In 2017, the Provincetown Board of Selectmen adopted the Outer Cape Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan as the bicycle master plan for the town.
The Master Plan was developed over a multi-year period through a collaboration of the Outer Cape towns of Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet; the Cape Cod Commission; and the Cape Cod National Seashore. The final report was issued in February 2017.
The plan identifies a primary route for a nearly 25-mile extension of the Cape Cod Rail Trail from its current terminus in Wellfleet all the way to the beaches in Provincetown. It also provides design guidance and recommendations for secondary routes in each town to provide connections to town centers from the central spine route along Route 6.
The plan’s steering committee is continuing to meet to set priorities and pursue funding. The most recent success has been securing $2M in state funds for bike path construction in Wellfleet and Provincetown.
A new uphill climbing lane was approved in January 2017 by the Board of Selectmen. It will replace eleven on-street parking spaces with a dedicated bike lane along Bradford Street eastbound from Central Street to Carver Street. This is the first time the town is executing a significant bicycle improvement in concert with a road repaving project and showcases the “complete streets” approach.
This short but important 700-foot section of dedicated bike lane will be the second on-street marked lane in town.
Construction was completed in Spring 2018.
The Conwell Street Bicycle Improvement Project came about through a collaboration with the Cape Cod National Seashore. Originally known as the “MacMillan Pier/Race Point Road Connector,” the goal was to look at possible improvements to create a route from the pier on the waterfront to the Seashore bike paths at Beech Forest on Race Point Road.
The initial concept is to create a low-stress signed route along less-congested roadways and to make improvements to the wide section of Conwell Street near Route 6.
In 2015, town staff developed several options for adding bike lanes to Conwell Street. The Board of Selectmen voted for a design that included bike lanes on both sides and a new sidewalk on one side of the road.
The final design was approved in 2019 by MassDOT, the state’s transportation agency, and town staff are working on bid documents and finalizing funding sources with expected construction in spring of 2020.
Shank Painter Road is one of two major entry points to town and suffers from a lack of sidewalks and nearly continuous curb cuts with nose-in parking. In 2012, the town re-striped the road with narrower 11-foot travel lanes and installed speed indicator signs to help enforce the 25 MPH speed limit. In 2016, the town added a dedicated bike lane and painted sharrows where the pavement width or conditions were unsuitable for a bike lane.
Planning for a major reconstruction of this road began in 2016. Town Meeting has fully funded the design and engineering process and town has applied for state transportation funds for construction. The initial design for the road included a separated, two-way bike path, sidewalks, curbs, and traffic calming elements.
The project scope includes approximately one mile of Route 6, from Shank Painter Road to the boundary of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Early designs are considering reconfiguration of the oversized 4-lane highway to create a separated, two-way bicycle and pedestrian trail to the beaches at Herring Cove.
At public hearings in early 2019, the Select Board voted in favor of buffered bike lanes on each side of Shank Painter Road.
Public meetings will continue to take place throughout the design process, with construction anticipated in 2023 and 2024.
To encourage bicycling and proper bike parking, the civic engagement group Provincetown 365 developed an aggressive bike rack expansion plan that the Bicycle Committee is implementing. Town Meeting and town officials have been extremely generous in funding these racks, increasing spending from $5,200 in 2017 to $18,000 in 2018.
As a result, the number of town-owned bike spaces is doubling from 250 to 500. There are now racks at all municipal buildings in town, in parking lots, and at major recreation destinations. Along with the racks, the town’s Department of Public Works has installed new bicycle parking signs along Commercial Street to help riders find the bike parking areas with the most spaces.
Since 2011, the town’s Bike Rack Cost Sharing Program has incentivized businesses to create an additional 50 bike parking spaces through grants that covered 50% of the cost of racks.
There are now 39 locations with town racks, 10 rack locations in the Seashore, and another 40 private rack locations that are available to the public.
In 2018, two new bicycle repair stations and air pumps were installed at the Johnson Street and West End parking lots, and a third was installed by the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority next to their bus stop at MacMillan Pier.
The Bicycle Committee continues to evaluate new locations for bike parking and the potential of a “park & bike” scheme for the town’s pay parking lots.
In 2016, the town adopted a $100 fine for obstructing a bike lane to discourage parking in on-street bike lanes.
The abandoned bicycle bylaw established in 2013 sets outs parameters for where bikes can be parked safely and how the town keeps its public spaces clear of stray bicycles.
The town’s Planning Board follows the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) bicycle parking guidelines when reviewing residential and commercial development.
Bike racks funded by the town follow APBP guidelines and new installations include spaces labeled as “Accessible” for disabled riders and oversized family or cargo bikes.
Commercial Street winds through the center of town one block from the beaches of Provincetown Harbor. When the street was officially made one-way for motor vehicles in 1974 to accommodate on-street parking, residents overwhelmingly supported keeping the street two-way for bicycles.
This tradition was enshrined by state law in 1977 and again in 1991 and maintains our main street as the country’s most distinctive shared space.
Town Meeting Vote (1974) »
Town Meeting Vote (1976) »
Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 419, Acts of 1977 »
Town Ballot Question (1978) »
Town Meeting Vote (1990) »
Town Meeting Vote (1991) »
Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 264, Acts of 1991 »
The Board of Selectmen’s annual Town-Wide Policy Goals statement includes support for bicycling in both its land use and infrastructure goals.
The town is committed to protecting our fragile environment, and included setting emission reduction targets and promoting bicycles in a 2006 vote of Town Meeting:
We will strive to meet or exceed Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing global warming pollution by taking actions in our own operations and communities such as:
1. Inventory global warming emissions in Town operations and in the community, set reduction targets and create an action plan.
2. Adopt and enforce land-use policies that reduce sprawl, preserve open space, and create compact, walkable urban communities;
3. Promote transportation options such as bicycle trails, commute trip reduction programs, incentives for car pooling and public transit.
The town has commissioned and participated in numerous studies over the years that have made recommendations to improve conditions for bicycling:
The Local Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2000 mentions bicycles numerous times. These action items continue to inform bicycle projects today:
ACTION 6: Continue development of a comprehensive, Town-wide signage plan addressing the need for clear directions and convenient access to the downtown area, appropriate parking facilities, pedestrian and bicycle paths and facilities.
ACTION 9: Complete the Provincetown link of the Rail Trail bicycle way and improve access from Town street to bicycle paths in the National Seashore.
ACTION 11: Assess the adequacy of existing bicycle facilities including the number and locations of bicycle racks, facilities for bicycle storage and the capacity of the existing bicycle paths and connections to paths from Town.
Subsequent studies and reports included specific recommendations for bike parking, bike storage, intersection improvements, wayfinding, and route connections that have been addressed through adopted policies and capital projects that are underway.
The town’s planner and an ad-hoc Local Comprehensive Planning Committee are working to update the LCP for review by Town Meeting in 2020.