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BikeTexas BikeNews

Summer By Rail Visits Texas as Part of Nationwide Tour

BikeNews; Community

Monday, June 27 2016 00:00

Summer by Rail CollageElena Studier had a plan for her summer internship: using Amtrak's expanded roll-on bike service, she would travel the US by bike and rail. No cross-country trip can be complete without a stop in the Lone Star State, and we were delighted to show off four of Texas' cities during her quick weekend here: showcasing the great bike and train travel available in our home state, and letting folks know about Amtrak's newly expanded service.

Elena's Texas tour kicked off in San Antonio in the wee hours on July 11. Those joining Elena on the ride through the city met at Sunset Station, where riders had the opportunity to try out electric bikes (with one taker opting for an e-bike rather than his own for this ride). Along for the ride were representatives from the City of San Antonio and Mayor Taylor's office, local advocates, and BikeTexas member Robert Rivard of the Rivard Report. Of course, no visit to San Antonio is complete without seeing the Missions and the Riverwalk, and that was our route, with plenty of other sights the city has to offer along the way.

Then it was on to Austin, with a ride around Lady Bird Lake and then through the entertainment district (taking advantage of the protected bike lanes downtown) en route to Plaza Saltillo station. Robert Borowski of Capital Metro joined us for a trip up the Red Line to grab some lunch and chat with Elena about the future of rail in Austin and the region.

The whirl of a tour continued on Saturday in Fort Worth, where BikeTexas Board Member Doug Black took over ride leader duties to show us around his city. We met Elena and Sean (of the National Association of Railroad Passengers) at the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center and rode through Fort Worth's downtown and along the Trinity Trail, including a stop at the Phyllis J. Tilley Bridge, and through the Magnolia Avenue Restaurant Row. 

Our great weekend with Elena came to a close on Sunday in Dallas. We met BikeTexas member and determined ride leader Zac Ford at the Dallas Union Station (Amtrak). Zac didn't let a broken arm stop him from leading Elena and the rest of us through the downtown district and on to the Katy Trail and the White Rock Lake Trail via DART. 

Elena continues her journey through the U.S., and you can see the sights and read about her experiences on her blog.

   

BikeTexas Supports Austin's Bond Package

BikeNews; Advocacy

 
Austin City Council Moves Forward with the Largest Transportation Bond Proposal in the City's History
 
BikeTexas is going to work hard to make it happen in November.
 

Austin City Council worked into the wee hours Friday morning before passing, on an 8-3 vote, the largest transportation bond package in the city’s history. $120 million of the proposed $720 million is designated towards active transportation in Austin--urban trails, protected bike lanes, sidewalks, and Safe Routes to School. BikeTexas is proud to stand with Mayor Adler and support this bond proposal.

BikeTexas has been meeting with council members to discuss the November bond election since September 2015. Over the past nine months, we've urged the mayor and city council to pass a balanced package that includes significant resources for active transportation, including Complete Streets.

After compromise from all sides, the inclusive package will now go to City staff for development of bond language. In August, the City Council will determine whether a bond referendum will go before the voters in November. This plan is poised to make a transformational change for active transportation in Austin. 

To pass such an ambitious bond in November's election, it will be crucial for all sides to come together. This bond has inspired vigorous discussion and community input, and we look forward to working shoulder-to shoulder with all segments of Austin’s community to make these bonds a reality in November.

Many folks worked hard on this bond package, and we offer special thanks to Mayor Adler for his strategic thinking on Austin's transportation future. Council Member Ann Kitchen's wisdom and commitment to the best interest of her district and the city of Austin as a whole have been invaluable in getting this bond package passed by the city council. Additionally, the Mayor’s and Council Member’s staffs worked tirelessly to craft as inclusive a package as possible for Austin's current and future transportation needs.

BikeTexas is particularly proud of our work and our supporters’ work in this effort. We’ve seen dramatic improvement in active transportation funding over any previous bond election and over objections raised early in the process by those who are less committed to an Austin that supports and encourages active transportation. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting this bond passed in November.

BikeTexas will be on the lookout for federal or state grant opportunities so the City of Austin can leverage these local active transportation bonds to build out the bicycle and sidewalk master plans.

 
BikeTexas' Leslie Luciano addresses the Austin City Council late Thursday night.
   

Contact Your Austin Council Member Today!

BikeNews; Action Alerts

Tuesday, June 21 2016 14:03

Let your council member know that biking and walking in Austin matter to you
 
A balanced bond proposal can transform Austin's roadways
 
This is a rare opportunity to meet critical needs for biking and walking

The Austin City Council will make a key decision this week whether to move toward a bond election in 2016

 

BikeTexas is working with allied organizations and city council members on a bond proposal that will greatly benefit active transportation in Austin. Please contact your council member TODAY and ask him or her to support this balanced transportation bond. 

If a consensus can be reached by this Thursday, June 23, for a November bond election, it has the potential to be the biggest transportation bond in Austin's history. With Austin’s soaring population growth, the time is now! Since it could be five years or longer until this opportunity arises again, it is vital to maximize active transportation funding in this bond election. Future bonds are likely to be directed toward other city needs, while the 2014 Bike Plan and 2016 Sidewalk Plan will collect dust.

Austin citizens have repeatedly indicated support for active transportation choices like biking, walking, and transit. Having real alternatives to private car use will allow folks to save on gas and parking, enable seniors to age in place, encourage talented young people to remain in Austin, and improve the quality of life for all. Too much reliance on automobiles alone has never provided the answers Austin is looking for.

