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News / Blog

BikeTexas BikeNews

FAST Act is Now Law

BikeNews; Advocacy

Monday, 07 December 2015 14:26

After many delays, short-term extensions, and plenty of disagreement, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act was passed by Congress and signed by the president last week. The FAST Act is the first long-term transportation bill passed in a decade.

lege intern ride biketexas

What's the news for people who walk or ride bikes? From our friends at the League of American Bicyclists:

Transportation Alternatives Program

This program is the most prominent funding source for biking and walking infrastructure projects. The FAST bill makes some policy changes:

The Good:

Nonprofit organizations are now eligible to apply for funds. This makes it easier for nonprofits to do safety and education for Safe Routes to School programs. It also means that nonprofits who run bike share programs can apply directly.
Funding increases from $820 million to $835 million in 2016 and 2017 and to $850 million in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
The program maintains its competitive nature.

The Bad:

Metropolitan areas that get their own funding can use half of it for roads and bridges. However, that funding would still have to go through a competitive process.

Change in Name

The funding program is no longer a stand-alone program. It is no longer the Transportation Alternatives program; it is now a set-aside in the larger Surface Transportation Block Grant Program. We’ll have to find a better way to reference it.

New Bicycle and Pedestrian education program

The FAST Act creates a priority safety fund to reduce bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. The program will focus on:

education of law enforcement;
education of motorists, drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians; and
implementation of enforcement campaigns.
Only states in which 15% or more of overall fatalities are bicyclists or pedestrians will receive funds. Last year Congress passed a directive to require states and metropolitan areas to set goals for reducing bicyclist and pedestrian crashes and fatalities. This new program will help states fund that work.

Complete Streets

The FAST Act directs the US DOT to encourage states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations to set design standards to accommodate all road users. It also requires the US DOT to produce a report on implementation and best practices in two years.

Design Guidelines

The bill also broadens the guidelines state can use when designing roads, and gives local jurisdictions the right to choose different guides from the state in certain circumstances. This allows local governments, who often want to be more progressive, the opportunity to do so.

Many thanks to the League and others who were on the scene in D.C. to put the pressure on Congress to include active transportation in this bill and to send out alerts when it looked like things might be going badly. And a special thanks to YOU for responding quickly to our Action Alerts and contacting your representatives. You made a difference on this bill!

We'll continue to monitor what comes next once the money for bike/ped projects opens up. We've spent the last couple of years asking TxDOT to make better choices for TAP funding instead of transferring funds away from active transportation uses, and we'll continue to be there to encourage them to follow through on education, accommodation, and design to make Texas a great place to ride a bike.

   

News By Bike: Links for You to Read (Dec 4)

BikeNews; Community

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

 

ut adventure class bike rideFrom BikeTexas:

Donate today, get a free gift. It's #FundraisingFriday!

Don't forget to check out the BikeTexas Holiday Gift Guide when shopping for all your bicycle-loving family and friends (or for yourself!).

 

From around Texas:

A call for more bicycle infrastructure in San Antonio.

'Tis the season for bicycle surveys; this one is about bikeshare for Brownsville.

And another one about The Woodlands' new bike plan.

BikeHouston is asking folks to attend the Roseland Area Design Information Meeting on Monday.

 

From elsewhere:

The new federal transportation bill is released & expected to pass. See the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's anaylsis here. 

An excellent takedown of a Pittsburgh bus driver's pedestrian-blaming rant.

Minneapolis' efforts at getting kids to walk or bike to school.

 

Have a great weekend!

Photo: Our yearly visit and bike ride with UT Austin's Adventure Activities class.

   

News By Bike: Links for You to Read (Nov 20)

BikeNews; Community

Friday, 20 November 2015 13:35

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

 

gift guide santa and elf teaser biketexasFrom BikeTexas:

Our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide launches on Monday! Want the announcement (and our newsletters) in your inbox? Sign up for BikeTexas emails here. 

The days are short! You need lights! Order enough for everyone you know here.

We're waiting to hear if a Texan is the winner in the Saris National Poster Contest, but in the meantime, check out all the amazing Texas poster entries.

Fundraising Friday is back at BikeTexas! Donate, join, or renew any Friday from now to the end of the year and we'll send you a free gift.

As of this week, seven Texas cities have been designated as bike friendly by the League of American Bicyclists, including one at GOLD! 

In Congress, the transportation bill grinds on. We don't think we'll have any Action Alerts in the next week or so, but if anything comes up we'll have to move in a hurry, so keep an eye out for updates.

Registration is open now for the 2016 Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference.

 

From around Texas:

Brownsville is working on safer design for a blocked frontage road.

The Houston Bike Challenge rolls on. Are you in?

Do you ride a bike in San Antonio? SA Tomorrow wants to hear from you!

El Paso MPO is conducting a transportation survey. The results of this survey could guide the next steps for transportation in El Paso, so it's critical that they hear from people who walk or ride a bike (or both!) in the region. Make sure your voice is heard and that El Paso MPO knows that active transportation is in high demand!

