their bike or their neon posteriors.

Everyone else in this state, in order to use a public thoroughfare, needs a license. You need a boat license if you will be using a public waterway. Your car or motorcycle needs a license to be on the roads. Your plane needs a license to fly. You need a license to walk in a public stream with a fishing pole in your hand. It’s time to either license the bicycle rider or his equipment. A bicycle license would also help in the recovery of stolen bicycles as referenced in the Along For The Ride column (“Bicycle anti-theft registry is rolling out in St. Louis,” Jan. 12).

If they were contributors and paid for the right to be on public highways, like myself and my work van, I could better tolerate the spending of more public money for them and I could better tolerate them ignoring the traffic laws I must obey (i.e., stop signs).

It’s in the name: ‘Complete Streets’
J. Aaron Hipp • St. Louis
Assistant professor, Brown School, Washington University

January 20, 2014

I am afraid the St. Louis County Council is being misinformed or is short-sighted in its ongoing discussion of a countywide “Complete Streets” bill. It is all in the name: Complete Streets policies guide transportation planning by assuring the transportation needs of all users are being met, whether that be via personal vehicles, public transit, walking or cycling. In the past five years, 5.1 percent of employed St. Louis County adults used public transit, walking or cycling as their primary mode of transportation, a number 50 percent higher than in 2000. Cycling accounts for the smallest percentage of these three nonprivate vehicle forms of commuting.

There are distinct income and racial differences in the use of public transportation and walking in the county. Fifty-nine percent of county residents using public transit as their primary mode of transportation to and from work earn less than $25,000 per year, and 72 percent of those who primarily walk to work earn less than $25,000. County residents who are African-American are over seven times more likely to use public transportation to travel to work and three times more likely to not use a personal vehicle.

Complete Streets are not just about cycling with traffic or in newly constructed bike lanes. The policies ensure all modes of transportation, and all people, are considered equitably in street projects. The passage of this bill would at least provide a safeguard that there is complete consideration when spending taxpayer funds on streets.

‘Complete Streets’ bill would bring wasteful distractions
Hans Levi • Ferguson
January 20, 2014

Joellen G. McDonald’s letter, “Article on ‘Complete Streets’ was overly negative” (Jan. 16), deserves a response.

I’ve followed the debate on Complete Streets, and commend Steve Giegerich for his interesting and balanced coverage of this controversial issue. As a motorist, I assumed that cyclists preferred bike lanes.

So it was instructive to see Karen Karabell, who was featured in the article, demonstrating how to safely ride on existing roads, without handing taxpayers a costly bill for special lanes. Rather than spending potentially millions of dollars on bike lanes, and pushing cars into fewer lanes, it makes sense to provide cyclists with the appropriate training to safely share the road with cars.

Rather than responding to the latest fads and buzzwords, defeating Complete Streets will allow the county to continue meeting our real transportation needs, without the wasteful distractions this bill would bring. I urge the council, including my Councilwoman Hazel Erby, to vote no.

In January, 2014, I completed and uploaded a video to Vimeo, the on-line video hosting site.

Today (March 22, 2014) I updated it, replacing a still image of Karen Karabell with bike helmet-mounted video I took last August while cycling down Manchester Ave. and crossing Kingshighway with Karen following close behind. The video illustrates in under a minute just ONE of the problems with bike lanes: the risk of a car-bike collision with a following motorist due to a right-hook. This is not such an uncommon occurrence, as is clear from previous blogs here and articles on the CyclingSavvy website. The current focus was inspired by cyclist Susan Herzberg’s unfortunate experience on Manchester-MO Rte. 100 after MoDOT removed a regular travel lane to add bike lanes in October 2013, following road resurfacing during the summer.

According to the responsible MoDOT engineer, Deanna Venker, P.E., the restriping followed consultations with, among others, Great Rivers Greenway, St. Louis City Streets Department, Alderman Scott Ogilvie in whose 24th Ward this road is located, and P.E. and Missouri Bike-Ped. Federation president Paul Wojciechowski, all of whom support bike lanes.

(Paul Wojciechowski, P.E., is a disappointment. He took the very first bike ed. class I conducted after I became a certified League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor (LCI #625) in 1997. At the time Paul was Director of Planning in MoDOT’s regional District 6. Paul has also become a certified instructor himself (LCI #3558), which should have provided additional insight into the dangers of bike lanes.)

Oppose Bike Lanes! from Martin Pion on Vimeo.

Even without a bike lane stripe, many novice cyclists, and even sometimes more experienced cyclists, ride much too close to the curb or parked cars “to keep out of the way of traffic.” They don’t realize that they reduce their risk greatly by controlling the lane on multi-lane roads, (with the possible exception of high volume and/or high speed roads) given that typical lanes are only 12 ft wide, too narrow to share safely.

However, the existence of a bike lane stripe prejudices the ability of competent on-road cyclists to control the lane when necessary to maximize safety, while novice and less-confident cyclists now believe the road is safe for them. Motorists, meanwhile, have fewer lanes in which to travel, potentially leading to increased congestion and conflict with competent cyclists resulting from undesirable traffic engineering decisions.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Karen Karabell

Karen Karabell

My thanks to Karen Karabell, who runs CyclingSavvy St. Louis, for the time we’ve spent on the two occasions we’ve ridden or visited this road to obtain video or photos. That includes Saturday, January 18, 2014, when during the shooting there was a brief snow flurry, visible in this video.

Nick Kasoff smaller

Nick Kasoff


Nick Kasoff originally read the script accompanying the video because I was concerned that my British accent, which I still retain after 37 years in the U.S., might puzzle some Americans. I wrote a new script for this updated version and for simplicity, dubbed my own commentary.

Susan Herzberg

Susan Herzberg


And finally, thanks also to Susan Herzberg, who has assisted by telling her story and helping to publicize it.



         

Karen Karabell at Brentwood & Eager etc FS 620 311 (L510 255)

Karen Karabell gives a left turn signal while waiting at a stoplight on Brentwood Blvd. She is preparing to turn left onto Eager Rd. on her way to Trader Joe’s after taking the Metrolink from home to Clayton.
Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter, Steve Giegerich, posted a story on-line following the county council meeting on Tuesday evening. His report featured the above photo of Karen Karabell and can be found here:

Controversial Complete Streets bill moves toward approval in St. Louis County

The story was also published in the following day’s newspaper. Below in blue are some quotes from the article. I’ve also included an italicized correction from Nick Kasoff which he posted as a comment on-line following the article:

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Nick Kasoff told the council on Tuesday about the amended measure.

Nick Kasoff: “(Reporter) Steve (Giegerich), your quote of me is misleading. I said it’s a step in the right direction in that it is less bad than the previous bill. But my testimony, and that of other opponents, went on to discuss the serious problems which remain.
         First and foremost is the continued presence of the Peer Advisory Committee, which is nothing less than an opportunity for Trailnet to take money from the county highway department. Everybody denies this. Yet, when I suggested the bill be amended to prohibit members of the Peer Advisory Committee from being compensated by the county for any work pertaining to Complete Streets, that request was ignored.
         And you completely missed the big lie from Rhonda Smythe, who in responding to accusations that Trailnet is in it to secure public money, asserted that they “fundraise every penny that comes through the door.” According to Trailnet’s 2011 IRS Form 990, they received more than $433,000 in government money that year, nearly double what they received in membership dues. If Trailnet is willing to lie about such a basic and verifiable fact, why is the council trusting them on so many other things, and giving them a statutory position to influence county highway policy?”

Complete Streets, a nationwide initiative aimed at expanding bicycle and pedestrian access on current roadways, has been adopted by 600 communities across the U.S. including, locally, St. Louis City, Clayton and Ferguson.

Critics, including Kasoff, maintain that the main focus of the initiative — the addition of bike lanes to current roadways — is costly and unnecessary.

Dedicated lanes for bicycles, opponents further argue, pose more of a danger to cyclists than traveling with the normal flow of traffic.

Councilman Pat Dolan, the bill’s co-sponsor, said the amended legislation cleared up many of the “misconceptions” about the county’s intent.

“There was never any intention to put a bike path on every county road,” said Dolan.

The final bill, he added, was crafted in consultation with the county division of Highways, Traffic and Public Works — a department that also raised concerns about the previous Complete Streets proposal.

“If it’s cost prohibitive then they won’t put in a bike path,” the councilman said.

Seven people spoke against the Complete Streets bill during the Public Forum at this evening’s county council meeting, while five spoke in favor.

According to the on-line Journal of the County Council for January 14, 2014, the following was the tally:

The following individuals expressed opposition to the proposed “Complete Streets Policy”:

Mr. Harold Karabell, 4147 West Pine;
Ms. Jennifer Bird, (Crestwood) 63126;
The Honorable Tony Pousosa, Alderman for the City of Green Park, 9700 Antigo Drive (63123);
Mr. Nick Kasoff, 125 Royal Ave., Ferguson, MO, 63135;
Mr. Martin Pion, 6 Manor Ln., Ferguson, MO, 63135;
Mr. Damien Johnson, 4707 Lindenwood, Apt. 20; and
Mr. Francis (Frank) Halasey, 9442 Tealridge, Crestwood, MO.

The following individuals expressed support for the proposed “Complete Streets Policy”:

Mr. Paul Wojciechowski, 16939 Westridge Oaks Dr., representing the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation;
Ms. Karie Casey, 6246 Northwood, 63105, who rides 7.5 miles for work each day;
Ms. Ellen Bern, 7001 Washington,
Ms. Rhonda Smythe, 411 N. 10th St., Ste. 202, Policy and Advocacy Manager, representing Trailnet; and
Mr. Matthew Wyczalkowski, 4106 Wyoming St., St. Louis, MO.

Mr. Joe Passanisi was not included in the above supporters list in the Journal but didn’t oppose it, and merely suggested two additions to the bill.

The bill’s sponsor, Councilman Dolan, noted that he was introducing Substitute Bill #2 to replace his original 4-page version.

This new 3-page substitute dropped some of the previous objectionable language. However, it retained the unique and undesirable requirement for a Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee, on which both Trailnet and Great Rivers Greenway would serve, as well as specific references to “bicycle facilities” and “appropriate accommodations for bicyclists.” Those descriptions are typically code for bike lanes, which have full bore support of both Trailnet and GRG.

For everyone testifying for whom I had an e-mail address, I requested their written testimonies, and received positive replies from almost everyone, to whom I’m grateful. Rhonda Smythe, Trailnet Policy and Advocacy Manager, is the only exception but I subsequently transcribed her testimony from the publicly available on-line video recording of the proceedings at www.gtntv.com. Where testimonies have been provided, or in the case of Rhonda Smythe, transcribed from TheGatewaytvnetwork web video recording, they are pasted below in their entirety in the order presented. Others are excerpts from notes made from viewing TheGatewaytvnetwork web video recording 1/14/2014 STLCC.

