National Park Service

Cape Cod Bicycle Feasibility Study Recognized by American Planning Association

Photo of the visitors enjoying bicycling at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts.

NPS Photo

Visitors enjoying bicycling at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts.

March 2013

The Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association recognized Cape Cod National Seashore and the Cape Cod Commission with a Planning Project Award. The award was presented at an annual award luncheon on December 14, 2012. The Denver Service Center contracted and managed this project in coordination with the park, the Northeast Region, the Cape Cod Commission, and a 23 member steering committee. The study involved collaboration with 15 towns, the Cape Cod Commission, MassDOT, Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation, and MassBike.

Cape Cod attracts visitors from around the world, due in part to bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, notably the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Bicycling is one of the most popular activities at the Seashore and is increasing in popularity. Peak hour counts on the Cape Cod Rail Trail have exceeded 400 users per hour and annual use is estimated to exceed 400,000 according to the 2007 Cape Cod Regional Transportation Plan. Although many of the CCNS beaches and other popular destinations are accessed by bicycle, many of the existing bicycle trails throughout the Cape lack connections to other bicycle routes, towns, or destinations.

The bicycle Feasibility Study utilized a partnership framework among federal, state, regional, and local entities and provides a model for addressing overlapping needs and goals. The study team utilized Geographic Information Systems for existing conditions analysis and project mapping. The study team led a public involvement campaign to identify improvements necessary to develop an integrated bicycle network throughout Cape Cod. Outreach included a series of workshops, flyers and other community information, and postings on the NPS Planning and Environment Public Comment (PEPC) website.

The outcome of the study was an Integrated Bicycle Plan for Cape Cod which included recommendations for individual projects within the context of a connected system of bicycle and other multi-modal transportation alternatives. An initial list of more than 120 proposed projects was developed through public comment, reviews of local and regional plans, and via the consultant team working in conjunction with NPS and the study's Steering Committee. These projects proposed a variety of new bicycle facilities or accommodations, improvements to existing accommodations, and programmatic initiatives aimed at supporting and encouraging bicycle use throughout Cape Cod. Through a formal screening protocol, the project list was narrowed to 40 projects for which detailed descriptions and planning level cost estimates could be developed. The final report provides a tool for the NPS, CCC, and other stakeholders to fund, design, and implement priority projects, several of which have been completed or are ongoing.

The study enabled MassDOT to update the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan and Cape Cod National Seashore to apply for and fund additional projects through Federal Transportation Transit in Parks Program Grants (FTA TRIP) and Federal Lands Transportation Program (FLTP) Category III Alternative Transportation Planning program.

Recent project implementation by various champions includes:

  • Local bicycle plans in 6 towns
  • Detailed planning for Cape-wide network in all 15 towns
  • CCRTA installation of bicycle racks at shelters and destinations
  • Brochure – Guide to Public Transportation and Bike Route Options on Cape Cod
  • Seasonal Outer Cape Bicycle Shuttle
  • Safety and “rules of the road” brochures
  • Cape Cod Regional Bicycle Wayfinding Design Guidelines and Unified Signage Standard
  • Cape Cod Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Recommendations Report
  • Bradford Street bicycle and pedestrian accommodations