Premiere Business Members & Sponsors
Wed, Jul 30 5:30pm -
5125 Convict Hill Rd, Austin, TX 78749, USA
Open House On The Violet Crown Trail Design Project (Austin)
Thu, Jul 31 6:00pm -
RGV Advocacy Training
Sun, Aug 3 1:00pm -
1902 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702, USA
Statewide Advocacy Training
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Brownsville Sports Park, Sports Park Boulevard, Olmito, TX, United States
National Night Out (Brownsville)
Fri, Aug 22 7:00pm -
Every year, BikeTexas gives one lucky Texan a new bike. Is 2013 your lucky year?
You love riding your bike in Texas. So do we.
BikeTexas is the only statewide organization dedicated to serving cyclists and pedestrians all over the state. We work for better laws, better safety, better education, and better funding for biking and walking at the local, state, and national levels. But we can't do it alone.
To show our appreciation to the members who make our work possible, we're giving away a 2014 Trek 7.2 FX bike (pictured)-- Trek's most popular model!
As an extra thank-you, Sustaining Monthly Members are automatically entered in the drawing. No need to do anything else; you're already making Texas a great place to bike and walk!
BikeTexas KidsKup is back! After our (and TMBRA's) usual summer break, KidsKup will return as soon as school starts. Our first race is on August 31 in Rocksprings at the Camp Eagle Classic!
Over 200 children participated in the spring KidsKup races, many for the first time! Kids and parents took home great memories, big smiles, and a renewed love for cycling week after week. Don't miss out on this exciting way to introduce your kids to off-road riding!
BikeTexas KidsKup is put on by BikeTexas with the help of pro racer James Webb. You don't have to be a mountain bike racer for your child to participate; KidsKup is always free and open to the general public. No pre-registration is required. Some venues do charge an admission fee; we do our best to find out about the fees and let families know ahead of time via email and on the BikeTexas website.
Go here for the full list of KidsKup rules.
Fall race schedule:
Sometimes races are added to the schedule as we progress into fall because TMBRA and the organizers are still working out the details. We'll be sure to let you know about all KidsKup races so you don't miss a thing.
We hope to see you at a KidsKup race this fall!
Want to help support KidsKup so this great program can continue into 2014 and beyond? Donate to the David Boyd Memorial Fund for the BikeTexas KidsKup today.
Friday, 16 August 2013 12:57
By Scott White
Photo courtesy of El Paso Bike Month Facebook Page
Just a few days ago it appeared the city of El Paso was well on its way to launching a city-wide bike share program. Now, some are asking if the program is dead.
Earlier this week I was all set to attend the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA) monthly meeting, where the board was expected to give authorization to contract out the program to get things rolling. I was excited and had even scheduled a meeting with the CRRMA's Executive Director, Raymond Telles, to learn a little more about the plan. That's when he let me in on a little secret: things had hit a snag.
Bike Share isn't a new idea for El Paso; various plans have been talked about for some time, but a few months ago things really began to fall into place. The CRRMA began to bring together potential partners, including the City of El Paso, The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization (EPMPO). El Paso and UTEP signed on and pitched in funds, the CRRMA and EPMPO found even more funds, and it looked like all that was needed was to cross the T's and dot the I's.
That is until TxDOT balked at the plan. TxDOT wasn't going to provide any funds directly, but manages certain federal funds that come to the state, in this case Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds that come from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). These funds are meant to help communities reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, and El Paso can certainly use help doing both. In fact, according the FHWA requirements, El Paso did qualify for those funds. Even so, TxDOT feels otherwise.
On Wednesday, August 13, at the Board meeting where the CRRMA had originally planned to move forward with securing a contractor for the Bike Share program, Raymond Telles instead had to share the disappointing news that he had been told that TxDOT didn't think the Bike Share program was the best use of the CMAQ funds, and that other (and as yet still unidentified) funds would better serve to support the program. Everyone was taken aback. A board member even asked if this meant that Bike Share was dead.
Mr. Telles described the program as it had been just a few days before, including funding from:
Telles also revealed that Fort Bliss, the Army's second largest military installation and a major part of the greater El Paso community, had seen the value of adding Bike Share and not only wanted to join in, but was also willing to pay for all the stations and bikes to serve the base. But with the lion's share of the funding being withheld, who's to say whether Fort Bliss will sign on now or not.
This could have been huge, but without the CMAQ funding, this $2 million project was now down to just $400,000.
Of course TxDOT didn't exactly shut the door on other potential funding. TxDOT spokesperson Veronica Beyer put out a statement this week that reads, “No final decision has been made yet. We continue to look at the most efficient ways to address air quality with limited funding. TxDOT plans to coordinate conversations with transportation partners to garner more information on how we can dedicate those limited funds to important congestion-mitigation projects around the state.”
So that seems like great news for folks somewhere else in the state, as they may be getting the CMAQ funding our local leadership had lined up. But what do we get for our Bike Share program? So far, no answer from TxDOT to that question.
So here we are, one day thinking El Paso could be looking forward to getting Bike Share, just like Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth. Instead we are left wondering what's next, and if Bike Share really is dead or not.
