(Photo courtesy of StreetsBlog)
A little while ago we offered a challenge to Mayor Curtis. While our challenge may have been a little more fun than practical we have recently stumbled across a program (as seen on StreetsBlog) that we think should be adopted by any state looking to improve its’ infrastructure, and quality of life. The program comes out of the state of Michigan and is aptly called “Training Wheels.”
The program takes engineers and key decision makers out for bicycle rides around different cities in the state to analyze bicycle facilities, or lack there of. These tours are conducted from a saddle instead of from behind a windshield, or computer screen. Not only do these key players ride around and see what works and what does not they also get training on bicycle infrastructure planning, and implementation. This includes a review of AASHTO’s Bike/Ped design guides.
Josh Debruyn (Bike/Ped coordinator for MDOT), has noticed that there is a gap in learning between what is learned at the University level and what is needed to have all modes work together. From StreetsBlog,
“Since many planners and engineers have little formal training in bicycling facilities, the program begins with two hours review of the AASHTO bikeway design guide. That is followed by a few hours of “field training.” For this portion, participants don helmets and orange vests and take to the streets on two wheels.”
While there have been a few who have been reluctant to get back on the bike after too many years off of it, MDOT makes sure that everyone feels safe and gets a good education. We think this would be a great program for UDOT to adopt. It could be wrapped up in there very successful Road Respect Tour. At the very least we hope to see something of this nature coming to Provo in the near future. Either way we would suggest that not only AASHTO’s guide be used as education but also the more practical and useful NACTO guide. Looking forward to seeing orange vests and clipboards riding up and down the streets of Provo.