MAJOR FUNDING FOR LAWRENCE BICYCLE TRANSPORTATION ON HORIZON
In a lead up to the Lawrence KS budget hearings, Sustainability Action launched an effort to get full funding for a safe and efficient bicycle transportation system. A slide presentation by S.A.N.’s “Bicycle & Alternative Transportation Program” was well received by the City Commission on 13 May 2014. The Commission expressed interest in making more money available by increasing the property tax mil levy and/or sales tax. Sustainability Action also thinks it wise to consider increasing the transient guest tax, a tax paid by visitors to Lawrence for their stay at local hotels and motels.
For 38 years, Lawrence has developed plan after plan for bicycle facilities, but for the most part the plans remain greatly underfunded. Of the typical spending by Lawrence for all transportation modes, less than 1% has gone to bicycle infrastructure. For the next 28 years, the Transportation 2040 Plan calls for 0.82% of an annual $41 million total be spent on bicycle AND pedestrian facilities, or only $464,000 per year. It’s no wonder our existing bicycle network is fragmented, confusing, and unsafe. Unless funding priorities change dramatically, the future doesn’t look any better.
Citizens can make their voice heard now. This could prove to be a watershed moment for Lawrence bicycle transportation. Sustainability Action is proposing that Lawrence budget 10% of all transportation revenues, or $2 million per year, for a build-out of the bicycle system. We are also proposing that Lawrence hire a professional bicycle transportation engineer who has the expertise to design the system components, a position in the Public Works Department on equal footing with the motor vehicle streets engineer.
To read the specifics of the Sustainability Action budget proposal, click here – $2 million a year for bicycle transportation in Lawrence proposed by Sustainability Action.pdf.
To view the Sustainability Action slide presentation, click here – Lawrence Bicycle Transportation Budget Plan PPT_13May14.
We encourage you to support this through the budget process and make your voice heard. The first Commission study session will be Tuesday, 20 May, at 3:30pm at City Hall. That will be followed at 6:30pm with the Commission meeting, where the public can provide input. More information on the budget calendar can be found at – http://www.lawrenceks.org/budget – when there, scroll down for details about the 2015 budget.