The City of Oklahoma City will participate in its 13th annual Bike-to-Work Day Friday, May 18th as staff prepare the comprehensive plan called BikeWalkOKC for improving walking and cycling accessibility for metro residents.
It will be the 13th straight year for the city to participate in the annual emphasis on using cycling as a regular means to transportation to and from work happens on the third Friday in May each year.
This year, cyclists will have coffee and breakfast waiting for them at the Myriad Gardens provided by Junction Coffee between 7:15 and 9 a.m. courtesy of the Downtown OKC Partnership.
Businesses in downtown and midtown will be offereing discounts and other incentives for cyclists during lunch according to the city staff.
Caleb Savage rides his bike about 3.5 miles every day to work at Clarity Coffee downtown because work begins for him before the first EMBARK run on his route. But on the way home he takes EMBARK and uses the bike rack on the front of the buses.
While many currently believe it’s not safe to ride core city streets, Savage does not.
“I use mostly streets that are below 40 mph, so most of the time I’m on 20-30 mph roads, so I feel safe,” said Savage.
“However, I’ve found in this community, just because I feel safe doesn’t mean everybody feels safe.”
So, he thinks that creating many more bike lanes and surrounding infrastructure for walkers and cyclists would be “phenominal.”
Referring to the 10-year plan by the city, Savage and others who are promoting cycling and walking want to see the first rounds of development go to parts of the city that need them them most as opposed to the parts of the city that may want them the most.
Friday, May 18 will be an especially significant day because the city is considering a plan called BikeWalkOKC that is funded by the Federal Highway Department and the Better Streets, Safer City bond package.
The Oklahoma City Planning Commission approved the plan in April and it was presented to the City Council after that. The Council could vote on the measure at its May 22 meeting. However, it will not be certain until the agenda has been posted.
A survey conducted while the city’s Planning Department was developing the plan showed that residents are not confident in the current state of conditions in the city, but think better conditions are important.
Less than 10 percent rated conditions satisfactory.
But, 90 percent felt that having good conditions were somewhat or very important.
Reasons they gave were:
- Lack of Connectivity
- Unsafe crossing
- Aggressive motorists
- Unmaintained infrastructure
In response, four major goals were developed.
- Walking and cycling is safe in Oklahoma City.
- Greater numbers of people are walking and cycling for transporation
- Neighborhoods are connected to jobs, public transit, commercial districts, schools, and parks.
- Barriers to walking and cycling are removed.
Eventually, according to the plan, the city will have a city-wide network that will incorporate public transit, bikes, walkers and automobiles.