Active Transportation Policy Platform

To make key issues around walking and biking more prominent in the election, Tri-State Trails has developed our first Active Transportation Policy Platform. With community input, we have compiled an outline of the policies and practices that we believe will improve the systems in which we work to accomplish our mission. Simply put, if the ideas listed below became the new standard for cities in our region, we believe walking and biking for transportation would become safe, accessible, and enjoyable for everyone.

A unified policy platform is needed to overcome political fragmentation in the Tri-State. If we build and connect an arterial network of regional trails and bikeways, it will expand our audience of advocates and increase demand for more infrastructure. There is a spectrum for how these recommendations can be implemented based on the scale and context of the community (e.g. different levels of government or urban, suburban, and rural communities). Additionally, we hope that this policy platform will help empower residents to advocate to their elected officials.

The goal of this policy platform is to educate candidates for elected office about what needs to happen for regional systems-level change to occur, and empower them to be change makers in their communities. We invite all candidates running for elected office to adopt these ideas, policies, and projects into their platform.

Policy Pillars:

1. Plan and implement a connected active transportation network that is safe and accessible for all users.

  • Adopt a Complete Streets policy at every level of government to guide roadway design and development. Make Complete Streets the new standard, and design for all transportation modes in every project possible. Give priority to our most vulnerable road users--people using mobility devices, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
  • Case Studies:
  • Adopt Vision Zero. Take action to end all traffic fatalities and serious injuries, especially people walking and biking.
  • Case studies:
  • Prioritize facilities that are physically separated from car traffic, such as trails, shared use paths, protected bike lanes, and sidewalks.
  • Invest in an active transportation plan for every community. Update it every 5-10 years.
    • Set regional vision at County level, and expand to local, MPO, state level.
    • School Travel Plans for school districts.
    • Tri-State Trails’ Regional Trails Plan is a resource and reference.
    • Case study: Cuyahoga Greenways Plan, OH
  • Start small and test ideas with demonstration projects to justify permanent investment.
  • Optimize multi-modal transportation options. Connect first mile and last mile infrastructure to transit and key destinations like employment centers and business districts.

2. Improve zoning and other regulations that will encourage walking and biking as a viable mode of transportation.

  • Require implementation of the community’s active transportation plan with new developments (sidewalks, share use paths, trail access, etc.). Require new developments to integrate adjacent active transportation facilities into their developments and connect to buildings.
    • Alternatively, require an “in lieu” fee to enable the community to build the facility (or another facility) at a later date.
    • Educate planning commissions and zoning review bodies to empower them to advocate for plan implementation.
    • Case Study: Columbia Pike Special Revitalization Project, Arlington, VA
  • Eliminate or reduce minimum parking requirements.
  • Require bike parking spaces with new developments. Ensure bike parking is high quality and placed properly for maximum visibility and usage.
  • Encourage dense development along regional trail and bikeway corridors.
  • Incentivize bicycling as a viable mode of transportation for residents.

3. Take action to improve equity in our active transportation network.

  • Meaningfully engage underserved and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities in trail and bikeway planning, design, operations, and programming.
  • Prioritize trail and bikeway connections in underserved and BIPOC communities.
  • Legislate to prevent displacement. New trails and bikeways could create gentrification. Require affordable housing in residential developments within a certain proximity to trails and bikeways.
  • Reform traffic enforcement to eliminate racial prejudice. Create a built environment and culture that discourages unsafe driving behaviors.
  • Increase BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ representation on staff of organizations and boards of decision making and funding bodies.

4. Preserve and increase funding sources for investment in walking and biking.

5. Maintain and improve our existing trails and bikeways.

  • Improve physical separation of bike lanes from car traffic (e.g. landscaped median or concrete curbs).
  • Maintain bollards on protected bike lanes. Regularly sweep bike lanes to clear debris. Plow trails and bikeways during the winter season within 24 hours of snowfall or ice freezes.
  • Budget for routine pavement maintenance and repaving so trails and bikeways remain a high quality experience for users.
  • Design and implement a regional signage and wayfinding system for the trail and bikeway network.
  • Invest in amenities and art installations along the trail and bikeway network. Add lighting so they can be used for commuting safely during all hours of the day.
  • Target landscaping and tree planting for existing urban trails to reduce heat islands.

We're open to your feedback.

If there's a topic or idea you think we missed, please send us a note.

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