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News / Blog

BikeTexas BikeNews

Support BikeTexas When You Shop at H-E-B in April!

BikeNews; Community

estxtearpad2012BikeTexas is pleased to announce that H-E-B has selected EarthShare of Texas to be the beneficiary of its in-store coupon promotion for April, in recognition of Earth Day. This means that customers can tear off and add check-out coupons worth $1, $3, or $5 to their total bill to support environmental work in the Central Texas, Houston, Gulf Coast, Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio/West and Border, plus North Texas Central Markets.

H-E-B has supported many EarthShare of Texas organizations with corporate grants or in-kind contributions. The April tear-pad promotion enables H-E-B customers to support the environmental program work of more than three dozen EarthShare of Texas organizations. BikeTexas will benefit, because the contributions will be divided among EarthShare of Texas organizations with program work in Texas.

Look for the EarthShare of Texas display and tear-off coupons at the check-out stands in more than 250 H-E-B and Central Market stores throughout Texas through April and into the first week in May. And help support Earth Share of Texas and the Texas environment!

   

Zavala Elementary: Model of a Successful Elementary School Bike Club

BikeNews; Community

Zavala-Bike-Club

The success of the Zavala Elementary School bike club, The Freewheelin’ Mustangs, is a model for increasing biking and walking. The National Center for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) releases new travel mode report on characteristics called Shifting Modes: A comparative Analysis of SRTS Program Elements and Travel Mode Outcomes that identify the following four key factors that make a SRTS program successful:

Identifying an in-school leader, often the principal, to champion SRTS.
Conducting activities that reinforce walking and bicycling, such as frequent walker/biker programs and walk/ride to school events.
Generating parent support for SRTS
Establishing policies that support SRTS, such as early dismissal for students who walk or bike home.

How Zavala Elementary applied the above elements:

1. Zavala employs a Prime Time Coordinator who is highly involved and runs the bicycle
club. The principal is also enthusiastic and extremely supportive of the program.
2. Zavala chose the City of Austin grant funded program “Prime Time” to support the after-
school and summer bicycling club to reinforce walking and bicycling. They also have
Wednesdays as official bike and walk to school days.
3. They generate parent support by inviting parents to ride with them and sometimes require
parental involvement for child participation.
4. Parents/guardians sign a parent agreement that outlines the bike club student and parent
expectations.

Zavala Elementary's SRTS success is best demonstrated by the increase in members of their Bike Club. The Freewheelin’ Mustang membership has gone from 6 to 90 participants since the start, September 2009. Currently there are over 50 students riding 4 times a week. Students have chance to ride each day with the after- school program and on Saturday mornings. Zavala Elementary is the only school in Texas to receive $1000 SRTS mini grant. With that money they bought tubes, tires, locks, bike stands, water bottle cages and maintenance tools for the Bike Club.

Before a student can participate, parents come in and sign an agreement detailing expectations and goals. Students then must take a safety course which includes a bike rodeo. Once they pass this course, they get the green light to go out on road. The BikeTexas SafeCyclist Curriculum materials are a major part of the lessons. Some students also learn how to become neighborhood route leaders. The school has a fleet of around 10 children’s bike and a four adult bikes for volunteers and bike club coaches. Coaches are teachers, park rangers, Austin SRTS employees, college students, parents and neighborhood volunteers. They have Friday and Saturday rides so all students can participate without conflicting homework or tutorials. At the end of the semester students complete questionnaire on how their bike club has benefited them and what they would like changed.

For rides, there is a ratio of 4 students to 1 adult and typically roughly 18 students per ride. The leader of the group wears a vest to be easily identified. From experience, the leaders found the need for a clear code for everyone to stop. They picked 911 to pass up to lead to know to stop. Students learn trail etiquette before heading they ride on the trails. They let runners know that there are 20 riders passing and each cyclist says hello to runner.
Kids now wear Camelbacks, a backpack hydration system.

Thanks to the City of Austin Prime Time grant the school was able to extend the program into summer school. There were twenty students in the 2011 summer program.The costs are minimal, and the grant money is stretched by using volunteers, donations and the free summer lunch program for breakfast and lunch. There are no transportation costs, as the instructors and students ride their bikes everywhere they need to go. To document the experience, students made a journal of their daily participation in the summer camp.

These basic elements, when applied to any school can prove equally successful. Zavala has demonstrated it can be done. This program has solved traffic problems around the school, increased students health, and reduced carbon emissions around the school, while teacher’s report kids arrive to school energized and ready to learn.

