Bicycling is a healthy activity for all ages and popular for Leon County residents and tourists. Yet, Florida leads the nation in bicycling fatalities, and Leon County has recently seen its share of cycling accidents. In addition, Florida Department of Transportation listed Leon County as a top 25 “High Priority County for Improved Bike/Pedestrian Safety.”
To help make the community safer and provide a safe place for people to learn to ride their bikes, the KCCI 2020 Community Catalyst team set forth in January to identify how to effectively do this. They started with community research and input. From stakeholder interviews and an electronic survey, they gathered input more than 2,000 residents.
Based on that input and the team’s expertise they implemented two initiatives:
1) An educational bicycle park at Sabal Palm Elementary – Florida’s First Bike Park
2) An educational bicycle park at Gilchrist Elementary School
3) Traveling bike rack campaign to raise awareness of Leon County’s existing trails
The team is also recommending the following:
4) A family-friendly bike play space in a public park
5) General cycling infrastructure enhancements
Sabal Palm Educational Bike Park – Florida’s 1st Educational Bike Park
The 2020 KCCI Community Catalyst team lead the creation and implementation of Florida’s 1st Educational Bicycling Space at Sabal Palm Elementary, A Community Partnership School (SPECPS). You can see a video of kindergarten students using the bike space here. The bike experience appeals to all elementary ages. KCCI collaborated with SPECPS and Leon County Schools to re-purpose underutilized spaces to create interactive spaces that promote bicycle learning experiences for children ages 4-11.
This project is a public-private collaboration that was envisioned and created by KCCI’s 2020 Community Catalyst team members with support from Leon County Schools, Lowes, Lewis + Whitlock, Capital City Bank, Tallahassee Mountain Biking Association, and First Baptist Church of Tallahassee and Big Bend Habitat for Humanity. The initiative integrates with Sabal Palm’s strategic move to become a community partnership school. The KCCI Community Catalysts created an educational bike park with three zones: an educational, creative bike space that resembles real life-situations on a basketball court, an off-road experience, and a covered training area for younger students and for use on rainy or hot days. To see before and after picture click on this: 2020 KCCI BEFOREAFTER POSTER and to download a “How to Guide” for your school click here: How -to Guide Graphic.
To see another video of the space in use, click here. The Sabal Palm Elementary bike park has already become a model for other schools in Leon County interested in creating their own spaces.
Gilchrist Elementary School Educational Bike Park
Building upon the success of the bike park at Sabal Palm Elementary, the 2020 Catalyst Class created a second bicycle space at Gilchrist Elementary School in May 2021. The space incorporates diverse elements for students to learn bicycle safety, including painted road signs and roadways modeling those in real life. Gilchrist students voiced their excitement about the bike park as they closed out the 2021 school year.
Both bicycle parks at Sabal Palm and Gilchrist Elementary Schools offer safe, unique, engaging experiences for young students. These spaces can be used as a model for future bicycle parks in Florida and beyond.
The 2020 volunteer Catalyst Class has designed and proposed a family-oriented, educational, bicycle play area for a future park space near Market District. As with all KCCI projects, this is a design concept is based on initial community input, but as it goes through further community input stages will adapt as best suited for the overall master park plan. This feature is something that could possibly be integrated within the overall public park design that Blueprint is handling.
The team’s design concept proposal, as it currently stands, stems from community feedback. The number of people providing feedback grows daily and the KCCI team is grateful for those who have already helped shape the future of this proposal. We continue welcoming feedback as community input is what makes KCCI projects so successful.
Community conversations initially directed the team to the Market District as a possible location. Market District is an accessible location, near I-10 and Thomasville Road. It is directly connected to our world-class trails network, would provide a community space in an area now lacking one, and would promote economic vitality of the numerous small and local businesses in the Market District. The close proximity to many neighborhoods, families and schools elevated the location further, as the park could be enjoyed by many families and children for years to come.
Traveling Bike Rack Campaign
As part of National Bike Month in May 2020 KCCI coordinated a traveling bike rack campaign to raise awareness of Leon County’s trails and cycling features. Due to the popularity the rack continued to travel around the County for the month of June. The rack began traveling to a handful of trails that are incredibly useful but lesser known. The rack “pop-ups” for 1 week at that location. The social media campaign encourages people to find the rack, explore the trail where it is located, and post pictures with the rack on social media. In addition, the rack provided needed cycling infrastructure at trailhead locations.
During the month of May the rack visited: Capital Park, Goose Pond Trail, Lake Elberta, Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park and Smokey Hollow at Franklin Blvd. In June it visits St Marks Headwaters Greenway (640 Baum Road), Miccosukee Greenway Crump Road Trailhead (4996 Crump Rd), J.R. Alfred Greenway Pedrick Rd Trailhead (2500 Pedrick Rd), Fred George Greenway and Park (Lower passive park entrance).
Gilchrist General Cycling Enhancements
Based on the research conducted by KCCI staff and the volunteer KCCI Community Catalyst team, KCCI issued short and long-term recommendations for cycling improvements in Leon County.
Public spaces dedicated to activity create several benefits like improved community health and safer riders. In addition, a diverse outdoor recreation system like a destination cycling park improves Tallahassee’s economic vitality by providing a high quality of life for residents.
The opportunities are endless with these possibilities. Stay tuned for more information by following KCCI on Instagram or Facebook or by joining KCCI’s e-newseltter. Links to all of these resources are at the top right of www.KCCITallahassee.com.
These are the people who helped make this project possible.
- Theresa Bender
- Bo Courtenay
- Tarsha Davis
- Chris Edwards
- Bill Eichhoefer
- Richard Fetchick
- Suzannah Grasel
- Eric Katz
- Molly Lord
- Patrick O’Bryant
- Jamiron Richardson
- Jessica Sorenson
- Callie Watson