Meeting with the Airport & Transportation Commission

Today the Airport & Transportation Commission met for the first time since November. We were given 10 minutes to make our case. I asked a few people to come and say who they were and how they use Boundary. I also asked them to give a little information about Boundary. Dean mentioned the deer that are always being hit. Andrea said she uses it to run. Jen explained that Boundary is the only way to access several popular running & bicycling loops. Michelle said she sees at least a half dozen people walking & bicycling every day when she walks her dog. And I, of course, bicycle for transportation and I live on Boundary so I use it daily by bicycle. Having everyone talk about the different ways they use Boundary and what they observe made a very strong statement. I had copies of the handout (below) for all the commission members, and I also gave the Chair a copy of all the petition signatures, the MoDOT traffic study report, and the web pages I had cited. I felt slightly redundant because they could read the bullet points as well as listen to me say essentially the same thing, but it was important to stick to what was in the handout because there were commission members not present. If I said something that wasn't in the handout, those members would not get that information. The Chair thanked me for the research I had done. It only then occurred to me that probably most people don't research an issue to death before coming before a Commission or City Council. But I can't imagine not knowing my topic thoroughly before presenting it. Especially when I want them to take action on it! He asked if we'd considered bringing this to City Council. I said I thought that was probably the next step, and what did he recommend? He said the Commission will discuss it and then make a recommendation to the Council. He also said they would like to hear from the opposition first. Fair enough! I felt the presentation went really, really well. We made a good impression. We had a strong argument, we behaved and spoke respectably. The Handout When we moved to Kirksville in June 2010, I was amazed at how many cyclists, joggers and walkers used Boundary despite the fast traffic and lack of shoulders. People bike, walk, and run on Boundary for transportation, fitness, and recreation. Many people are concerned about speeding traffic on Boundary. We circulated a petition urging Kirksville City Council and MoDOT to work with area residents to find a real solution to the problem of drivers driving too fast for safety on Boundary/ Hwy H. We collected: • 187 signatures, including 29 on the e-petition, and at least 127 from Kirksville residents. • Signatures from people who live on Boundary/ Hwy H or Rainbow Basin. • Signatures from people who use Boundary by car, bike or foot. • Signatures from people who want to use Boundary by bike or foot but are afraid of the traffic. Facts about Boundary/ Hwy H • Boundary/ Hwy H is a MoDOT road. • The 55 mph speed limit extends into city limits. MoDOT listens to the City. • Residents on Boundary north of La Harpe complain that drivers fail to observe the 35 mph speed limit. How a MoDOT Traffic Study Works • 100 cars are counted. The speed at which the fastest 15 cars, or the 85th percentile, are traveling at or above is the recommended speed limit. • The 85th percentile was 54 mph. So, MoDOT thinks 55 mph is a good speed limit for this road. • A reduction in speed limit is warranted for every 10 pedestrians per hour. No pedestrians were observed. Why we are concerned with the MoDOT traffic study • The day & time—1:40 p.m. on Tuesday before Thanksgiving—saw neither typical nor high traffic (the most dangerous period for bike/ped). • MoDOT did not observe any bike/ped traffic, but we know there is bike/ped traffic. • The “85th percentile” is a moving target that changes in response to posted speed limits (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Dec 2009). • The Federal Highway Administration suggests the 85th percentile be used as a starting point and be adjusted based on other factors—factors which include pedestrian activity and crash history (Engineering Speed Limits, Federal Highway Administration). What can we do? • Reduce the speed limit and install Bike Route signs • Increase enforcement of speed limits on Boundary • Add shoulders and bike path