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News / Blog Front Page News

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Northeast Texas Trail Explores Linear State Park Option

Northeast Texas Trails Coalition and Texans for State Parks, two hardworking organizations who seek more trails for Texas, met late last month to discuss a possible 130-mile-long linear state park for Northeast Texas.

 

nett mapNortheast Texas Trail: A Diamond in the Rough

Northeast Texas Trails Coalition (NETT) brings together the seven organizations that between them hold the stewardship of the 130-mile Northeast Texas Trail that runs through seven Texas cities. The trail stretches from Farmersville through Paris and Clarksville and ends in New Boston. Long-range plans call for DFW's Trinity Trail Network to one day connect to NETT at Farmersville. People who ride bikes from all around the DFW area support the NETT.

Although the rail lines disappeared from the corridor 20 years ago, trail improvements have been slow. The longest existing portion of the trail is a nine-mile trek from Paris to Blossom and Reno. Current portions of the trail are funded by Recreational Trails funds, Transportation Alternatives Program grants, and donations of material, equipment, and labor from cities, counties, and folks in the area who are committed to their trail. NETT estimates about $33 million is needed to complete the full 130-mile trail.

On January 30, NETT members voted to explore making the trail into a linear state park, similar to the Lake Mineral Wells Trailway west of Fort Worth and the Caprock Canyon Trailway near Quitaque in West Texas.

 

Getting Together with Texans for State Parks

Texans for State Parks (TSP) is the umbrella organization for the numerous "Friends" groups that serve many of the state parks in Texas. Friends of state parks perform a range of duties at their own adopted parks, such as staffing visitor centers, conducting tours and education sessions, assisting visitors, and maintaining equipment and facilities, as well as building and maintaining bridges, signage, and other trail features in the parks. TSP also works closely with state and local officials on behalf of the parks system.

BikeTexas staffer Mark Stine holds membership in both NETT and TSP and worked with the leadership of both to arrange for NETT representatives to attend TSP's annual meeting, March 25-26. NETT President Earl Erickson and Chaparral Rails-to-Trails, Inc. Treasurer Bub Mudie presented information about the NETT and were able to visit with TSP and Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) members at the annual meeting, forming strong new partnerships to further this vision of NETT one day being a state park.

 

nett bridgeBirth of a State Park

The process for a property to become a state park is a long one. NETT has two big advantages. First, the land for the right-of-way has already been acquired and is in the possession of the seven organizations that make up the NETT coalition. Second, the communities along the length of the trail have thrown tremendous support behind its completion. City and county officials in the region mirror this support.

Sometimes state parks come into being in segments, and this may ultimately be the case for the NETT. Check out this article from TPWD's Rob McCorkle about how a state park is born: "Birth of a Park: First You Acquire Some Iconic Texas Land. Then What?"

Many people are already hiking and biking on the NETT, even the unimproved sections. Read these articles from TWPD and TxDOT for an on-the-ground view of the trail:

"Lone Star Walkabout:  A hiker sets off to be the first one to walk the 130-mile Northeast Texas Trail"

"Northeast Explorer: Hike and bike a new rail trail from the Blackland Prairie to the Piney Woods"

 

Going Forward with TPWD

Next steps? A feasibility study is typically the first step toward a new state park. Meanwhile, NETT President Earl Erickson has invited Brent Leisure, TPWD's Director of Texas State Parks, to join him for a bike ride on the existing NETT trail segments.

 

Photos: Northeast Texas Trail Map; Northeast Texas Trail bridge near Roxton, Texas. Photos courtesy of the Northeast Texas Trail Coalition.

 

News By Bike: Links for You to Read (Apr 1)

Looking for some weekend reading? Look no further than these links we thought were worth sharing this week:

 

NewsByBike

From BikeTexas:

Check out some of the news coverage from the Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference.

And speaking of TTAT, pics are here! Look back at Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Did you see our day on the Nonprofit Baton? Check out the @npbaton Instagram feed and scroll back a couple days to find all our posts from Wednesday, March 30.

 

From around Texas:

Houston! Weigh in now on the Houston Bike Plan.

Austin! Take the Mobility Survey and attend a public hearing on the future of transportation in Austin.

