From Joan Pasiuk, Bike Walk Twin Cities Program Director.
The annual meeting of the four pilot communities in the Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot (NTP) program, of which Bike Walk Twin Cities is a part, was held in late October in Columbia, MO. Representatives of the pilot communities were joined by representatives of the partner organizations, specifically:
- Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Environmental Health — Research/program staff
- Federal Highway Administration — Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager
- Rails to Trails Conservancy — Policy staff
- Safe Routes to School National Partnership — Director
- Volpe Center of U.S. Department of Transportation — Research staff
We came together in Columbia, as we do regularly, as strong allies. This same group, driven by a strong commitment to shape the important work we share, meets by phone conference biweekly.
There was considerable planning on the collaborative work of evaluation and reporting. Discussion included review of evaluation methodology and modeling, and preparation for the community-wide bookend survey at the pilot completion. Despite Congressional debate that could affect the pilot timeline, we remain on track for final data collection in fall of 2010 and delivery of final report in 2011. We agreed, however, that the need to relate results as well as work-in-progress is ongoing; we will continue to develop short, specific pieces that share the story of the pilots’ investments. Continue to monitor NTP at
Showtime: presentation of the year’s highlights in each pilot community.
All pilot communities are developing unique priorities for on-street, off-street, planning, and educational/programmatic investments. All pilots will have some projects uncompleted by final 2010 counts; all pilots face a range of public reaction to proposed projects. For example, Sheboygan, WI is undertaking some significant trail connections and has implemented pedestrian improvements that will eliminate the need for several school bus routes. Marin’s enormous multi-modal tunnel is underway. Columbia, as host and featured community, showcased the significant marketing campaign in progress. Minneapolis shared the Bike Walk Twin Cities video being shown on cable across the grant area, new funding in 2009 including demonstration innovations, and progress on measurement and public health evaluations. The highlight of the meeting was a bike tour of new and planned facilities with special attention on experimentation with some on-street markings.
The Minneapolis area is the only pilot with no infrastructure/operations projects opened as of October 2009, a situation that deserves attention. (Note that 14 jurisdictions are included in the grant area, but that 43%, or 13 out of 30, of the awards have been given to the City of Minneapolis.) During the three years of NTP, the City of Minneapolis has accomplished traffic work related to a bridge collapse and reconstruction, development of major traffic projects in the Urban Partnership Agreement (one of five regions nationwide), street reconstruction related to the first regional commuter rail line, and significant project work resulting from ARRA funds. A number of city and county bike-ped projects were also completed during this time. Transformation of Minneapolis continues in dramatic ways. But the timeline for NTP is critical. Minneapolis and many of the surrounding municipalities have innovative and extensive Bike Walk Twin Cities projects on the books. With more pilot funds possible through Congressional continuing resolutions and so many projects to complete, 2010 will be a very telling year. Transit for Livable Communities will continue to be a conscientious steward of the pilot, providing technical assistance and prompting best practices. The spotlight is shining intensely on the Minneapolis area, a big city with a strong bike/ped legacy and the opportunity to deliver the promise of NTP in a big way.