Finally, it’s Bike to Work Week! Ding! Last night was the Ride of Silence, with 50+ riders, including the Chief of Police. It also opened up some critical dialogue about the statewide three-foot law with the Sheriff. Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones has failed to charge the motorist who recently struck and seriously injured local rider Paul Engler. That conversation continues.
One last note, tomorrow (and also every day) is Bike to Work Day.. make it count!
The Topeka Community Cycle Project and the Topeka Police Department are teaming up to buy a “3-ft device” to measure how close a car passes a bicycle. The device will be used to help enforce the Kansas law that requires motorists to give at least three feet of clearance when passing cyclists.
But they can’t do it alone! Can you help the campaign? The device costs about $2000, and once purchased, the Police have offered to use it in enforcement at least once a year.
Designed and manufactured by Codaxus of Austin Texas, the C3FT registers the 3 foot violation, indicates the distance the car is passing, in inches, and is recording this information the whole time with a HERO 4 GoPro Silver. The device has been used with great success for almost a year now by Officer Robert Simmons of the Chattanooga Police Department. “Our primary goal is not to write citations; our primary goal is education, [and] behavior modifications,” states Simmons.
Campaign contributors will have the benefit of knowing that they are contributing to safer streets here in Topeka – educating riders and drivers, and preventing collisions. Contribute to the GoFundme campaign now to help purchase a C3FT for Topeka.
It’s Friday and Topeka is crushing it in the biking and walking game lately, so some shoutouts are due.
First: Topeka Planning Department.
Bikeways Plan is happening, being implemented, and we have tons of sharrows and bike lanes on the road now. The City put out a great video on rules of the road to go along with these efforts.
Pedestrian Plan was approved and passed through City Council and will be implemented over the next ten years. (Only a few decades overdue, but hey, it was recognized as a problem and is being addressed.)
Well, this one should be obvious. Metro launched the first bikeshare in the state of Kansas a year ago today. A year later and no other city has jumped into the game – and in two weeks the TMB system doubles to 200 bikes! Eat our dust, Wichita! 😉
How is this relevant to Kansas? We’re about to spend $200 million over the next couple decades on a mere 3-mile section of highway in our downtown corridor. At what scale will that ever be sustainable? Click through to Strong Towns to read why #NoNewRoads makes sense for Texas (and for Kansas, too).
Patrick Kennedy is a Strong Towns member actively working to end Texas’ overspending on roads. Today, he shares what got Texas to this point and how it might be able to change course.
THAD ALLTON/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL-Marsha Pope, left, vice president of the Topeka Community Foundation, presented a check Monday for $10,000 to Andy Fry and Katie Snider of the Topeka Community Cycle Project to support a new Topeka USD 501 youth bike education program. The program – designed to educate elementary school students about safe riding habits – also received another $13,500 from the Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods coalition.
A bicycle education program for Topeka Unified School District 501 elementary students will begin this spring, due in large part to $23,500 the program received on Monday from the Topeka Community Foundation and the Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods coalition.
“It will allow us to reach a whole other demographic of Topekans in offering safe-riding courses for fourth- and fifth-graders within (USD) 501 schools,” said Andy Fry, of the Topeka Community Cycle Project. “We’ll be able to offer them the basics of how to navigate the roads safely. For the kids who don’t know already how to ride a bicycle, we’ll be able to teach them balance and the basics of riding a bicycle.”
In partnership with Safe Kids of Shawnee County and the League of American Bicyclists Instructors, Fry said the weeklong course will be taught by USD 501 physical education teachers beginning this spring for the next five years and will be integrated into USD 501’s physical education curriculum.
Fry said the Topeka Bike Lessons and Safety Tools, or Topeka BLAST, is modeled after a similar program in Kansas City.
“We wanted to bring that here,” he said. “We don’t have the resources to provide our own instructors, so working with 501, we can harness the partnership of their existing P.E. instructors and have it during their P.E. time of the day. It will be a mobile unit that will go school to school.”
The Topeka Bikeways Committee also received $16,500 on Monday from the Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods coalition to complete the first phase of the committee’s project to provide 422 street signs, 24 over-the-street mast signs and construction of wider sidewalks along 54 miles of bike routes across Topeka. The second phase of the project will begin in the spring and is estimated to cost $400,000 — 20 percent of which is private funding — which will add more signage and wider sidewalks to additional streets.
Ralph Krumins, of the Bikeways Advisory Council, said when the push started in 2009 to make Topeka safer for bicyclists, it seemed like an uphill climb. However, he said with the Complete Streets resolution passed that same year by the Topeka City Council, acceptance for a variety of transportation has steadily grown throughout Topeka.
“It’s a lot safer to be able to get around when you have streets that are marked for bicycles,” Krumins said of the recent progress made by the Complete Streets and Bikeways council in the past several years. “We still have some education to do and get people up to speed on what has already happened, but we’re really very excited about it.”
The gifts for the Topeka USD 501 bike program and bikeways signage were presented during the Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods meeting Monday at Lake Shawnee. Several Shawnee County partner organizations reported on progress they have made in the past year and plans for 2016 on a variety of health-based initiatives.
Also during Monday’s meeting, John Calbeck, the outgoing chairperson for Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods, announced the Wichita-based Kansas Leadership Center is donating $50,000 of in-kind funds for 2016 strategic planning by the Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods partner organizations.
“They’ve (Kansas Leadership Center) been a major supporter of us the whole time,” Calbeck said.