El Paso! Go see Velo Paso and El Paso Bike Month at the Artist and Farmers Market tomorrow, April 2, for a bicycle safety class and mechanics workshop. (Also, lots of great stuff is happening in El Paso in the next few weeks. Check out our event calendar!)

Looking for some theatre this weekend in Austin? Check out the closing weekend of 4000 Miles. 

 

Have a great weekend!

 

In the News: #TTAT2016

The Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference created quite a buzz in Houston! Check out some of the media coverage here:

 

ttat 2016 biketexas houston mayor turner

"Turner Gets Bike Crowd Moving, On Its Feet," Houston Chronicle

"Cycling Advocates Say Confidence Is The Key To Getting More Houstonians On Bikes," Houston Public Media

"Cycling Advocates Say Electric Bikes Could Change The Way People Get Around Houston," Houston Public Media

"The Houston Electric Bike Expo: Transportation, Media, and Fun!," Electric Bike Report

 

And specific to the Electric Bike Expo:

 

"Event Showcases Electric Bikes to Relieve Houston Traffic," Houston Chronicle

"Electric Bike Expo Rides Through Houston All Weekend," CW

"Scenes from the Houston Electric Bike Expo," Electric Bike Expo

 

What a great week it was. Have you written a follow-up article or blog post about #TTAT2016? We'd love to share it! Email the link to Su at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Photo: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks at TTAT 2016.

 

News By Bike: Links for You to Read (Mar 25)

Friday, 25 March 2016 09:55

Looking for some weekend reading? Look no further than these links we thought were worth sharing this week: 

 

NewByBikeFrom BikeTexas:

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it !

 

From around Texas:

Hey, San Antonio! Take this survey

Learn more about the Houston Bike Plan.

Another look at Houston's bus network overhaul

 

From elsewhere:

Pedestrian deaths keep going up in the U.S.

... perhaps because of all the distracted driving.

A retired fire chief calls for smaller trucks that fit smaller streets.

In Columbus, OH, providing transit is cheaper than providing parking garages.

Transit tech is coming to whatever city wins the Smart City challenge.

Big surprise: People who ride bikes tend to enjoy their commute.

Check out these interactive drive-time maps (for when you have to leave the bike behind).

 

Have a great weekend!

 
 

News By Bike: Links for You to Read (Mar 18)

Looking for some weekend reading? Look no further than these links we thought were worth sharing this week:

 

ttat 2016 ebike expo houston scott whiteFrom BikeTexas:

The 2016 Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference is in the books, and what a great three days it was! Mark your calendar now for spring 2018--city to be announced soon. In the meantime, take a look back at three days of fun and learning in Houston.

Speaking of things that happened at TTAT: check out the news coverage of Mayor Sylvester Turner's Wednesday address to the crowd.

And some more news coverage of the Electric Bike Expo.

Last week was a busy week in the world of bike advocacy-- the National Bike Summit in D.C. was winding down right when TTAT was heating up. See news from the Texas delegation and others for Monday, day 1; Tuesday, day 2; and Wednesday, day 3.

And one other really cool thing happened last week--what was it? Oh, yeah, BikeTexas' Fernando Martinez won the Alliance for Biking and Walking's Advocate of the Year award.

Whew! That was a busy week. Now for one that didn't happen last week, but is still crazy-exciting: Three Texas businesses are on the latest list of Bicycle Friendly Businesses from the League of American Bicyclists.

 

From around Texas:

Lots of great stuff is happening in El Paso (check out our event calendar!) including a presentation from Transit Center, "Recent Urban Transportation Innovations: What Can El Paso Learn from Portland, Denver, Charlotte, & New York?" happening Monday night. Don't miss it! 

Austin and seven other U.S. cities are finalists in the Smart City Challenge. They're looking for big ideas that will change transportation for the better.

The draft bike plan for Houston has been released and needs your feedback! See the plan and offer comments here, and take the bike plan survey here.

Consider the bus stop shelter-- using Houston as an example.

One more from Houston (lots of love for our TTAT host city this week): some streets that are easily bikeable for the non-fearless crowd get a shoutout.

Councilmember Shirley Gonzales wants safer streets for her San Antonio district.

  

From elsewhere:

San Francisco just made a huge shift in how it measures transportation.

What happened when Seoul tore down a highway in the middle of the city.

A call to ban right turns on red for good.

NYC is planning to set a new record for building protected bike lanes this year-- right after setting a record last year.

