Public Advocacy for Bicycling

One of GPBC’s objectives is to support those members who wish to take a role in public advocacy for recreational and commuter bicycling in Lincoln and the surrounding region. Over the years club members have been involved with a number of bicycling-related issues in Lincoln:

  • development of the Lincoln pedestrian/bicycle trail system
  • inclusion of bike lanes on some downtown streets as part of the Downtown Master Plan
  • working with the City of Lincoln to apply for designation as a Bicycle Friendly City (which resulted in an “Honorable Mention”)
  • supporting Trail Trek and Bike to Work Week

Lincoln has a wonderful pedestrian/bicycle trail system that is well-supported by the community and city government. The trail system continues to improve with the recent addition of the Elaine Hammer Bridge on the MoPac Trail over North 27th Street. Lincoln has also designated certain less-busy streets as Bicycle Routes and has added bicycle lanes on several downtown streets. However, in recent years some club members have felt that the city’s bicycle policies have been overly focused on trails and recreational cycling and that more could be done by the city to promote bicycle-safety education, on-street cycling, and commuter cycling.

If you would like to get involved with public advocacy of bicycling in Lincoln, some resources and background information are provided below.

Pedestrian/Bicycle Advisory Committee

This committee advises the Mayor, City Council, and the Department of Parks & Recreation on the development of a comprehensive plan for the bicycle and pedestrian network. The group also makes recommendations on the location, needs, designs, safety, and development of policies relating to the use of trails and routes. This committee meets monthly. More information…

Multi-Modal Transportation Plan

In attempting to meet its long term transportation and land use goals, the Lincoln City-Lancaster
County Comprehensive Plan for the Year 2025 recognizes the importance of expanding opportunities
for alternative modes of travel and mobility for all people. The development of the Multi-Modal Transportation Plan occurred over a one year period from July 2003 to June 2004. Aiding in the completion of this study was a 16 member citizen committee.
This committee, named the “Multi-Modal Transportation Task Force,” served as the primary
point of community involvement throughout the study. The Task Force worked closely with members
of local staff and the consultant team in formulating the Multi-Modal Transportation Plan for
the greater Lincoln area. This study focused on public transportation, multi-use paths for pedestrians and bicycles, land use and development, and adminstration and management. The final
report
of this study is available on the Lincoln City website.

Bicycle Friendly Community

The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) sponsors a program through which a city can be recognized as a “Bicycle-Friendly Community.” The League currently uses a tiered award system with Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards.

In 2003, at the suggestion of the Great Plains Bicycling Club (GPBC), Lincoln first applied for recognition, but only received an “honorable mention.” Given Lincoln’s excellent trail system, many Lincoln residents may find this surprising, but the League views off-street trails as only one element of good support for bicycling in a community. While the GPBC did not necessarily agree with the League’s final decision, it certainly agreed with the League that there is a lot more to supporting bicycling as a form of transportation than just having a nice trail system.

After diligent work by City of Lincoln staff and GPBC members, in May of 2012 Lincoln was ranked as a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community. You can view the League’s Fall 2016 report card for Lincoln here.

The N Street Cycle Track was ranked Number 4 in America’s 10 Best New Bikelanes of 2015.

The following documents and links provide some historical context to Lincoln’s efforts to become a Bicycle Friendly Community:

Lincoln BFC Application #1: This is the first application made by Lincoln in a two-step application process. It contains a lot of basic information about the city. After the League accepted this, a second, more detailed application was completed.

Lincoln BFC Application #2: This is the much more extensive document submitted by the city that the League used to evaluate Lincoln. It contains a significant amount of bicycling-specific information. Members and friends of the GPBC worked hard to help the city with the submission of these applications. In addition, several city employees put in quite a bit of work on them as well, especially application #2.

LAB comments/critique and GPBC comments/responses: After the application had been submitted, the League requested that GPBC provide comments on Lincoln’s application to be considered as a Bicycle-Friendly Community (BFC).  Shortly after receiving this request, however, the Club learned that the League had already decided to give the city an “honorable mention” in lieu of an award. This document combines GPBC’s responses to LAB’s questions as well as comments on their critique of Lincoln. This document was distributed to the Multi-Modal Transportation Task Force during its deliberations.