Bicycle / Pedestrian Activities
Active Transportation is any self-propelled, human-powered mode of transportation such as walking, bicycling, roller-blading, skating, or cross-country skating, or cross- country skiing and accessibility for wheelchairs, walkers, strollers or other human-powered wheeled devices. Investing in bicycle and pedestrian facilities creates opportunities for people to exercise. This helps reduce obesity and the risks of developing costly chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Many Americans view walking and bicycling within their communities as unsafe due to heavy traffic and a scarcity of sidewalks, crosswalks, and bicycle facilities. Improving these elements could encourage active transportation such as children biking to school or employees walking to work. Safe and convenient opportunities for physically-active travel also expand access to transportation networks for people without cars, while also spurring investment in infrastructure to increase the comfort of the on-road experience to improve the appeal of active modes to all people.
SIMPCO assists member communities in developing and implementing Active Transportation. SIMPCO staff is currently a member of the Active Transportation Advisory Committee for the City of Sioux City. And with the University of Iowa, Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, oversaw the development of the Sioux City Active Transportation Plan. SIMPCO has also written an Active Transportation Plan for the City of Remsen located in Plymouth County, Iowa. Funding to develop Active Transportation Plans may be available through the SIMPCO Metropolitan Planning Organization or Siouxland Regional Transportation Planning Association (SRTPA)
Bike to Work Day
SIMPCO helps organize the annual Bike-To-Work-Day in conjunction with the League of American Bicyclists National Bike-to-Work-Day. This day is dedicated to encouraging people to try riding their bike to work, rather than using a vehicle. Bike-to-Work-Day is typically the third Friday in May. Past community partners in planning the event include:
- Siouxland District Health Department
- Sioux City Blue Zones
- City of Sioux City
- Albrecht’s Cycle Shop
- Siouxland Trails Foundation
- Siouxland Cyclists
- Downtown Partners.
More details on the event will be provided as they become available.
SIMPCO is assisting in the development of the proposed PlyWood Trail, which would connect the communities of Sioux City, Hinton, and Le Mars with a recreational trail. A trail foundation has been formed to complete the project. The PlyWood Trail’s website is located here.
SIMPCO has worked to provide bike racks around the metropolitan area. These racks provide convenient places for cyclists to park their bikes. The bike racks are located in popular destinations around the area. Several bike racks were designed in creative and artistic ways in order to also serve a decorative function. A map with the decorative bike rack locations can be found by clicking here.
MPO Bicycle/Pedestrian Roundtable
SIMPCO’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Roundtable is a group of staff, community partners, advocates, and residents that meet regularly to discuss and plan for improved bicycle and pedestrian policies throughout the Siouxland area.
Efforts that the Roundtable has previously participated on include:
- Temporary park-lets and bicycle lanes in downtown Sioux City
- Walking School Bus/Safe Routes to School
- Mayor’s Challenge for Safer Streets
- Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities
- Bicycle Friendly Employer Award
- Bike Racks on Buses
- Bike to Work Day
- Trail advocacy
- Blue Zones
Safe Routes to School Programs
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs are sustained efforts by parents, schools, community leaders, public health, and metropolitan planning organizations to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school.
Successful SRTS programs include policy development, planning, and implementation of strategies such as improvements to streets and sidewalks, education and encouragement of children and parents, and increased enforcement of traffic laws. The program can include:
- Walkability and bike-ability audits on safe routes
- Strategies to improve sidewalk conditions on identified safe routes
- Traffic calming devices to slow traffic and give pedestrians priority
- Educating children on walking and bicycling safety
- Challenging students to walk and bike to school
- Implementation of a walking school bus
SIMPCO will provide technical assistance to schools/communities that are interested in starting a SRTS program.