Sun, May 26
Sine Die Ride
Fri, May 3110:00am -
1902 E 6th, Austin, TX
BikeTexas Volunteer Day
Sat, Jun 1 8:00am -
Market Square Park, Houston, TX
Bayou Bike Tour
Sat, Jun 111:00am -
1900 Main St, Dallas, TX
Dallas: Ride the Link
Thu, Jun 27 7:00pm -
Palladium IMAX, San Antonio, TX
Bicycle Dreams Benefit Movie Screening
Free training to teach the SafeCyclist Curriculum
Resources for teachers and community members
Bicycle advocates in Irving held a League Cycling Instructor (LCI) training session in early October. Francesca Funk of the Irving Bike Lane Task Force says, "Irving has gone from one LCI to six LCIs, and we're ready to roll with bike safety and especially Safe Routes to School." This training session had a total of 10 participants: five from Irving, two from Richardson, one from Plano, one from Carollton, and one from Austin, taught by Preston Tyree and Gail Spann.
New LCI Dave Vest wrote about the weekend of training on his blog; read more about the intense sessions here!
Do you want to know more about becoming an LCI? Check out the League of American Bicyclists LCI page. For a list of training sessions, click here; the next training session in Texas will be November 30 in Houston. See the list of LCI coaches to find out if any of them live in your area!
BikeTexas urges all Texans to go to the polls, either in early voting (Oct 22-Nov 2) or on Election Day (Nov 6). We also want to remind all Texans that some items on the ballot appear on later pages of the electronic tablet. Selecting a straight party ticket does not fill in a choice for non-partisan elections or initiatives; a voter must still make a selection for those types of races. For example, city elections, local propositions, and state constitutional amendments appear farther down on the ballot and are often missed by voters.
Two Texas cities, Houston and Austin, have initiatives on the ballot that BikeTexas encourages residents to vote for. BikeTexas supports Houston's Proposition B to create linear parks and green spaces throughout the city. These green spaces will supplement the existing bicycle network and make traveling by bicycle easier and more pleasant in Houston. BikeTexas supports Austin's Propositions 12 through 18 to improve public spaces, transportation, and housing in the city.
Does your community have an initiative for bicycle facilities or trails on the ballot? Please let us know!
Vote in this general election and let your voice be heard. Make sure that your voice is heard on all items on the ballot!
The Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA Texas) held its annual conference in Fort Worth on October 3-6, 2012. BikeTexas was an Annual Sponsor of this year’s event, with an in-kind donation of bicycles for the mobile workshop “Fort Worth Bike and Pedestrian Planning.”
The workshop was led by Julia McCleeary, AICP, City of Fort Worth and Jeff Whitacre, AICP, Kimley-Horn and Associates. The route was a rigorous 12 miles, with a few good hills, but even though there were some inexperienced cyclists and one flat tire, everyone stayed with the group. Attendees were able to tour recently implemented projects including bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, shared routes, and trails. BikeTexas’ recently acquired Trek Virve 2 hybrid bikes helped attendees have a smooth experience, and the discussions led by Ms. McCleeary and Mr. Whitacre helped keep everyone engaged.
As part of our sponsorship, BikeTexas was allotted a great space in the exhibition hall. We used the opportunity to show a running slide show of some top-notch bicycle infrastructure from around Texas and all over the world, including cycle tracks. We also were able to have great conversations with planners and elected officials from around the state who are interested in making their areas more bike-friendly — everyone from the City of Tyler's Mayor and MPO Chair, to the Executive Director of El Paso’s Downtown Management District. We also engaged with several folks from some of Texas’ smaller towns, and helped generate a lot of interest in Safe Passing, Complete Streets, and bicycling infrastructure.
It was a real treat for BikeTexas was getting to see just how biking and walking are important to the Texas planning community. In one session, Dallas’ DART systems presented alongside Dallas Bike Coordinator Jared White to discuss how DART was utilizing Federal Transit Authority funds to improve walking within one-half mile and biking within three miles of each of its key transit stations. In addition, several awards recognized great achievements in planning for efforts to increase bicycling and walking, including San Antonio’s Bike Master Plan, Collin County’s Regional Trails Plan, and an individual award to Team Better Block’s Jason Roberts, who, along with Andrew Howard, received the BikeTexas Advocate of the Year award at the 2012 Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference.
BikeTexas was very proud to be part of such a great conference, and we look forward to attending and sponsoring next year!
Bike and Walk to School Day at Murchison Elementary
Docia Craft, the SafeCyclist Certified PE teacher at Murchison Elementary in Pflugerville, has experience putting on a great Bike and Walk to School Day: October 3, 2012 was the 12th Annual Bike and Walk to School Day at the school.
Murchison is a neighborhood school, so a large number of parents and students already walk and bike regularly. Bike and Walk to School Day was no exception! However, this day was special because the students were greeted by "Fitness Champions" and "School Health Champions". These champions included athletes from the middle and high school and community leaders. The high school band provided a boogie beat to add to the fun atmosphere.
Want to plan a Bike and Walk to School event at your school or in your community? Get a BikeTexas Event Handbook here!
Texas NAACP Convention Includes Bike Ride
The Texas NAACP 76th Annual State Convention at the bayfront Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi, TX, included a bicycle ride with BikeTexas as a morning activity.
