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News / Blog

BikeTexas BikeNews

COLLEGE STATION: Sign up for the Safety Bling Video Shoot!

BikeNews; Advocacy

   

Mobile Sessions Get TTAT Moving

BikeNews; Community

Complementary four-dollar daily pass in hand and sheltered under one of Vía's graffiti-proof bus stops, Abigail Kinnison began our afternoon multimodal tour of the King William Historic Neighborhood during the 2012 Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference in San Antonio, Texas. 


Anton Wuff House: San Antonio Conservation SocietyParticipants in this mobile session enjoyed a panoramic VÍA Metropolitan Transit trolley ride from the intersection of Lexington and Avenue A to within a short walk of the Anton Wulff House serving as headquarters to the San Antonio Conservation Society and the gateway to the homes on and around King William Street. The trolley ride over took us past the recently inaugurated San Antonio B-Cycle's headquarters, with its rows of commuter/tourist friendly bicycles at the ready.


Before setting off on a self-guided tour of the historic district, we were treated to a brief but informative presentation on the grounds of the Conservation Society's headquarters. 

Most of the grand homes along King William Street and adjoining streets were built in the 1800s by prosperous German business owners. However, due to housing shortages as the military population grew during World War II, many of the homes were divided into apartments for military spouses. Many homes suffered from disrepair and abandonment in later years.  The restoration of these homes back to their single family, original design was possible due to the momentum started by Walter Mathis and many others who shared his vision up to the present. 

While there is still some work to be done, the neighborhood has been largely restored to its former splendor, and today's residents include many successful businessmen and professionals such as HEB grocery empire chairman Charles Butt. All participants found something to admire along our architectural/historical walk-most of the homes along the walking tour have been beautifully restored. 

Our tour, which was one of many activities offered to conference participants, enjoyed some refreshments at a wonderful outdoor hang out-The Friendly Spot-before taking the VÍA Metropolitan Transit trolley ride back to the El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel, our conference headquarters. Other groups chose optional activities such as bike rides along the city's bike trail system or runs through interesting San Antonio neighborhoods.

   

AUSTIN: Sign-Up for the Safety Bling Video Shoot!

BikeNews; Education Fund

   

TTAT Conference: Highlights from Texas’ main event for walking and biking

BikeNews; Education Fund

TTAT-Professionals and advocates that create, promote, and use active transportation (i.e. walking, biking, transit, etc.) convened at the Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference in San Antonio from February 1 to 3, 2012. They shared ideas and momentum to make Texas a great place to walk and bike. Building upon the success of the first TTAT Conference held in Austin in 2010, well over two hundred participants attended from forty-seven Texas cities, as well as Califonia, Kentucky, and Canada. The conference was jointly hosted by BikeTexas and the Texas Trails Network.

A full and distinguished schedule of presenters addressed active transportation in Texas from every angle. One day was dedicated to almost entirely to in-depth workshops, including the Texas Bike/Ped Advocates Workshop, a gathering of advocates from around the state facilitated by Charles Gandy, which dealt with different approaches to creating bicycle and pedestrian friendly streets.

Thursday and Friday were largely dedicated to breakout sessions that covered a wide range of topics. More than thirty different topics were addressed. Speakers covered everything from their city’s master trail and bike plans to “How Urban Design Affects Property Values.”

Notable in the lineup were the sessions on San Antonio’s efforts to create and encourage a bicycle and pedestrian culture. Fighting urban sprawl and poor public health, the city has made numerous, notable attempts to improve quality of life by promoting active lifestyles to its citizens.

Not a minute was wasted, and during meals, there were many keynote speakers.

John Burke, CEO of Trek Bicycles spoke on his vision for a better America, one that includes dramatic increases in bicycling for transportation, recreation, and health.

Keith Laughlin, President of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, addressed “Active Transportation and the Charisma of Place.” He made the case for biking as “cool,” and for “cool” as the driving force behind attracting young, enthusiastic workers and creating a vibrant public culture in cities.

Two keynote speakers approached bicycling from a legislative perspective; State Senator Rodney Ellis and retired United States Congressman James Oberstar addressed the group.

A unique feature of the TTAT Conference were the Mobile Workshops, which got attendees out of the conference rooms and onto the streets (and trails) of San Antonio. Each afternoon, conference presenters led groups on walks, rides, runs, and even paddle tours of different neighborhoods and features of the host city. The knowledgeable local guides brought the principles discussed that morning to life as they led their groups through tours as varied as an introduction to the new local bike share system to viewing the San Antonio River Improvements Project.

A complete list of presenters, exhibitors, and sponsors, as well as the detailed schedule, can be found on the TTAT Conference website.

   

ACT NOW to Save Biking and Walking in Texas!