The Austin Bicycle Master Plan calls for $150 million over five years to build critical infrastructure which is projected to replace 20,000 car trips per day with bike trips, thus providing safety for people who ride bikes as well as easing congestion in the city. The $150 million for the Bicycle Master Plan includes $60 million for protected bike lanes and $90 million for urban trails.

Austin's Sidewalk Master Plan calls for $250 million to fund high-priority sidewalks that connect to schools and transit. These vital connections will reduce congestion at schools and leverage Austin's existing transit investment by providing easier, more efficient transit access to more Austinites.

The bond proposal BikeTexas seeks is a balanced step in the right direction toward addressing these needs that have been left underfunded for far too long. A balanced bond package can provide $150 million each for the Bike and Sidewalk plans, plus an additional $200 million dedicated to local road corridors that serve transit.

Please call or email your council member today and ask him or her to support a balanced transportation bond proposal. 

We've found the following format to be useful when speaking to elected officials:

  1. My name is _____ and my occupation is _____. I live and bike/walk in District __.
  2. I ask Council Member _______ to support a balanced transportation bond proposal. A $500 million bond package that includes $150 million for the Sidewalk Master Plan, $150 million for the Bicycle Master Plan, and $200 million for transportation corridors will be transformational for Austin.
  3. Safety, mobility, equity, and affordability are served by a balanced, $500 million bond package. Should the council instead move on a bond proposal at $720 million, then the bond should fully fund the $250 million for the Sidewalk Plan, $150 million for the Bike Plan, and $320 million for roads that serve transit.
  4. This bond matters to me and my family because... (take a couple of sentences to tell your story. Do you bike or walk to work? Would you like to use transit more? Do your kids want to ride to school? Let the council member know why this is important to you.)
  5. Thank you for your time and consideration. I respectfully urge Council Member _____ to support a balanced bond package for $500 million.

Thank you for helping to make Austin a great place to ride a bike!

rio grande cycletrack

   

News By Bike: Links for You to Read (June 17)

BikeNews; Community

Friday, June 17 2016 00:00

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

 

NewByBikeFrom BikeTexas:

We need your help! Share your best bike stories with us to be included in our 25th anniversary celebration. Send them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by June 30.

 

From around Texas:

Ride the A Train in Denton for free tomorrow.

Talk to TxDOT-- two North Texas hearings on bicycle use are scheduled for next week. Get updates and offer comments in Richardson on June 21 and North Richland Hills on June 23.

The Houston Bike Plan Update will be presented before the TTI Committee on June 20 at 9:00 am, 901 Bagby St., 2nd Fl.

Bike share in Dallas? Not any time soon.

Check out Rivard Report's coverage of last weekend's Summer By Rail visit to San Antonio (and three other Texas cities).

 

From elsewhere:

White bikes have been placed at the scene of the deadly crash in Kalamazoo.

Why people who don't own a car still end up paying for parking.

How much does sprawl cost?

 

Have a great weekend!

The Houston Bike Plan Update will be presented before the TTI Committee on June 20 at 9:00 am, 901Bagby St., 2nd Fl.
   

News By Bike: Links for You to Read (June 10)

BikeNews; Community

Friday, June 10 2016 00:00

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

 

NewByBike

From BikeTexas:

#SummerByRail is in Texas this weekend! Bring your bike and ride with Elena in San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth, or Dallas.

Beth Nobles is back in Texas! Meet Beth and other new BikeTexas staff.

We want to hear from you--help us celebrate 25 years by sending us your best bike stories by June 30.

ICYMI: New bicycle friendly communities and bicycle friendly businesses were announced last month, with good news for Texas.

 

From around Texas:

It's been a terrible week (again) for active transportation around the country. Our thoughts are with the families of these lives taken too soon.

A hit-and-run driver killed Paige Balinski of Crosby last weekend as she was riding her bike home.

A driver struck and killed an Austin teenager in a crosswalk this week.

 

From elsewhere:

A driver killed five people on bikes and injured four more in Kalamazoo, Michigan, this week. He has been charged with five counts of second-degree murder.

 

Ride safe, drive safe, and hug your loved ones, friends.

   

Summer By Rail Visits Texas June 10-12

BikeNews; Community

 Four Texas Cities Included in 10,000-Mile U.S. Bike and Transit Tour
 Tour highlights Amtrak’s new trainside checked bike service
 
Join us for one of the Texas stops on the nationwide tour of Summer By Rail, a 10,000-mile, cross-country adventure exploring multi-modal travel. Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Dallas will host the Texas swing of the tour this weekend, June 10-12. Elena Studier started on May 17 in New York and is approaching the halfway mark in her national tour. We're delighted that she'll be rolling into Texas this weekend! Amtrak is expanding its ways to carry bicycles onboard with its new trainside bicycle check service. No need to box your bike. Learn more at Amtrak's "Bring Your Bicycle" page.
 
Summer by Rail is a program of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP). It's also a great opportunity to show off local multi-modal opportunities and tourist-friendly cycling routes, lodging and dining venues, and tourism and heritage attractions to residents and potential travelers. That's what we'll be doing this weekend, and we'd love for you to join us! 
 
Bring your bike and ride with Elena in any of these cities during her visit. (Please note that these will all be easy-paced rides of 5-10 miles.) Questions? Contact Beth at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
 

We hope you can join us as we ride with Elena this weekend. Special thanks to our friends at Adventure Cycling Association and the League of American Bicyclists for their help with the Texas leg of Summer by Rail. Join the conversation on social media: #SummerByRail.

   

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