Review, Revise, and Recommend Transportation and Land Use Policies

Many of the factors that determine whether an environment supports bicycling and walking are beyond the scope of transportation planners and engineers. The proximity between development projects, site design characteristics, and the presence of a bicycle lane serving a large new retail development tends to fall under the land use planning domain.

To complicate matters, different levels of authority and jurisdictions govern transportation and land use planning. Transportation plans are regularly drawn at the regional level, often with input from state departments of transportation. Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are regional entities in larger urban areas, designated by the federal government to conduct transportation infrastructure planning, programming, and coordination. Land use plans, by contrast, are drawn at the municipal or county level.

As a result, regional transportation concerns often conflict with local land use policies, but most nonmotorized travel is local. These separate geographies create obvious conflicts, further highlighting the need for close, ongoing coordination between transportation policies, land use policies and nonmotorized transportation planning.

Transportation policies that can be recommended to support a bicycle plan include:

  • Modifying intersection crossings
  • Identifying gaps in the network of bicycle facilities
  • Identifying streets that are excessively wide and are candidates for road diets (narrowingthe roadway to provide more space for nonmotorized users)
  • Locating areas that need traffic calming improvements
  • Redirecting a portion of parking meter fees, congestion charges or parking fees for bicycle improvements
  • Modifying traffic signal timing
  • Improving non-motorized access to transit stops
  • Requiring that proposed road projects in the TIP be reviewed by bicycle planners
  • Conducting a bicycle impact assessment tool for examining the effects of proposed road projects on bicyclists

For land use, recommended policies include:

  • Requiring that proposed development projects be reviewed by bicycle planners (through a referral program)
  • Encouraging the use of impact fees to pay for bicycle infrastructure or require the concurrent building of bicycle facilities serving the new development
  • Supporting the implementation of easements from developers for future trail development
  • Encouraging the development of areas more conducive to bicycle transport through density bonuses and/or development subsidies
  • Developing small area plans for neighborhoods or specific commercial areas
  • Relaxing minimum parking requirements in areas in which they are unnecessary
  • Replace some car parking spaces with bicycle parking

For more information on additional policies and tools for implementation visit the section Policy and Planning Strategies to Support Bicycling.