The City of Flagstaff is seeking public feedback on an upcoming plan to improve walking and biking infrastructure in the city, and have released a draft for public review.
The Active Transportation Master Plan (ATMP) will serve as a detailed guide to enhance multimodal transportation in Flagstaff as the city shifts its focus from single-commuter vehicles, according to city officials.
To meet that goal, officials have drafted the ATMP to include prioritized projects, actions, programs and strategies -- including the goal of establishing a fully functional biking network in the city.
“Over the years there have been a number of city plans that indicate in a general sense a support for walking and biking, starting with Flagstaff’s Region Plan. All of those plans are fairly general in nature and lack some detail in accommodation for pedestrians and bicyclists. The ATMP is really intended to fill in those details,” multi-modal transportation planner Martin Ince said.
The ATMP looks to be “more transformational than incremental,” according to Ince, meaning bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure will be emphasized in future transportation planning.
Ince said the city will look to avoid overbuilding for cars.
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“We are going to pursue a wide range of solutions and provide multiple options for mobility," he said. "When people think of travel choices, not only do they have multiple options, but all of those are good, feasible and legitimate options."
He said the approach will be “well-rounded,” and will consider multiple community objectives and values, such as taking steps to make Flagstaff more environmentally sustainable.
The draft plan includes a number of goals and policies with a high level of support for walking and biking.
Ince said strategies and actions in the plan are organized around six topics: infrastructure; maintenance and operations; support and encouragement; safety; transportation and land use planning; and evaluation.
Addressing future pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, Ince said the plan includes a list of prioritized projects across sidewalks, bikeways, crossings, bridges, tunnels and the Flagstaff Urban Trail System.
The draft asks the city to develop a 20-year program to construct infrastructure improvements using funding from Flagstaff’s voter-approved transportation sales tax and a $5.5 million dollar grant recently awarded to the Mountain Line transit system for bicycle and pedestrian improvements.
“We can transition rather seamlessly from plan to project to program to design to construction, and actually get some things built with the money that we currently have available,” Ince said.
But the ATMP is not ready to go before Flagstaff City Council just yet, and will enter a 60-day public review process before the scheduled March approval.
Ince said the city wants to be sure that the public’s interests are included in the final document before it is formalized through a resolution.
City staff this month released a complete draft of the plan for public review, accessible by visiting the city’s website. It is the first step in the final 60-day review process that will call on city commissions, stakeholder groups and members of the public to submit feedback.
Ince said community engagement will include a public survey, presentations to commissions and stakeholder groups, along with a series of community open houses scheduled in October. The public survey is already live on the city’s website and includes a short questionnaire for the public to fill out. The survey is set to run through Nov. 19.
Members of the public may also choose to attend one of five of the open houses next month. The open houses will take place virtually Wednesday, Sept. 29, from 6 to 7 p.m.; Oct. 7 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 19 from noon to 1 p.m.; and Oct. 27 from 5:50 to 6:30 p.m. A single in-person session will be hosted at Bushmaster Park on Oct. 16 at noon.
At the conclusion of the public review period, the document will be shown to the City’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Bicycle Advisory Committee, Transportation Commission, and Planning and Zoning Commission for detailed review before returning to the city council for a work session, according to city staff.
The work session will bring a more detailed discussion of the plan to Council early next year before it is considered for final approval.