Simplified: The Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday got its first look at a plan that, if implemented, would make it possible to safely bicycle anywhere in town.

Why it matters

  • Sioux Falls streets are built for cars and don't always take into account other forms of transportation, according to the draft 2023 bicycle plan. That can discourage folks from riding their bikes because they don't feel safe doing so.
  • The city has been working on building more "complete streets" since 2015, which essentially means the city should have a transportation network that's safe and convenient for all users (including pedestrians, cyclists, public transit riders and motorists).
  • This plan would take that work a step further with a plan to create a comprehensive network of bike lanes and trails that are safe and accessible to all residents.
"It's supposed to get everyone everywhere and connect the entire community," Urban Planner Fletcher Lacock said.

Tell me more

The plan has been in development for several months now, and it was recently approved by the city's (relatively new) Active Transportation Board.

The plan outlines a number of goals, such as:

  • updating e-bike laws,
  • construct high-priority trails and connections,
  • implement an education campaign,
  • design new bicycle parking for downtown,
  • host a yearly bicycle rodeo in coordination with schools,
  • work with neighborhoods on pilot projects to slow traffic and increase safety.

The plan also includes a map of proposed trail connections and bike lanes across the city, color-coordinated based on priority.

  • It's a bit convoluted to look at, Lacock admits, but it's supposed to be because the idea is to have every resident within a mile of a bike lane or trail.

What happens next?

The bicycle plan – along with the pedestrian plan, also presented Tuesday – will move now to the City Council for final approval.

Then, as Councilor Greg Neitzert pointed out, the trick is funding it.

"We have to really believe in it, and we have to fund it," Neitzert said. "That's the only way it happens."