Please mouse click any image to enlarge it. Use the back arrow top left to return to this page.

Harold sm1

Harold Karabell: “With that incident, Susan became Exhibit Number One in exposing most of the hidden dangers of bike lanes”
Image from TheGatewaytvnetwork

CON: Harold Karabell, St. Louis

Distinguished Members of the Council: I have been a bicycle commuter on-and-off for over 40 years and a religiously devoted one for the better part of the past 20.
         I also am in the unique position of being on very good terms with many of the people from whom you’ve already heard, on both sides of the bicycle component of the Complete Streets controversy.
         I am friends with Martin Pion and Nick Kasoff. And for three decades I’ve been Karen Karabell’s partner and husband. Eli is the youngest of my three sons. (I trust that Karen’s charismatic presence and her impassioned statements in this eminent forum remain unforgettable, as does Eli’s own testimony.)
         And for the past several years, I’ve also designed and led interpretive bicycle tours of historic neighborhoods and other places of historic importance in the region for Trailnet. As a result, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know on a personal basis many members of Trailnet’s outstanding and highly dedicated staff, including Rhonda who’s here tonight.
         You’ve also heard testimony about the experiences of two veteran bicycle commuters on the “new, improved,” and allegedly bike-friendlier Manchester Avenue west of Kingshighway.
         Although my wife had used Manchester for many years as her preferred and very enjoyable route to Maplewood and points west, the very first time that she rode in the bike lane she barely avoided being right hooked three times by motorists.

Susan Herzberg

Susan Herzberg

         My friend Susan Herzbeg was not nearly so fortunate. After almost three years of trouble-free commuting on Manchester, she WAS hit by a right-turning motorist.
         With that incident, Susan became Exhibit Number One in exposing most of the hidden dangers of bike lanes: the near-invisibility of bicyclists riding on the edge of the road; involvement in curb-cut and intersection conflicts; an absence of room to maneuver; and the inability of motorists to judge properly the speed of a bicyclist. Of all the major problems associated with bike lanes, only “dooring” was absent.
         If Complete Streets were to mean in the County what it’s so frequently meant in the City, then its implementation would be problematic indeed for bicyclists.
         This controversy is a tragedy of good intentions. Everyone whom I know, including Alderman Ogilvie, wants safer streets for bicyclists and more riders on those streets. But the genius is in the details, not in well-intentioned mission statements with which no one disagrees.
         What might be the details of a “Complete Street” that avoids the hidden dangers of bike lanes, is cost-effective for the taxpayers, and is even more welcoming to bicyclists?
         One part of the answer is right outside the front door of this building. Instead of a conflict-ridden bike lane, there are shared lane markings, known in the bicyclist’s and traffic engineer’s lexicon as “sharrows.”
         Another indispensable part of the answer comes from Martin Pion’s good work in his home town of Ferguson, where he successfully persuaded the City Council to install not only sharrows but signage on South Florissant Road, Ferguson’s main street:
         “Bicycles May Use Full Lane. (Motorists)Change Lanes to Pass.”
         And last but certainly not last, there needs to be a major emphasis on education. While the County can’t teach Cycling Savvy, it can mount a campaign with billboards and posters that inform and enlighten both bicyclists and motorists:
         “Motorists: Bicyclists are allowed Full Use of the Lane. You must change lanes to pass. If you harass or otherwise threaten a bicyclists, you will face serious legal consequences. If you hit a bicyclist who is riding lawfully, you will face a huge fine as well.”
         “Bicyclists: You have the same rights to the road as do motorists. You also have the same responsibilities. You are obligated to follow the same laws. If you run red lights and stop signs, ride the wrong way, or ride on the sidewalk in a central business district, you are breaking the law and will be ticketed.”
         Some friends have told me privately and even stated publicly that mine is a minority position, even among bicyclists. I have no idea whether or not their assessment is true. But I do know this: Truth is not a numbers game.

Joe Passanisi

Joe Passanisi

Joe Passanisi, Creve Coeur, and former St. Louis County Highways & Traffic Dept. planning engineer for ~30 years, suggested the county council consider two items to put in the Complete Streets bill:
         When there’s a bond issue for a particular road there’s a public hearing on just that one roadway to get public reaction. Transparency comes from Highway Dept. public presentation of cost based on design ito bike paths, sidewalks, or maybe even additional traffic lanes. “It’s important that citizens hear the whole picture and have an opportunity to respond to the whole picture.”

Jennifer Bird

Jennifer Bird

CON: Jennifer Bird, Crestwood

“Councilman Dolan has still not refuted the Post-Dispatch figure of $300 million estimated to cover just 15% (of bike lane construction) of the county, which translates to $1.9 billion with a “B.” (MP: Actually, $2 billion if you prorate.)
         “I think that’s an exorbitant amount of money that I don’t really see a defined or real need. … And as far as really needing: we’ve got sidewalks and streets that seem to be in good order. … We just passed Prop P, which I fought, for a sales tax which gives us a tremendous amount of money to Great Rivers Greenway to do bike trails. And we do have a lot of bike trails, so again I’m not understanding. It’s my understanding we’ve got 0.2, not 1%, 0.2% of the commuter population is commuting to and from work on bicycle, so again I’m not finding that there’s a real need here.
         I do see eminent property violation and eminent domain abuse.”

Tony Pousosa

Ald. Tony Pousosa


CON: Tony Pousosa, City of Green Park

“Tony Pousosa, Ald. for the City of Green Park and candidate for County Executive and I’m here to oppose Complete Streets. My muni is surrounded by some major streets: Lindbergh, Tesson Ferry, and then Union to the east. This project: $300 million for just 15% of the roads; 1.6 billion for everything. Councilman Dolan, you were quoted in the newspaper as saying that we need to rethink this. And Councilman Stanger, you were quoted as always planning to have changes to the bill. I can’t see an elected official as you are trying to pass legislation without knowing the final details of the plan. That’s not fair to your constituents and I think it’s very arrogant to try to do so, especially when you plan meetings that are at 3 o’clock in the afternoon when most of your hardworking constituents who are going to pay for this are at work. I think this is related to special interests. I mean, who wrote this bill? Why can’t we have a fiscal note attached to this bill?”

Nick Kasoff

Nick Kasoff

CON: Nick Kasoff, Ferguson

After weeks of exposing the huge problems with the Complete Streets bill, substitute bill 2 looks like a step in the right direction. From a first reading, it seems that the new bill makes a little progress toward rectifying the safety, operational, and fiscal problems of Substitute Bill 1.
         Unfortunately, we just saw a draft of the bill yesterday. I think we can all agree that there is no emergency which requires that the bill be passed today. I am therefore asking that somebody on this council stand up now, and commit to regular order on this bill. That would ensure that the public has time to review the bill, and to discuss any concerns with the council. Since suspending the rules would require unanimous consent, any one of you can stand up for public accountability at this moment.
         Having reviewed the draft of substitute bill 2, I already have a few concerns. First, it preserves the peer advisory committee. While the purpose and authority of the committee has been blurred, it remains as an unprecedented and unnecessary statutory injection of private interests into public decisions. There is nothing preventing Trailnet, or anybody else, from providing information to the highway department regarding their preferences for road development. But establishing an official body with a specially anointed mission to do that is courting trouble.
         I am also concerned that the peer review committee is charged with benchmarking and performance monitoring. As I understand it, the department of highways and traffic is already well equipped to do that, with an entire department dedicated to that sort of work. We should let them do their job, rather than assigning it to outside special interests, who I’m sure plan to be paid for their work.
         The Indianapolis ordinance, on which this bill is based, does not contain such a committee. Even the policy elements proscribed by the extremist group “Smart Growth America” do not include such a committee. The committee will be nothing but an opportunity for mischief – and of course, an opportunity for Trailnet, the only local Complete Streets consultant, to charge taxpayers for work which it will do for the committee. The peer review committee should be eliminated, with responsibility remaining with the highway department.

Paul Wojciechowski

Paul Wojciechowski, President, Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation

PRO: Paul Wojciechowski, Wildwood

I am speaking as President of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation. Our Vision includes the following:

Improved safety for all road users
Creating a world class bicycle and pedestrian network
in Missouri
Encouraging bicycling and walking
Building a movement around bicycling and walking
including education
Seeking funding to accomplish the vision

Complete Streets accommodates all users — from motor vehicles to transit, bicyclists, and pedestrians, and Missouri is a leader in that, as of 2012, we have over 22 policies and ordinance documents throughout the state. Even the House and the Senate in Missouri passed a resolution supporting complete streets policies at all levels of government. This was adopted in May of 2011.
         As an engineer and planner with 30 years of professional experience with MoDOT, City of Clayton and consulting firms, I am cognizant of costs, and also understand that engineering design of streets takes the effective use of design guidance and standards such as the AASHTO Green Book, AASHTO Bicycle and Pedestrian Guidance, MUTCD and yes even NACTO, and local standards such as County standard drawings in concert with public engagement and engaging discussions with stakeholders in finding the best solution for the community.
         Complete Street projects range from one-block segments to arterial corridors, and from to freeway interchanges to neighborhood streets, or to integrated light rail transit-bus-bicycle-pedestrian design.

Transportation Planning
Urban Design
Public Outreach
Traffic Engineering
Safety
Parking
Land Use
ADA
Bicycle/Pedestrian Facilities
Transit Integration

This is not a new concept. ISTEA, in 1991, presented an overall intermodal approach to highway and transit funding with collaborative planning requirements, giving significant additional powers to metropolitan planning organizations. The bottom line is that it takes multiple disciplines to create a holistic solution to transportation corridors. In St. Louis we have call this a Great Streets approach. The traffic engineers and transportation planners at St. Louis County are fantastic staff and will work to help make sure that all modes are considered, using the latest models and methods, and seek to maximize capacity and service quality for all modes.
         I encourage the County Council to take the step of passing this ordinance that provides the next step in working towards a truly vibrant community we call St. Louis County.

