Bicycling and walking were once viable modes of transportation and continue to be the preferred alternative for many citizens living and working in the more densely populated areas of the region. However, travel survey data from the 2000 Census reinforces the fact that the Birmingham Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is one of the most automobile dependent in the country. Less than 1.3% of the population within the Birmingham MSA bikes or walks to work on a regular basis. This rate of bicycling and walking is lower than any other metropolitan area with a population of 500,000 or more. Communities are often isolated and barricaded by major highways that force citizens to drive to every destination. The regional transportation system currently lacks sufficient non-motorized provisions along many corridors where bicycling and walking should be viable travel choices--especially for short trips. In light of rising energy costs, an aging population, public health concerns and increasing demand for alternatives to motor vehicle travel, there is a growing need for infrastructure and development patterns that support what has widely become known as "active transportation".
1996 Birmingham Area Bicycle, Pedestrian & Greenway Plan
The 1996 Birmingham Area Bicycle, Pedestrian & Greenway Plan (» Download) proposed a network of on and off-road facilities to connect origins and destinations throughout the region. Due to variations in roadway geometry, right-of-way, local travel demand, land use, and the context of the surrounding built and natural environments, there is no single prescription that can be broadly applied at the corridor level to make the region more walkable and bicycle-friendly. In other words, there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to what specific non-motorized facilities are most appropriate for a given section of roadway or parallel off-road greenway along a floodplain or ridgeline. The most appropriate provisions along any given corridor might include sidewalks, bike lanes, signed shared roadways, paved roadway shoulders, wide outside lanes and/or adjacent shared use paths.
Technical reports that supplement the 1996 plan include the following:
- Vision Goals and Policy
- Assessment of Resources
- Guidelines for a Walkable Community
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Design Guidelines
- Demonstation Projects
Share the Road
Share the Road Sponsors
Upcoming EventsNo meetings are currently scheduled.
In 2005 the MPO conducted stakeholder interviews and obtained input from an ad-hoc advisory committee. The MPO current 2025 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) expanded upon the 1996 plan by mapping out additional visionary corridors to serve as a guidepost for continual route planning and network analysis at the local and regional levels. Area jurisdictions should consider the development of bicycle and pedestrian provisions along and/or parallel to these proposed on and off-road visionary corridors which builds upon the existing list of projects included in the LRTP.
The MPO is currently developing a new 2035 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) which will include refining and updating the list of visionary corridors, LRTP projects and the identification of new projects that could become eligible for federal funding in the four year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). This effort also includes developing "complete streets" policies that ensure roadway improvements in Jefferson and Shelby Counties are routinely planned, designed and operated to enable safe and efficient mobility for pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, citizens with disabilities and motorists. A policy forum was held on Friday November 21st to ensure stakeholder input guides the development of complete streets policies.
In addition to the above regional transportation planning, the MPO has also provided Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds or directly participated in the development of the following feasibility studies and plans to assist member governments in identifying and prioritizing bicycle, pedestrian and greenway projects at the local level:
- Brookside Bike/Hike Trail Corridor Study (Town of Brookside)
- Clay Community Greenway Feasibility Study (City of Clay)
- Center Point Greenway Corridor Study (City of Center Point)
- Dunnavant Valley Community Greenway Plan (Shelby County)
- Five Mile Creek Trail Location Study - (City of Tarrant and Five Mile Creek Greenway Partnership)
- Fultondale Five Mile Creek Feasibility Study (City of Fultondale)
- Hackberry Lane Sidewalk Extension Corridor Study (City of Hoover)
- Inverness Community Greenway Corridor Feasibility Study (Shelby County and City of Hoover)
- Oak Mountain Community Greenway Corridor Feasibility Study (Shelby County and City of Hoover)
- Fultondale Five Mile Creek Greenway (City of Fultondale)