The Austin Chronicle
Friday, November 11, 2005
by Daniel Mottola
A lycra-clad Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, addressed the Texas Trails Network Conference in San Marcos last Sunday, en route from Austin to New Braunfels by bicycle. The theme of the conference was connecting communities through bike and pedestrian trails, and, more specifically, promoting statewide bicycle tourism. During the last session, Ellis sponsored the Texas Bicycle Tourism Bill, which passed by a wide bipartisan margin. Robin Stallings, Texas Bike Coalition president and conference participant, said the bill has the potential to create a network of trails across the entire state, making Texas a world-class bike tourism destination. As an example, he pointed to the possibility of extending the Lance Armstrong Bikeway east to Manor to connect with Texas Highway 20, creating a 200-mile trail through historic railroad towns all the way to Houston. Stallings said San Marcos’ recent successful passage of a $1.2 million bond proposition for bike and pedestrian facilities should send a message to Austin going into its upcoming bond talks. He says by sticking with the current 15% of transportation bond money designated for trails, Austin could soon embark on projects like the first 12 miles of a possible 80-mile bike trail along SH 130 from US 290 to TX 71. For more info, see www.texastrails.org and www.biketexas.org. – D.M.
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