Could You Be A Bike Friendly Business?

Posted on: Jan 26, 2016

Bicycle Friendly BusinessesDid you know there aren’t any League of American Bicyclists “Bicycle Friendly Business” in Lawrence. There may be a few that qualify already and don’t know they do.

Why would you want to consider this? Listen to what some people have said:

“By receiving the initial recognition, we were able to justify installing lockers and increasing our overall support of cycling in our workplace.”  —Chuck Krivanek, Human Resources Manager, InterContinental Hotels Group

“The designation [has given] us more influence in advocating for better bicycling infrastructure and benefits that we can ask from our company, the building managers, and local government. After we had gained our BFB designation, we were able to promote bicycling even more at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast topic.” —Michael Barreyro, Volunteer Bicycle Coordinator, SAP Labs – La Crosse

Becoming a BFB benefits your bottom line while also enhancing quality of life in your community. What can you gain by becoming bicycle friendly?

  • Recruitment: attract and retain the best and brightest
  • Increase morale and quality of life for employees
  • Foster a sense of community and camaraderie in workplace
  • Enhance health and wellness bene ts, and reduce costs on healthcare
  • Catalyze a more alert, active, productive workforce
  • Reduce absenteeism
  • Showcase social reponsibility, a commitment to sustainability and reducing environmental footprint
  • Support and expand reliable, consistent transportation, particularly for employees in urban areas
  • Create a culture of wellness
  • Cut transportation spending by company, individual and community
  • Support long-term health benefits, both physical and mental

Sound interesting?  Check out http://bikeleague.org/business

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Lawrence Pedestrian-Bicycle Issues Task Force Issues Recommendations

Posted on: Jan 26, 2016

Lawrence Bike PedThe Pedestrian-Bicycle Issues Task Force has studied the issue of accessible pedestrian and bicycling routes since June 2015.  This 10-member group is now ready to unveil their draft recommendations for the public to review. The full draft recommendations can be found online. There are several ways for residents to have an opportunity to comment on these recommendations:

  • These draft recommendations will be the focus of a study session with the Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday, February 9 at 4:00 p.m. at City Hall, 6 E. 6th Street.
  • The task force will host a public meeting on February 5 from 5:45-6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 6 E. 6th Street.
  • An online survey through Lawrence Listens is also available until February 5.

Draft recommendations and findings

Virtually every Lawrence citizen walks, wheels (with a wheelchair or other mobility device) or rides a bike in the course of a week – walking to school, riding a bike for health, wheeling from a bus stop to the grocery store, etc.  Transportation is a universal need which is why the City of Lawrence’s Pedestrian-Bicycle Issues Task Force has taken an inclusive approach to studying our walking, wheeling and bike-riding environment. The findings and recommendations are geared toward providing additional safety and comfort for all ages and abilities.

“We are looking forward to hearing citizens’ feedback on our report, and what, if anything needs to be added,” said Marilyn Hull, chair of the task force.

The challenge for the city is finding ways to upgrade our pedestrian and bicycle facilities while also working to accommodate increasing volumes of motor vehicle traffic. In the last five years, the city has made notable progress toward this goal, mainly by adding sidewalks and bike facilities during road constructions and reconstructions. Still, the challenges that remain are daunting. Lawrence has 72 linear miles of streets with no sidewalks. The sidewalk maintenance policy is ineffective, resulting in a deteriorating pedestrian network. An unconnected patchwork of bike facilities includes sections that are unwelcoming to anyone who isn’t a confident and fit adult rider.  Many sidewalks don’t provide adequate access for people with disabilities or seniors with mobility limitations.

The task force spent eight months studying these problems and listening to citizen input. The draft report relays their findings and recommends ways for Lawrence to invest in a transportation system that works for everyone.

“What we found through this process is that citizens want the city to make investing in better walking, wheeling and bicycling facilities a priority,” said Hull.  “As a result of our public input and task force discussions, we’ve outlined six recommendations that will continuously improve the city’s pedestrian and bicycle networks between now and 2030.”

Those recommendations include:

  • Recognize that facilities for walking, wheeling and biking are vital parts of a safe transportation system requiring annual public investment through the city’s capital improvement plan.
  • Earmark 0.05% in the 2019 renewal of the infrastructure sales tax to fund standalone bicycle and pedestrian projects, and consider asking voters to approve an additional 0.05% sales tax to fund sidewalk repairs.
  • Continue investing through the capital improvement plan in high quality pedestrian and bicycle facilities built during new road construction and existing road reconstruction projects.
  • Assign and develop staff, and invest in tools needed to provide a coordinated approach to pedestrian-bicycle planning, engineering, community education, encouragement, enforcement and Actively pursue nationally accepted Walk-Friendly and higher Bicycle-Friendly Community designations as roadmaps to progress and points of pride.
  • Create a consolidated transportation commission to advise the city commission and staff on transportation matters.

The task force has also identified implementation priorities for the city to consider. For the pedestrian environment, they are:

  1. Provide safe routes to school (SRTS) by filling gaps, repairing and maintaining sidewalks within the designated SRTS network.
  2. Connect residents to neighborhood destinations by filling sidewalk gaps on arterial and collector streets.
  3. Invest in facilities that provide safer conditions and access for seniors and people with disabilities.

For the bicycling environment, they are:

  1. Complete the Lawrence Loop.
  2. Improve safety on roads with the highest bicycling crash rates.
  3. Develop a highly visible network of bicycle boulevards–existing streets that have been optimized for bicycle traffic. They are a low-cost way to create a connected network of streets with good bicyclist safety.

