2/27/2016 – BCC Public Comment on Bike and Ped Safety

I had the opportunity to talk to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners about an initiative I am starting during public comment. The initiative is to make the area within 5 miles of UCF bike and pedestrian friendly. Here is my public comment. Watch the whole video as you will also hear Commissioner Edwards talk about plans to improve the roads as well as Mayor Jacobs talk about bike commuting.

There is already a project underway between Orange County, UCF and MetroPlan focused on bike and pedestrian safety on University and Alafaya and that is wonderful. It is a great step in the right direction. I would like to take this one step farther and not only focus on those two roads but all the roads surrounding UCF. And with that enhance the roadways to provide better connectivity for bicycle commuting.

The whole purpose of this is to get people out of cars and onto bicycles. It seems monumental but I really think with a few people focused on this, it can be done. The initial focus audience would be UCF students. Can you imagine if only a fraction of the students would choose a bike over cars? It would reduce congestion on the roads as well as parking issues at UCF.

So how do we get people out of cars and onto bikes. You certainly can’t force them and there is nothing more convenient than walking out your front door, getting into your car and having the freedom to go wherever you want. In addition, it is just not considered “cool” right now to ride a bike. Why would anyone choose a bike over a car? It really makes no sense when you have the convenience of cars. The way I see it the only way to solve this problem is to make bike travel more convenient than cars.

Then another issue is where does a student who lives in an apartment put a bike. Space is a premium. Many don’t live on the first floor so they would have to carry a bike up stairs which isn’t going to happen. And if they leave the bike on a bike rack it will be stolen or parts stolen. How does this problem get solved?

Believe it or not all of these problems are solvable and have been solved in other countries and even in other states. A university setting such as ours is perfect for these innovative ideas and can pay huge dividends if implemented. We just have to roll up our sleeves and get to work. More to come on this.

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Posted in Bike and Pedestrian Safety, McCulloch Road, UCF.