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Beyond Platinum: Bringing a world bicycle fair to Davis

The Davis to Santa Rosa leg of the Amgen Tour of California begins in May 2010. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise file photo

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From page A1 | August 09, 2012 | Leave Comment

The first ever Bicycle World’s Fair and Exposition, in Davis. Just imagine it:

A celebration of the first U.S. bike lane, a Bicycling Hall of Fame induction ceremony, even a Davis stage in the prestigious Amgen Tour of California, it would all be part of an international event that could leave the city of Davis indelibly “on the map” as a bicycling community.

The city’s closer to hosting such an event than some may think.

Thanks to Dave “DK” Kemp, the city’s newly hired bicycle pedestrian coordinator — whose title was later changed to active transportation coordinator — the city has a plan to host the grandiose event in Davis, within five years.

On Monday during the Davis Bicycle Advisory Committee’s meeting, Kemp laid out that plan for the first time.

The action plan, called “Beyond Platinum,” is a comprehensive guide that takes all aspects of bicycling in the city of Davis and enhances them, so that in five years the city can showcase itself as a world-class bicycle community.

“This is very exciting, we have a particularly fine position I think in the nation right now to begin advancing toward the next level,” Kemp said Monday. “(We have) an opportunity to take Davis to the next level.”

And aside from the fair, Kemp also hopes that the action plan will help elevate the city of Davis to a higher level as a “bicycle-friendly community.”

“The League of American Bicyclists is going to announce a new designation for cities,” Kemp explained. “We don’t know what it’s going to be called yet, but it’s going to be something beyond platinum. The timing of this right now is spot on, I think we have an alignment of the stars happening right now, and I’m really excited to be here for it.”

Davis achieved platinum-level, bicycle-friendly community status in 2005 and was the first city in the U.S. to do so.

But before the city can think about hosting an international event or becoming a bicycle-friendly community that goes beyond platinum, Davis has many things it must accomplish.

Kemp, who spent six years as the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the city of Fort Collins, Colo., among other things, believes that the city must improve bikeability, strengthen the bicycle infrastructure and clean up bicycle policy, all things “Beyond Platinum” can help accomplish.

“(We will achieve these goals) so we can maintain our position as a national (bicycle) leader and innovator, but more importantly we do it for our community,” Kemp said.

Should the city accomplish everything the action plan aims for, in five years Davis will see major results.

First, Kemp believes the city would offer a complete bikeway network throughout Davis, featuring safe connections to schools, UC Davis, parks and other activity centers. Then, the average Davis bicyclist would be more educated, ride more safely and practice better etiquette on both road and shared use paths.

At the committee meeting Monday, the issue of bicyclists regularly blowing stop signs was discussed briefly. Kemp hopes to ameliorate that problem through this plan.

Kemp says the city and its residents also must enhance safety and education programs, bolster enforcement to increase safety and build out the appropriate infrastructure to foster a high-level bicycle community.

“Think of a culture of safety like an ecosystem. It takes multiple factors to build the environment, and if you take one out, everything falls apart,” Kemp said. “Education and enforcement are two of those integral components that go hand in hand. You’ve got to have your enforcement back up your education.”

Kemp also hopes the plan will help build a stronger relationship for residents between bicycling, walking and public transit so that in the end, these mode of transportation, in Davis, will be the preferred ways to travel.

 The plan likely will require some additional funding. Kemp believes the Ride Walk Davis program, that will help facilitate the achievement of many of the goals “Beyond Platinum” sets out to accomplish, will cost about $40,000 a year, or $200,000 during the next five years, leading to 2017 and the Bicycle World’s Fair.

And for signing, striping and marking infrastructure projects, Kemp estimates the city may need to come up with about $100,000 per year. Kemp hopes to utilize as much grant funding as possible, in addition to other city sources.

Kemp also wants input from the public and other stake holders in the community, which began with his presentation to the BAC Monday night.

Several of the members lauded Kemp’s vision.

“I think it’s excellent. I definitely see your enthusiasm,” said committee member Elizabeth Bourne. ”You really want to change people’s feelings about bicycling, and this holistic view of it and how its perceived. Just the whole package is excellent.”

If residents have questions or would like to provide feedback about the plan, they can contact Kemp at dkemp@cityofdavis.org.

-Reach Tom Sakash at tsakash@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8057. Follow him on Twitter @TomSakash.

Tom Sakash

Tom Sakash covers the city beat for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at tsakash@davisenterprise.net, (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
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