The task force is very conscious of the many demands and potential limitations imposed on the city’s budget.  We also understand the Lawrence City Commission’s desire to make progress on affordable housing and mental health care.  Affordable housing and affordable transportation go hand in hand.

“The task force recognizes that ultimately the city’s most important role is to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” said Hull.  “The recommendations in this report are a step forward given the city’s current economic constraints. At the proposed rate of investment, it will take time to build a fully accessible community.  The most important things are to make a meaningful start and invest annually.”

The Lawrence City Commission will receive the recommendations at their February 9 Study Session and discuss future steps at that time.

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Is Your Bike Helmet on Correctly?

Posted on: Dec 03, 2015

(This is a repost from the Blog I Love Bicycling)

How To Fit a Bike Helmet

How To Fit a Bike HelmetGetting the right helmet fit is imperative to your safety. Wearing a poorly fitted helmet is almost just as bad as not wearing one at all. A good fitting helmet worn properly will not only help to protect you in the event of a crash but also looks good. There are a few things to know when buying a helmet as well as when wearing it.

Find Your Size

There are two ways to find the right size helmet for your head. The first is measuring the circumference of your head just above your ears. This number, ranging from about 50 to 60 centimeters for the average adult, correlates with different sized helmets. Try the one on where your circumference falls in the range of the helmet size, typically labelled on a sticker on the inside of the helmet.

The second way to find the right size, provided you have an assortment of sizes to choose from, is to just try them on and see how much space is between your head and the helmet. With both methods you don’t want any more than one to two fingers to be able to fit in-between the helmet and your head.

If there’s too much room your head will actually be knocked against the inside of the helmet in the event of impact which can also cause injury. If there’s not enough room, the helmet simply won’t be comfortable and will likely sit too high on your head not protecting you as well as it should.

How to Wear Your Helmet

Now that you have the right sized helmet you need to make sure that you are wearing it properly. Most of today’s helmets are going to have an adjustable mechanism in the rear of the helmet to cinch down the inner retention system to your head. This is going to keep the helmet from moving around.It shouldn’t be overly tight but also shouldn’t be too loose. You should be able to grab a firm hold on the helmet and not have it slide around your head.

The helmet should also be worn in a level position with the front falling no more than one to two finger lengths above your eyebrows. If it’s too far up and more on the back of your head, it won’t protect the front of your head in the event of a fall. If it’s too far forward, you won’t be able to see for one as it will be in your eyes, but it also won’t protect the back of your head.

Adjusting the Buckles

The final but just as important step to making sure your helmet fits properly is to have the straps and buckle positioned correctly. With a new helmet this can often be a challenge as there are four straps that need to be aligned and positioned well to be comfortable as well as safe.

The first step is to release the adjusting plastic pieces on the sides of the helmet. These slide up and down the straps and can be locked in place to hold the strap where it’s supposed to be. Put the helmet on your head and slide the piece up so it falls just below your ear making a Y with one strap going in front of your ear and the other behind. Lock the plastic piece down in place. Then do the same on the other side so it’s even.

Now you need to make sure the buckle is centered under your chain. If the receiving piece of the buckle is too far one way or the other you are going to have to loosen or tighten it by pulling the strap up through the rest of the helmet. This will also move the plastic adjusters on the sides so you may have to readjust them. Once this is centered under your chin, you can then pull the straps tight so they’re snug but not overly tight when the buckle is clipped.

Depending on how much extra strap is left over you can tuck it into the rubber piece that is on most helmets to prevent the strap from dangling. If you do need to shorten the strap, use a pair of scissors and cut accordingly. The real trick comes in taking a lighter and singing the end of the cut piece so it doesn’t fray.

Wearing a helmet is imperative when riding a bike and almost just as imperative is wearing a helmet that fits properly. Getting the right sized helmet for your head along with properly adjusting it will help to ensure that the helmet does its job when the time is less than ideal, i.e. when you have a fall. Your head is much safer and you have the piece of mind that your head is taken care of while wearing a helmet.

 

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Four-block portion of the Lawrence levee trail closed Until 12/31/15

Posted on: Oct 16, 2015

A four-block portion of the levee trail in north Lawrence is closed from the Kansas River Bridge east to the Oak Street boat ramp entrance.  The suggested alternate route for pedestrians is Elm Street.  To the west of the Kansas River Bridge, the levee trail is open and accessible to Highway 24.

The City of Lawrence has closed a section of the levee trail along the Kansas River to allow for construction of the Maple Street Pump Station in north Lawrence. 

This stretch of the trail will be closed until December 31, 2015.  For safety, please do not venture into the construction area and where restricted access signs are posted.   

MSPumpStation_Levee_Closure_Map

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Are You Ready for Walk to School Day Oct 7th

Posted on: Sep 30, 2015

WalktoSchoolDayFlierMark your calendars! Wednesday Oct 7th is the official day that Lawrence Schools are encouraging students to walk or bike to school.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department had a great website with information about finding the best routes to your local school and even has maps.

From the website: “Be Active Safe Routes is a local movement to create safe opportunities for children to bike and walk to and from schools. The goal is to get children moving again and to reverse the growing rate of childhood obesity.

In 1969, approximately 50 percent of children in the U.S. walked or biked to school. Today, fewer than 15 percent do. As a result, kids today are less active, less independent and less healthy.

“The research is pretty clear that kids who walk and bike to school are more active. They will be healthier and perform better in school.” – Community Health Director Chris Tilden.”

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