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Events Calendar

Tue, Apr 2210:00am - 11:00am
Plaza Saltillo Station, Austin, TX, United States
MetroBike Shelters Grand Opening (Austin)

Wed, Apr 23 1:00pm - 4:00pm
2929 Research Parkway College Station, Texas, Gibb Gilchrest Building Room 103
TxDOT Strategic Highway Safety Plan - College Station Workshop

Sat, Apr 26 - Sun, Apr 27
Fair Park, Dallas, TX, United States
Earth Day Texas

Sat, Apr 26
910 N Main St, Weatherford, TX 76086
Bike Out Hunger Weatherford

Sat, Apr 26 9:00am - 10:00am
1100 Northwest 18th Street, Fort Worth, TX, United States
Public Awareness Bond/CCPD Meeting (Fort Worth)

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BikeTexasJersey-2012-Front

News / Blog Advocacy News
Advocacy News

Complete Streets is Filed in the Legislature!

The 2013 Complete Streets bill has been filed in the legislature! The bill has a bipartisan range of authors in each chamber. After the bill ran out of time in 2011, it was decided to use the language for the bills that was negotiated in committee in 2011 to accelerate the bills' progress through the legislature.

Click on the bill numbers below for more details:

SB 565, authored by Senators Ellis and Deuell, and coauthored by Senators Davis, Lucio, Rodríguez, and Watson.

HB 1102, authored by Representatives Harper-Brown, Morrison, Mando Martinez, Lucio III, and Keffer.

Many thanks to the bill authors for their support! Stay tuned for Action Alerts, to be sent out when a phone call or email from you can help push this bill through the legislature. Learn more about Complete Streets here.

 

On the Lege: February Activities

Texas CapitolThe Complete Streets bill has been filed (HB 1102 and SB 565)! The Complete Streets Bill has a bi-partisan range of authors: House Reps Harper-Brown (R), Keffer (R), Morrison (R), Martinez (D) and Lucio III (D), and Senators Ellis (D), Duell (R), Davis (D), Lucio, Jr. (D), Rodriguez (D), Uresti (D) and Watson (D). You may remember that in the 2011 session, Complete Streets passed out of the House and Senate Transportation Committee after some negotiation and language changes. This was late in the session and the bill died, along with thousands of others, when the session ran out of time. To help the bill get a faster start this session, the committee substitute language from 2011 is being used for the 2013 filing.

Find out more about Complete Streets and sign the petition here.

BikeTexas continues to talk with potential bill authors concerning the Safe Passing effort.

On February 26, BikeTexas staff attended the House Transportation Committee hearing and registered support for the Anti-Texting While Driving Bill, HB 63 by Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland) and other authors. This bill is of interest to cyclists and pedestrians for several reasons. First, cyclists and pedestrians have a lot to gain in safety from reduced numbers of distracted drivers. Second, Rep. Craddick’s bill has a similar history to Safe Passing: overwhelming passage in each house and a veto by the Governor. BikeTexas staff was able to observe the House Committee's first response to re-filing of the bill, which was positive overall.

BikeTexas held a second bike ride on Sunday, February 24 for interns from the Texas Legislative Intern Program, sponsored by Senator Rodney Ellis. The interns took in many of the Austin sights by bicycle, including a visit to the newly-remodeled LBJ Library. BikeTexas staff frequently encounters these interns during office visits.

Please put Cyclists In Suits Day, Monday, March 25, on your calendar. The Lege Staff are always asking, “Where are our bike pins?” and we tell them our cycling constituents will be there with bucket-loads on our bike lobby day. They recall well our previous Cyclists in Suits efforts, so we really need your participation in 2013! Register for Cyclists in Suits here.

   

Cyclist Accommodation on Loop 1604

Loop 1604 and westbound access road just west of US 281.Loop 1604 is a major corridor for many San Antonio cyclists, who rely on the eight-foot shoulders on the road to stay out of harm's way. In recent months, during a interchange construction project (at US 281), those shoulders were removed from the road in favor of wider car lanes.

San Antonio cyclists, alarmed and angered by this change, contacted TxDOT, the Bexar County MPO, and BikeTexas to protest the loss of the shoulders. On Wednesday, February 13, BikeTexas found out that the Alamo RMA had the authority to change the lane configuration, and that they had a public board meeting the very next day. BikeTexas contacted San Antonio cyclists to let them know of the next day's meeting and staff members planned to attend.

Given only half a day's notice, the turnout at the February 14 meeting was overwhelming-- half a dozen individuals took time out of their days to encourage the RMA to support bicycling along this corridor. So many citizens turned out to speak that the agenda for the meeting was rearranged on the fly; the issue of the 1604/281 interchange was moved to the very first item to allow those present to avoid having to sit through the entire meeting.