Don't forget, Houston: elections aren't over yet. Make plans to vote in the runoff!

Hutto's next Bike and Brunch is Sunday.

Bike Friendly Richardson is hosting its seventh Black Friday Ride next week. Don't miss out!

El Paso, mark your calendar for the Bike Plan Open House on December 2.

 

From elsewhere:

Support the FHWA's proposals for safer street design.

Many of us turn to our bikes to make sense of the world. This guy did it last weekend to make his city a bit brighter.

Walkable neighborhoods = better health.

Getting older doesn't mean you stop riding-- just ask these folks.

Data to the rescue for Capital Bikeshare.

Exercise can keep you upbeat all winter long.

There are good ways to prevent pedestrian death, but brighter clothes are not the solution.

 

Have a great weekend!

   

Fundraising Friday 2015

BikeNews; Community

Friday, 20 November 2015 13:28

BikeTexas2012Jersey-frontBikeTexas takes part in Fundraising Friday, a fun way for nonprofits to raise money on Fridays-- people give to their favorite nonprofit on Friday, then talk about it on social media using the #FundraisingFriday hashtag. Nonprofits use the hashtag to share news about their work and give everyone easy access to their donation page.

For the rest of 2015, we're stepping up our #FundraisingFriday game. On Fridays during November and December, donate or join BikeTexas at any membership level and we'll send you a free gift. We have a bin full of goodies to share, and we want it to be empty on December 31!

How can you help? Here are some ways:

Donate or join BikeTexas on any Friday during November or December.
Share the membership page on social media, especially on Fridays. 
Use the hashtag #FundraisingFriday and encourage people to join BikeTexas.
Finish this sentence: "I'm a member of BikeTexas because ____" and share on social media.
Want to help offline, too? Get a BikeTexas jersey or t-shirt to wear while you're out and about and help make Texas a great place to ride a bike! Pick up some lights, too, so you can see and be seen on those winter commutes.

   

Saris National 5th Grade Poster Contest: Texas Posters

BikeNews; Education Fund

Friday, 20 November 2015 10:41

We're waiting to hear the results of Saris National Poster Contest voting (they're announcing on November 24), but in the meantime, take a look at all the posters we received for this year's poster contest!

 

Texas winning poster, from Tyler:

 2015 poster contest 1st place biketexas bicycle education

2nd place, from Cleburne:

2015 poster contest 2nd place biketexas bicycle education

 

3rd place, from Arlington:

2015 poster contest 3rd place biketexas bicycle education

Other entries in alphabetical order by city:

Fort Worth:

2015 poster contest biketexas bicycle education fort worth

2015 poster contest biketexas bicycle education fort worth green

Houston:

2015 poster contest biketexas bicycle education houston

Humble:

2015 poster contest biketexas bicycle education humble

Irving:

2015 poster contest biketexas bicycle education irving

Tyler:

2015 poster contest biketexas bicycle education tyler

Wylie:

2015 poster contest biketexas bicycle education wylie

   

Seven Texas Cities are Bicycle Friendly Communities!

BikeNews; Community

Monday, 16 November 2015 11:41

bicycle friendly Texas biketexas bike newsWe're so thrilled with today's announcement from the League of American Bicyclists of the Fall 2015 Bicycle Friendly Communities-- FOUR Texas cities are on the list, two for the first time, bringing the total of Texas BFCs to seven!

 

Congratulations to Brownsville and Plano, both entering the list for the first time at the Bronze level. We're so proud of all the hard work both cities have put into reaching this milestone. We know firsthand that elected officials, city departments, and local citizen advocates all played vital roles in putting Brownsville on the map as the Bicycling Capital of the Rio Grande Valley, and Plano has made great strides in improving conditions for bicyclists, confirming its place as one of the best cities to live and work in North Texas.

The Woodlands Township has renewed its Bronze level status for another four years. Even retaining the same status requires that the city keep working hard and never stopping in its quest to make a community a great place to ride a bike.

And finally, a huge congratulations to Austin for reaching GOLD level! After many years at Silver, the city stepped up its game to make sure that this year, a Texas city would earn gold. Only 24 cities around the country are current Gold level cities. Austin is also the only capital city on the Gold list (since the only other capital city, Madison, moved up to Platinum). 

 

In addition to these four cities, Houston, San Antonio, and Richardson are also Bronze level Bicycle Friendly cities in Texas. These seven cities are home to over five million Texans, almost 20% of the state's population. Texas is also home to 26 bicycle friendly businesses, and as of this month, three bicycle friendly univiersities. The Bicycle Friendly America Program has been one of our best levers as bicycling advocates to improve conditions for bicyclists of all ages, as cities, businesses, and univerisities all see the rewards and challenges in meeting and exceeding the metrics required to be recognized by the League.

Congratulations again to Austin, Brownsville, Plano, and The Woodlands!

   

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