Planning and Engineering staff have been working with the TPAC Bicycle & Pedestrian Subcommittee (TPAC BP) to identify an appropriate location and necessary funding for a temporary bike lane demonstration project in the City of Concord. The project is consistent with the goals of the 2010 Bicycle Master Plan to encourage a safe, easily navigable, marked bike route network in the City of Concord. This report is intended to notify Council of these ongoing efforts and obtain support to continue with the next steps to implement the project.
Over the past six months, the Bicycle & Pedestrian subcommittee has looked at multiple locations for a potential demonstration project and has settled on South Street, between Allison Street and the Abbott-Downing School. This location was selected for the following reasons:
• It builds on a previous Safe Routes to School project; • The road width can accommodate several alignment options; • Street parking is under-utilized; • South Street has been identified by the 2010 Bicycle Master Plan as a key element of the North-South Bike Route based on transportation needs and public input; • South Street is identified as a proposed on-street option for the Merrimack River Greenway Trail.
Staff presented several alignment options to the subcommittee. After considerations regarding feasibility, cost, and design/site appropriateness, the preferred option was a buffered bike lane on both sides of the street. The proposal maintains 12-foot vehicular travel lanes, adjacent to proposed 3-foot buffers and 5-foot wide bicycle lanes.
This option encourages cycling with the flow of traffic and does not change existing road striping, cutting down on the cost of the project. This location was chosen because it is highly visible yet not in the way, and it is in close proximity to dense neighborhoods, schools, and a park. Staff has taken measurements at multiple locations along South Street to verify the width can support this demonstration design.
The project is anticipated to cost $2,300 covering the acquisition of supplies and equipment such as portable delineators. The NH Bike-Walk Alliance has applied for a grant from People for Bikes to fund the project. If grant funds are not awarded, members of the subcommittee are prepared to solicit donations from interested organizations. The Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission has offered to manage the equipment. The City will have access to the portable delineators for future demonstration projects.
Staff worked with CNHRPC to collect bicycle count data between September 28th and October 12th of 2018 to establish a baseline of bicycle traffic. Staff plans to conduct counts at this location during and after the demonstration project in order to gauge the impact the project may have had on bicycle riding along the route.
Members of the subcommittee will conduct public outreach efforts in the neighborhood to gauge community support of a project like this, as well as advertise the project to generate interest and use of the temporary facility once opened. Staff has also reached out to school officials and will hold a meeting within the next few months to answer questions and potentially organize a “Bike to School” day.
The target time period for installation is September 2019 to allow for proper planning, design, and funding procurement. The demonstration is intended to be up for at least a week, weather permitting. If Council is in support of these efforts and this location, staff intends to return to Council mid-summer to provide an update on outreach efforts and project development.