Sunday, October 12, 2008


It is exciting news that the Mayor has started the data collection phase of the Bike Planning process. Thanks to Ashley (Commentor on this blog) for reminding me that this is something that needs to be spoken about.

Currently, the City is asking members of the community to give input so that data can be compiled for the City's bike lane/route planning. If you ride a bike, thought about doing it, whatever, please follow this link and fill out the questionaire.

From what I have heard there have been literally, hundreds of responses sent in so far and it has only been a week or so since the thing was launched! (A hard copy survey is also in this month's City Utilities bill) That is great to hear.

Let it be known to all of you out there that this is the beginning of something that could be great for this City and all who choose to commute on a bike. But, this survey is just the very beginning. Planning can be a long process, and for good reason. To look at everything involved takes a while. Below is the definition of Planning according to the American Planning Association.

What Is Planning?

Planning, also called urban planning or city and regional planning, is a dynamic profession that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities by creating more convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive places for present and future generations.
Planning enables civic leaders, businesses, and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives.

Good planning helps create communities that offer better choices for where and how people live. Planning helps community members envision the direction their community grow and will help them find the right balance of new development and essential services, protection of the environment, and innovative change.

Planning is done in many arenas and involves professionals who are planners and those who are professionally certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Planners work with elected and appointed officials, such as mayors and planning commissioners, to lead the planning process with the goal of creating communities of lasting value. Planners help civic leaders, businesses, and citizens envision new possibilities and solutions to community problems.

The American Planning Association and its professional institute, AICP, help planners, officials, and citizens better serve their communities by providing research, educational resources, practical advice and tools, and up-to-date information on planning. Planners working with community members help communities meet the challenges of growth and change.

You really start to understand what is involved, who is involved, and what the stakes are after reading the above. Don't you? Lines like, "that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities by creating more convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive places for present and future generations. " I mean that's great stuff! This bike plan could do all of these things.

I will make a confession here that I was a professional Planner in a past life and I am a firm believer that Planning, when done right, can do a great deal to improve the quality of life of the residents of the community. To be honest, I am just so happy that the can of worms has been opened. What do I mean by that you ask? I think that by asking for public input on this subject, the Mayor and the City is now going to gain a much clearer understanding about how many people bike, where they live, where they want to be able to bike to safely, what specific roads they want to do all of this on, etc. (I really feel for the lowley planners that have the job of complilng all of that information!)

Where are you going? Planning takes a while. We need to be patient. I want bike lanes everywhere yesterday too. But chill. It will take months to even compile all of this data! It is okay. This is not going to be a quick win, but, I guarantee you that in 10 years when we all look back as to what happened to get Fort Wayne to be such a bike commuter friendly town, it started with Planning.

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