Ottawa, Kansas is asking for our input about bike/ped issues in their city.
If you live, work, or recreate in Ottawa (or plan to), please provide your feedback. Remember that Ottawa is home to both the Flint Hills Nature Trail and the Prairie Spirit Trail, so they see quite a lot of bicycling and pedestrian activity, and will continue to see more as the trails become more popular. Note also that the city is home to a substantial student population at Ottawa University, who may not have access to automobiles, or who may prefer not to drive.
According to the city’s web site:
The City of Ottawa is undertaking a comprehensive study to identify bicycle and pedestrian mobility needs throughout our community. There is a direct correlation between walking and bicycling with economic development, community attractiveness and community health. Connecting our community to make it easy, safe and desirable to walk or bicycle, in addition to driving, can improve upon the quality of life in Ottawa. These types of investments enhance the attractiveness of the community and create a desirable place to live, work, shop, and obtain an education. Furthermore, these investments create a catalyst and provide opportunities for attracting new development. A key goal of this effort is to understand the community’s needs and priorities. Understanding your needs will assist the City in prioritizing potential pedestrian and bicycle improvements along with updating our roadway design standards to better reflect our community’s goals.
Please take a few moments to provide your feedback to help make Ottawa more bicycle friendly!
FYI, these are some points you may want to make:
- Finishing the Flint Hills Nature Trail through Ottawa should be the highest priority. Ottawa is at the crossroads of the Flint Hills Trail and the Prairie Spirit Trail, so connecting the two is important, both for residents and tourists.
- The city of Ottawa should provide a place for users of the two trails to set up a tent overnight. Forest Park would be the ideal locale, as it’s near the intersection of the trails, and already has plenty of space and facilities.
- The city should set a good example by providing bike racks downtown, and at city offices. The city should strongly encourage adequate bicycle parking at businesses. Perhaps bicycle parking requirements should be part of the municipal code, in the same way that automobile parking requirements are.
- Ottawa Municipal Code Section 8-109 says:
It shall be unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle, motorcycle or moped upon paths for
pedestrians within City parks unless such person, upon meeting any pedestrian, shall stop
such bicycle, motorcycle or moped and dismount until such pedestrian has passed and
such person shall not again mount such bicycle, motorcycle or moped until entirely past
It’s pretty silly to expect a bicyclist to dismount every time they meet a pedestrian on a path. This antiquated law should be repealed.
- Ottawa Municipal Code (Sec. 13-200) prohibits riding bicycles (and skateboards, roller skates, etc.) on sidewalks in the downtown business district. Here’s the sign in Ottawa:
The sign indicates that no bicycles are allowed on the sidewalk. This is misleading. Bicycles may not be ridden on the sidewalk, but they may be walked along the sidewalk, or parked on the sidewalk. The misleading signs should be fixed.
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