Martin Pion M 300 224

Martin Pion holding up St. Louis Post-Dispatch article featuring Karen Karabell

CON: Martin Pion, Ferguson

Madame Chairman, Council members, and County Executive: first, my thanks to Councilman Dolan for meeting with me, Karen Karabell and Nick Kasoff recently, despite our being strong opponents of his bill. While we met physically, unfortunately there was no meeting of the minds, as witness his SB #2 for Bill No. 238.
         The bill has been downgraded from a catastrophe: now it’s merely terrible. It still pushes bike lanes, which are both dangerous and unnecessary. Cyclists, motorists, and taxpayers deserve better than a blind and single-minded promotion of trendy but dangerous bike lanes.
         Last Sunday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch story about the difficulties facing the Complete Streets bill featured Karen Karabell using her bicycle as she normally does: for transportation on existing so-called “incomplete” streets. She described it as uneventful, except for having a Post-Dispatch reporter and photographer along for the ride. I’ve spent decades as a transportation cyclist and educator, and can confirm her experience.
         A friend of mine has described bike lanes as “bike ghettoes.” When I first heard that I thought it a bit extreme but I’m warming to it. Bike lanes make it much harder for competent cyclists like me to control the lane on a multi-lane road like the one Karen Karabell was using as she cycled past the Galleria on her way to Trader Joe’s last week. Novice cyclists will believe a bike lane makes on-road cycling safe. But that false sense of security leads to death or serious injury due to car-bike collisions with turning motorists, and from dooring, when the bike lane is alongside on-street parking. Both of these problems exist on the newly restriped MoDOT Manchester Ave.-MO Route 100, following recommendations by Great Rivers Greenway and others in St. Louis City.
         The council has also failed to consider the cost of bike lanes. Much has been made of the construction cost, which could be as much as two billion dollars. But bike lanes have higher maintenance requirements than traffic lanes. The Long Beach California bicycle master plan estimates maintenance costs of $2,000 a year per mile of bike lane. (Ref. below)
         Adding bike lanes on each side to just 250 miles of road would cost the county a million dollars a year in maintenance costs. Is the council prepared to divert a million dollars from road maintenance in order to maintain dangerous bike lanes?
         If not, this bill should explicitly state that bike lanes are NOT a required element of Complete Streets as adopted by St. Louis County.

For reference, please see page 124 of the Long Beach Bicycle Master Plan, on-line at:
http://www.bikelongbeach.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/LB-Master-Plan-Design-and-Maintenance.pdf

Karie Casey

Karie Casey

PRO: Karie Casey, St. Louis

“I’m here to support Complete Streets. I live in the DeMun neighborhood in Clayton and I work in Evans law firm downtown. I have been a bike commuter for a good 20 years. I have seen the evolution of cycling in St. Louis and more and more commuters out there. Have been hit by a truck while driving my bike home from work on Lindell Ave. where there’s no bike lane.
         First of all, I don’t think Complete Streets equals bike lanes so that’s a misconception that we have to get out of our heads. Complete Streets is a plan to make our community more livable and brings lots and lots of benefits.
         We want people to feel safe. We want drivers to realize that cyclists have a right to the road. Just because we have a right to the road doesn’t mean we want a bike lane. And it doesn’t mean the opposite: that we’re not safer. I think it encourages people who aren’t as “Cycling Savvy” as some of the people who’ve spoken today to get out and ride their bikes to work; to ride to the grocery store; to church or around the community. It makes parents more willing to let their kids go out and ride their bikes: to go up to the swimming pool or something. So this is about a vision. It’s about health of the community.”

CON: Damien Johnson

Damien Johnson

Damien Johnson

“I have been riding both in the city and the county for a variety of reasons. The Post-Dispatch mentioned the bike lanes on Chippewa: I found them unnecessary. Bicyclists can ride on the side streets. The main roads are better for motorists. I think if cyclists want it there could be a tax applied when they go buy their bikes so they can pay for this and pay for the safety. There should be enforce(ment of) the safety rules, particularly when they run a red light or when they ride on the wrong side of the street. I also call for more transparency. If we have an initiative dealing with bike lanes and roads maybe it should be a standalone bill so we can debate it by itself.
         When I visited the Netherlands I saw streets where it was cars in the middle, it had bike lanes, and then pedestrians off to the side, but then you didn’t have parallel parking. That’s one idea but it may not be good for the whole county.”

PRO: Ellen Bern, University City

Ellen Bern

Ellen Bern

“I live in University City and I want to strongly encourage the county council to plan for our future and to pass this Complete Streets ordinance. And I ask you to do this for a few reasons:
Mainly, we need to raise the bar, and plan for the kind of community we’d like to have, and to improve the communities we do have. Talking about the money is a bit of a smokescreen. At this point we’re talking about a concept.”
(Ended by advocating for bike lanes everywhere.)

CON: Francis “Frank” Halasey

Francis "Frank" Halasey

Francis “Frank” Halasey

Began by complaining about the meeting time. Thinks Complete Streets is a waste of a lot of tax dollars for bike lanes.

“It gives a false sense of security when there’s a painted line between the car and the bikes. I’m a relatively new driver and it drives me crazy when there are bikes right next to me.”

Despite repeated phone and e-mail requests for a copy of her testimony, regrettably no response was received from Rhonda Smythe, Trailnet’s Policy & Advocacy Manager. However, I transcribed it from TheGatewaytvnetwork on-line and have pasted it below for information and completeness.

Rhonda Smythe, Policy & Advocacy Manager, Trailnet

Rhonda Smythe, Policy & Advocacy Manager, Trailnet

PRO: Rhonda Smythe

“Good evening council members, my name is Rhonda Smythe. I’m the Policy and Advocacy Manager over at Trailnet. I want to thank you again for the, um, the whole of the time that you’ve spent on this issue and all of the perspectives that we’ve heard thus far.          Tonight I simply come to you with some facts, the first one being that Trailnet is a non-profit. We raise every dime that we bring in the door and have been able to maintain a staff of 20 St. Louis residents, um, even through the economic downturn.
         The second is that the recent MoDOT Missouri on the Move sessions, they gave out a survey asking what the top priorities for each region were. The St. Louis District reported that, in order, their priorities were:

Number 1: Structurally sound bridges and overpasses
2: A robust public transit system
3: Safe spaces for bike riders
4: Smooth roads, and
5: Improving highways

         So that was a MoDOT survey asking their constituents what was important to them.

         The second fact I’d like to present is pulled from the 2013 National Association for Realtors survey showing buying preferences that support Complete Streets. Showing that recent movers support the walkable community by 58%. That a neighborhood with a mix of houses, stores, and businesses that are easy to walk to is preferred over a neighborhood that only require driving to stores and businesses. This survey also showed that there is also a need for more safe routes for riding bikes to work and shopping. 48% of participants said that there was too few safe bike routes compared to 41% who said that there was the right amount, leaving only a few to say that we didn’t need them at all.
         The third fact I’d like to present is the AARP Policy Position which states America needs streets to be designed to be safe and convenient for travel by automobile, foot, bicycle, and transit, regardless of age or ability. As the nation ages Complete Streets planning presents an opportunity to increase the safety and availability of older adults travel options.
         Fourth, in the St. Louis County’s Strategic Plan, it clearly delineates an investment in pedestrian and bicycle facilities to increase mobility, promote physical activity, and encourage social interactions for people of all ages and abilities.
         The UDSOT policy is to incorporate safe and convenient walking and bicycling facilities into transportation projects.
         The FHWA policy is that bicycle and pedestrian ways shall be established in new construction and reconstruction projects in all urbanized areas unless one or more of the three following conditions are met:
         And I’ll have to e-mail that to you.
         The recent American Community Survey for St. Louis County shows that about 10,000 people take transit to work every day, about 7,000 walk to work, and about 1,000 bike to work.
         Complete Streets is looking at all those modes of transportation. It’s not a solution for athletes who are able to keep themselves safe, or who are willing and able to ride in traffic that is 35 mph, 40 mph, or 45 mph. It’s for everyone else. For people who have a hard time crossing the street. For kids walking to school.”

Chairwoman Hazel Erby: Please wrap your comments up.

“Thank you for your time and support this policy.”

Matthew Wyczalkowski

Dr. Matthew Wyczalkowski

PRO: Matthew A. Wyczalkowski, St. Louis City
(pronounced: Vee-chal-kov-ski)

My name is Matthew Wyczalkowski and I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of the Complete Streets proposal.  I am a resident of St. Louis city, and have been for over a decade.  After finishing my PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Washington University, I had the opportunity to relocate to a variety of cities, and an important consideration was the quality of life. 
         I am an experienced cyclist – I rode as a kid, raced in college, and commute by bicycle every day – and having the option to ride to work was a definite consideration when I chose to remain in St. Louis.  (I now work as a scientist at the Washington University School of Medicine.)  Cycling gives me exercise, clears my mind, saves money, and connects me with the community.  I have many friends and co-workers who feel this way too.
         About a year ago, poorly planned construction along my daily bike ride created serious hazards for cyclists.  That road – Tower Grove Avenue – is the busiest bicycle corridor in St. Louis. Sparked by frustration and fear for my personal safety, I started the http://SafeTGA.org blog (which stands for Safe Tower Grove Avenue) to advocate for safer bicycle infrastructure and to encourage a dialog with other cyclists.  I have learned a lot about the state of cycling in St. Louis since, and I welcome you to visit the blog for more details.
         One thing I learned is that the overwhelming majority of cyclists I spoke to — and I’ve talked to many of them — believe just like me that bike lanes and other infrastructure make cycling safer and encourage more people to ride.  My next door neighbor, for instance, started riding his bike to work only when bike lanes were installed on a stretch of Tower Grove Ave — he told me he he had never considered riding to work before those lanes gave him a place on the road.
         I also learned that there is a small but loud community of cyclists who oppose most if not all bike infrastructure.  I am a fair minded person, and to learn more about their perspective I attended the Cycling Savvy course taught by Karen Karabell, who I understand has testified here in the past.  I found that the course is useful for novice riders and teaches basic urban cycling tactics.  The course does not, however, provide any sort of guidance or vision for how to build roads which are safe for cyclists, any more than knowing how to drive makes you a civil engineer.
         I do have degrees in engineering, and have tried to put them to use by riding, photographing, and writing about new bicycle infrastructure being installed in St. Louis.  Designing good infrastructure is hard, and my aim is to provide feedback to help make it better.  I recognize some mistakes will be made now and again, but that is no reason to stop trying to make our roads safer for cyclists.  The return on investment is simply too great.
         People have a real desire for alternatives to the car – to walk, ride their bike, to take public transit.  I feel that way, and I know I’m not alone.  All too often, though, we live in a built environment which makes anything but driving inconvenient, uncomfortable, or unsafe.  Complete Streets recognizes that roads are not just for cars, and driving is not the only way to get around.  It offers the prospect of real choices in how we travel and live.  Complete Streets may not be perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.  I urge you to support it.

         
This latest version of Councilman Dolan’s so-called “Complete Streets” bill, Substitute Bill #2 for Bill No. 238, is definitely less objectionable than his SB #1, which came perilously close to county council approval two months ago. However, it still retains the Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee which gives Trailnet, the bill’s primary advocate, as well as Great Rivers Greenway, self-serving and unacceptable influence. And it still includes references to “appropriate accommodation for bicyclists,” which can be interpreted to mean bike lanes.

If this is intended as a reasonable compromise those issues should be addressed by deleting the Peer Advisory Committee, which is not even present in the Complete Streets Coalition’s own model ordinance. It should also omit any reference which can be interpreted as including bike lanes, which are intrinsically dangerous, and prejudice the rights of competent legal on-road cyclists.

