Infrastructure

Bikes, Pedestrians Will Be Represented in North Dakota Transportation Plan

The plan, more than a year in the making, is also aimed at providing guidance to cities around disruptive transportation technologies.

by Tom LaVenture, The Jamestown Sun / July 26, 2018

(TNS) — Residents in Jamestown, N.D., added their ideas to a second draft plan of the statewide active and public transportation plan on Monday, helping to incorporate pedestrian, bicycling and other shared use of state and U.S. highways.

The plan, called ND Moves, started a year ago to bring nonmotorized transportation into the overall vision for the North Dakota transportation system, said Steve Mullen, a project manager with the Department of Transportation. The plan provides guidance for state planning but is also useful for cities like Jamestown that have state and U.S. highways going through town, he said.

"We look at traffic, speed and other roadway characteristics to help us define use," Mullen said. "We designed it to help people feel safe as well as be safe."

There is an urgency for the plan based on the growth of disrupting technologies such as automated cars and electric bikes that go 200 miles on a charge, Mullen said. The millennial generation has fewer licensed drivers and car owners, he said.

"I think it's going to dramatically change in the next 20 years," Mullen said.

Jamestown City Councilman David Steele said he and his wife go on lengthy bike trips in western North Dakota. There are 400 miles of trails with markings and places to camp in small communities along the way, he said.

"I'd like to see things where we'd have routes that connect all the town's parks," Steele said.

Wade Kline, a transportation planner with Kadrmas Lee & Jackson, an engineering firm in West Fargo, said the transportation plan will now provide options for cities to connect existing trails, bike lanes and sidewalks where they interact with highways. Markings, road stripes or separate lanes can run with or parallel to roads for bikes and pedestrians, he said.

The options are based on an analysis of traffic volumes, lanes, speeds and crash data between vehicles and pedestrians and cyclists, he said. The plan recognizes the local transportation plan and provides feasible options for communities that cannot afford that kind planning, he said.

"The key really is that we want to have continuous pedestrian facility along the state highway system in urban areas," Kline said. "That is a lofty goal because there is a lot of state highway in communities around the state."

©2018 The Jamestown Sun (Jamestown, N.D.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.