More than 4,000 survey responses indicate desire for additional bicycle infrastructure

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced today a community bike summit March 21 at the downtown branch of the Allen County Public Library to follow up on the more than 4,000 responses the City received from last fall'€™s bicycle use survey.

The summit will focus on public input for infrastructure planning, education strategies for drivers and cyclists, and legislative components related to bicycle transportation. City staff will use the information as it writes an in-house bicycle transportation plan. The need for a bicycle plan is outlined in Plan-It Allen, the joint City-County comprehensive plan approved in 2007.

The summit will be from 9 a.m. to approximately noon in the meeting rooms of the Allen County Public Library'€™s downtown branch. An expo of bicycle vendors, trail organizations and other entities will be in the library'€™s Great Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Both events are free to the public.

“As companies and employers, and especially those in high-tech industries, look to move to or grow in Fort Wayne, they look at communities'€™ quality of life,” Mayor Tom Henry said. “This kind of time and investment shows a commitment to health and fitness, air quality and the environment from our City'€™s leadership. I encourage people to be engaged in the planning process and attend next month'€™s summit to give us information about what they want to see.”

Last fall, the City had a printed and online survey asking residents about their bicycle use. The written survey, sent with City Utilities bills, had 2,426 responses. An extended online version had 1,664 submissions. The results showed cyclists'€™ strong interest in riding to destinations to which they currently drive and a desire for safety from vehicular traffic.

“Our bike use survey was a wonderful tool to start the planning process and engaged the public. Now we are going to follow up with a bicycle summit that goes more in depth while continuing our dialogue with Fort Wayne'€™s current and future cyclists,” said Pam Holocher, deputy director of planning. “Bike riders in Fort Wayne are very interested in expanding the infrastructure designed to safely and effectively get people to their destinations. With the ongoing interest in improving health and fitness combined with a desire to improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion, more people on bikes in Fort Wayne can only be a positive, but that is only likely to happen if we increase bike-friendly paths.”

The plan will work to improve connectivity of people and neighborhoods to points of destination, while using the existing Rivergreenway network and other local trails as a backbone for the system.

The specific kinds of bicycle infrastructure are being studied. City officials want to continue to expand the popular trail network, while also looking at bike lanes, bike routes and other ways that bicycles can use existing roadways. A presentation about bicycle infrastructure options will be given at the summit.

“Greenways shouldn'€™t be our only option for cyclists,” Mayor Henry said. “Sometimes we don'€™t have the right-of-way for trails or they can become cost prohibitive. Evidence from other cities shows the more options cyclists have, the more they will use bicycles.”  

Also speaking at the summit will be Nancy Tibbett, executive director of the Indiana Bicycle Coalition. She will have just returned from the League of American Bicyclists'€™ National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. Tibbett will also speak about other Hoosier cities'€™ efforts to improve bicycle infrastructure and bicyclist safety.

Mayor Henry aims to have the bicycle transportation plan written by the end of the year. A team of City employees wrote the survey, is organizing the summit and will ultimately write the plan.

The survey showed the following:
'€¢    71 percent of respondents online road their bikes at least once a week during their riding season.
'€¢    One in four online respondents use a bicycle to commute to work.
'€¢    Concerns about safety from vehicles and drivers, lack of trails or bike lanes and natural conditions like weather and darkness are the top three reasons people said they do not ride more often.
'€¢    Written survey respondents most frequently ride on residential streets, followed by greenway trails.

The complete results from the written and online surveys is posted to