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Bike Month came and went in Texas with proclamations, events, and celebrations in cities across the state. From a proclamation and group ride in El Paso, a month filled with walking and cycling events in San Antonio, to cities like Sugar Land and Pearland hosting Bike to Work Day events for the first time, Texas grabbed Bike Month with enthusiasm befitting the Lone Star State.
Other firsts for communities include Richardson’s Bike to Work Day Energizer Station. Bike Friendly Richardson reports that they were able to serve around 24 cyclists and motivate many more commuters to try cycling to work. Jenny Rilling, a Bike Friendly Richardson member, says, "Our goals for our first Bike to Work Day event were to make it for cyclists instead of about cyclists, and to have the event provide inspiration and be a template that other cycling groups can emulate and build off of." To this end, Jenny says, they put together a "How to Create a Bike to Work Day Event" guide for anyone to use.
BikeTexas's Public Information & Education program had a great bike month - in fact the best month ever for the program! We gave out more than 80,000 pieces of educational materials for kids throughout the state as part of this Safe Routes to School initiative.
Universities and businesses also got in on the Bike Month action. Texas Medical Center hosted one of three Bike to Work days in Houston, while UT Southwestern and UT Pan-American encouraged staff and students to ride to campus.
On a more sobering note, many Texas cities hosted a Ride of Silence to honor cyclists who have been injured or killed while riding. Participants in the Ride of Silence are asked to treat it as a funeral procession, and also as an opportunity to raise awareness that no one need die on the streets if everyone would share the road.
Seven Texas cities submitted post-ride reports, including the City of Sherman, who hosted their first Ride of Silence event. Altogether, the Ride of Silence had over 1900 participants across Texas (including cities that we know participated but did not submit a report to the website).
Altogether, at least 19 Texas cities had events for Bike Month. We’re already looking forward to Bike Month 2013! In the meantime, you can make every month your own Bike Month just by getting out on your bike!
It is with sadness that we report that our friend, colleague and BikeTexas Board Member George "Butch" Willingham, 68, passed away peacefully in his sleep on June 3, 2012, while in Islamabad, Pakistan, on a mission trip with the Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas.
BikeTexas staff attended a memorial service and celebration of Butch's life on June 18, 2012 in Center, TX, where Butch was laid to rest. It was moving to hear of the testimonials of many friends of his kindness and concern for others in his life.
His devotion to others was seen also in his local commitment as he served as chairman on the Traffic Safety Board for the City of Tyler and served as past president of the Tyler Bicycle Club, where he played a key role in the work of the Tyler Bicycle Club to make Tyler a bike friendly city. The Tyler Bicycle Club has made a generous donation to BikeTexas in memory of Butch. He will be greatly missed.
Earlier this week we thought the transportation conference was dead and we were headed for another extension.
Over the last two days, Senate and House leadership decided to push for a bill by June 30, directing the Transportation Conference Committee to go into serious negotiations for a final bill. Top on their agenda: working out an agreement on bike/ped funding.
Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison sits on the Conference Committee, and has been a key supporter of biking and walking in the past. She needs to hear from you to continue pushing for the initiatives that make Texas safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
Can you call Senator Hutchison's Office right now?
Washington, DC: 202-224-5922 | Abilene: 325-676-2839 | Austin: 512-916-5834
Dallas: 214-361-3500 | Houston: 713-653-3456 | San Antonio: 210-340-2885
Email: Click here
Your ask: Will the Senator work to maintain the Cardin-Cochran agreement and ensure that Transportation Alternatives does not allow states to opt-out of local control over local transportation projects, including biking and walking improvements?
We've shown that 83% of Americans support maintaining or increasing federal funding for biking and walking.
We've demonstrated that biking and walking projects effectively create more jobs with fewer federal dollars than other transportation projects.
Your support has been critical to getting to where we are now: down to the wire and still with the possibility to save biking and walking.
Personal emails and phone calls have a huge impact - much more so than form letters. Your phone call and email to Senator Hutchison should:
As America Bikes reported today, the impending June 30 deadline means that Conferees will have to finish their report by Wednesday next week. Once a conference report is written it is impossible to change it. Congress can only vote yes or no on a conference report -- there is no amendment process. Its almost impossible for a transportation bill to get voted down at that stage. The final chance for public input is right now.
Please Contact Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison ASAP
Representatives Eddie-Bernice Johnson (Dallas) and Ralph Hall (Rockwall) also sit on the conference committee. If you live in either of those districts please contact them as well. If we know you are a constituent we will send a second email shortly.
Thank you for taking the time to stand up for bicycling and walking in Texas.
The Alliance for Biking and Walking conducted a Winning Campaigns Training event in Houston on June 8-10, 2012. Advocates from around the state attended, representing seven different organizations, including BikeTexas.
Participants worked through the stages of planning a campaign in an intensive three-day workshop. In addition to discussing potential allies and possible barriers to success, participants learned good strategies for identifying campaign goals and tactics. Attendees left with a plan for the campaign they worked on that weekend, and also with the skills to take on similar challenges in the future.
Additionally, attendees discussed the importance of networking and of working closely with partners. To this end, participants broke away from just the groups they came with to swap ideas with people from other cities and other campaigns. Getting a fresh pair of eyes on a problem gave an extra boost to some groups’ brainstorming sessions and added to the productivity of the weekend.
On May 19, 2012, Brownsville hosted a Better Block event in Market Square in coordination with a plan to revitalize downtown. The event included live music, giant chess games, and an outdoor café which, according to the Better Block team, “creat[ed] a stronger sense of place that encouraged people to linger and enjoy Market Square.”
For the event, organizers installed temporary bike lanes, narrowing the surrounding streets. This temporary change, according to organizers, “showed the potential for permanent street improvements to the area.” All in all, the event gave attendees a glimpse of what the area could be like after revitalization.
Brownsville is planning another Better Block event for July 21.
The City of Brownsville has received a $151,274 grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife to turn a former railway right of way into a hike-and-bike trail. The trail will be called the Belden Trail, after Samuel Belden, a co-founder of the City of Brownsville.
The rail line was built over the former Belden Street. “While researching who owned the right-of-way for the trail for the TP&W grant, we came across a map showing the original street name, and found out that the 100-year lease had just expired, thereby reverting ownership back to the city of Brownsville,” Rachel Flores, executive director of the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation, said, as quoted in The Brownsville Herald on June 19, 2012.
Eventually, Brownsville hopes to have a hike-and-bike network covering the entire city, along former rail lines and also along the city’s beautiful resacas – oxbow lakes formed when the Rio Grande was part of a vast delta as it approached the Gulf of Mexico.
For now, the trail will be a landmark for West Brownsville, which doesn’t have access the current hike-and-bike trails according to City Commissioner Rose Gowen. “There’s not a lot of extra land in that part of town to dedicate for a trail such as this, so this is going to be a huge benefit for the people of West Brownsville,” said Gowen, as quoted in The Brownsville Herald. “In the future it will not just be an improvement for West Brownsville, but a very important connector to get someone from one part of the city to the other,” Gowen added.
This was the city’s second attempt to secure funding for the Belden Trail. A non-monetary technical assistance grant from the National Park Service's Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program helped provide the guidance to make sure this grant application was successful.
The city is also working on another trail project with the National Park Service to connect the current hike-and-bike trail to three historic battlefields in Brownsville.
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