Substitute Bill No. 2 for
BILL NO. 238 , 2013

ORDINANCE NO. , 2013
Introduced by Councilmember Dolan

AN ORDINANCE
AMENDING CHAPTER 1105, TITLE XI SLCRO 1974 AS AMENDED, “DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS AND TRAFFIC,” BY ENACTING AND ADDING THERETO ONE NEW SECTION ESTABLISHING THE COMPLETE STREETS POLICY.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Chapter 1105, Title XI SLCRO 1974 as amended, “Department of Highways and Traffic,” is amended by enacting and adding thereto one new section as follows:

1105.250 Complete Streets. 1. This ordinance sets forth the guiding principles and practices that shall be considered in St. Louis County (“County”) transportation projects. It is the vision of the County to continue to develop and expand upon a safe, reliable, efficient, integrated, accessible and connected multimodal transportation system that shall promote access, mobility and health for all users; to ensure that the safety, convenience and comfort of all users of the transportation system are genuinely considered, including pedestrians, bicyclists, users of mass transit, people of all ages and abilities, motorists, emergency responders, freight providers and adjacent land users; and to continue to encourage safe walking, bicycling, transit and vehicle use for all users, regardless of age or ability, in efforts to create an interconnected network of complete streets, linking communities together. County believes inclusion of complete streets will help promote healthy, livable communities and further support a variety of mobility goals expressed in the St. Louis County Strategic Plan.

2. As used in this section:
i. “complete street” means a transportation corridor for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and motorists. Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe accessible travel for all users with a goal towards creating a network of complete streets. Transportation improvements, facilities and amenities that may contribute to complete streets and that are considered as elements of a complete street are: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant pedestrian access routes, street and sidewalk lighting, pedestrian and bicycle facilities; access management; ADA compliant transit stops and stations; context sensitive landscaping, utility relocations and street amenities allowing for efficient levels of service.
ii. “Pedestrian” means:
(a) A person on foot; or
(b) A person using any means of conveyance propelled by human power other than a bicycle; or
(c) A person using an electrical personal assistive mobility device; or
(d) A person operating a self-propelled wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle, and by reason of physical disability, is otherwise restricted in movement or unable to move about on foot.

3. The Department of Highways and Traffic and Public Works (“Department”) will, where practicable, economically feasible and maintainable, routinely incorporate one or more complete street elements into County transportation projects to create a safer, more accessible street for all users. These elements provide appropriate accommodation for bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users, motorists, and persons of all abilities, regardless of age, while promoting safe operation for all users, in a coordinated manner consistent with, context sensitive to and supportive of, the surrounding community.

4. The Director of Highways and Traffic and Public Works (“Director”) shall consider the incorporation of federally recognized best practice complete street elements and allow design flexibility to balance user needs, where appropriate, in the design and construction of County transportation projects, improvements and facilities. Other factors to be considered shall include, but not be limited to: cost of improvements; budget for the project; space and area requirements and limitations; federal, state and local legal requirements and limitations; property rights and acquisition; foreseeable future land use; and on-going maintenance and operational costs. This policy further requires consideration of complete street elements by the Director of Planning and the Planning Commission through the planning, development review and approval process or in other appropriate circumstances.

5. County will incorporate complete streets principles into public strategic plans, standards plans, manuals, rules, regulations and programs as appropriate.

6. County shall foster partnerships with the State of Missouri, local municipalities, neighboring
communities, Metro, business districts, chambers of commerce, Great Rivers Greenway and other agencies, in consideration of functional facilities and accommodations in furtherance of the County’s complete streets policy and the continuation of such facilities and accommodations within other County communities. Elements that require maintenance by other entities will be handled via separate agreement between the interested parties.

7. County recognizes that complete streets may be achieved through single elements incorporated into a particular project or incrementally through a series of smaller improvements over time. County intends to investigate and draw upon various possible funding sources, including partnering with other communities and agencies, to plan and implement this policy in order to make complete street elements more economically feasible.

8. During the planning phase of County transportation projects, the Director will task staff to analyze ways to incorporate one or more complete street elements into the County transportation project and document study results. The study and analysis will include cost estimates, whether the elements can be incorporated in a safe manner, the degree that such improvements or facilities may be used, the benefit of such improvements or facilities to other public transportation improvements, whether additional property is required, physical or area requirements or limitations, long-term maintenance considerations and any other factors deemed by the Director to be relevant. Study details will be commensurate with project type and size and in accordance with implementation procedures. Emergency maintenance and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) projects will be excluded from study. Routine maintenance projects may be excluded from these requirements by the Director of Highways on a case-by-case basis. Such exclusions will be documented in the planning process.

The Director will brief the St. Louis County Board of Highways and Traffic (“Board”) regarding details of the complete streets analyses. The brief will also be distributed in writing to the Interdepartmental Advisory Team established pursuant to subsection 9 of this section and made available on the County website.

9. The Director will form an Interdepartmental Advisory Team to discuss complete streets goals in context of all County policies, plans and projects and in accordance with the County’s Strategic Plan. The Interdepartmental Advisory Team will consist of Directors or their designees from the Department of Highways and Traffic/Public Works, and the Departments of Planning, Health, Parks and Recreation and any other departments deemed appropriate by the Director. The Interdepartmental Advisory Team shall, within six months of ordinance adoption, initiate the following:

(a) Meet quarterly to discuss implementation and barriers to inclusion of complete streets elements into recent and ongoing projects;

(b) Develop an action plan to more fully integrate complete streets principles into appropriate policy documents, plans, project selection processes, design manuals and implementation (construction and maintenance) procedures;

(c) Propose revisions to the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances and other applicable regulations to integrate, accommodate and balance the needs of all users of the transportation network;

(d) Convene a Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee;
(e) On a semi-annual basis, prepare a summary briefing regarding consideration of and progress towards complete streets implementation including quantifying metrics and performance measures and present this briefing to the Board of Highways and Traffic and the County Council.

10. A Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee shall be convened by the Interdepartmental Advisory Team to provide input and support for continuous improvement and coordination of complete streets projects throughout St. Louis County. The Peer Advisory Committee shall include, but not be limited to, representation from MoDOT, Metro, Great Rivers Greenway, St. Louis County Municipal League, organizations that support the disability community such as the St. Louis County Commission on disabilities, the Home Builders Association, and organizations that support multi-modal facilities such as Trailnet. Other members may include representation from the bicycle, pedestrian, youth, elderly or disabled communities or other advocacy organizations as relevant. The Peer Advisory Committee shall:

(a) Meet on a semi-annual basis, convening within six months of the effective date of this ordinance.

(b) Review and provide comment on the Department’s semi-annual report to the Board and County Council.

(c) Provide best practices, lessons learned, case studies and other resources on complete streets that the County can use to continually improve the complete streets action plan developed by the Interdepartmental Advisory Team.

(d) Assist in the identification of appropriate and reasonable performance measures and help establish
benchmarks for performance. The Peer Advisory Committee may seek assistance from appropriate community resources to help measure and monitor performance. Results of the benchmarking and performance will be collected annually and reported to the County Council.

11. County personnel will routinely seek professional development on complete streets principles and continue to attend workshops and other educational opportunities available to planners and engineers so that everyone working on the transportation network understands the importance of the complete streets vision and how they can implement it in their everyday work. County also recognizes that public outreach, education and communication are key factors of success.

ADOPTED:
APPROVED: CHAIR, COUNTY COUNCIL
ATTEST:
ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR COUNTY EXECUTIVE 8
APPROVED AS TO LEGAL FORM:
COUNTY COUNSELOR

Eric Fey, Executive Assistant to Councilman Pat Dolan, the bill’s sponsor, was kind enough to provide the text of Substitute Bill No. 1 for BILL NO. 238, 2013, also known as “Complete Streets,” several weeks ago and reproduced below. Eric mentioned that the substitute was modeled after language originally approved by the City/County Government of Indianapolis.

Councilman Dolan’s Substitute Bill No. 1 certainly differs greatly in both its scope and requirements from the original BILL NO. 238 introduced by Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett, as well as St. Louis City’s Complete Streets ordinance approved in April 2010. The original version was approved by the St. Louis County Highways and Traffic Department. This substitute is being aggressively promoted by Trailnet, and gives them a voice in its implementation via a new Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee, established by the bill if it becomes law.

DL35-838
Substitute Bill No. 1 for
BILL NO. 238 , 2013

ORDINANCE NO. , 2013
Introduced by Councilmember Dolan

AN ORDINANCE
AMENDING CHAPTER 1105, TITLE XI SLCRO 1974 AS AMENDED, “DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS AND TRAFFIC,” BY ENACTING AND ADDING THERETO EIGHT NEW SECTIONS ESTABLISHING ST. LOUIS COUNTY’S COMPLETE STREETS POLICY.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Chapter 1105, Title XI SLCRO 1974 as amended, “Department of Highways and Traffic,” is amended by enacting and adding thereto eight new sections as follows:

1105.250 Complete Streets Policy. -The County shall develop a safe, reliable, efficient, integrated, accessible and connected multimodal transportation system that shall equally promote access, mobility and health for all users, and shall ensure that the safety, convenience and comfort of all users of the transportation system are genuinely accommodated, including pedestrians, bicyclists, users of mass transit, people of all ages and abilities, motorists, emergency responders, freight providers and adjacent land users.
St. Louis County believes inclusion of Complete Streets will help promote healthy, livable communities and further support a variety of mobility goals expressed in the St. Louis County Strategic Plan.

1105.255 Definitions. 1. “Complete Streets” means streets that are planned, designed, operated, and maintained, in a context sensitive manner, to enable low-stress, safe and comfortable access for all users, in that pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transportation users of all ages and abilities are able to move safely and comfortably along and across a street.
2. “Pedestrian” means:

(a) A person who is on foot; or
(b) A person who is using any means of conveyance propelled by human power other than a bicycle; or
(c) A person who is using an electric personal assistive mobility device; or
(d) A person who is operating a self-propelled wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle to act as a pedestrian and, by reason of physical disability, is otherwise restricted in movement as or unable to move about on foot.

3. “Users” means individuals that use streets, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, public transportation riders and drivers, emergency responders, freight providers and people of all ages and abilities, including children, youth, families, older adults and individuals with disabilities.

