While KDOT is known primarily for its maintenance, repair and construction projects on Kansas state roads, there is also a bureau responsible for planning the travel needs of pedestrians and bicyclists, and they have granted the bike share program in Topeka over $76,000 to make traveling by bike more accessible in the Topeka metro area.
|Mallory Goeke, a Communications Specialist for KDOT,|
demonstrates how to check out a Metro Bike.
Topeka Metro Bikes has been awarded Transportation Alternatives (TA) funds to add over 200 bicycle parking spots and five bikeshare stations in Topeka. The new stations and parking spots combined with a corporate sponsorship that increases the number of publicly available bikes in the program will make the city’s bike share program the largest among comparably sized metropolitan areas.
“Walking and bicycling are important modes of travel for people of all ages and abilities throughout our state,” said Matthew Messina, bike and pedestrian coordinator for KDOT. “By addressing these transportation needs, we help improve the quality of life for our communities by providing healthy and affordable forms of transportation that connect people to places of work, worship, education, public transit and recreation.”
Karl Fundenberger, Metro Bike director at the Topeka Metropolitan Transit Authority, said the funds will be used to help address the first mile-last mile gap for transit riders and provide infrastructure for a rapidly growing bike share program.
“Bike Share is thriving in Topeka,” Fundenberger said. “Biking provides additional mobility options, reduces traffic congestion and adds money to the local economy.”
The Transportation Alternatives (TA) Program provides funding for projects and programs defined as transportation alternatives that advance non-motorized transportation facilities. Those federal dollars come directly to KDOT to be used specifically to assist in developing accessible transportation for those who can’t or choose not to use motorized transportation.
|Mallory Goeke, a KDOT Communications Specialist, takes a spin on a Metro Bike. Topeka Metro Bikes was recently awarded a KDOT Transportation Alternatives grant to help expand biking as a transportation option in Topeka.|
Topeka Metro Bikes has been working on helping biking grow as a transportation alternative in Topeka, starting in 2015 with 100 bikes available to rent and growing to 300 in 2018.
“It’s going to get easier and easier to be able to choose to ride a bike in Topeka,” Fundenberger said. “When more people choose alternative transportation, traffic flows smoother and more parking spaces are available.”
Both Messina and Fundenberger said addressing the equitability of transportation options is an important way to improve both the culture and the economy of the local area.
“By addressing the last mile barrier, the program helps contribute to the growth of our state by helping connect people to the rest of the city,” Messina said.
Fundenberger said the TA grant will be used in part to help fill in bikeshare gaps in eastern Topeka. TA grant money will also be used to retrofit bus stops with racks to lock bikes and will add bike share stations as well as public bike racks in high-use areas.
For more information on riding with Topeka Metro Bikes or to learn more about biking in Topeka, visit www.topekametrobikes.org or contact Karl Fundenberger at 785-730-8615.