Archive for the ‘DFW Cycling’ Category
Well, my summer vacation came and went without much to write about. There were lots of variables that got in the way of a proper vacation or any kind of travel.
The first was money. Hotels and transportation for a family of 4 always seems to cost more than what’s available after several unexpected expenses this year – including auto repairs, vet bills, appliance replacement and various other household costs. Perhaps with a little better planning and better saving, we might get away next year.
Even if cost wasn’t a factor, there have been other issues that happened this year. Without getting into too much detail, we have a family member who is suffering from health problems and is requiring a significant life change, and our family is having to focus on that. In fact, a good portion of my time off was spent working to help facilitate some of that change.
Even so, my vacation wasn’t always that productive. We did manage to squeeze in a trip to the Perot and a few hours at the city pool. It was really nice spending more time with my family.
I also gave myself a goal to ride my bike every day, even if it was a short distance. I ended up riding 9 days in a row, totaling over 117 miles. Sure, it wasn’t any kind of Grand Tour, but it was enough to wind down and recharge.
Isn’t that what a vacation is truly about?
We are very fortunate to have a League of American Bicyclist board member, Gail Spann living in north Texas. Her dedication to cycling and bike education is an inspiration for many bicyclists, advocates and enthusiasts. This past weekend, she and her husband, Jim, hosted a visit from the League’s president, Andy Clarke, who came to talk to us about Bike Education and the Bike Friendly Communities Program in north Texas.
Given that our time with Andy was limited and wanting to keep this visit focused, we set up two meetings with just a few key instructors, advocates, industry leaders and city officials.
The first meeting – which was held Sunday evening at Gail’s house – was about the current education program, were several local LCIs (League Cycling Instructors) met with Andy for dinner and a ’round table’ discussion. We discussed ways to make the program better and how to reach a larger audience. Quite a few good ideas were discussed and many of us left the meeting inspired and ready to move the program forward.
Bike Friendly Communities:
The second meeting – held on Monday evening at the Plano Parks and Recreation office – was about north Texas and the the Bike Friendly Communities Program. Attending, were representatives of BikeTexas, BikeDFW, Bike Friendly Richardson, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and Plano Bicycle Association, city officials from Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and Richardson, and industry leaders from Richardson Bike Mart and Plano Cycling and Fitness.
At this meeting, city officials were able to openly discuss the efforts that have been made towards bicycling infrastructure, issues and concerns with the Bike Friendly Communities Program and ways to get clear benchmarks moving forward. It was evident that many of the city officials weren’t expecting a ranking based on the current program, but wanted to see some sort of recognition for the expenses and efforts made so far. They felt that having this would help motivate and inspire city management and council to continue investing in bicycling education and infrastructure.
Given the limited amount of time, we were able to have a good conversation with Andy Clarke, and he was able to assure us that the League of American Bicyclists was listening and willing to help us achieve our goals of becoming bike friendly communities. It was nice to be able to have this direct link to the League to make it clear that cycling is growing in north Texas and we are a strong community of bicycle riders.
I saw this on Alma Road in Plano, Texas, the city that neighbors mine. I’m not sure if this was painted by the city or by a concerned citizen, but it definitely caught my eye. Unfortunately, with it’s placement right next to the actual hazard, so it’s too late to do anything to avoid it.
Perhaps the city of Plano will fix this road soon, because it’s one of the best routes for cyclists into town.
If you ride a bike in north Texas, you should think about going to the Texas Department of Transportation Public Hearing – Bicycle Use in DFW.
Information from their site:
City of Irving City Hall
825 W. Irving Blvd.
Irving, TX 75060
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
The purpose of this public hearing is to provide information on the bicycle plans, policies, programs and upcoming projects for the Dallas and Fort Worth districts of TxDOT and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG). Also, the public will have an opportunity to make comments and provide input on the bicycle transportation projects and programs
The public hearing will consist of a presentation from TxDOT and NCTCOG beginning at 6 p.m. and an open house format before and after the presentation.
Maps and drawings will be on display to show the existing bike facilities and upcoming transportation projects on the state system and Dallas/Fort Worth regional area.
TxDOT Dallas District
Four great Dallas amenities opened this past weekend during an event called the Trinity River Revel, and it was celebrated with a Rolling Ribbon Cutting. A large group of a few hundred cyclist, which included a few of Dallas’ elected officials, representatives from local and state bicycling groups as well as surprise visitor Gary Fisher, all set out on a slow paced rally around the Trinity River to officially reveal these great new open spaces.
This is what opened:
The Continental Avenue Pedestrian Bridge – A new linear park build on the old Continental Street Bridge, which spans the Trinity River west of downtown Dallas. It includes 39 trellis and shade structures, a meditation labyrinth, bocce court, spray fountain and playground.
Trinity Skyline Trail – This is a paved hike, bike and skate trail in the Trinity River basin that leisurely rolls between Sylvan Avenue and West Commerce Street. This is a great place to take your family for a nice bike ride or walk, and see lots of nature around the Trinity River.
