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August 05, 2014 09:55 PM

SF City Council Hears Cycling Improvement Suggestions

Sioux Falls, SD

More officers will be watching out for cyclists in Sioux Falls, but that is only a temporary fix. Avid riders want permanent solutions.

"I propose that my City government do the hard work so that the question 'What is the City doing to improve bicycling safety?' can be answered like this," Michael Christensen said.

To go along with more bike lanes, signs, safety campaigns  and an expansion to the bike trails, the suggestion for a group of city employees to focus only on cycling in the city is a change riders are backing the most.

"Bicycle and pedestrian program managers are common to many U.S. Cities and along with other transportation planners and bicycling advocates, they're a critical part of creating a bicycle-friendly community," Chris Parsley said.

Cities rated as the best cycling communities in the country, such as Minneapolis and Portland, have a biking coordinator in charge of making the city safer for riders. In terms of cost, it wouldn't all be on the city's dime.

"80% of the cost of a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator can come from federal funds such as the surface transportation program or the congestion mitigation and air quality improvement program. So, the city would only be on the hook for 20% of that person's salary," Parsley said.

"It definitely is a great return on investment and a great community attraction for business," Marilyn Zimmerman said.

No matter what changes are made, riders all agreed that in the wake of this summer's high number of serious crashes, changes need to come sooner rather than later.

"We need to invest in the five categories of bicycling friendliness- engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation," Parsley said.

While these suggestions weren't anything official, they were able to pass the point along to council members that inaction on cycling improvements would be a poor move for a city that continues to grow.

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