1105.260 Scope of Complete Streets Applicability. -1. The County shall routinely plan, design, operate, and maintain its streets for all users and approach every transportation improvement and project phase as an opportunity to create safer, more accessible streets for all users. These phases include, but are not limited to: planning, programming, design, right-of-way acquisition, construction, construction engineering, reconstruction, operation and maintenance including restriping and repaving. Other changes to transportation facilities on streets and rights-of-way, including capital improvements, re-channelization projects and major maintenance, must also be included.
2. All transportation facilities in the public right of way including, but not limited to, streets, bridges and all other connecting pathways shall be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained so that users of all ages, abilities, and modes of transportation can travel safely and independently. This includes, but is not limited to, the establishment of one or more complete streets features such as sidewalks, refuge islands, bulbouts, pedestrian and traffic signals, accessible curb ramps, crosswalks, bike lanes, cycle tracks, multi-use paths, traffic-calming devices, bicycle parking facilities, signage, street trees and landscaping, and public transportation stops and facilities in conjunction with construction, reconstruction, or other change to any county-owned transportation facility.
3. The Department of Highways and Traffic shall use methods of providing development flexibility within safe design parameters, such as context-sensitive design solutions.
4. Privately constructed streets and parking lots shall adhere to this policy.
5. This policy further requires consideration of complete street elements by the Director of Planning and the Plan Commission through the planning, development review and approval process or in other appropriate circumstances.
6. The County shall create partnerships of open communication and transparency with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), neighboring communities and counties, and business and school districts to implement facilities and accommodations that further the County’s Complete Streets policy and continue such infrastructure beyond the County’s borders and within municipalities.
7. The County shall implement and create a system of connectivity throughout the County road network to and between Municipalities, Great Rivers Greenway trails, Metro bus and light rail stations, learning institutions, civic centers and other high visitation facilities. The County shall accomplish this by coordination, and come to mutually agreeable safe solutions with previously named institutions.

1105.265 Implementation. -St. Louis County shall make Complete Streets integral to everyday transportation decision-making practices and processes. To this end:
(a) The County shall establish an interdepartmental advisory committee to oversee the implementation of this policy. The committee shall include Directors or designees from the departments of Highways and Traffic, Planning, Health, and Parks and Recreation Departments that have Complete Streets responsibilities. It shall be called the Complete Streets Implementation Committee and fulfill the following duties:
(i) Meet quarterly;
(ii) Develop an action plan to more fully integrate complete streets principles into appropriate policy documents, plans, project selection processes, design manuals and implementation (construction and maintenance) procedures.
(iii) Assess potential obstacles to implementing Complete Streets practices;
(iv) Propose revisions to zoning and subdivison codes and other applicable law to integrate, accommodate, and balance the needs of all users of the transportation network;
(v) Convene the Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee; and
(vi) Provide an annual written report to the County Council showing progress made in implementing this policy.
(b) A Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee shall be convened by the Complete Streets Implementation Committee and shall meet biannually to provide input into and review the action plan and implementation timeline, design standard updates, performance measures, exemptions, and annual report. Participants should represent a broad spectrum of users of the transportation system, and shall include members from: St. Louis County Council, East West Gateway, Bi-State Development Agency (Metro), Metropolitan Parks and Recreation District (Great Rivers Greenway), Trailnet, Paraquad, St. Louis Regional Chamber, St. Louis County Municipal League, and the Starkloff Institute. The committee may also include representatives from the walking, bicycling, disabled, youth, air quality, and elderly communities and other advocacy organizations, as relevant.
(c) The Department of Highways and Traffic, Planning, Health, Parks and Recreation, and other relevant departments, agencies, or committees shall incorporate Complete Streets principles into all existing plans, manuals, checklists, decision-trees, rules, regulations, and programs as appropriate.
(d) When available, County staff shall provide and/or attend nationally recognized professional development and training on non-motorized transportation issues for staff through conferences, classes, seminars, and workshops such as those delivered by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA);
(e) County staff shall identify all current and potential future sources of funding for street improvements and recommend improvements to the project selection criteria to support Complete Streets projects;

1105.270 Design Standards. -1. The County shall adapt, develop, adopt and implement departmental policies, design criteria, standards including subdivision regulations, and guidelines based upon recognized best practices and recommendations in street design, construction and operations including those recommended by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
2. The County shall create, adopt and implement a Streets Design Manual which shall establish Complete Streets best practices
and incorporate the most recent federal standards and recommendations to support implementation of this policy. The design manual shall be created in conjunction with the Complete Streets Implementation Committee and include input from the Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee.

1105.275 Exceptions. -1.Any proposed exception to this policy, including for private projects, shall be documented with data indicating the basis for the exception. The Complete Streets Implementation Committee shall review this documentation and record each Committee member’s concurrence or non-concurrence with the exception. All details of the exception, including the Committee’s position, will be made part of the public record. The Director of Highways & Traffic will notify the Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee and the St. Louis County Board of Highways and Traffic (“Board”) regarding details of the exception, including the Committee’s position, within 30 days of the decision. The exception and Committee position shall also be made publicly available on the County website within 30 days. All exceptions must be approved by the Director of Highways & Traffic.
Exceptions may be considered for approval when:
(a) An affected roadway prohibits, by law, use by specified users (such as an interstate freeways or pedestrian malls), in which case a greater effort shall be made to accommodate those specified users elsewhere, including on roadways that cross or otherwise intersect with the affected roadway;
(b) The activities are ordinary maintenance activities designed to keep assets in serviceable condition (e.g. mowing, cleaning, sweeping, spot repair,) and surface treatments such as interim measures;
(c) The application of complete streets principles is inappropriate because it would be contrary to public safety or that the cost is excessively disproportionate to the need or future use; or
(d) Other available means or factors indicate an absence of need, including future need.
The Complete Streets Implementation Committee shall submit biannual reports to the County Council summarizing all exceptions with documented rationale granted in the preceding quarters. These reports shall be submitted during Council
meetings and shall be posted on the County’s website.

1105.280 Design Studies and Public Input. -1. All initial planning and design studies, health impact assessments, environmental reviews and other project reviews for projects requiring funding or approval by St. Louis County shall:
(a) Evaluate the effect of the proposed project on safe, convenient, and comfortable travel by all users;
(b) Identify measures to mitigate any adverse impacts on such travel that are identified.
2. During the planning phase of any improvement project requiring an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the County shall conduct a study and analysis incorporating this ordinance into the public transportation project. The Complete Streets Implementation Committee, surrounding municipalities, and any impacted educational institutions are required to provide input during the planning phase to maximize safe, convenient, and comfortable travel between destinations; input shall be integrated into the project purpose and need. The study and analysis shall:
(a) Include cost estimates for all mode components, safety considerations, the benefit of such improvements or facilities to other public transportation improvements, whether additional property is required, physical or area requirements or limitations, and any other factors deemed relevant;
(b) Be incorporated in the design and planning of each public transportation project; and
(c) Conduct a stakeholder planning meeting that includes but is not limited to pedestrian planners, bicycle transportation planners, public transportation planners, local air quality management districts, disability and senior mobility planners, and advocates for disability, walking, biking, and public transit including Bi-State Development Agency (Metro), and Metropolitan Parks and Recreation District (Great Rivers Greenway), Trailnet, Starkloff Institute, and Paraquad. Comments and recommendations from the stakeholder planning meeting shall be integrated in the project purpose and need.
(d) Conduct a public charrette process in projects requiring an EIS. Context sensitive solutions and recommendations from the charrette shall be genuinely considered in the context of the project design. 7
(e) Draft EIS documents shall be available to the public at no cost for a minimum of 90 days, or as directed by National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), before the comment period closes.

1105.285 Performance Measures. -1. Within six months of ordinance adoption, the Complete Streets Peer Advisory Committee shall convene, and within one year create individual numeric benchmarks for each of the performance measures included, as a means of tracking and measuring the annual performance of the ordinance. Annual reports shall include data on the increase or decrease for each performance measure contained in this ordinance compared to the previous year(s) and shall be posted on the St. Louis County website.
The success of this Complete Streets policy shall be measured using, but not limited to, the following performance measures:
(a) Linear feet of new or repaired pedestrian accommodation;
(b) Number of new ADA curb ramps installed along streets;
(c) Crosswalk, intersection, and signalization improvements;
(d) Percentage of transit stops accessible via sidewalks and curb ramps;
(e) Number of transit accessibility accommodations built;
(f) Total miles of bike routes created, improved, and maintained; including mileage of sharrows, bike lanes, bicycle boulevards, cycle tracks, buffered bicycle lanes and multi-use paths;
(g) Number of people of walking and biking;
(h) Mass transit ridership per transit stop;
(i) Number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities by mode;
(j) Number of children walking or bicycling to school;
(k) Miles of connection added to and from multi-use trails such as those in the River Ring;
(l) Miles of connection added that fill gaps in the existing non-motorized transportation network.

ADOPTED:
APPROVED: CHAIR, COUNTY COUNCIL
ATTEST:
ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR COUNTY EXECUTIVE 8
APPROVED AS TO LEGAL FORM:
COUNTY COUNSELOR

I’m delighted this issue got a substantial airing in a front page below-the-fold story by reporter Steve Giegerich in Sunday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch. There are always things to take issue with in any story, especially when they are matters of fact. This story seems to cover both sides fairly well, but still requires a significant number of corrections and comments, dealt with below.

1. Let’s start with the headline “Complete Streets bike-friendly plan.” The goal of Trailnet’s bike plans is invariably to add bike lanes which relegate cyclists to what is typically the worst and most dangerous part of the roadway, near the edge. That is not bike friendly at all: it’s bike-unfriendly.

2. The sub-headlines:
Supporters say: Complete Streets opens roads to walkers, cyclists.
Critics say: Program will ratchet up costs, cause traffic congestion

Firstly, generally the streets are already “open … to walkers (and) cyclists,” the former with sidewalks, and the latter if they just acquire the skills and knowledge to use a bicycle safely on-road.
Secondly, putting in bike lanes, as urged by Complete Streets boosters, doesn’t just cause traffic congestion when traffic lanes are removed to accommodate them. They also substantially increase the risks of injury and death to cyclists in bike lanes due to turning car-bike collisions at intersections, and “dooring” when a motorist opens a parked vehicle door alongside a bike lane.

3. The following sentence appears to contain at least one contradiction:

Critics charge that Complete Streets will require the installation of costly sidewalks, spend public money to widen streets and cause unnecessary congestion when traffic lanes are reduced to accommodate bicyclists.

If the road is widened why would you also need to remove traffic lanes? It’s only when bike lanes are added in an existing right-of-way, as happened with MoDOT’s restriping of Manchester-MO Route 100, that removal of a traffic lane becomes necessary, leading to safety and congestion problems for both motorists and cyclists.

4. Dolan met last week with Complete Streets foes. Councilman Dolan was good enough to meet with me, Karen Karabell, and Nick Kasoff but he was noncommittal in his remarks.

5. Ann Rivers Mack, Trailnet’s chief executive officer, brushes aside the charge that her group is using Complete Streets to advance its own agenda. …
“They are clearly making things up,” Mack said of critics who claim Trailnet has played an oversized role in shaping regional Complete Streets policies.

