Dear Mayor Pradel and Naperville City Council,
On May 5, city staff will recommend the elimination of the volunteer Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee (BPAC) to the Transportation Advisory Board. As a member of that committee, and a resident concerned about local bicycle and pedestrian issues, I am regrettably unsurprised.
In approximately October of 2010, the staff position responsible for BPAC coordination went vacant and unfilled. I appreciate the need for the city to cut its costs. I optimistically believed perhaps we could do more with less. After a year and a half of meeting cutbacks, cancellations, and lack of agenda items, I’m sorry to say I was wrong. But I believe I was only partly wrong - in fact I do believe we could have done more were there even modest interest from city staff. It is not “the current structure” (Robles TAB memo) that does not work for the committee, it’s the leadership.
Make no mistake, the phasing out and elimination of BPAC is a choice being made by city staff, and it’s a choice that has already been made over the past year and a half. It was not made by committee members, by its citizens, nor do I believe it was made with the awareness of you, the Council.
Though I have other issues, what I simply wish to point out is that the much vaunted 2006 Bicycle Implementation Plan is fundamentally complete. This point has been made over the past year and a half at BPAC meetings. I’m personally sorry to have failed the city in not making the point more loudly. Staff clearly had neither the interest nor the wherewithal to begin the long machinery of a developing new plan.
So where we are is this: my guess is that in two years, someone at the city is going to recognize that it has no proactive bicycle and pedestrian plan, instead it has reactive policies. That it will lose its designation as “Bicycle Friendly” from the League of American Bicyclists because it lacks citizen involvement and education. That it has foisted responsibility for bicycling programs onto , which was already doing the heavy lifting anyway. That Lisle and Warrenville can manage bike and ped committees, but Naperville cannot. You’re going to want a committee. When you reach that point, call me, I’ll be glad to help.