Telles is already working on a plan for a smaller version of Bike Share, perhaps with a series of stations across Fort Bliss, and some at UTEP, or maybe to use some of the funds to hire a contractor to move forward with the current plans while identifying other potential sources of funding. The problem for Telles is that the $274,000 from TECQ has to be spent sooner rather than later [ed-- these TECQ funds must be used by the end of the calendar year]. At this point he hopes to bring all the stakeholders together, including members of Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition to consider the options, but there don't seem to be many of those right now.
That's where we come in. Velo Paso has already started asking people to encourage TxDOT to release the funds. We understand that Bike Share programs in other communities have used CMAQ funds to get rolling, which is why the planners thought it made perfect sense to use that same funding here. And let's get honest, when you consider other projects, those dollar totals are in the ten and hundreds of millions. $1.6 million isn't that much by comparison, except that it has the potential to do so much good here in El Paso.
Numerous studies tout the health values of bicycling, and how it can help fight obesity and diabetes. They also show that for every bike trip there is one less car on the road, cutting both congestion and air pollution. Bicycling frees up parking spaces. It even has proven to be an economic boon as cyclists are more apt to stop along their route to stop and shop, whereas drivers tend to keep going.\
So what's the real reason TxDOT doesn't want El Paso to use the funds local planners found? Who can say for sure. But you can certainly have a say in the future of cycling for El Paso, as Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition will be holding a community meeting to talk about bicycling and pedestrian issues, and how we can make a difference. Please come out and join us.
Scott White is an almost life-long resident of El Paso and is a founding Board Member of Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition. When he's not at work, he can often be found riding his bike or working to make El Paso a better city for folks to call home.
Back to School by Bike
Schools across Texas are opening their doors for the fall semester, and the trickle of students heading back will become a flood by the end of August. As your household transitions back to a time of learning, are you planning for biking and walking?
Biking or walking to school gives your child tremendous health and mental benefits. Childhood obesity is on the rise across the US, and regular physical activity can help protect your child: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 60 minutes of physical activity every day for children and adolescents.
In addition to getting kids active, studies have shown a link between children being active on their way to school and their ability to concentrate once they arrive. Doss Elementary School in Austin has noticed this firsthand; in 2012, Amanda Swann said of the school's bike/walk program, "children who walk/ride to school are much better prepared to sit and learn and have gotten those ‘wiggles’ out on that trip to school instead of during school."
So, time to get everybody ready to roll!
Want to plan a Bike/Walk to School Day for your school or community?
And don't forget about the BikeTexas KidsKup! If your kids love to ride their bikes and are ready for a new challenge, it may be time to try mountain biking! BikeTexas KidsKup races are held in conjunction with TMBRA races in the spring and fall.
Above all, have a great school year, and happy riding!
Where Did the BikeTexas Emails Go? A Quick Tutorial for Gmail Users
If you're a Gmail user, you've probably already seen your new inbox with messages separated into tabs. If your tabs are turned on, you may not be seeing your BikeTexas updates in your Primary stream--most emails from organizations are being filtered into Promotions. We'd hate for you to miss out on any updates or Action Alerts that affect you! Here's what you can do to ensure your emails are going where you'll read them (you can also do this for any other organization whose emails you're missing because of tabs):
If you don't like the tabs, you can turn them off. Click the little cog in the upper right-hand side of your inbox and choose "Settings." You'll see multiple boxes are checked:
From there, click "Inbox" on the top of the settings page. Uncheck all categories except "Primary" and all of your emails will arrive in your inbox as before.
If you love the tabs to sort your inbox, no need to uncheck anything. Instead, you can move BikeTexas messages to your Primay tab. Go to your Promotions tab, click on the BikeTexas message, and drag it up to the Primary tab.
If neither of these options appeal to you, you can leave everything as it is and remember to look under your Promotions tab for the latest news from bicycle advocacy.
Projects that Affect Bicyclists: Give Your Feedback
Texans will have two opportunities this month to give feedback about projects that will affect bicycles.
The first meeting concerns SH 71 and will be from 6:00 to 8:00 PM on Tuesday, August 13 at Del Valle Opportunity Center, 5301-B Ross Road, Del Valle, TX. This the first open house about SH 71. Among the improvements being considered is a shared-use path alongside the highway. Bicyclists are encouraged to attend in support of this accommodation for active transportation.
TxDOT will be holding a meeting in Atlanta, TX to "provide information regarding transportation projects and programs that might affect bicycle use of the state system within the Atlanta District."Residents are encouraged to submit comments either in writing or at the meeting from 4 to 6 PM on Thursday, August 29, at the TxDOT Atlanta District Office (701 E Main, Atlanta, TX).
If you live in either area, please attend to show your support for bicycling in Texas!
BikeTexas Summer Interns
Every summer, BikeTexas hosts interns from the Travis County Summer Youth Employment Program. The students get a chance to learn about bicycle advocacy and gain some work experience, while BikeTexas benefits from having extra hands to help out. We've had exceptional students working with us every summer, and 2013 has been no exception!
Rolando and LP were with us for the first half of the summer. They worked hard at personally checking our bike lights, helping to load and unload our trailers, and finding great articles to share on the BikeTexas social media.
Erica and Kobie are with us for the second half of the summer and are already hard at work helping out with tasks around the office. BikeTexas is proud to have stellar students spend time with us year after year!
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