SmartCode Bicycle Planning

The City of Fitchburg, with the assistance of The Street Plans Collaborative, updated the SmartCode District to include the Bicycle Module. The update includes enhanced requirements for bicycle thoroughfares, parking, and other bicycle facilities in SmartCode areas.

SmartCode Focus

The SmartCode is a form-based code that promotes biking and walking. Rather than focusing on how land is used, the code regulates the look and feel of places by emphasizing the form of a building and public frontage. While conventional zoning categories emphasize land uses, the SmartCode categories are based on a rural-urban Transect.

SmartCode T-Zones

The SmartCode classifies intensity of development into Transect Zones (T-Zones), which are combined to create fine-grain, diverse, complete human habitats, ranging from the very rural to the very urban. Because the range of human habitats is so broad, the SmartCode avoids "one size fits all" regulations, providing instead a range of standards for the array of T-Zones. Just as there are appropriate levels of walkability, diversity, and density, so are there appropriate types of bicycle thoroughfares, parking and other facilities in each T-Zone.

In 2010, Fitchburg calibrated the SmartCode through an intense five-day charrette and several public comment periods. The Fitchburg SmartCode District was adopted in October 2010.

Council Adoption

Council adoption took place on January 24, 2012.

Adoption Schedule

The anticipated adoption schedule for Ordinance 2011-O-26, adopting SmartCode amendments, is as follows:
  • Park Commission, Thursday, January 5, 2012
  • Transportation and Transit Commission, Thursday, January 12, 2012
  • Plan Commission public hearing, Tuesday, January 17, 2012
  • Please note that dates and times may be adjusted
  • Draft Fitchburg SmartCode Bicycle Module Updates

Comment Period

A comment period was held November 15 - December 2, 2011 on the November 8, 2011 SmartCode updates. Staff and the consultant have reviewed the comments and have prepared responses to the comments, along with any specific actions that will be taken to the draft to address the comment. A revised draft, incorporating these actions, was prepared and will be sent to the Park Commission, Transportation and Transit Commission, and Plan Commission to provide recommendations to the Common Council.

Bicycle Update Process

In June 2011 the consultants will be in Fitchburg and will bike large portions of the City in order to become familiar with the City's existing physical environment. Information gathered during their time will help inform the calibration of the Bicycle Module to Fitchburg.

SmartCode Bicycle Planning Summit

Approximately 25 individuals from the City of Fitchburg and surrounding area attended the SmartCode Bicycle Planning Summit on June 7, 2011 and shared their bicycling experiences and concerns. Consultant Mike Lydon, of the Street Plans Collaborative, explained Fitchburg's traditional neighborhood design (TND) ordinance, based on the open source SmartCode, and how it can be extended to provide more guidance on bicycle thoroughfares, parking and safety and convenience measures. Participants were asked for preferences on pictures of a number of bicycle facilities and also worked in small groups to map favorite features or trouble spots with Fitchburg's bicycle network.