Report on early implementation of GetAbout Columbia project released

Thursday, February 28, 2008 | 6:33 p.m. CST; updated 11:46 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — A report detailing the launch and early implementation of a multimillion-dollar project to increase biking and walking in Columbia is now available online.

The Federal Highway Administration, which oversees the Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program, sent the program’s interim report to Congress earlier this month.

Columbia, Minneapolis, Marin County, Calif., and Sheboygan County, Wis., all received $22 million in 2005 to improve infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists and encourage alternatives to driving.

The report includes initial data on the demographics and transportation behavior of each community, plans for projects, coordination between the communities, and how the projects will be evaluated. Because many of the projects — particularly infrastructure changes — are still in the planning stages or haven’t been completed, the report doesn’t make conclusions on the projects’ progress.

Ted Curtis, manager of GetAbout Columbia, formerly called PedNet, said the report shows the different approaches each community has taken. Columbia focused more on behavior change rather than just infrastructure changes, he said.

“In Columbia, the way we’ve looked at is, we’re dealing with a change in behavior and we’ve done a significant amount of P.R. and promotion,” Curtis said. “We’re hitting the soft side pretty hard even though we plan to do a lot of infrastructure changes too. We’ve taken a more direct approach on changing the behavior. I think that’s resulted in a lead in that area.”

Curtis contributed the information on Columbia to the federal report in September. The federal program has been compiling the report since then.

A final report will be published in 2010.

To read the report, click here.

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