Ann Mack’s attempt to play down their pivotal role in this legislation is absurd. They are the ones who wrote this revision to the bill, after taking exception to the original version, which had County Highways and Traffic Department (H&T) support. They clearly objected to the discretion it gave to H&T, and also wanted a way to exert direct influence on them by adding an unprecedented oversight panel on which they would serve.

6. Most area residents are likely not aware that partial funding for Complete Streets was folded into a 2013 ballot initiative focused primarily on upgrades to the public space at the Gateway Arch grounds.

I’m not sure that ANY of the funding Great Rivers Greenway gets from the sales tax is supposed to be spent on facilities other than off-road trails. That concern was expressed by County Executive Charlie Dooley at one of the county council meetings, as reported as follows in the 2013-11-26 Post-Dispatch story “St. Louis County Council puts Complete Streets legislation on hold”:

Dooley and county officials maintain Great Rivers Greenway funds are to be directed to trails and not county roads.

7. St. Louis has used the [Complete Streets] program to accommodate bicycle traffic along a 1.1-mile section of Chippewa Street. Clayton has used Complete Streets to install curb ramps mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Bicycles were already accommodated on this road before bike lanes were added, only now they’re relegated to the road edge.
And since curb cuts were already mandated by the ADA, it’s ridiculous to suggest that Clayton needed to wait for Complete Streets legislation to act.

8. Wrone’s remarks [about the $300 million taxpayer bill] spurred the continuing presence of a coalition of bicycle commuters, cycling enthusiasts and big-government opponents at council meetings.

That is NOT what motivated me nor, I believe, my main cycling allies. My concern was that this would lead to more bike lane construction on county roads, which are often important bicycling routes, compromising my safety and that of other knowledgeable on-road cyclists.

9. “Bike lanes are blind spots,” said Nick Kasoff, of Ferguson, a bicycle commuter.

To that I would add that motorists also often misjudge their speed relative to an edge-riding cyclist, leading motorists to turn directly across the cyclist’s path at the intersection. This is discussed in detail in the blog I posted on January 4th:
Do bike lanes improve safety?

10. (Karen Karabell) acknowledges that little empirical evidence exists to support the contention that bicycle education programs provide bikers with a greater level of safety than bike lanes.

That appears to be incorrect. In fact, Karen provided a long list of references recently which showed the contrary. I’ve posted the list here:
Most studies conclude bicycle facilities are more dangerous than the road

11. “An extremely small percentage of people” view separate bike lanes as unsafe, said Mack, the Trailnet chief executive.

Nick Kasoff has provided a good written response to this assertion by Ann Mack which he permitted me to reproduce:

That is certainly true. But let’s remember that large majorities of the public have believed all sorts of things that are not true. Like that the earth is flat. Or that bloodletting is an effective medical treatment. Mack claims that we are “under the false impression that everyone” prefers to ride in traffic. Not true. The vast majority of people prefer not to cycle at all. Of those who do cycle, the majority prefers to ride on recreational trails like Grant’s Trail, facilities which Trailnet/GRG developed, and which we support. Very few people use bicycles as transportation on a regular basis. Of those who do, you’ll find that a good many do NOT want bike lanes, because they know from personal experience that they are unsafe.

12. (Ann Mack) said that because Karabell and other opponents like to ride in traffic, “they are under the false impression that everyone does.”

That’s totally untrue. Most people DON’T know how to ride safely in traffic, myself included initially, which is why they are fearful of doing so. The view generally held seems to be that all you need to know is how to balance a bicycle, usually something you learn as a child, and wear a bike helmet, and you’re good to go, PROVIDED there are bike lanes to accommodate you, of course!

13: Council member Steve Stenger emphasized that the amended legislation introduced in late November was never intended as the final word on Complete Streets.
“We always planned on changes to the bill,” Stenger said.

That appears to be a rewrite of history. Councilman Dolan’s substitute bill had overwhelming, if not unanimous, council member support when I first learned about it in the Sunday Post-Dispatch story titled “St. Louis County is poised to approve measure for bike- and pedestrian-friendly roads,” published on November 24, 2013.

A final vote on the bill was unexpectedly postponed at the following county council meeting after last-minute budgetary concerns raised by St. Louis County Highways & Traffic Department. Reporter Steve Giegerich wrote an intriguing story about it published on Tuesday, November 26 headlined: “St. Louis County Council puts Complete Streets legislation on hold”. The story noted: Councilman Pat Dolan, the co-sponsor of the bill, joined Trailnet official Rhonda Smythe in predicting passage of the measure, perhaps as early as next week.

The “next week” was December 3, 2013, when I spoke against it for the first time, joined by Nick Kasoff, Karen Karabell, and other opponents. I’m confident it would have been enacted that same evening otherwise, based on e-mail exchanges with a council member who then supported it.

Here’s the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story, published on Sunday, January 12th, 2014:

Complete Streets bike-friendly plan hits bumpy road in St. Louis County
Supporters say: Complete Streets opens roads to walkers, cyclists.
Critics say: Program will ratchet up costs, cause traffic congestion

Karen Karabell gives a left turn signal while waiting at a stoplight on Brentwood Blvd. to turn left onto Eager Rd. on her way to Trader Joe's after taking the Metrolink from home to the Clayton stop.

Karen Karabell gives a left turn signal while waiting at a stoplight on Brentwood Blvd. after taking the Metrolink to Clayton. She waiting in the left-turn-only lane, preparing to turn left onto Eager Rd. en route to Trader Joe’s.
Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

Please mouse click any image to enlarge it. Use the back arrow top left to return to this page.

By Steve Giegerich sgiegerich@post-dispatch.com 314-725-6758
Comments [61 as of 10:20 pm Sunday, January 12, 2014]

ST. LOUIS COUNTY • What seemed like a simple idea to make roads in St. Louis County more bike and pedestrian friendly has turned into an unfriendly uproar about its potential cost and dangers.
         As a result, the Complete Streets program, once on a fast track to passage by the St. Louis County Council, has stalled.
         “We need to rethink it,” acknowledges council member Pat Dolan, a co-sponsor of the bill.
         Those against the plan to make bicycle and pedestrian access part of road improvement projects began expressing their concerns as the plan was headed to what appeared certain approval by the council.
         Since then critics of a national effort to open more streets and roads to bikers and walkers have been a constant presence, returning to the council week after week.
         Supporters say Complete Streets alterations will in many cases entail a rudimentary restriping of roads to identify lanes for bikers and walkers. They say the majority of the plan would affect rebuilt or new roads, not existing ones.
         Critics charge that Complete Streets will require the installation of costly sidewalks, spend public money to widen streets and cause unnecessary congestion when traffic lanes are reduced to accommodate bicyclists.
         Dolan met last week with Complete Streets foes. He will next sit down with the county highway department to discuss the potential cost of an initiative the agency estimates could exceed $300 million. Highway agency officials say they welcome the opportunity to discuss the matter with Dolan.
         After weeks of hinting that passage is imminent, council members now say there is no timetable for enacting the ordinance.
         Dolan promised the final version of the bill will take into account the points made by opponents as well as the concerns of county highway engineers.
         “This won’t be an unfunded mandate where every road in the county gets a bike path,” the council member pledged.
         Opponents also contend the Complete Streets initiative is a concession to Trailnet, a nonprofit advocate for healthy lifestyles that they say holds undue sway over county lawmakers.
         “This particular bill reeks of self-interest,” said Karen Karabell of St. Louis, a frequent county bicyclist who is against dedicated bike paths on roads. “Trailnet has written the ordinance as a seat for themselves at the table.”
         Ann Rivers Mack, Trailnet’s chief executive officer, brushes aside the charge that her group is using Complete Streets to advance its own agenda.
         The organization, she says, has collaborated with county officials — including representatives of the planning and highway departments — to develop a Complete Streets program they believe serves the best interests of all county residents.
         “They are clearly making things up,” Mack said of critics who claim Trailnet has played an oversized role in shaping regional Complete Streets policies.
         Most area residents are likely not aware that partial funding for Complete Streets was folded into a 2013 ballot initiative focused primarily on upgrades to the public space at the Gateway Arch grounds.
         Proposition P stipulated that 30 percent of the 3/16th-cent sales tax approved by voters goes to the Great Rivers Greenway park district for the expansion of bike and hiking trails throughout the region. A portion of the money would in turn be dedicated to Complete Streets projects.
         Complete Streets has been adopted by approximately 600 communities nationwide. St. Louis, Ferguson and Clayton are among the local communities that have enacted the legislation.
         St. Louis has used the program to accommodate bicycle traffic along a 1.1-mile section of Chippewa Street. Clayton has used Complete Streets to install curb ramps mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
         The issue landed in St. Louis County in late October when County Executive Charlie Dooley presented a proposal designed to give the county Highways, Traffic and Public Works Department wide latitude in implementing Complete Streets projects.
         Dolan subsequently amended the original bill to broaden the scope of Complete Streets upgrades throughout the county.
         The revised legislation prompted highway division spokesman David Wrone to publicly challenge the revisions.
         Wrone charged that Dolan had introduced the “massive spending bill” without consulting traffic engineers. He estimated that the legislation, as amended, could saddle taxpayers with a $300 million bill for Complete Streets projects covering only 15 percent of county-maintained roadways.
         Wrone’s remarks spurred the continuing presence of a coalition of bicycle commuters, cycling enthusiasts and big-government opponents at council meetings.
         In addition to raising concerns about cost, some foes argue that dedicated cycling lanes are more dangerous than roads that consolidate bike and vehicular traffic.
         “Bike lanes are blind spots,” said Nick Kasoff, of Ferguson, a bicycle commuter. “When a driver is entering the road from a driveway, they often overlook cyclists who are riding at the side of the road. And when they are making right turns, a cyclist in a bike lane is often in the motorist’s blind spot.”
         Karabell wears a fluorescent vest identifying her as a bicycle safety instructor at council meetings. She maintains that teaching riders how to coexist with traffic is the key to keeping cyclists out of harm’s way.
         She acknowledges that little empirical evidence exists to support the contention that bicycle education programs provide bikers with a greater level of safety than bike lanes.
         According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, 677 bicyclists lost their lives in 2011 — 2.1 percent of the total fatalities on the nation’s roads. The statistics, the most recent available, are not broken down to reflect how many of the cyclists died while riding in bike lanes.
         “An extremely small percentage of people” view separate bike lanes as unsafe, said Mack, the Trailnet chief executive.
         She said that because Karabell and other opponents like to ride in traffic, “they are under the false impression that everyone does.”
         Council member Steve Stenger emphasized that the amended legislation introduced in late November was never intended as the final word on Complete Streets.
         “We always planned on changes to the bill,” Stenger said.
         Dolan said input from the highway department, an agency traditionally focused on vehicular traffic, will play a key role in shaping the third and what he hopes is the final version of the Complete Streets bill presented to the council.
         A move to accommodate additional bicyclists on roads designed for cars and trucks, the council member noted, is “basically a change of philosophy.”