It’s a win, win situation for all involved.

   

BikeTexas Receives the Innovation Award from the Alliance for Walking and Biking

BikeNews; Advocacy

Staff Award_2-BikeTexas was honored to receive the Innovation Award while attending the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C.  This award is designated for an organization that pioneers or invents new ways to promote biking and walking.  

Thanks in part to our traveling bike fleet, BikeTexas is able to organize rides with policymakers, agency staff and nonprofit organizations that cultivates important political relationships and build bridges with new constituencies.  One such relationship led to our award of the 2011 President's Award from the state NAACP for "going above and beyond the call of duty to develop interest in biking and green benefits nurturing increased biking in the African American Community".

BikeTexas continues to cultivate new and effective models in working effectively with the full spectrum of political perspectives and full range of community, and statewide stakeholders.

In 2009, the Alliance for Biking & Walking launched an annual awards program recognizing individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence in the bicycle and pedestrian movement.

   

You Did It! Bike/Ped Funding Extended

BikeNews; Advocacy

All Road and Off-Road Cyclists: 

 

We asked you to contact your representatives and ask them to support biking and walking and spread the word. 

You Did It! 

Thanks to your support the Senate and the House voted for a clean extension of the 2009 Transportation Bill, keeping our current Bike/Ped funding intact.   

you did_it_photoLast week, the U.S. Senate followed the House of Representatives' lead and passed a 90-day extension to our nation's multi-year surface transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU*. This action marks the bill's ninth extension since its expiration at the end of September 2009.

The Senate's passage of H.R. 4281, the Surface Transportation Extension Act, buys Congress time to agree on a longer-term transportation bill, or to pass another extension.

BikeTexas, working with partners at all levels from around the country, will continue to advocate for a bill that advances trails, walking and bicycling as vital parts of a more balanced transportation system. Your tireless advocacy has helped defend core active transportation programs thus far; thank you so much. We will be sure to keep you informed and involved in the coming months.

Thank you for taking action! 

We will continue to fight to keep this vital investment program for smart, sustainable, safe transportation choices.


Thank you for your support!  


 

 
   

Austin Selected for the Green Lane Project

BikeNews; Community

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BikeTexas is please to announce that Austin has been selected as one of six US cities to participate in the Green Lane Project to build continuous, separated facilities across the city. We are sorry that other Texas cities were not selected as well, but we look forward to facilitating knowledge share so that all our cities can benefit from this exciting project that Austin is a part of. 

Here's the press release from Bikes Belong:

Bikes Belong’s Green Lane Project has selected six focus cities that will become national leaders in creating comfortable spaces for people on bikes over the next two years:

      • Austin, Texas
      • Chicago, Illinois
      • Memphis, Tennessee
      • Portland, Oregon
      • San Francisco, California
      • Washington, D.C.

The Green Lane Project is leading the effort to catalyze the installation of world-class bicycling facilities in the U.S. “We are seeing an explosion of interest in making bicycling stress-free on busy city streets, ” said Tim Blumenthal, Bikes Belong president. “The selected cities have ambitious goals and a vision for bicycling supported by their elected officials and communities. They are poised to get projects on the ground quickly and will serve as excellent examples for other interested cities,”

Project director Martha Roskowski said, “We are delighted to be working with these forward-thinking cities. They are a range of sizes, spread across the country, and at various stages in terms of developing networks for bicycles. What they share is a strong commitment to rethinking how city streets are used and making room for bicycles.”

The six cities were chosen from a pool of 42 city applications. “The response we received shows that not only established leaders such as Minneapolis and Boulder understand the role of bicycling in next-generation city transportation, but also places like Wichita, Miami, and Pittsburgh,” said Roskowski.

Green Lanes are dedicated, inviting spaces for people on bikes in the roadway. They are protected from motor vehicles by curbs, planters, posts, or parked cars. Also called cycle tracks or protected bikeways, the lanes are carefully engineered with rigorous attention to safety, efficiency, and ease of travel for all street users. The Green Lane Project will provide resources and technical assistance to help the six focus cities accomplish their goals of creating this type of protected space for people on bikes.

During the next two months, the Green Lane Project will work with elected officials, staff, and community groups in each city to finalize details, solidify the vision, and identify the unique story each city can tell. Details will be released at a national kickoff in late May in Chicago. The Green Lane website, greenlaneproject.org, will act as a hub where all U.S. cities working to install these types of facilities can share and learn from each other.

