On December 10, 2019, the City of Georgetown formally adopted a new Bicycle Master Plan. The plan – which lays out a blueprint for a safe and well-connected bicycle network within the city – was developed in partnership with the University of Texas School of Architecture, and is the result of the research and planning efforts of twenty-three Community & Regional Planning students over the course of two semesters.
UTSOA’s involvement with the Georgetown Bicycle Master Plan began in 2016, when twelve students in Professor Ming Zhang’s Fall 2016 Community & Regional Planning studio conducted an initial study of biking conditions within the city. Findings from that study offered a baseline and starting point for the formal planning process, which began in Fall 2018 as a part of the City of Georgetown’s update to its 2030 Comprehensive Plan.
Throughout the Fall 2018 semester, eleven CRP students applied the planning theories, methods, and techniques they learned in previous Community & Regional Planning courses to develop the bike plan. Over the course of their work, the project team engaged extensively with the Georgetown community through workshops, online surveys, and neighborhood intercept surveys; they led stakeholder meetings with City and County staff, as well as representatives of regional and state agencies; and they conducted more than 100 site visits to assess the conditions of existing roads, intersections, and trails within the city. In addition, the project team assembled 12 case studies of best practices from around the country, and completed 11 topical reports on technical components of bicycle planning, including crash analyses, cost estimates, and design considerations.
“Planning programs throughout the country have a strong tradition of engaging the students with local clients through service learning,” said Zhang. “It is not common, however, that the students’ work becomes an official policy or development product adopted by the client communities and agencies. The CRP student teams delivered a product of professional quality and standards, and throughout the process, the students received high remarks from Georgetown residents and visitors about their professionalism and the quality of the finished plan.”
The plan proposes the addition of over 60 miles of cycling facilities throughout the city, including off-street paths, protected bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, and striped or marked areas. A few of the plan’s numerous goals include prioritizing bike paths that minimize conflicts with vehicle traffic; designing and building bicycle corridors that connect residential areas with major destinations; integrating with regional trails and bike networks; improving bike and pedestrian access around schools; building flat paths when possible to accommodate users of all abilities; and expanding the transportations options in underserved areas with bike infrastructure.
Following City Council’s unanimous approval and adoption of the Bicycle Master Plan, implementation will take place over the next five to 15 years.
“One of the things I appreciate most about the MSCRP curriculum at UT is that we have the opportunity to apply our skills and learnings from the classroom to a real project,” said student Louis Alcorn. “During this project, we conducted quantitative and qualitative analyses based on a thorough community engagement process, and conducted hours of field research riding our bikes around Georgetown. At the end of the day, after much hard work, it’s rewarding to know that our project made a tangible impact on a real community.”
For more information about the process and to read the Bicycle Master Plan in its entirety, visit: http://transportation.georgetown.org/bike-plan
Students who participated in the 2016 initial study, and 2018 planning process include:
- 2018: Chris Bischak, Kyle Smith, Liang Chen, Louis Alcorn, Madison Graham, Nicole McGrath, Paulina Urbanowicz, Rachel Thomas, Robert Davila, Syndi Ligons, Ziqi Liu; and Evan Scott (Project Assistant)
- 2016: Jackson Archer, Samuel Day-Woodruff, Neha Diggikar, Jolene Holland, Andres Junca, Qian Li, Megan Mulhall, Akik Patel, Sara Sadeghi, Stephen Sharpe, Annie Stocklin, Nirav Ved