The City of Lincoln’s Metropolitan Planning Organization is working on a new plan to create a safer environment for Lincoln’s bicyclists.
BikeLNK city manager Jamie Granquist called the Lincoln Bike Plan “a way to get from here to there, on a bike, in a safer and better way.”
Granquist compared the plan to an ice cream sundae with all the necessary toppings in the right amounts.
“Right now, we don't have enough chocolate syrup,” Granquist said in an email. “That's safe bike infrastructure. This is a recipe for more of that.”
The plan is currently in its public comment stage, which will be open until Friday, Nov. 30. Transportation planner Kellee Van Bruggen said so far, students have not sent in a lot of feedback on the plan, but the organization would appreciate comments from students.
The plan includes road features to calm traffic and make biking safer and easier in the Lincoln area, including on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s campus.
Van Bruggen said the primary purpose of the Lincoln Bike Plan is to find a new bike network that connects to the current trail network, which will allow easy bicycle commuting and recreation.
The goal is to encourage bicycle travel and allow Lincoln to be a bicycle friendly community. According to Van Bruggen, this is possible when biking is safe, convenient and is a common form of transportation and recreation.
The bike plan will also help students by connecting UNL campuses, downtown and the surrounding areas, she said.
The plan has intentional design elements in place that consider the urban and road infrastructure in and around campus, according to Granquist.
“While the Bike Plan focuses on making biking more accessible and connected, it is not an either-or thing here,” she said. “When we all share a piece of the road, we then all have peace on the roads we share.”
Granquist said she sees the plan as a way to increase safety for bikers.
The plan “lets more people of various ages and abilities ride more confidently and with ease and purpose,” Granquist said. “It helps our city, as a whole, feel more bikeable and walkable.”
Van Bruggen said the Bicycle Facilities Advisory Group developed the Lincoln Bike Plan by providing a connected system of low-stress bikeways.
Granquist said it was easy to see how the plan could link areas of trail where the bike lane ends and restarts after a few blocks.
The new plan is meant to ease the disconnections to connect riders to important destinations in Lincoln like bus stops, schools, libraries, employment centers and social destinations.
Granquist said the last step was to use what is already in place and help it work better by making bike lanes that flow with vehicular traffic, lane markings, lights and signage.
Granquist said she’s excited to see BikeLNK and the new program work together to help bikers.
“When our users feel safer and have better-designed places to ride, they ride more,” she said. “Then more thoughtful and well-designed infrastructure happens.”
She said this remains true to the biking community even as winter hits, as biking in winter isn’t harder but different.
The biking program still has about 100 trips per day, even on days when the temperature is below zero, Granquist said.
“We have a great town to bike in,” Granquist said. “This plan only improves on a great foundation Lincoln enjoys.”