Identifying Plan Goals
A 2014 community survey in Knoxville, Iowa illustrated the strong desire for a more extensive bike and walking trail system throughout the city. An incomplete trail plan initiated in 2005 and the absence of any on-street bicycle routes left room for vast improvement.
To generate support and gather pertinent information to aid in the planning process, Snyder & Associates conducted three meetings with an Internal Review Team comprised of city staff, three public meetings, and a city-wide survey. Information gathered included input regarding existing conditions, obstacles to biking and walking, potential trail destinations, bike-friendly streets, desired intersection treatments, and the types of facilities or programs needed to improve bike and pedestrian travel. As a result, four goals were defined for the Knoxville Bicycle and Trail Master Plan:
Goal 1 – Provide a complete bicycle and pedestrian system with connections to various destinations throughout the community for individuals of all ages and abilities. In addition, support facilities such as benches, bike parking, and bike fix-it stations will be available along routes and at endpoint destinations as appropriate.
Goal 2 – Ensure biking and walking routes are safe for all users through the use of excellent engineering design, signage, lighting, location, and surface materials. Maintenance policies will be determined, and safety issues will be promptly addressed including snow removal, sign maintenance, and closure policies. Through coordination with other agencies (ex. schools, county, etc.), educational programs for bicycling safety and trail etiquette will be developed and funded.
Goal 3 – Encourage use of the bicycle and pedestrian system for fitness, recreation, transportation, and tourism purposes. A visitor-friendly trail system will be created with the use of wayfinding signage and trail maps. Coordination with Google Maps and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation will ensure trail and on-street bicycle facilities are accurately depicted. In addition, programs and special events to encourage recreation and fitness on the trail system, as well as the promotion of bicycling and walking in economic development, tourism, and job creation programs, will occur.
Goal 4 – Implement, evaluate, and update the bicycle and trail master plan periodically to reflect new policies and update priority projects. Funding for bicycle facilities, safety, and educational programs will be sought. A current and five-year capital improvement program for trails, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities will be prepared and made available.
Trail Planning & Implementation
Snyder and Associates led the planning process and completed the plan, which was unanimously approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission on October 13, 2015, and adopted by City Council on November 2, 2015. The plan provides a 20-year vision for a complete bicycle and pedestrian system. Through the development of trails, signage, pavement markings, bicycle boulevards, dedicated bicycle facilities such as bike lanes, pedestrian refuge medians, and traffic calming, the plan provides a means of safe, non-motorized travel.
As a result, adverse impacts of motorized travel such as traffic congestion, air and water pollution, sprawled development, extensive parking lots, and unhealthy lifestyles are mitigated.
Central to the plan’s effectiveness is that it addresses existing issues and plans for the entire community with a phasing and funding plan as well as detailed concept plans, so the project won’t stall. The proposed loop around town reaches most residents, provides safe routes to schools, and connects with downtown businesses and the Knoxville Raceway.
Implementation of the plan is suited to benefit the mental and physical health and wellness of community members, expand transportation options, and attract young families and professionals looking to move to a new town.
Knoxville City Council approved a $700,000 bond to be used as local match dollars for grant funding. The City will aggressively pursue grant opportunities to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Transportation Planning Award
In October 2016, Snyder & Associates received the Transportation Planning award for the Knoxville Bicycle and Trail Master Plan from the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association. The award is given for excellence in four key areas: planning and innovation, compatibility, engagement, and effectiveness and results.