Contributed by: TBC Board Chair Bud Melton
Texas Bicycle Coalition Board Members from around the state gathered in Dallas last Saturday evening to sit down with DFW-area advocates and leaders of member clubs of BikeDFW. The meeting was a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas and share the incredible progress recently made in the North Central Texas region: thanks to their recent petition efforts, DFW-area cyclists have gotten media attention and raised considerable awareness of the need to improve cycling accommodation here.
After seeing all the great people from Dallas, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Fort Worth, Plano and University Park interacting and collaborating to improve cycling conditions in the DFW Metroplex, we can hardly agree with the recent issue of Bicycling ranking Dallas among the worst places in the U.S. to ride.
Groups and agencies represented in this session included BikeDFW, BicycleUP, Lockheed Martin Recreation Association (LMRA), Dallas Area Tandem Enthusiasts (DATES), Dallas Area Off Road Bicycle Association (DORBA), the City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department, the City of Fort Worth Transportation and Public Works Department, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Just a few of the highlights from the meeting:
* We learned that Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, the largest employer in the region with more than 15,000 employees, is demonstrating its support and commitment to healthy employees who can bike to work safely without having to drive. After employees expressed the wish to commute to work by bicycle, early in 2007 the company installed showers and covered bike rack facilities. Taking this a step further, the company is now researching ideas to increase bicycle/pedestrian safety, provide facility improvements and encourage employees to commute by bicycle. Their stated goal is creation of a bicycle friendly workplace at the company’s main plant and west side complex. Reviews of the work-sites and surrounding public roadways to these work-sites will include ways bicycling commuters can be encouraged through provision of safer, more accessible routes.
Texas Bicycle Coalition is showcasing this and other examples of supportive employers as a way of sharing best practices and resources that make local, regional and statewide advocacy easier and more effective. We have great hope that CEOs of other firms will discover the value of such programs and begin to embrace them as the head of Lockheed Martin has.
* Fort Worth planner Esmeralda DelaCruz agreed to share her draft citywide bike plan with Texas Bicycle Coalition members to get their feedback and comments on the groundbreaking plan for bringing bicycling in Fort Worth into the 21st century. Check the BikeTexas website soon to review and comment on the plan.
* Juanita Logan, co-president of DATES (Dallas Area Tandem Enthusiasts), contributed a great strategy for building connections and relationships within the cycling community. She suggested a way to help all of us put names to the faces of Texas cyclists: a campaign asking them to send photos and brief write-ups describing who they are and their cycling experiences. If you’d like to submit one, please send it to: emma (at) biketexas.org