Congratulations are due to WTI and the City of Bozeman, recently selected for a Community Challenge grant awarded by the American Association for Retired People (AARP). WTI partnered with the City to submit a proposal for a traffic calming project, which will include pedestrian crossings, curb extensions, and traffic circles. It will build on ongoing efforts of the partnership and neighborhood groups to test and evaluate temporary calming projects for effectiveness and public acceptance.
The AARP Community Challenge project awarded nearly $1.6 million to “quick-action” projects across the country, focusing on community projects that make immediate improvements or help jumpstart long-term progress. Bozeman was one of only 159 projects to be selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 1600 applications. In 2017, the City of Bozeman, WTI and their other partners received an AARP Community Challenger grant for the Mobile Pop-up Project Trailer.
“We’re very excited to have continued support from the Livable Communities initiative at AARP,” said WTI Project Assistant Dani Hess, who led the award submission effort. “It’s great to see these short-term projects move towards longer term improvements with support from the City of Bozeman and the neighborhood groups who took initiative to make their streets friendlier for all.”
Could a scenic bikeway attract more bicycle tourists to the parks, historic sites and other attractions in your area? Is your agency responsible for operating and maintaining a rural road where a bikeway is proposed? A new resource is now available that can help agencies that oversee rural roads develop safe routes that enhance bicycle travel networks.
Designating Scenic Bikeways: A Framework for Rural Road Owners is a U.S. Federal Highway Administration toolkit developed by WTI, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Association of Oregon Counties. This toolkit is intended not only to help Oregon agencies navigate the scenic bikeways designation process, but to assist other land management agencies, road owners, and bicycle proponent groups to work together to develop bikeways.
Resources in this guide will help project partners to:
- Identify and discuss key factors for making decisions about bikeway designations,
- Address common concerns such as safety, liability, funding and maintenance,
- Communicate effectively with bicycle groups, road owners and the public, and
- Follow a clear process for developing bikeway designation programs.
“As bicycle travel and tourism continue to grow in popularity across the country, more communities are working to attract bicycle tourists to spend money in their area,” said Principal Investigator Rebecca Gleason; “At the same time, agencies that oversee these rural roads are concerned about the safety of people biking on roads that may have active logging and that lack maintenance funds. We hope this new resource will help balance the opportunities presented by scenic bikeways with the concerns of the agencies responsible for operating and maintaining these rural roads.”
Designating Scenic Bikeways: A Framework for Rural Road Owners is available on the project page of the WTI website.
Two intersections in downtown Bozeman have unusual new inhabitants – brightly colored trout that swim and leap through a water mural painted right on the street.
Neighbors, volunteers, and educators helped create the installation, which is intended as a traffic calming measure to slow down cars traveling through this residential neighborhood. It is the most recent project in an ongoing collaboration by the City of Bozeman and WTI to test temporary, low cost strategies in areas where neighbors express concerns about speeding vehicles. In this case, the installations are located on South Church Street at the Olive Street and Bogert Place intersections, near popular pedestrian destinations including the library, Bogert Park, and Peets Hill. “This is an area that will benefit a lot from these little design features,” WTI project assistant Dani Hess said. “It creates a visual narrowing that makes it a little harder to just cruise through here.”
WTI and the City of Bozeman have implemented other types of temporary calming projects. Recently, they worked with the Lindley Park neighborhood group to install traffic circles on Cypress Street, which are intended to slow down vehicles driving by Lindley Park during events. Local businesses donated plants for both projects – Cashman’s, Vissers, Gallatin Valley Greenhouses at Bogert, and Greenspace Landscaping at Lindley.
Earlier in 2019, partners installed pop-up traffic circles near the Fairgrounds, and in the Cooper Park and Valley Unit neighborhoods. Last year, WTI also worked with the City of Helena on a similar project. These projects have recorded reductions in traffic speeds ranging from 2% to 14%.
The educators who joined in on the painting projects have been in Bozeman participating in the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program. High school and community college STEM teachers spend six we
eks learning about transportation research and technology, and then translate it into curriculum to take back to their classrooms.
The Public Lands Transportation Fellows program has welcomed its first fellow for 2019-2020! In early July, Naomi Firemen arrived at the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex for training in her new position. The Complex encompasses three individual wildlife refuges in the Virginia/Washington D.C. area. Most of Naomi’s work will focus on improving transportation options at the Occoquan Bay NWR, a 600-acre refuge that is home to many migratory species and is currently expanding its facilities for visitors. She will also explore opportunities to enhance transportation between Occoquan Bay and the other two refuges within the complex.
The Public Lands Transportation Fellows (PLTF) program provides fellowships to outstanding masters and doctoral graduates in a transportation-related field. Fellows have the unique opportunity to work at a federal land unit to plan or implement a project addressing visitor transportation issues for approximately one year.
Photo Caption: (left to right) Carl Melberg, USFWS Region 5 transportation coordinator; Amanda Daisey, USFWS PRNWRC Project Leader; Nathan Beauchamp, USFWS Transportation Program Analyst; Naomi Fireman, PRNWRC PLTF; Jaime Sullivan, PLTF Manager; Laura Whorton, USFWS Branch Chief of Transportation and Data Management; and Phil Shapiro, STC.
SURTCOM Director David Kack traveled to Columbus, Ohio last week for the National Regional Transportation Conference, which is hosted by the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). David caught up with Lonnie Hunt (center) and Bob Bashaw (right) from the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG), which partnered with WTI and SURTCOM on a project to create a voucher program in five counties in southeast Texas. Natalie Villwock-Witte was the PI for the DETCOG project, which won a 2019 Excellence in Regional Transportation Award from the NADO Research Foundation and Rural Planning Organizations of America (RPO America). In total, WTI worked with the NADO Research Foundation on three projects: the DETCOG project; a transit feasibility Study for Lebanon, Missouri (also led by Natalie); and a feasibility study for a commuter transit service between Cortez and Durango, Colorado (led by David). WTI staff Karalyn Clouser, Laura Fay and Rebecca Gleason also contributed to these projects.
The National Center for Rural Road Safety will host a free webinar on “Rural Multimodal Planning” on Thursday June 20 at 11 a.m. (Mountain Time).
This webinar will explore why and how rural communities and small towns should apply more multimodal planning. It will describe current demographic and economic trends that are increasing demands for walking, bicycling and public transit in rural communities; then it will present specific policies and programs that can help create more diverse and efficient transport systems. This presentation is based on research described in the report, “Rural Multimodal Planning” (www.vtpi.org/rmp), and related documents. To learn more and to register, check out the webinar announcement.
The Bozeman Commuter Challenge kicked off on June 1 with Bike Week. Staff from WTI and the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Design Team enthusiastically joined in by leaving their cars at home and cycling to work!
The Challenge runs through June 30, so it’s not too late to join. Log your bike, walk, bus, or carpool trips all month long! Are you signed up at bozemancommute.org? Head there to register, and check out how it works by reading the Challenge FAQs.
It’s on folks! The Bozeman Commuter Challenge kicked off on June 1 and runs through June 30. Log your bike, walk, bus, or carpool trips all month long! Are you signed up at bozemancommute.org? Head there to register, and check out how it works by reading the Commuter Challenge fact sheet.
For the first week, check out the daily activities for Bike Week. Lots of local businesses will be offering free coffee, snacks or other surprises during morning or evening commute hours.
WTI is a partner with the Bozeman Commuter Project for this event, so let’s do our part!