Governor Pledges $100M for Biking in Colorado
Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado has announced plans to provide $100 million to boost bicycling in the state, and some of that money is targeted for safety, RealVail reports:
The four year plan and $100 million budget will allow Colorado to add bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, better understand and market the cycling industry, and support awareness and education efforts to promote safety.
Among the parts of the plan encompassing safety is $10 million over four years to sustain and grow the Safe Routes to School program, Jason Blevins reports for The Denver Post. The Safe Routes program gives awards for two types of projects, infrastructure and non-infrastructure, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Programs page. Infrastructure projects include sidewalks, stripping for bicycle lanes, pedestrian crossing signs, bicycle racks, and other features to make it safer for children to walk and bike to and from school. “Non-infrastructure projects involve education, encouragement, and enforcement activities that engage children to walk and bike safely to and from school,” CDOT writes.
For 2015, $700,000 was awarded for Safe Routes projects, and you can see a list of those here:
Bicycle Colorado writes that in addition to Safe Routes, the governor’s pledge of $100 million will make it possible for more state residents to access bicycling. The funds will add bike lanes and improve driver education to increase safety for bicyclists, Bicycle Colorado writes.
In addition to Safe Routes, the funding breakdown is as follows, as Blevins writes:
• $60 million over four years to develop bike and pedestrian infrastructure, using CDOT funds with money from the federal Transportation Alternatives and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement programs.
• $30 million over four years of GOCO grants for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
Hickenlooper made the announcement in Las Vegas, at Interbike, the largest bicycle trade event in North America. He is the first governor to speak at the conference since it began, in 1982, as RealVail writes. Hickenlooper said the funds are intended to make Colorado “the best state for biking in the country,” writes Sean McCoy for GearJunkie. Avery Stonich writes for RootsRelated that although Colorado was ranked #2 in bicycle friendliness in 2013, in a list by the League of American Bicyclists, it slipped to #6 last year, and is ranked #7 this year. In those rankings, Colorado is shown to have low scores in infrastructure and funding, and evaluation and planning.
The Governor said his Colorado Pedals Project aims to copy Denmark’s bicycling culture, as that country spends 25% of its budget on bicycle infrastructure, and 36% of its adults commute by bike at least once a week, writes Blevins. By contrast, only 0.6% of adults in the United States commute by bike, Blevins adds. Colorado Pedals has two main goals, as Stonich writes: “to create a seamless network of bike paths across the state, and to help Coloradans lead healthy lives.”
In writing about Hickenlooper’s announcement, Bicycle Colorado quotes a Colorado bicycling authority:
‘We want to encourage riders of all shapes, sizes and abilities and making biking as safe and accessible as possible statewide,’ says Bike czar Ken Gart, ‘With more than 5,000 miles of biking trails throughout the state, and events like Pedal The Plains and the USA Pro Challenge, Colorado is poised to easily take this lead.’
Image by Peter Krefting