BikeNews; Action Alerts

FederalTransporationPrograms-400new2
AT THIS VERY MOMENT, the U.S. Senate and House are taking action to eliminate key programs that fund walking and biking

LET'S TAKE ACTION TO PRESERVE WALKING AND BIKING IN TEXAS
 
MAP-21 in the Senate and H.R.7 in the House - as they stand now - represent the forces that want to spend all our tax money to build expensive highways and leave biking and walking in the dust.
Across the country, groups are mobilizing to ensure Americans have the freedom to choose healthy, economically beneficial transportation options. Your help is needed RIGHT NOW
 
1) Ask Senators Cornyn and Hutchison to support the Cardin/Cochran and Kloubacher Amendments
 

SAMPLE SCRIPT FOR U.S. SENATE CONTACTS:

Dear Senator YOUR MEMBER'S NAME,

I am a Texan voter and a cyclist/pedestrian/parent/teacher/member of BikeTexas/city transportation planner/parks official/etc (STATE ANY AND ALL RELEVANT AFFILIATIONS).

Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements are very important to me because of the Texas obesity epidemic/I have been hit by a car/my roads are unsafe for my children/etc. (USE YOUR OWN WORDS)

I urge you to support the following amendments to MAP-21:

  • Cardin/Cochran Amendment #1549 to restore TE funds
  • Klobuchar Amendment to restore the Recreational Trails Program

I am very upset that MAP-21, as it was voted out of the Environment and Public Works Committee, fails to provide dedicated funding that we can count on to support trails, walking and bicycling.

Through inclusion of expensive new eligible projects like roads, activities like routine maintenance of vegetation and compliance with regulatory requirements, the newly defined Transportation Enhancements (TE) program will no longer be used by my state transportation department to fund trails, walking and bicycling. These transportation opportunities are absolutely necessary for our communities--and our nation--to continue creating jobs, providing affordable transportation, bettering our energy security, improving health and safety, and more.

As this bill is also about creating jobs, it is worth noting that a recent study by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials found that TE projects, like building trails, create more jobs per dollar than do highway projects like road resurfacing.

Thank you for your continued service.

2) Ask your Member of Congress to support the Petri Amendment

IT IS NOT TOO LATE - These key amendments would prevent shortsightedness and special interests from ruining our transportation future for decades. 

Senator Hutchison:
202-224-5922
Email form

Senator Cornyn:
202-224-2934
 
 
Find Your Member of Congress



U.S. Senate - WHAT YOU CAN DO
Ask both of your Senators to support the Cardin/Cochran (Amendment #1549)* and Klobuchar** amendments

MAP-21, as it was voted out of the Environment and Public Works Committee, fails to provide dedicated funding that we can count on to support trails, walking and bicycling. 
 
The bill guts Transportation Enhancements, which for decades has been the key source of funding for paved trails and other bike/ped transportation infrastructure. 
 
The bill would allow TE money, less than 2% of the transportation budget, to be spent towards expensive new eligible projects, like roads and vegetation maintenance, instead of the bike/ped transportation option Texas desperately needs. 

*Fortunately, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) have introduced an amendment to MAP-21 that would ensure we have a fair shot at dedicating funds for trails, walking and bicycling

**Further, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) will introduce another amendment that would restore the integrity of the Recreational Trails Program.

Ask Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn: 
Will you support floor amendments by Senators Cardin/Cochran (to give Texas decision-makers access to TE funds) and Klobuchar (to reinstate the integrity of the Recreational Trails Program)? 



SAMPLE SCRIPT FOR U.S. CONGRESS CONTACTS:

Dear Representative YOUR MEMBER'S NAME,

I am a voter in your district and a cyclist/pedestrian/parent/teacher/member of BikeTexas/city transportation planner/parks official/etc (STATE ANY AND ALL RELEVANT AFFILIATIONS).

Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements are very important to me because of the Texas obesity epidemic/I have been hit by a car/my roads are unsafe for my children/etc. (USE YOUR OWN WORDS)

I urge you to support the Petri Amendment that preserves dedicated funding for walking and biking.

Local Governments deserve a voice in transportation. The bipartisan Petri Amendment ensures that cities and counties have an opportunity to weigh in on transportation decisions.

Construction projects get moving. The Petri Amendment kick-starts small, low-impact construction projects, providing transportation, economic, health, and safety benefits sooner.

Active Transportation is a wise investment. Walking and Biking infrastructure is low-cost, creates more jobs per dollar than any other kind of highway spending, and is critical to economic development for main street America.

Safety matters. Bicycle and pedestrian deaths make up 14% of all traffic fatalities, yet biking and walking receive less that 2% of funding. These programs provide funding for sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways that make streets safer for all users. 

Thank you for your continued service.