The following useful resource is on-line at http://ianbrettcooper.blogspot.com/2012/08/bicycle-infrastructure-studies.html

It draws the following important conclusions, and also lists a variety of relevant studies from both here and abroad:

In a review of 28 studies of bicycle facilities and accidents both in the U.S. and abroad, listed below, these are the results:

21 conclude that bicycle facilities increase the risks to cyclists

4 suggest that bicycle facilities are safer than the road

And 3 (Cross 1977, Reid 2002 and Pucher 2011) do not really address infrastructure safety.

CONCLUSION: 84% of the safety studies of bicycle facilities conclude that they are more dangerous than the road.

The studies are listed below chronologically:

1972 Deleuw, Cather and Co.: Davis Bicycle Circulation and Safety Study
http://john-s-allen.com/research/davis_studies/Davis_BicycleCirculationSafetyStudy003_DeLeuw_1972.pdf
“An additional problem is establishment of a visual relationship between motor vehicles and cycles on the sidewalk path on approaches to intersections.”

1975 Kaplan: Characteristics of the Regular Adult Bicycle User
http://bikexprt.com/research/kaplan/index.htm
“Surprisingly, bicycle facilities where no motor vehicles are allowed showed the highest accident rate of any variable examined.”

1977 Cross: A Study of Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Accidents (USA)
http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/25000/25400/25439/DOT-HS-803-315.pdf
Possible bias in reporting, investigation. Study reaches no clear conclusions about the safety or otherwise of bicycle infrastructure, and many of the conclusions have been called into question by more recent studies. I think the study does remain useful thanks to its detailed crash type analysis.

1987 Grüne Radler review: Police Bicycle Crash Study (Berlin, Germany)
http://john-s-allen.com/research/berlin_1987/index.html
“…with increasing experience, it became ever clearer that the sidepaths are dangerous – more dangerous than riding in the roadway. There is a simple reason for this: the design and location of the sidepaths conflict with the most important principle of traffic safety, the slogan ‘Visibility is safety’.”

1987 Study, University of Lund (Sweden)
http://www.bikexprt.com/bikepol/facil/sidepath/adfc173.htm#lund
“The basis for the comparison is the crash risk of bicyclists traveling straight through on the roadway. Relative to this, the risk is:
1.1 times for through travel with a bike lane stripe.
3.4 times for a left turn on the roadway
3.4 times for through travel on a sidepath
11.0 times for a left turn from a sidepath
11.9 times for through travel on a sidepath on the left side of the roadway”

1992 Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club: Issues of Bicycling Safety
http://www.bikexprt.com/bikepol/facil/sidepath/adfc173.htm
“Experts from different backgrounds at the Velo Secur traffic safety conference in Salzburg were united in the opinion that sidepaths in urban areas are entirely unsatisfactory in many ways, and should not be used.”

1994 Gårder: Safety implications of bicycle paths at signalized intersections (Scandinavia)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0001457594900345
“The conclusion that can be drawn so far from combining results shows that the most likely effect of introducing a cycle path is that the risk will increase by about 40% for a passing cyclist.”

1994 Wachtel: Risk Factors for Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Collisions at Intersections (Palo Alto, California, USA)
http://www.bicyclinglife.com/Library/Accident-Study.pdf
“Bicyclists on a sidewalk or bicycle path incur greater risk than those on the roadway (on average 1.8 times as great), most likely because of blind conflicts at intersections… intersections, construed broadly, are the major point of conflict between bicycles and motor vehicles. Separation of bicycles and motor vehicles leads to blind conflicts at these intersections.”

1997 Moritz: A Survey of North American Bicycle Commuters (USA and Canada)
http://www.bicyclinglife.com/Library/Moritz1.htm
Possible measurement bias: study claims increased safety on bicycle specific infrastructure, but the accident site data appears to be flawed – many of the accidents taking place while on bicycle paths or lanes may have been considered to be on the roadway, because only the final crash site was considered.

1998 Aultman-Hall: Commuter Cyclist On- and Off-Road Incident Rates (Ottawa-Carlton, Canada)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9542542#
“The relative rates for falls and injuries suggest it is safest to cycle on-road followed by off-road paths and trails, and finally least safe on sidewalks… Results suggest a need to discourage sidewalk cycling, and to further investigate the safety of off-road paths/trails.”

1998 Moritz: Adult Bicyclists in the United States (USA)
http://www.bicyclinglife.com/Library/Moritz2.htm
“Multi-use trails have a crash rate about 40% greater than would be expected based on the miles cycled on them while cycling on the sidewalk is extremely dangerous.”

1998 OECD: Safety of Vulnerable Road Users (European Union)
http://www.oecd.org/sti/transport/roadtransportresearch/2103492.pdf
“The most common conflicting areas between motorised traffic and vulnerable road users are at junctions… While cycle tracks have been found efficient in decreasing bicycle accidents on links, particularly on arterials, they create safety problems at junctions.”

1999 Aultman-Hall: Bicycle Commuter Safety Rates (Toronto, Canada)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001457599000287
“The relative rates for falls and injuries suggest these events are least common on-road followed by off-road paths, and finally most common on sidewalks… These rates suggest a need for detailed analysis of sidewalk and off-road path bicycle safety.”

1999 Franklin: Two Decades of the Redway Cycle Paths (Milton Keynes, UK)
http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/digest/2decades.html
“…the most alarming experience of the Redways is their accident record. Far from realising gains in safety, they have proved over many years to be consistently less safe than even the ‘worst case’ grid roads for adult cyclists of average competence. This is not an accolade for the grid roads, for their safety performance is not good in relation to lower speed roads of more traditional design. But the segregated Redways have proved to be worse. ”

1999 Pasanen: The risks of cycling (Helsinki, Finland)
http://www.bikexprt.com/research/pasanen/helsinki.htm
“At crossings, car drivers focus their attention on other cars rather than on cyclists… the risk of a crossing accident is 3-times higher for cyclists coming from a cycle path than when crossing on the carriageway amongst cars.”

2000 Franklin: Cycle Path Safety: A Summary of Research (Worldwide)
http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/digest/research.html
“little evidence has been found to suggest that cyclists are safer on paths than on roads.”

2002 Reid: The Roots of Driver Behaviour Towards Cyclists (UK)
http://abstracts.aetransport.org/paper/index/id/1529/confid/8
“The tendency for drivers to criticise cyclists and to exonerate errors made by drivers can be explained by reference to Social Identity Theory… Drivers regard themselves as intending to behave cautiously around cyclists and yet feel pressurised by other drivers to behave incautiously… It was also notable that drivers rated cyclists as less considerate, even though the cyclist’s behaviour was identical, when encountering them at road narrowings… Cyclists are an ‘out’ group and their behaviour is considered to be inexplicable other than by reference to their status as cyclists.”

2007 Jensen: Bicycle Tracks and Lanes, a Before – After Study (Copenhagen, Denmark)
http://trafitec.dk/sites/default/files/publications/bicycle%20tracks%20and%20lanes.pdf
“The safety effects of bicycle tracks in urban areas are an increase of about 10 percent in both crashes and injuries. The safety effects of bicycle lanes in urban areas are an increase of 5 percent in crashes and 15 percent in injuries. Bicyclists’ safety has worsened on roads where bicycle facilities have been implemented.”

2008 Agerholm: Traffic Safety on Bicycle Paths (Western Denmark)
http://vbn.aau.dk/files/14344951/agerholm_et_al._bicycle_paths.pdf
“So the main results are that bicycle paths impair traffic safety and this is mainly due to more accidents at intersections.”

2008 Jensen: Road safety and perceived risk of cycle facilities (Copenhagen, Denmark)
http://www.vehicularcyclist.com/copenhagen1.pdf
“The cycle tracks constructed have resulted in increases in accidents and injuries of 9-10% on the reconstructed roads.”

2009 Daniels: Injury crashes with bicyclists at roundabouts (Flanders, Belgium)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19433206
“Regarding all injury crashes with bicyclists, roundabouts with cycle lanes appear to perform significantly worse compared to… other design types”

2009 Reynolds: The Impact of Transportation Infrastructure on Bicycling Injuries and Crashes: A Review of the Literature
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19845962
Cherry picking data: review claims increased safety on bicycle specific infrastructure, but the review cherry picks and misrepresents data – only the 2009 Daniels study (out of 26 studies reviewed) concerned bicycle specific infrastructure safety, and the review misrepresented its findings.

2011 Lusk: Risk of Injury for Bicycling on Cycle Tracks Versus in the Street (Montreal, Canada)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3064866/?tool=pubmed
The infamous Lusk study. Selection bias: study claims increased safety on bicycle specific infrastructure, but its street comparisons are flawed – the streets compared were in no way similar other than their general geographic location. Busy downtown streets with multiple distractions per block were twinned with bicycle tracks on quieter roads with fewer intersections and fewer distractions.

2011 Pucher: Bicycling renaissance in North America? (Worldwide)
http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/TRA960_01April2011.pdf
Often cited by infrastructure advocates as a ‘bicycle facility safety study’, this is a review of studies on cycling trends and policies. It covers safety only in a general sense and while it states an opinion on bicycle facilities, it does not cite any studies pertaining to them. The main point the review makes in terms of cycling safety is in reference to the ‘safety in numbers’ effect and its ability to increase cycling mode share, but this effect is shown to be false if new cyclists are mostly coming from a much safer mode of transportation, such as mass transit.

2011 Reid: Infrastructure and Cyclist Safety (UK)
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CD8QFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fedoc.difu.de%2Fedoc.php%3Fid%3D31A0Q7OZ&ei=gznBUO7YLpHh0AHHh4HACg&usg=AFQjCNG-d4zNkyS6NLagJo_1T2c3hw2Sxg&cad=rja
“…evidence suggests that the points at which segregated networks intersect with highways offer heightened risk, potentially of sufficient magnitude to offset the safety benefits of removing cyclists from contact with vehicles in other locations.”

2012 Teschke: Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study
http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2012.300762
Selection bias: uses comparison streets instead of a before-after situation; study claims greatly increased safety on cycle tracks, but the cycle tracks chosen for the study were not representative of a typical cycle track, in that all were on roads with limited or nonexistent road intersections. It is not surprising that bicycle facilities that have little or no possibility of interaction with motor vehicles are safer than those that have many such possibilities, and if all bicycle tracks were completely separated from turning and crossing traffic, they would indeed be safer than cycling on the road. The problem is, cycle tracks with few road intersections are very rare indeed.

