The 2018 Yuma Bikeways Plan establishes a comprehensive framework to guide development of the City’s bicycle facilities that addresses current deficiencies and will accommodate the region’s growth over the next ten years. Feedback from the public indicates the community has a number of distinct values regarding bikeways, which are summarized in the vision statement for the plan: “A unified bikeway network that provides people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to safely ride a bicycle.” This vision will be accomplished through four overarching goals, each expounded upon in a section of this plan: Safety, Convenience, Connectivity, and Promotion. The final section focuses on implementation of the proposed bikeway network improvements, which describes in detail the high-priority projects identified through the detailed analysis provided in this plan. The final pages include a worksheet entitled Measuring Success, which provides a list of performance metrics to track implementation success over time.
Value of Bikeways. Building a connected bikeways network is an investment in Yuma’s future. Bikeways improve the residents’ quality of life, increase business and tourism, conserve resources, and provide a more affordable travel option. Studies have shown a direct correlation between the number of bicycle facilities and the number of users; therefore, an increase in bikeways leads to an increase in users. As the public survey demonstrated, the demand for bikeways in Yuma clearly exists, and the more connected the system, the more useful and popular it will become.
Public Input. An extensive public outreach effort was conducted to inform the plan. The public was invited to participate in the planning process via a public survey, an interactive online map, stakeholder focus groups, and a public meeting. The planning process started with a two-month-long survey and interactive online map open to the general population and conducted from mid-February through mid-April 2018. In addition to the traditional survey questions, respondents were also invited to comment on an interactive map which allowed location-specific comments. Participants commented on existing bikeways, locations for potential bikeways, specific spots where improvements are needed, and destinations they wish to reach by bicycle. Users could also discuss recommendations made by other participants, initiating a dialogue on certain projects. The interactive map proved to be an excellent tool for involving a wide range of the population in a convenient manner with constructive results. The public was also invited to attend a kickoff meeting during which staff presented an overview of the plan and then opened the floor to an informative discussion about safety concerns, potential incentives, and education programs, among other issues. At the meeting, attendees also viewed and commented on maps of the existing and proposed bikeway network. Additionally, planners reached out to specific stakeholder groups to get their input on Yuma’s bikeways. Each stakeholder group had a unique perspective on biking and the specific improvements needed and their concerns and recommendations are addressed in the plan.
Plan Organization. The plan is organized into five sections; the first four sections reflect the overarching goals of the document (Safety, Convenience, Connectivity, and Promotion) and the final section focuses on Implementation.
The final section maps the plan for implementation of the proposed bikeways improvements. One key to success is interdepartmental coordination within the City to ensure that the bikeways system is consistently planned, built, and maintained. Currently, management of the bikeway network falls under several departments; creating a disconnect between planning, design, and maintenance efforts. A key recommendation is to hire a citywide bike coordinator to ensure the various departments are coordinating efforts and working together effectively to build the most efficient bikeway network. The second half of the implementation section prioritizes proposed bikeways based on public input, safety analysis, and overall impact on connectivity. More detail is given for the twenty-eight high priority projects, such as the illustration shown above, and potential funding sources and partnerships are identified for each project. The document ends with a worksheet entitled ‘Measuring Success’, which will be used to track progress of key performance measures. The worksheet will be updated annually and published for public review. The 10-year goals align with targets for Bicycle Friendly Community Silver status communities. One of the appendices to the plan provides a quick reference to see how recommendations of the plan impact each City department.