Premiere Business Members & Sponsors
Sat, Apr 19
Aledo High School, Bailey Ranch Road, Aledo, TX, United States
Moritz Ride for Heroes
Tue, Apr 2210:00am -
Plaza Saltillo Station, Austin, TX, United States
MetroBike Shelters Grand Opening (Austin)
Wed, Apr 23 1:00pm -
2929 Research Parkway College Station, Texas, Gibb Gilchrest Building Room 103
TxDOT Strategic Highway Safety Plan - College Station Workshop
Sat, Apr 26 - Sun, Apr 27
Fair Park, Dallas, TX, United States
Earth Day Texas
Sat, Apr 26
910 N Main St, Weatherford, TX 76086
Bike Out Hunger Weatherford
It's been a busy few months for bike sharing in Texas, with two cities expanding and two more gearing up for a launch.
Houston B-cycle announced a new partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) in January and celebrated the installation of three new stations this past week at the Downtown YMCA, the Ensemble/HCC METRORail station, and at the Lake Plaza entrance to the Houston Zoo. Eighteen more stations are planned to open, and Will Rub of Houston B-cycle says they hope to have at least 14 of the stations operational by the end of March.
Mr. Rub also says that the new partnership with BCBS will allow for warehouse and office space, which they haven't had up until now. They'll be adding more staff and a service vehicle to their operations. In addition, Houston has opted into the reciprocal scheme that is on the cards for the entire B-cycle system, which will allow B-cycle members from Houston to check out bikes in any B-cycle city. Mr. Rub says the reciprocal system should be in place soon.
The official kickoff of the new partnerships and new stations will be in April 2. The location of the kick-off event is to be determined.
San Antonio B-cycle is adding five new stations and 50 new bikes, bringing the current totals to 35 stations and over 300 bikes. They have plans to continue expanding the fleet and the number of stations throughout 2013.
Fort Worth bike sharing is rolling forward towards its April 22 launch! The Fort Worth B-cycle website is not yet functional, but the bike sharing blog says they plan to launch with 30 stations and 300 bicycles. Fort Worth bike sharing is looking for volunteers! Visit the bike sharing page to find out more and sign up!
Austin's bike share is also moving forward. The City Council approved the nonprofit Bike Share of Austin in January and is still working toward selecting a vendor. The current target is for 40 stations and 400 bicycles to be on the ground in the late spring.
Saturday, February 9, dawned grey and dreary, with some drizzle and light rain. BikeTexas staff headed out to Smithville to kick off the 2013 KidsKup series with the Rocky Hill Roundup. Before long, we had over 30 children registered and the course was laid out, so the course opened for pre-riding.
The first rider on the course was a two-year-old on his strider bike. He rode all over until his dad convinced him to ride within the blue lines, but the young man took Dad at his word and rode directly on the blue line! The other children and their parents enjoyed watching him make the first lap, and then all of the riders were on the course, each taking turns. It was very refreshing to see that the children's and parents' enthusiasm was not dimmed in the least by the dismal weather.
Their enthusiasm spread to everyone in attendance and before long we had a fairly large crowd of not only riders but a great group of parents and siblings of the riders. There was also a group of the older children who were to race in the teens' official race later, but who gathered to watch the younger competitors.
At noon, all of the KidsKup riders gathered for the mandatory riders' safety meeting, which is similar to the safety meetings for the adults. The exception for the younger riders is the emphasis on always wearing helmets, along with some street riding safety. By the time the safety meeting was finished, the children were all ready to ride.
The announcer, Jeff Chattin from Trek, helped build enthusiasm in the crowd as he called the racers to the start line. Racing at KidsKup always starts with the youngest riders-- this is normally also the smallest group. As the older groups had their turns in succession, the crowd of supporters continued to grow. The oldest group lined up and they were getting ready to start when one of the parents shouted "Please wait!" They had just arrived and the youngster wanted to race. Mr. Chattin held the other riders just long enough for someone to put the number on the bike.
Mr. Chattin cried out "GO." Straight off the line, this was a very competitive race. The young man who had arrived last jumped to an early lead and continued to widen the gap. However, at the last turn before lap two he slid and went down. This allowed the second place rider to pass him. The fallen rider recovered right away and the two young men had a mad sprint to the finish with the formerly second place rider holding off the challenger to beat him to the finish line. At such an exciting finish, there was a lot of loud cheering from parents, riders that had finished earlier, and by some of the adult MTB racers scheduled to race later in the day. All the young riders congratulated one another and displayed great sportsmanship.
The Rocky Hill Roundup was a great start to a new, longer season of the BikeTexas KidsKup 2013. Don't miss out on the next race! See the complete schedule here for a race near you.
Loop 1604 is a major corridor for many San Antonio cyclists, who rely on the eight-foot shoulders on the road to stay out of harm's way. In recent months, during a interchange construction project (at US 281), those shoulders were removed from the road in favor of wider car lanes.
San Antonio cyclists, alarmed and angered by this change, contacted TxDOT, the Bexar County MPO, and BikeTexas to protest the loss of the shoulders. On Wednesday, February 13, BikeTexas found out that the Alamo RMA had the authority to change the lane configuration, and that they had a public board meeting the very next day. BikeTexas contacted San Antonio cyclists to let them know of the next day's meeting and staff members planned to attend.
Given only half a day's notice, the turnout at the February 14 meeting was overwhelming-- half a dozen individuals took time out of their days to encourage the RMA to support bicycling along this corridor. So many citizens turned out to speak that the agenda for the meeting was rearranged on the fly; the issue of the 1604/281 interchange was moved to the very first item to allow those present to avoid having to sit through the entire meeting.
