Mick Cornett Asks House To Support Walking/Bicycling Funding

OKC Mayor Mick Cornett

Mick Cornett, Republican Mayor of Oklahoma City along with Eugene A. Conti, Jr., Secretary of Transportation, N.C. and Steve Heminger, Exec. Dir., Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission have written an editorial in The Hill urging the House to reconsider many of the controversial measures in the current transportation bill including the removal of funding for both walking and bicycling initiatives.  After thanking the House for restoring funding to public transportation and asking for an effective bridge repair plan, the editorial goes on to ask the House to restore both Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancement funding:

We also would like to see House leaders restore dedicated funding for programs that make local communities safer for bicycling and walking. Given what a tiny share of the transportation budget it represents, we can’t see any advantage in killing these programs. But we see a lot of good in continuing to help towns revitalize their Main Streets and connect neighborhoods to make it safer for kids to walk or bicycle to school, getting some exercise in the process.

Many of the more dangerous roads for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists alike in our communities are federal-aid highways. House leaders have said fixing these unsafe conditions is a local problem, or a frill we can do without. We strongly disagree, and we urge them to restore dedicated funds for this purpose.

via View from beyond the Beltway: Pass a bipartisan transportation bill – The Hill’s Congress Blog.

I take it as a personal relief to know that there is real support for walking and cycling in OKC city government.  While I don’t always agree with how the city implements and maintains its cycling and walking infrastructure, I think the mayor and city council should be thanked for being dedicated to the process of making Oklahoma City a better place for active transportation.


Oklahoma Legislative Update

Oklahoma Capital Building Topaz

Photo By: George Thomas

With the end of the legislative session, we now can report on the final disposition of the four major cycling bills that were being considered this year:

  • SB443: Requires bicycle safety questions on the driver’s license exam.
    Passed and signed by the governor.
  • HB2049: Designates Route 66 as the Historic Route 66 Bike Trail.  Originally, the bill only partly covered Route 66, but in the end it was expanded to cover the entire length.
    Passed and signed by the governor.
  • SB487: Would have allowed for  an optional $5 donation during driver’s license renewals to go for bicycle safety education.
    Died waiting for final vote after reconciliation.
  • SB951: Probably the most important bill in this year’s session would have clarified the 3-foot rule and would have increased penalties for people throwing objects at cyclists.
    Died in Senate Subcommittee.

Oklahoma City Council Conducts Public Hearing on Bicycle Ordinance Changes

Sorry folks, but I’m back to playing catch up.  Firstly, the Oklahoma City Council is holding the public hearing phase on the major changes to the city’s bicycle ordinances.  The meeting is occurring today starting at 8:30 AM in the City Council Chamber on the 3rd floor of 200 N. Walker.

As you can see from the full agenda, there is a lot of ground being covered so I can’t really say when the ordiances will changes will be considered.  If it happens when I happen to have a free moment, I will be live tweeting the discussion at @okcbicyclist.

As previously reported and in brief, these ordiance changes consist of the following:

  1. The proposal would allow cyclists to have full use of the lane on any road designated as a bicycle route.  A bicycle route is a designated piece of a road way primarily consisting of the 200 miles of bike routes laid out in the city’s cycling master plan, not just a road containing a “Share the Road” sign.
  2. In relation to the proposal above, the ordinance would specifically state that a vehicle would be required to fully change lanes to over take the cyclist on designated bicycle routes.  If there is no room, to change lanes, the vehicle would be required to yield to the bicycle as a piece of normal traffic and comply with “all traffic control devices and pavement markings which prohibit lane changes.”
  3. Limits the conditions upon which more than two people can ride upon a bicycle.
  4. Broadens the places where cyclists can park their bicycles on sidewalks.
  5. Limit the use of “tall handlebars” (handlebars taller than 12 inches) except upon recumbent bicycles.

You can read the full list of changes here.


OKC Traffic Commission Considers Broad Changes to City Cycling Ordinances

Today, at 1:30 PM, the Oklahoma City Traffic and Transportation Commission will consider a recommendation to make several large changes to the city’s cycling ordinances.  In brief, the changes consist of the following:

  1. The proposal would allow cyclists to have full use of the lane on any road designated as a bicycle route.  A bicycle route is a designated piece of a road way primarily consisting of the 200 miles of bike routes laid out in the city’s cycling master plan, not just a road containing a “Share the Road” sign.
  2. In relation to the proposal above, the ordinance would specifically state that a vehicle would be required to fully change lanes to over take the cyclist on designated bicycle routes.  If there is no room, to change lanes, the vehicle would be required to yield to the bicycle as a piece of normal traffic and comply with “all traffic control devices and pavement markings which prohibit lane changes.”
  3. Limits the conditions upon which more than two people can ride upon a bicycle.
  4. Broadens the places where cyclists can park their bicycles on sidewalks.
  5. Limit the use of “tall handlebars” (handlebars taller than 12 inches) except upon recumbent bicycles.

The full documentation for the proposed changes by Mr. Randall Entz of the Planning Department, can be found at the Meeting Agenda website: http://www.okc.gov/AgendaPub/meeting.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&docid=30140.  If approved by the Traffic Commission, the proposal would then move to the full city counsel for consideration.  The meeting agenda does allow for public comments from citizens.  The meeting will be held at the City Council Chambers, 3rd Floor, 200 N. Walker.

Thanks to Pete on the OBC Voices mailing list for the heads up.