2012 Kittleson & Associates Report (Washington DC)
http://ddot.dc.gov/DC/DDOT/Publication%20Files/On%20Your%20Street/Bicycles%20and%20Pedestrians/Bicycles/Bike%20Lanes/DDOT_BicycleFacilityEvaluation_ExecSummary.pdf
Report found:
Bike boxes, bicycle signals and sharrows were installed at the 6 leg intersection of New Hampshire Ave/16th St/U St NW.: after the installation, crashes increased from 4 in 4 years to 5 crashes in 13 months. Per month, that is the equivalent of more than 4 times the number of crashes. The report notes no increase in bicycle volumes.
Pennsylvania center cycletrack: after the installation, crashes increased from 9 in 4 years to 16 crashes in 14 months – 6 times more crashes per month. Taking into account the fact that bicycle volume tripled, crashes still increased by a factor of 2.
15th St NW left side cycletrack: after installation, crashes increased from 20 in 4 years to 13 crashes in 14 months – over twice as many crashes per month. Taking into account the fact that cyclist volumes doubled, this represents an increase in crashes of 10%.
Strangely, despite these significant increases in crashes, the report states that the bicycle facilities “improved conditions for cycling”. If this is an improvement, perhaps installing anti-personnel mines every few hundred yards or so might make a bigger ‘improvement’.

2012 City of Portland Bureau of Transportation Progress Report: Request to Experiment “9-105(E) – Colored Bike Lanes and Bike Boxes”
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-_Kv2GsQnEfNS1pdXRxQkZmcVE/edit?pli=1
“…the crash data trend suggests that right-hook crashes are increasing at some of the treatment locations… We concluded that a high proportion (88%) of the crashes occurred during the ‘stale’ green condition (after the start-up but before the signal phase changes to yellow/red).”
Cycling experts have, for years, been warning about this fundamental flaw in bike box design. The 1997 edition of ‘Cyclecraft’ by John Franklin advises cyclists that they should approach bike boxes only if the traffic signal is red. If the signal is green, cyclists are advised that the best way to minimize danger may be to stay within the main traffic stream.

Tom Fleming, St. Louis, had a Letter published in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Sat. Jan. 4, 2014) suggesting that those interested in answering the question “Do bike lanes improve safety?” do an Internet search on that phrase.

He prefaced this by referencing Karen Karabell’s Letter “Bike lanes are more dangerous than regular traffic lanes,” published December 27th, adding “these fine people are a minority of bicyclists.

Well, he’s certainly correct in that statement about Karen Karabell and others like her. Most cyclists have never had any soundly-based bike education and so like me when I first started cycling on-road, will be uninformed, relying on perception of what is safe. Even reading about it rarely changes anyone’s mind because, especially for adults who generally feel much safer driving a car, it’s hard to comprehend how it CAN be safe without dedicated facilities, such as bike lanes, or off-road trails.

Karen Karabell westbound on resurfaced Manchester Rd just after passing Kingshighway BP station

Karen Karabell demonstrating curb lane control on Manchester Ave.-MO Route 100

Karen Karabell is among the small minority of cyclists with both the experience and knowledge about what makes on-road cycling safe. Karen runs CyclingSavvy St. Louis, the local chapter of CyclingSavvy in Orlando, FL. As a CS instructor, Karen offers courses in the St. Louis metro area which teach safe on-road cycling, including important bike handling skills. While CyclingSavvy is a relatively new program it is the best by far for adults interested in using a bicycle safely and proficiently for transportation.

Returning to Tom Fleming’s suggestion, I did a Google search and turned up “Do bicycle lanes improve safety for bicyclists?” on the bicycling info.org website. Since I know something of this organization’s background I’m often leery of what they publish, but this particular document seems to adopt a cautious approach to answering this question. For example, the second paragraph about bike lanes starts as follows:

“While there are data for perceived safety, and surrogate (behavioral) measures — such as bicyclist direction of riding, sidewalk riding, and distance between passing motorists and bicyclists — that suggest improved safety, we don’t have actual measures of safety effects via crash outcomes, and even the surrogate measures are not conclusive.”

That actually seems like a reasonable and measured statement. My answer to this question may be gleaned from these three related blogs I posted recently:

“Bike lanes make roads more dangerous for cyclists” – Part I

“Bike lanes make roads more dangerous for cyclists” – Part II

“Bike lanes make roads more dangerous for cyclists” – Part III

I invite the curious reader to review them and provide considered feedback.

Before it grew like topsy, Bill No. 238 (aka “Complete Streets”), introduced by Councilwoman Katherine Kelly Burkett, was a pretty straightforward proposal. While it adopted the language common in such legislation it gave the Department of Highways and Traffic, which would be charged with putting Complete Streets into effect, some latitude. It was also about half the length of Substitute Bill No. 1 that replaced it following efforts led by Trailnet working with bill sponsor, Councilman Pat Dolan.

On first reading, this original bill seems a reasonable basis on which to plan for all transportation modes. It certainly appears far preferable to the draconian Substitute Bill No. 1 backed by Trailnet.

However, I’ve just read St. Louis City’s Complete Streets ordinance, enacted in April 2010, which is similar in language to Councilwoman Burkett’s bill, and I now conclude that even this seemingly mild bill should be opposed. That’s because St. Louis’s ordinance was used as the motivation for the recent addition of inappropriate bike lanes and removal of a travel lane in the restriping of Manchester/MO Route 100 by MoDOT in October, 2013, after resurfacing.

The addition of a bike lane led directly to a car-bike crash involving cyclist Susan Herzberg, which could easily have been fatal. The crash occurred just before the entrance to the BP station at the corner of Manchester and Kingshighway. The bike lane replaced a former travel lane which Susan had used and controlled while bicycling for 2-1/2 years prior to this crash without incident.

CONCLUSION: Complete Streets legislation, even with seemingly innocuous language, is bad for competent on-road cyclists. It’s also unconscionable to give the untrained novice a false sense of security by striping bike lanes. You cannot replace knowledge of safe cycling practices with paint.

Note: The underlining in the original to indicate new text has been omitted in the following for clarity.

SUB INTRO 11/12/13 BILL NO. 238 , 2013

ORDINANCE NO. , 2013

Introduced by Councilmember   Burkett  

AN ORDINANCE

AMENDING CHAPTER 1105, TITLE XI SLCRO 1974 AS AMENDED, “DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS AND TRAFFIC,” BY ENACTING AND ADDING THERETO ONE NEW SECTION ESTABLISHING ST. LOUIS COUNTY’S COMPLETE STREETS POLICY.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Chapter 1105, Title XI SLCRO 1974 as amended, “Department of Highways and Traffic,” is amended by enacting and adding thereto one new section as follows:

1105.250 Complete Streets. 1. This ordinance sets forth the guiding principles and practices that shall be considered in St. Louis County (“County”) transportation projects. It is the vision of the County to continue to develop and expand upon a safe, reliable, efficient, integrated, accessible and connected multimodal transportation system that shall promote access, mobility and health for all users; to ensure that the safety, convenience and comfort of all users of the transportation system are genuinely considered, including pedestrians, bicyclists, users of mass transit, people of all ages and abilities, motorists, emergency responders, freight providers and adjacent land users; and to continue to encourage safe walking, bicycling, transit and vehicle use for all users, regardless of age or ability, in efforts to create an interconnected network of complete streets, linking communities together. St Louis County believes inclusion of complete streets will help promote healthy, livable communities.

2. A “complete street” is defined as a transportation corridor for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and motorists. Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe accessible travel for all users with a goal towards creating a network of complete streets. Transportation improvements, facilities and amenities that may contribute to complete streets and that are considered as elements of a complete street are: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant pedestrian access routes, street and sidewalk lighting, pedestrian and bicycle facilities; access management; ADA compliant transit stops and stations; context sensitive landscaping, utility relocations, and street amenities allowing for efficient levels of service.

3. The Department of Highways and Traffic and Public Works (“Department”) will, where practicable, economically feasible and maintainable, routinely incorporate one or more complete street elements into County transportation projects to create a safer, more accessible street for all users. These elements provide appropriate accommodation for bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users, motorists, and persons of all abilities, regardless of age, while promoting safe operation for all users, in a coordinated manner consistent with, context sensitive to and supportive of, the surrounding community.

4. While this ordinance does not require specific designs, or construction standards, or that specific improvements be constructed, the Director of Highways and Traffic and Public Works (“Director”) shall consider the incorporation of federally recognized best practice complete street elements and allow design flexibility to balance user needs, where appropriate, in the design and construction of County transportation projects, improvements and facilities, in addition to other considerations including, but not limited to: cost of improvements; budget for the project; space and area requirements and limitations; federal, state and local legal requirements and limitations; property rights and acquisition; foreseeable future land use; and on-going maintenance and operational costs.

5. The Department will incorporate complete streets principles into public strategic plans, standards plans, manuals, rules, regulations and programs as appropriate. St Louis County shall foster partnerships with the State of Missouri, local municipalities, neighboring communities, Metro, Business Districts, Chambers of Commerce, Great Rivers Greenway and other agencies, in consideration of functional facilities and accommodations in furtherance of the County’s complete streets policy and the continuation of such facilities and accommodations within other County communities. Elements that require maintenance by others will be handled via separate agreement between the interested parties.

6. The County recognizes that complete streets may be achieved through single elements incorporated into a particular project or incrementally through a series of smaller improvements over time. The County will investigate and draw upon various possible funding sources, including partnering with other communities and agencies, to plan and implement this policy in order to make complete street elements more economically feasible.

7. During the planning phase of County transportation projects, the Director will task staff to study and analyze ways to incorporate one or more complete street elements into the County transportation project and document study results. The study and analysis will include cost estimates, whether the elements can be incorporated in a safe manner, the degree that such improvements or facilities may be used, the benefit of such improvements or facilities to other County transportation improvements, whether additional property is required, physical or area requirements or limitations, long-term maintenance considerations, and any other factors deemed relevant. Study details will be commensurate with project type and size and in accordance with implementation procedures. Emergency, maintenance and intelligent transportation system (ITS) projects will be excluded from study. The Director will form an interdepartmental team to discuss complete streets goals in context of all County projects and in accordance with the County’s Strategic Plan. The Director will brief the St. Louis County Board of Highways and Traffic (“Board”) regarding details of the complete streets analyses. On a semi-annual basis, the Department will prepare a summary briefing regarding consideration of and progress towards complete streets implementation including quantifying metrics and performance measures and will present this briefing to the Board of Highways and Traffic and will provide a semi-annual report to the St Louis County Council.

8. County personnel will routinely seek professional development on complete streets principles and continue to attend workshops and other educational opportunities available to planners and engineers so that everyone working on the transportation network understands the importance of the complete streets vision and how they can implement it in their everyday work. The Department also recognizes that public outreach, education and communication are key factors of success.

ADOPTED:____________________________                       

                        
APPROVED:____________________________ ____________________________
CHAIR, COUNTY COUNCIL

ATTEST: _____________________________ _____________________________                 
ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR COUNTY EXECUTIVE

APPROVED AS TO LEGAL FORM:

                        
_____________________________
COUNTY COUNSELOR