Saturday, June 01, 2013

Proposed Pedestrian and Bicycling Fund

Goodmorning, Everyone.

This morning, Saturday, check out the Times-Call's website they've put together a brief article explaining the proposed Pedestrian and Bicycling Fund we've been working on.

The Pedestrian and Bicycling fund is something Bicycle Longmont has put together in collaboration with City staff. Together, we think we can raise the bar for biking and walking in Longmont. See below for more details on our proposal.

If you believe in this, please join us Tuesday night at City Council at 7pm. Civic Center, 350 Kimbark Street.

The Pedestrian and Bicycling Fund - What is it?

Bicycle Longmont, together with City of Longmont staff, have been working together, collaboratively, to create a Pedestrian and Bicycling Safety Fund.

The premise is: Cyclists and Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users. And when motorists, cyclists and pedestrians make poor choices, often times there are accidents and injuries.

How do we correct this? By creating a Pedestrian and Bicycling Safety fund - Longmont will have the resources to provide a stable source to change behavior by funding pedestrian, bicycling and driver's education projects and programs. 

The fund's focus is to promote education through existing programs including driver's education, Bicycling safety classes, and by creating or reviving previous programs including a headlight/taillight program, helmet program, educational outreach, bike rodeo's, and funding community identified projects through the Safe Routes to School Programs. 

The fund will also help promote Longmont as a desirable place for active events and make these events safer.

Publicly permitted events concentrate pedestrians/runners and Cyclists on our streets. Event organizers will have the opportunity to apply to the fund. A portion of the fund will be set aside to offset or defray the costs associated with increasing the safety of these on-road events. These include safety barriers, cones, signage, and hiring off-duty police officers and emergency personnel.  

Who pays for this fund? Motorists AND Cyclists who cause accidents. 

This fund is not a tax. 

What is a surcharge?

A surcharge is an amount of money added to a ticket. The surcharge's purpose has to be related to the behavior that is ticketed.  

The fund, as proposed, would add a $10 surcharge to moving violations (tickets) that are written as a result of an accident. Cyclists as well as motorists would be required to pay the surcharge if ticketed. 

The fund would also add a $30 surcharge to tickets received in School Zones or occurring on course, during a publicly permitted event. School zone surcharges would help fund Safe Routes to School programs and to increase safety in School Zones. 

Is this program legal? More research is required. Previously we stated it was legal however after conversations with the City Attorney we've agreed more research is necessary. Having said that, Longmont added a surcharge to some violations to fund the Victim's Advocacy Program. The fund we're proposing uses the same groundwork to create the Pedestrian and Bicycling Safety Fund. 

How much money could be raised for these purposes? 
Last year the City of Longmont Police Department wrote approximately 2,500 tickets that were the result of an accident.  If the $10 surcharge were in place in 2012 the fund would have generated $25,000 for Pedestrian and Bicycling Safety programs. 

Is this really a first for the USA?
Yes, Longmont would be the first city in the USA to fund Bicycling and Walking programs this way. The fund as proposed is based on Washington State's program. Washington has a surcharge added to violations occurring in School Zones. This surcharge is collected by the State and returned through grants (approximately $1 million/year) to municipalities and school districts to make school zones safer.

C'mon, this is Longmont. Is this really necessary?
Bicycle Longmont believes this fund is necessary. Increasingly there are more people riding and walking in Longmont. During recent City studies biking and walking continue to rank in the top 5 most popular ways people get around town. Also, each year a cyclist is killed because he or she was riding on the left (wrongside of the road) or because they didn't know the "rules of the road". We believe creating a fund that supports reaching out to road users, especially cyclists and pedestrians is important and supports the investment and taxes we, the citizens of Longmont, have paid to create our system of streets, bike lanes, trails and greenways. 

The full council communication can be found here: 

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