On Friday, October 12, BikeTexas took a group of NAACP convention attendees for a seven-mile ride along the bay. Included in the group was Texas NAACP president Gary Bledsoe, who had to get back for a presentation at the convention and missed out on the group photo. BikeTexas enjoys the opportunity to connect with old friends and has conducted around six rides for the Texas NAACP Convention.
The Texas NAACP has influenced the National NAACP to have a ride at the national convention, too. In the last legislative session, the Texas NAACP joined BikeTexas in supporting the Complete Streets Bill authored by Senator Rodney Ellis & Representative Linda Harper-Brown. BikeTexas appreciates this connection to the Texas NAACP and enjoys joining together to promote cycling for all Texans.
Working for a More Active Brownsville
By Dr. Rose M. Gowen, Brownsville City Commissioner
Science and research and a community along the Texas-Mexican Gulf Coast border were not partners 10 years ago. Quite honestly, 10 years ago, Brownsville (like many other communities) would not have known how or why to begin such a relationship. Today, public health is a cornerstone in Brownsville's efforts to create a vibrant, prosperous, and healthy community.
Eleven years ago, the Regional Area Health Science Center brought the UT School of Public Health (UTSPH) to town. Since then, researchers have watched over who we are and what our risks are. Findings thus far include a 52% obesity rate and not surprisingly a nearly 30% rate of diabetes. In an area with high poverty and high health disparity, the perfect storm swirls around us.
In 2009 a long-range plan known as Imagine Brownsville was developed. Among the determinants were the need to create a walkable and bicycle friendly city with a sense of place and the need to protect our unique environment punctuated by a network of natural waterways called "resacas" throughout the city.
Community members, policy makers, and professors began working together to consider solutions. Brownsville has not been bicycle or pedestrian friendly and kayaking opportunities have been narrow. Few bicycle lanes, many disconnected sidewalk segments, and many too-shallow resacas run through the city. Like many other cities in the country, urban sprawl and dependence on automobile transportation rule.
In 2008 a team of City staff, Su Clinica Familiar (community health clinic), and the UTSPH began a farmers market to promote fresh fruits and vegetables. The Brownsville Farmers' Market is held in Linear Park at the trailhead of the Historic Battlefield Trail (the only hike and bike trail in the city), offering the opportunity and attraction of active transportation along the trail. Shoppers arriving by bicycle are no longer an oddity today.
In 2011 the Public Utilities Board began moving forward on a plan for resaca restoration. The Resaca Restoration plan will take four resacas a year and dredge them, removing years of built-up sludge, thus improving water storage, renewing ecosystems, and allowing for kayak trail development.
Community-wide programs teaching the health and economic value of active living and healthy eating draw more partners each year to join the founding partners of the UTSPH and the City. January 11, 2013 will be the kick off of the fourth Brownsville Biggest Loser Challenge that attracted over 1000 participants in the third season. The Challenge has produced two Guinness World Records and new active travelers!
City policy is being reviewed, and in 2011, a gap closed with the passing of an ordinance for commercial development (not just residential) to include sidewalks. October 2012 was an exceptional month for a budding bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly Brownsville. Bicyclists and other vulnerable travelers are now better protected by a Safe Passing ordinance. The ordinance directs automobiles to remain four feet away from vulnerable travelers. In addition, a Complete Streets Resolution was passed after hosting a Complete Streets workshop open to the public.
The community group Brownsville in Motion meets once a month to discuss progress and vision. Members include policy makers, city staff, professors, and students. A planning grant from the National Park Service to connect the three battlefields in Brownsville is nearly complete, and community meetings are being held to gather input as design for a new one-mile trail funded by a Texas Parks and Wildlife grant is underway.
Plans are complete and grants have been submitted for the bank of the first resaca to be restored. The restored resaca will not only support an enriched ecosystem, but the bank will also provide a trail/boardwalk and reflective greenspace with a kayak dock. This first resaca runs alongside the historically recognized City Cemetery where veterans from every American war since the American Revolution, together with many of the city's and region's founding fathers, rest. Planners are making sure to intertwine the city's history with active public spaces.
What's next? A Master Bicycle Pedestrian Plan is about to begin and the inaugural position of Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator is open. Build a Better Block projects are up and running each month, complete with bicycle lanes and pedestrian corridors, and the first Ciclovia ....CicloBia (B for Brownsville)..... is going to be held November 4, 2012!
Momentum is building in Brownsville and as I look back over the past few years it is clear that science, research, planning, parks, health, and the environment have developed not just an acquaintance but a meaningful relationship that is working together to build the road to a vibrant, prosperous, and healthy community that is pedestrian, bicycle, and kayak friendly!
San Antonio Hosts Third Síclovía
BikeTexas hosted a booth at the Síclovía, also for the third time. We were able to give away about 500 bookmarks and 500 coloring books about bike safety to children who stopped by the booth. We also handed out 1000 light sets to kids, and TxDOT handed out 800 more to help keep San Antonio's kids well-lit and safe while walking and biking!
Additionally, we brought the BikeTexas bike fleet along to offer free bike rentals to people who wanted to roll along Broadway instead of walking.
The next San Antonio Síclovía is scheduled for April 7, 2013.
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