"One kilometer driven by car costs society about 17 cents (15 euro cents), whereas society gains 18 cents (16 euro cents) for each kilometer cycled."

Miss the Vision Zero conference? Here are some key takeaways.

The FHWA has officially announced its new bike-ped safety performance measures.

Who wants to work in this bicyclist's dream office?

It's not your imagination: traffic really is sucking hours of your life away.

But we all know how to fix that, right? 

 

Have a great weekend!

Photo: TTAT attendees enjoy the Electric Bike Expo in Houston. Photo collage courtesy of Velo Paso

 
 

Talking the Talk: Social Media Coverage of #TTAT2016

ttat 2016 sm collageIt's no secret that bikey folks are chatty folks. In between the presenters, networking, greeting friends, and all-around talking about what's happening for people who bike and walk in Texas, our Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference attendees took to social media over the three days to share what was happening in Houston. Check out the Storify from each day to relive the excitement or see what you missed!

 

We found plenty to talk about even before the conference started: see pre-conference social media here.

Day 1: TTAT got off to a great start with keynote speaker Margaret Lamar, special guest Mayor Sylvester Turner, the welcome reception at Houston Bicycle Museum, and lots of info-packed sessions.

Day 2: The excitement continued with keynotes Dr. Daniel Iacofano, Van Nguyen, and Pascal van den Noort; a special appearance by Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis; and a morning downpour that eased off just in time for the afternoon's mobile workshops.

Day 3: All good things must come to an end, but we finished with a bang with keynote Brian Payne, a trip to the Electric Bike Expo, and even more amazing sessions to finish out the week.

 

Want to make sure you don't miss out next time? Mark your calendar for spring 2018-- dates and location are still to be determined. Follow Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference on Facebook and sign up for BikeTexas' email list to make sure you're the first to know when it's time to plan for 2018.

 

Photos for collage drawn from the social media posts at the Storify links above.

 
 

9 to 5: Texas Bicycle Friendly Businesses

Monday, 14 March 2016 12:11

richardson bike mart

The League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Businesses on February 18, and three Texas businesses are on the list.

Congratulations to our long-time partners and good friends, Richardson Bike Mart, who smashed their first appearance on the Bicycle Friendly list by coming in at Gold! We're delighted to see our member business achieve this well deserved success.

Casteel and Associates, Inc. of Dallas is also a Gold level Bicycle Friendly Business, having moved up from Silver. Rounding out the Texas list is Asakura Robinson Company LLC from Houston, who has renewed its Bronze level status.

Congrats to all three Bicycle Friendly Businesses! Texas is proud of you.

 

These three businesses join the other 25 Texas Bicycle Friendly Businesses:

Platinum:

Bicycle Sport Shop, Austin, Bicycle Industry

Gold:

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, Transportation

The Ride Of Silence, Garland, Bicycle Industry

Traffic Engineers, Inc., Houston, Architecture/Planning/Design

Silver:

717 N. Harwood, Dallas, Class A Commercial Office Building

Advanced Micro Devices, Austin, Manufacturing/Research

Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (AAMPO), San Antonio, Government Agency

Bike World, San Antonio, Bicycle Industry

Blue Line Bike Lab, Houston, Bicycle Industry

City of Austin, Austin, Non-Profit/Government

El Meson Restaurant, Houston, Hospitality/Food/Retail

Federal Highway Administration, Texas Division, Austin, Non-Profit/Government

Fort Worth Bike Sharing, Fort Worth, Bicycle Industry

Pedal Power Bicycles, San Marcos, Bicycle Industry

Plano Cycling & Fitness, Inc., Plano, Hospitality/Food/Retail

San Antonio River Authority, San Antonio, Government Agency

Sugar Cycles, Inc., Missouri City, Bicycle Industry

The LIVESTRONG Foundation, Austin, Non-Profit/Government

United Services Automobile Association (USAA), San Antonio, Professional Services

Bronze:

City of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Non-Profit/Government

HomeAway, Austin, Professional Services

Lake Flato Architects, San Antonio, Architecture/Planning/Design

San Antonio Bike Share, San Antonio, Bicycle Industry

Texas Instruments Inc., Plano, Manufacturing/Research

Wheatsville Food Co-op, Austin, Hospitality/Food/Retail

 
 

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