BikeTexas Program Manager Jack Sanford spoke first, stressing the importance of this area to the thousands of BikeTexas supporters in San Antonio, and providing illustrations of shared lane markings and green paint that could make this area even safer for cyclists. He also provided extensive documentation that TxDOT is supportive of biking and walking.

Other citizen speakers included George Haegerty who works with USA Cycling, BikeTexas Member and local advocate Edgar Pace, bike advocate and member of the MPO's Bicycle Mobility Advisory Committee John Yoggerst, and a representative of the Wilderness Oaks Alliance, a coalition of Home-Owners' Associations in the area, who additionally urged the reduction of the speed limits on this access road.

Even more overwhelming was the response from the RMA board. They quickly agreed to fast track the change order to adjust lane configurations on the access road. The changes to be made will come before the RMA Board in March, then be sent on to TxDOT for approval. All in all, it means that 1604 won't have wide shoulders again at least until April or May.

The RMA board members also detailed the long term plans for Loop 1604 that include a 15' shared use path. Board Chair Robert Thompson stressed how important a statement this shared use path would make in terms of health objectives and also environmental objectives, as the project sits over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. RMA Executive Director Terry Brechtel spoke up to demonstrate she is a strong advocate for active transportation in all of the RMA's dealings, and stressed that not only TxDOT, but also the City of San Antonio and the FHWA require accommodation of cyclists and pedestrians in the project. When Mr. Thompson told the cyclists in the room that they've got a great friend in Executive Director Brechtel, she admitted, "I've been on a bike or two." Not to be outdone, fellow board member Reynaldo L. Diaz, Jr., also stated he is an avid cyclist, "Though I may not look like compared to others in the room." Additionally, board Member Tommy Calvert, Jr. spoke in favor of cycling and asked pointed questions about why the shoulders were removed in the first place.

The answer to that is that the current plans for the 1604/281 interchange were first prepared in 2009, but were based on plans created in 2005, when bicycling was not at on the agenda for such highway projects. The RMA in 2009 was directed to simply use the 2005 plans. In addition, it was expected at that time that the future shared-use path and its main project-- a major expansion of Loop 1604 itself-- would be further along at this point and construction would already be underway.

Mr. Thompson encouraged all those present to continue to closely follow progress on the re-striping of the shoulder and the eventual construction of the shared use path. He thanked everyone for their input.

   

National Bike Summit - Texan Round-Up!

Texas Delegation at the 2012 National Bike SummitJoin the Texas Delegation of cyclists at the National Bike Summit, March 4-6 in Washington D.C.

The National Bike Summit is the premiere advocacy event of the year. More than 800 advocates, government staff, and cycling enthusiasts of all types come together to tell Congress about the benefits of bicycling.

Meet with advocates, share ideas and be a part of the growing movement of cyclists in Texas.

 

 

 

 

   

AARP and BikeTexas Bring Liveability Expert Dan Burden to Legislature

Dan Burden addresses legislators and legislative staff in Austin on January 23.Walkable and Livable Communities Institute Executive Director Dan Burden traveled to Austin on January 23 to address a luncheon meeting of legislators and staffs, and to give a talk to the general public in the evening.

Mr. Burden spoke about Complete Streets and how they can help a community. Specifically, Mr. Burden talked about the elderly benefitting from sidewalks, marked crosswalks, and similar treatments that make a neighborhood navigable on foot. Mr. Burden says, "If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places." Mr. Burden emphasized that Complete Streets are not an overnight fix, but an approach that will improve our cities over time so that all road users are accommodated safely and comfortably. When the legislature chooses to pass a Complete Streets law, they choose to invest in a future for all Texans to enjoy their cities of all sizes.

As Texas sees a "Silver Tsunami" coming when Baby Boomers grow older and retire, it will be more critical than ever that Texas cities are prepared to allow our senior citizens to remain in their homes and the neighborhoods where they have social ties. Most people are reluctant to give up their mobility, and as the elderly stop driving, their transportation options shift to walking, cycling, or transit. We owe it to our senior citizens and to ourselves to make our communities welcoming, walkable places. As a bonus, infrastructure that benefits senior citizens also benefits people of all ages.

Visit our Complete Streets page for more information on the bill and what it can do for your community. 

The legislative luncheon was hosted by Senator Rodney Ellis, Representative Linda Harper-Brown, and Representative Geanie Morris, and was co-sponsored by AARP Texas and BikeTexas. The evening event was co-sponsored by AARP Texas, the City of Austin, the Mayor's Task Force on Aging, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

   

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