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Davis

Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

City of Davis bike plan aims for diamond certification

The City of Davis, one of the most bike-friendly cities in California according to the League of American Bicyclists (LAB), is looking to improve upon that status even further by taking the Diamond Challenge along with other cities across America.

“The City of Davis was working with the League of American Bicyclists to redesign the bike-friendly community program. We did that along with Boulder and Portland and we said ‘How can we encourage these platinum level cities to take it to the next level?’” said Dave “DK” Kemp, the City of Davis’ active transportation coordinator.

The LAB rates cities across America on a basis of ridership, safety and education on a scale which includes the ratings of bronze, silver, gold, platinum and now diamond.

“The diamond status is new since the end of 2012, which is the new frontier of the bicycle-friendly America program in trying to create that bicycle friendly America for everyone,” said Liz Murphy, the communications manager for the League of American Bicyclists.

According to the LAB the criteria to obtain the Diamond Certification is specific to each city. Each city receives an audit detailing what can be improved and laying out more specific goals with five, 10 and 15-year benchmarks.

“The primary measure to Diamond designation: The number of people riding and citizen satisfaction,” said the LAB website.

Kemp said that the community is ready for new projects and programs like the ones proposed in the Beyond Platinum Plan. This plan outlines the new goals for the community as well as gives analyses of the city in its current state and details how it can be improved to meet its new goals. The plan will be up for adoption in February.

The plan can be divided into two subdivisions. The first is programs which include education, enforcement and encouragement. The second piece is infrastructure, which focuses on signing, striping and marking. Additionally, the plan illustrates the implementation of a bike park which would be a city-maintained facility in which riders could build skill and confidence on bikes.

One of the projects detailed in the bike plan has already begun to take shape. This is a bike share that would promote the use of bicycles as part of daily commuters’ routine in addition to the use of public transit.

Another project which has recently received grant funding is a way finding project that would increase signage around the city.

According to Kemp, there will be a variety of mechanisms for funding the plan which includes grants and funding from the city.

“Primarily because of our recent success, we’ll be able to utilize some external sources. Simultaneously [we] will be looking at [an] ongoing pavement maintenance program and looking at additional local funds for specific programs that wouldn’t be accomplished by the pavement maintenance program,” Kemp said.

The pavement maintenance program includes upkeep of the paved surfaces around the city. Kemp said that when different roads undergo maintenance, striping and marking can be implemented at the same time. The remainder of the needed funds would be supplemented by the City of Davis.

The Ride Walk Davis Campaign, which seeks to increase ridership, is estimated to cost $40,000 per year and signing and striping is estimated to cost $80,000 per year; however, to apply for the diamond status is free. According to Murphy, it is funded by Trek Bicycles.

Ultimately the goal of the plan is to increase ridership to aid in reaching the city’s climate action goals.

Currently, 20 percent of Davis’ population bikes to work and 27 percent bikes to school; there has yet to be an evaluation on what percentage bikes for shopping, dining and running errands. The Beyond Platinum Plan aims to increase ridership overall by 30 percent by 2017.

As for the University, Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) and the Bike Committee are collaborating with the city to provide bicycle ambassadors to help students find their way, change a flat tire or assist with safety, according to TAPS Bicycle Program Coordinator David Takemoto-Weerts.

“This is the first bike plan to marry the city’s objectives with the league’s [LAB] objectives,” Kemp said.

The city plans to reapply for the diamond certification by 2017 and become the first city in the nation to gain the highest status.

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