Based on decades of experience in Europe and a growing number of U.S. examples, cities are embracing new designs as cost-effective and quick ways to accommodate the demand for safer places to ride. Last year’s publication of a design guide produced by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) provides a toolbox for designers and engineers, showing how widely accepted road standards can be combined to transform city streets.

The Green Lane Project is an initiative of the Bikes Belong Foundation. Major partners include Volkswagen of America, Inc., the SRAM Cycling Fund, Taiwan Bicycle Exporters Association, and NACTO. New York City’s Department of Transportation is a senior advisor to the program, based on their groundbreaking work in creating new public spaces on city streets.

The Green Lane Project is a relaunch and expansion of the Bikes Belong Foundation’s Bicycling Design Best Practices Program, which for the last two years has been dedicated to hosting workshops and taking city officials and engineers on study tours to leading U.S. and European cities to showcase the best in bicycling facility design. These workshops and study tours will now be a part of the Green Lane Project, in addition to the new programming and resources offered by the Project.

To learn more about the Green Lane Project, visit greenlaneproject.org

   

Some great praise for Advocacy efforts in Houston and Denton, from our National Partners Rails to Trails Conservancy

BikeNews; Advocacy

A Rail-Trail in Houston

Congraulations to Houston and Denton for the national recognition they have received from the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy! Here's the article, taken from Rails-To-Trails.org:

Houston and Denton have turned around their approach to transportation in recent years. Through well-organized collective efforts, both cities have made huge strides with Houston’s Colombia Tap Rail-Trail and Denton’s Branch Rail-Trail. Since the success and widespread use of these trails, city leaders are finally taking note and beginning to seeing the significance of infrastructure enhancements as a more affordable and effective approach to connectivity and Complete Streets.

Houston’s Columbia Tap Rail-Trail was the Conservancy’s January 2012 Trail of the Month. A combination of advocacy effort, enlightened leadership and government investment is starting to change how multi-modal transportation is addressed. In 2010 an article in the Houston Chronicle noted that the city was beginning to recognize that walking and biking are legitimate forms of transportation.

The Columbia Tap Rail-Trail, a 4 mile path not only serves as a safe transportation venue for residents in Houston’s Third Ward, but it is a vital link to other trails and bike lanes in the city.

"It's a really great thing," says Veon McReynolds, head of the local nonprofit cycling group Tour de Hood, who lives just a few blocks from the trail. "Right here in the neighborhood, you see a lot of people using it for walking and cycling."

The roots of the Columbia Tap go back more than 150 years, when Houston was a small but growing center of commerce in the newly minted Lone Star state. The underlying rail line—known back then as the Houston Tap and Brazoria Railway—opened in 1856 and served as an important route for moving crops and people into the heart of the city from plantations and ports to the south. It eventually became part of Union Pacific Railroad's network before falling into disuse.

With federal and local funding, a four-mile section of the corridor from Dixie Drive to Dowling Street was later converted into a rail-trail and opened to the public in March 2009. Today, the 10-foot-wide concrete trail cuts a scenic line through Houston's Third Ward, the historic heart of the city's African-American community. Along the way, it passes through neighborhoods of small homes and apartment buildings, dotted with churches, schools and playgrounds.

The trail offers residents and visitors improved mobility and connectivity to major employment centers; community centers; churches; art studios in the warehouse district; schools such as Debakey High School; and universities such as Texas Southern University and University of Houston; recreational facilities like Hermann Park, the beautiful 445 acre green spance and McGregor Park; the Houston Zoo; the Museum District; as well as the Texas Medical Center and Minute Maid Park. The park and its surrounding neighborhood provide a wealth of educational diversions, including Rice University, the Houston Zoo, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Children's Museum of Houston and the fascinating Buffalo Soldier National Museum and Heritage Center.

The multi-use Brays Bayou Trail (which follows one of several west-to-east flowing waterways that give Houston its nickname of the Bayou City) skirts the southern edge of Hermann Park and also connects with the Columbia Tap. Less than a mile north of this trail access, the Columbia Tap slices through a 150-acre expanse on the campus of Texas Southern University (TSU), one of the country's largest historically black colleges and home of a nationally ranked football team, the Tigers.
The Columbia Tap Trail is just one more step in connectivity within Houston communities making them more vibrant and appealing, enhancing health and quality of life for its users.

   

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