BikeTexas Program Manager Jack Sanford spoke first, stressing the importance of this area to the thousands of BikeTexas supporters in San Antonio, and providing illustrations of shared lane markings and green paint that could make this area even safer for cyclists. He also provided extensive documentation that TxDOT is supportive of biking and walking.
Other citizen speakers included George Haegerty who works with USA Cycling, BikeTexas Member and local advocate Edgar Pace, bike advocate and member of the MPO's Bicycle Mobility Advisory Committee John Yoggerst, and a representative of the Wilderness Oaks Alliance, a coalition of Home-Owners' Associations in the area, who additionally urged the reduction of the speed limits on this access road.
Even more overwhelming was the response from the RMA board. They quickly agreed to fast track the change order to adjust lane configurations on the access road. The changes to be made will come before the RMA Board in March, then be sent on to TxDOT for approval. All in all, it means that 1604 won't have wide shoulders again at least until April or May.
The RMA board members also detailed the long term plans for Loop 1604 that include a 15' shared use path. Board Chair Robert Thompson stressed how important a statement this shared use path would make in terms of health objectives and also environmental objectives, as the project sits over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. RMA Executive Director Terry Brechtel spoke up to demonstrate she is a strong advocate for active transportation in all of the RMA's dealings, and stressed that not only TxDOT, but also the City of San Antonio and the FHWA require accommodation of cyclists and pedestrians in the project. When Mr. Thompson told the cyclists in the room that they've got a great friend in Executive Director Brechtel, she admitted, "I've been on a bike or two." Not to be outdone, fellow board member Reynaldo L. Diaz, Jr., also stated he is an avid cyclist, "Though I may not look like compared to others in the room." Additionally, board Member Tommy Calvert, Jr. spoke in favor of cycling and asked pointed questions about why the shoulders were removed in the first place.
The answer to that is that the current plans for the 1604/281 interchange were first prepared in 2009, but were based on plans created in 2005, when bicycling was not at on the agenda for such highway projects. The RMA in 2009 was directed to simply use the 2005 plans. In addition, it was expected at that time that the future shared-use path and its main project-- a major expansion of Loop 1604 itself-- would be further along at this point and construction would already be underway.
Mr. Thompson encouraged all those present to continue to closely follow progress on the re-striping of the shoulder and the eventual construction of the shared use path. He thanked everyone for their input.
The City of Brownsville seeks to increase bicycling and walking and to promote healthy lifestyles. Brownsville City Commissioner Dr. Rose Gowen has previously written about Brownsville's efforts to create a vibrant, prosperous, and healthy community. BikeTexas is happy to continue to partner with Brownsville’s leaders to help achieve this goal.
In one more step towards a healthy community, Dr. Gowen, Brownsville ISD Wellness Coordinator Anisa Gonzales, and PE/Health Curriculum specialist Fred Tamez worked with BikeTexas to train Brownsville ISD elementary and middle school teachers in the SafeCyclist curriculum.
The Brownsville ISD Wellness Center was a great venue for the training with its large gym and cafeteria to accommodate the 29 enthusiastic participants. In addition to Brownsville PE teachers, BISD Police, UT School of Public Health, City of Brownsville Health Department, and the non-profit Healthy Communities of Brownsville all sent staff members to learn the fun SafeCyclist program. All of the attendees are now certified to share the bicycle and walking safety lessons with schoolchildren.
Dr. Susan Hart of UT Brownsville arranged an additional training on UTB campus. BikeTexas was delighted to train 18 students who will be P.E. teachers after they graduate. These young educators are now equipped to teach their future students about bicycle safety, starting in their first year of teaching.
While BikeTexas staff were in Brownsville, they also met with community leaders to discuss Brownsville’s second Open Streets event, CycloBia (with a ‘B’ for Brownsville). The city’s first CycloBia was November 4, 2012, and fired up from the success of that event, the community is looking forward to the second CycloBia on March 17. Brownsville’s eventual CycloBia plan is to open the streets for the community four times a year. With the momentum Brownsville has going for a healthier community, there is no doubt they will achieve this plan soon.
Join the Texas Delegation of cyclists at the National Bike Summit, March 4-6 in Washington D.C.
The National Bike Summit is the premiere advocacy event of the year. More than 800 advocates, government staff, and cycling enthusiasts of all types come together to tell Congress about the benefits of bicycling.
Meet with advocates, share ideas and be a part of the growing movement of cyclists in Texas.
Walkable and Livable Communities Institute Executive Director Dan Burden traveled to Austin on January 23 to address a luncheon meeting of legislators and staffs, and to give a talk to the general public in the evening.
Mr. Burden spoke about Complete Streets and how they can help a community. Specifically, Mr. Burden talked about the elderly benefitting from sidewalks, marked crosswalks, and similar treatments that make a neighborhood navigable on foot. Mr. Burden says, "If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places." Mr. Burden emphasized that Complete Streets are not an overnight fix, but an approach that will improve our cities over time so that all road users are accommodated safely and comfortably. When the legislature chooses to pass a Complete Streets law, they choose to invest in a future for all Texans to enjoy their cities of all sizes.
As Texas sees a "Silver Tsunami" coming when Baby Boomers grow older and retire, it will be more critical than ever that Texas cities are prepared to allow our senior citizens to remain in their homes and the neighborhoods where they have social ties. Most people are reluctant to give up their mobility, and as the elderly stop driving, their transportation options shift to walking, cycling, or transit. We owe it to our senior citizens and to ourselves to make our communities welcoming, walkable places. As a bonus, infrastructure that benefits senior citizens also benefits people of all ages.
The legislative luncheon was hosted by Senator Rodney Ellis, Representative Linda Harper-Brown, and Representative Geanie Morris, and was co-sponsored by AARP Texas and BikeTexas. The evening event was co-sponsored by AARP Texas, the City of Austin, the Mayor's Task Force on Aging, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
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