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Tuesday, July 23 2013 09:52
Arlington's reputation as the largest U.S. city without a public transportation system is about to take a ding when the new MAX bus line begins service on August 19.
The bus service is an express route (meaning, it's up to the drivers to find the fastest way between the fixed points) connecting CentrePort/DFW Airport Station and College Park Center. A stop within the entertainment district is in the works, but the location has not been determined yet. One-day passes will cost $5. For more details, check out MAX's website.
We're happy that this new service, like all other services in the DART system, will carry bikes. Bring your bicycle along so you can easily complete the last mile of your trip once you arrive at your destination! BikeTexas is proud that most bus systems in Texas have bike racks-- we first started lobbying for bike racks on buses at the local level in the mid-90s, and it caught on quickly with Austin, Dallas, and Houston leading the way. Now, nearly everywhere you can catch a local bus in Texas, you can also bring a bike. We've been happy to partner with so many local bus agencies to make sure that cyclists can use public transit, too!
Monday, July 22 2013 12:40
Bike sharing is coming to Austin! Joining San Antonio, Houston, and Fort Worth, Austin will soon become the fourth Texas city to have a bike sharing program. (El Paso is hard at work to become the fifth Texas bike share city.) In the meantime, the City of Austin’s Public Works Department and local non-profit Bike Share of Austin need your input. They're requesting feedback from the public to identify bike share locations throughout the city.
Individuals are asked to suggest where they would like a station to be placed and vote for already suggested locations. Participants are also asked to select a color preference for the bikes. Feedback will be collected through August and may be submitted at www.votebikeshareaustin.com.
In July and August, members from Public Works’ Bicycle Program and Bike Share of Austin will also be gathering citizen input in person at various Austin locations. Two main events will be held: one at Capital Metro’s Plaza Saltillo Station on July 29 and the other at Austin City Hall on August 1. Participants will be able to speak to staff members about bike share, suggest and vote for locations, and view bike share equipment. See the complete schedule of public activities on the City of Austin website.
Not sure what bike share is? Here's an overview:
About bike share:
Bike sharing will help ease Austin’s traffic congestion and aid in closing “first and last mile” transit gaps in the bus and rail systems. It will help the user stay healthy and decrease pollutants in the air by reducing the amount of single-occupant motor vehicle commutes. Bike sharing allows the user to pick up a bike from one location and ride it to another location.
About Bike Share of Austin:
Bike Share of Austin is the City’s Managing Partner for the Bike Share Program. The local non-profit organization will handle the day-to-day operations of Austin’s bike sharing system, including maintenance of the bicycles, marketing the system, and securing station sponsorships.
Later this year, the first 10 stations with approximately 100 bicycles will be in operation. The remaining stations will be installed by spring 2014. In total, there will be approximately 40 stations, 400 bicycles and 600 docks.
Tuesday, July 16 2013 10:24
On Friday, July 12, the El Paso MPO Transportation Policy Board approved $2.3 million in citywide bicycle infrastructure and programs over the next three years. Several bike advocates voiced their support for bike funding during the meeting, while countless others called and emailed their representatives ahead of time.
"Infrastructure and bike programs will not only help the [City of El Paso's] new bike share program," said Ben Foster, board member of Velo Paso, a bicycle-pedestrian coalition, "but it will also inspire people to dust off their bikes sitting in their garage and ride to work, school, parks and maybe even to an Aardvarks [minor league baseball] game." Plans for the $60.8 million Triple-A ballpark include 80 bike racks, a requirement for LEED certification.
After doubts were raised earlier in the week about the bicycle infrastructure fund's security, BikeTexas sent an Action Alert to bicycle advocates in El Paso, asking them to speak up. "The advocacy presence may have saved this pot of money from being diverted to other projects," said a city official.
Rep. Marisa Marquez (D-77), a novice cyclist whose district includes Downtown, UTEP and neighborhoods around Fort Bliss, asked whether there were beginner bike classes she could attend and share with her constituents. Bicycle funds approved today could go towards education initiatives and bike classes for adults and children. These funds, considered by city officials as "seed money" for the city's new bicycle program, could also be applied toward the city's first bicycle master plan.
The $2.3 million dollars in funding represents a 1.5% of total TIP monies authorized for the next three years. MPOs in Dallas and Bexar County allocate almost quadruple that amount. Bicycle advocates in El Paso hope this first round of funding will open the door to even more dedicated funds next time.
Photo courtesy of El Paso Bike Month on Facebook.
You spoke—and we’re listening! Over 1200 Texans responded to BikeTexas’ planning survey. We’ll have the full report ready in August, but here are some early results:
• Cycling is a recreational activity for most respondents, but over 60% also ride their bikes as part of their commutes
• 95% believe BikeTexas should continue to serve as the lead group for statewide bicycle advocacy
• 89% of respondents say BikeTexas should play a lead role in local advocacy or help to grow professionalism in local advocacy
• Two things are almost equally important for growing cycling in Texas: 1) Making things safer for current cyclists, and 2) Encouragement programs to attract new cyclists
Our Executive Director, Robin Stallings, says “This is an opportunity for us to listen to our constituents and hear feedback that will help guide BikeTexas for the coming years. The survey gives us insight into how to best serve all cyclists in Texas, as well as to identify further questions that we need to discuss with them.”
BikeTexas’ Strategic Planning Committee (made up of staff, board members, and key advocates from around the state) has been working since May to define the vision and plan that will guide our next three to five years. We’re working with Jeremy Grandstaff of S & G Endeavors so we have a fresh set of eyes to make sure we don’t miss out on any new ideas. We’re proud that so many Texans jumped in to take the planning survey.
If you didn’t get a chance to share your ideas with us yet, good news! The survey will remain open through July 31, but don’t wait! Take the survey right now to make sure we hear from you.
BikeTexas is proud to partner with the Safe Routes to School National Conference, to be held in Sacramento, CA August 13-15. If you've been looking for an opportunity to connect with other professionals who work with children's transportation to school, this is it! Safe Routes to School (SRTS) creates safe, convenient and fun opportunities for children to bike and walk to school and plays a critical role in providing more physical activity and enhancing traffic safety.
California was the first state to jump into SRTS in 1999, but Texas was not far behind with the Matthew Brown Act in 2001. Both Texas and California played a key role in the birth of the nationwide SRTS movement and remain national leaders in Safe Routes to School strategies.
This biennial event draws a national and multidisciplinary audience of school leaders and staff; elected officials and staff; professionals in planning, transportation, public health, landscape architecture, architecture, public works, and parks and recreation; and all others committed to improving conditions for children to walk and bike to school and to creating safer, healthier and more livable communities. This year's conference includes many special events, including a Kidical Mass ride.
For program details, registration info and sponsorship opportunities: SafeRoutesConference.org
As cyclists, we all know the dangers of distracted driving. It's best for our safety, and for the safety of all road users, if everyone using the road is paying attention and undistracted.
InsuranceQuotes.org put together an interactive page with the common sources of distraction while driving. From the site:
It might surprise you that a conversation on a cell phone slows reaction time as much as driving with a blood alcohol level of .08%. In fact, some studies showed that talking on a cell phone resulted in even more accidents than drunk driving. As Americans drive twice as many miles per year as we did in 1980, it seems the distractions are growing exponentially while becoming even more hazardous.
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