LADOT Bike Blog interviews the SCAG Bike/Ped Wiki Team: “This plan belongs to everyone”

Last week, LADOT Bike Blog covered the launch of SCAG’s new bike/ped wiki.  Now that the CicLAvia hangover has started to clear, we’d like to give more in-depth coverage to what the bike/ped wiki does, how it came about, and what it means to the residents of the SCAG region.  LADOT Bike Blog had the pleasure of speaking with Alan Thompson and Margaret Lin of SCAG about the new bike/ped wiki.

 

Photo via the SCAG bike/ped wiki page via Streetsblog

 

LADOT Bike Blog:

How will the Bike/Ped Wiki work?

  • The Bike/Ped Wiki site is a collaborative planning process in developing a bicycle pedestrian plan. Visitors of the site will be able to contribute to the wiki by providing edits directly to the Bike Ped Wiki or leaving comments which may be used to discuss the content. At a certain point, SCAG will take the contents of the wiki and consider it as an input for the 2012 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). While the RTP is being finalized, the Wiki will continue to evolve and grow, much like a software application (version 1.0 to version 2.0).
  • What the Wiki will not do is dictate what local governments will or won’t do on their streets. Policies can be recommended and proposals can be made, but in the end, the elected officials of each city determine what is to happen in their jurisdiction.

LADOT Bike Blog:

What do you hope to accomplish with the Wiki?  Is it an attempt to accumulate the collective knowledge of the bicycle community in the SCAG region?

  • The short term goal of the Wiki is to increase public participation throughout the entire transportation planning process by providing the public an additional avenue in which they can participate. The long term goal is for the Wiki to become a resource hub for local governments and stakeholders, providing a repository of plans, policies, guidelines and regulations enabling cities to plan bicycle and pedestrian projects more efficiently and stakeholders to advocate more effectively.

LADOT Bike Blog:

When did SCAG come up with the idea for a Bike/Ped Wiki and who was responsible for making it happen?

  • The idea was initially formulated in late 2007. As SCAG was finalizing the 2008 Regional Transportation Plan, it was recognized that a comprehensive regional non-motorized plan was needed. This was included as a recommendation in the “non-motorized” chapter of the 2008 RTP.
  • In terms of who was responsible… it was and is a team effort by the SCAG bike/ped staff, our IT department, SCAG management and consultant, CollabForge, who worked on the Future Melbourne wiki site. Without any one of the team members this project may never have happened.

LADOT Bike Blog:

Does the Bike/Ped Wiki exemplify a shift in SCAG thinking towards bikes and pedestrians?

  • This is the next natural step in the evolution of our transportation program. Since 1991, MPOs have been required to consider bicycle and pedestrian access. SCAG’s Compass Blueprint, since 2000, has consistently looked at pedestrian and bicycles as a method of developing transit oriented development. SCAG has supported and worked with local communities in the development of Safe Routes to School, Maximizing Mobility, and local bike/ped plans.  With the passage of SB375, biking and walking will likely be an essential tool for meeting greenhouse gas reduction in the next RTP.

LADOT Bike Blog:

Will the purpose of the Bike/Ped Wiki be to inform decision makers and planners in the SCAG region, or is its purpose to have a more immediate, user-to-user effect?  (i.e. riders helping to map out bicycle-friendly routes with good road conditions, spreading the wisdom of experienced riders to newer riders, etc.)

  • While the primary purpose is to inform decision makers and planners, that doesn’t limit the flexibility of the wiki as a tool. Local jurisdictions will hopefully utilize the site by uploading their local plans onto the Wiki. Neighboring jurisdictions can look at those plans for connectivity, data and guidance. Academia from around the world can utilize the wiki as a tool for their research, and provide input as well. The bottom line is that the wiki is a tool that can be used for myriad purposes, some of which no one may have yet considered.

LADOT Bike Blog:

Is there any other information you feel is important for the LA bicycling community to know about the Bike/Ped Wiki?

  • The plan is intended to be a live document that we hope the public will help nurture and feed and call their own. This plan should not be  considered as SCAG’s plan or that of a specific activist group’s plan. This plan belongs to everyone, from the student biking to school, to the senior citizen walking to the store, to the wheelchair user trying to navigate older sidewalks that are not up to code. We welcome your input to make this a plan that benefits each and every one of you.
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