U.S. House - WHAT YOU CAN DO
Ask your Member of Congress to support the Petri Amendment - The Transportation Improvement Program
 
The House transportation bill is even worse than the Senate version. 
 
Despite the fact that walking and biking make up 12% of trips and 14% of traffic fatalities but receive only 1.5% of federal funding, the House bill eliminates dedicated funding for walking and bicycling. 

Both bills are purported to create jobs, but fail miserably. A recent study by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials found that TE projects, like building trails, create more jobs per dollar than do highway projects like road resurfacing.
 
Luckily, an amendment authored by Tom Petri (R-Wisc.) and co-sponsored by Texas' own Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) among others, corrects the transportation bill.

The Petri Amendment preserves dedicated funding for Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancementsand consolidates these programs into the Transportation Improvement Program. 

 

Ask your Member of Congress:

Will you support the Petri Amendment to improve America's transportation system?



Find your Member of Congress

Click here



 

General Guidelines

 

* Identify yourself as a voter and a constituent

* Briefly state why these programs are important to you and why

* Make a specific, direct ask of support for these amendments

* Be polite, thank them for their service.


See all our Guidelines for writing your represenatives here:

http://www.biketexas.org/en/get-involved/tips-on-writing-your-representative



OTHER ACTIONS 
 

This is a huge moment in the history of bike-friendly America. Many of BikeTexas' partners at the federal level are quickly mobilizing:

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

League of American Bicyclists

Safe Routes to School National Partnership


   

ACTION ALERT: Contact Texas Senators to Save Recreational Trails

BikeNews; Action Alerts

 Dear (Contact First Name), 

Texas trails need your help right now!

 

As soon as TODAY - Tuesday, March 6th - the U.S. Senate may take action on the transportation bill, also known as MAP-21.

 

We need your help to make sure that Senators Hutchison and Cornyn support the Klobuchar Amendment to MAP-21 (Amendment #1661) to protect the Recreational Trails Program and its dedicated funding as part of the final bill.

 

We know that grassroots advocacy can work in Washington - just last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a new version of MAP-21 that reflects a level of support for walking and biking that BikeTexas and our federal partner organizations have been working hard to achieve.

 

Senator Reid's draft bill includes a modified version of the bipartisan amendment cosponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), which improves local access to Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School funds.

 

This is a great preliminary victory for biking and walking - the first of two amendments we have been seeking is now largely reflected in the Senate transportation bill advanced by both parties.  

 

However, we still need broader support among all Senators for the Recreational Trails Program as restored by the Klobuchar Amendment to MAP-21.

 

This is where you come in -- Now is the time to call and write to both of your U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison:

 

Sen. John Cornyn
202-224-2934 (Washington)
Email Contact Form
Facebook * Twitter
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
202-224-5922 (Washington)
Email Contact Form
Facebook * Twitter

 

Ask them to please support the Klobuchar Amendment (#1661) to the transportation bill (MAP-21).   

 

Let them know how important the Recreational Trails Program is for Texas:

  • Unless the bill is amended, MAP-21 will effectively eliminate the Recreational Trails Program and seriously damage, if not destroy, the balanced system of trails for all users that the RTP has allowed Texas to develop and maintain over the last 20 years. The RTP leverages hundreds of millions of dollars of additional support from other sources for trails and facilitates healthy outdoor recreation and associated, badly needed economic activity in countless communities. Without the RTP, organized trail planning and development will simply vanish in many areas of the country.
  • Right now, at an annual funding level of $85 million, the RTP receives less than 42% of the federal gas taxes paid every year by America's nonhighway recreationists. Unless amended, MAP-21 will convert a legitimate user fee into an unfair tax, with recreationists subsidizing commercial and private highway users.  
  • The return of gas taxes to trail users through the RTP is in keeping with the user-pay, user-benefit philosophy of the Highway Trust Fund. Ending dedicated funding for RTP takes these gas taxes away from the people who pay them.  Ending dedicated funding for RTP is bad public policy and just plain wrong.

As always, be sure to let your Senators know that you are a constituent and state your relevant affiliations, such as membership in BikeTexas. Be polite and thank them for their service to Texas. For more info, see our Guidelines on Writing Your Representatives. 

 

Please let us know when you have contacted your Senators, and be sure to send us a copy of any correspondance you receive. 

 

The combined efforts of advocates for biking, walking, and safe, efficient transportation choices are working. The developments last week in the Senate are encouraging, but we are not through yet. Please contact both Senators Cornyn and Hutchison TODAY.

 

We look forward to your continued commitment to BikeTexas and our efforts to make Texas a great place to walk and bike. 

 

Sincerely,

Robin Stallings Signature 

Robin Stallings

Executive Director 

   

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