Sylvan Avenue Bridge – The bridge has been redesigned as a six-lane bridge with two six-foot sidewalks on the shoulders. Even better, is the Trinity Skyline Trail crosses the river below.
West Dallas Gateway Plaza – This is located between the western end of the Continental Avenue Pedestrian Bridge and Trinity Groves. This is a perfect spot to visit, with great views of the Dallas skyline.
It was a great day to ride and be part of this historic event. It was also inspiring to see such a large group participate, letting the City of Dallas know that bicycling and walking are important to the people who live here.
Here are some pics from the event. Click here to see the entire set.
Thanks to Bruce, over at the Bike Friendly Richardson Facebook page, for spotting the new Bike Lanes on the eastern section of Collins Boulevard – in my city: Richardson, Texas. Although not complete, lacking ‘bike’ markings on the pavement and ‘bike lane’ signage, they are ready for riding. Eventually, these bike lanes will continue east, right into my neighborhood, where more bike lanes are scheduled. Unfortunately, the bike lanes will not continue west, right now, and connect to the other bike lanes on the western section of Collins.
I got word from the City of Richardson‘s Asst. Director of Development Services, Transportation and Traffic, Dave Carter, who reports:
This Bike Lane will connect from Alma all the way to Jupiter. The portion east of Plano Rd is being paid for with Safe Route To School (SRTS) funding. The western half is Richardson funding. We wanted to get it all done at the same time. There is a new trail that will be going in adjacent to the Apartments under construction that will connect from Alma down to Greenville. There is also trail along Alma that will lead down to the Arapaho DART station so getting this Bike Lane in now really connects quite a few projects.
As for the Collins bridge over US75 – we don’t have enough funding to make all the improvements we need yet. However, we will be adding some “Bikes may use Full Lane” signs and sharrow markings across the bridge for now.
From a personal perspective, I ride down this part of Collins, almost every time I ride. The traffic is usually very light and having it three lanes in each direction, made it very accessible for me – even without bike lanes. My first thought was that these bike lanes might be overkill for this road. I was completely wrong.
First, having these bike lanes opens this section of Collins Boulevard for many, less confident, cyclists who would never attempt to ride on this road. This creates a great connection between east Richardson neighborhoods and the Central Trail. Also, it wasn’t until I actually rode the bike lanes, before I realized how much more relaxed I am riding down Collins. This has become a great upgrade to my commute.
As you can see from the map we’ve made of completed bike lanes, the City of Richardson is doing a great job at making bike connections all around town.
Update: Apologies. I had the map set to private. It should be visible, now.
Today was a great day for my city. Richardson had a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to welcome cyclists to the newest addition to our Bicycle Master Plan – Central Trail South.
Although not entirely complete, this trail will eventually provide a much needed extension to the existing Central Trail North. Scheduled to be finished within the next few weeks, the Central Trail will be a complete route that reaches from the northern end of the city limits to the southern end. Eventually, it will connect to other trails which will provide access into downtown Dallas.
Along with the many city officials, government partners and city staff, local bike advocacy group, Bike Friendly Richardson, was there to participate in the ceremony.
Here are a few pics. Click here to see the entire set.
Last Friday was the Bike League’s National Bike To Work Day. For the third year, my local bike advocacy group, Bike Friendly Richardson, worked with BikeDFW, DART and NCTCOG to set up a bike commuter Energizer Station at one of our local rail stations. This year, BikeDFW and DART were able to set up 9 stations throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Reports are coming back that those stations had great success greeting the many bicycle commuters who came through. This indicates to me that folks around the Dallas area are starting to look at bicycle commuting as an viable form of alternate transportation – which most feel is hard to do in a city built for cars.
The Richardson station was quite successful. We had 25 bike commuters stop by our Energizer Station, where we provided them with snacks and breakfast tacos. We also handed out lots of swag donated by DART and NCTCOG as well as energy bars provided by Clif Bar and KIND. Richardson Bike Mart was out to do bicycle safety checks.
We even had a news camera man from Channel 11 stop by and interview us, but we never made the news cast that day. Fortunately, other stops in Dallas got some coverage:
Here are some pics from this year’s Bike To Work Day Energizer Station in Richardson:
Mark your calendars! Friday, May 16, 2014 is The League of American Cyclists‘ National Bike To Work Day. IF there is ever a day to ride to work, make it this day. Think about the positive statement we’ll be making as cyclists, safely using an alternate form of transportation.
Based on our great success in Richardson 2 years ago, which grew to 5 stations around Dallas last year, BikeDFW, DART and NCTCOG have partnered up to host 9 Bike Commuter Energizer Stations around the Dallas/Fort Worth area:
• ALLEN – Allen Events Center
• GARLAND – DART Downtown Garland Station
• DALLAS – DART St. Paul Station
• OAK CLIFF – Jefferson St. Viaduct
• RICHARDSON – DART Arapaho Station
• PLANO – Intersection of Bluebonnet & Chisholm Trail
• IRVING – DART Las Colinas Urban Center Station
• CARROLLTON – DART Trinity Mills Station
• MID-CITIES – TRE CentrePort Station
DATE: Friday, May 16, 2014
TIME: 6:30-9:00 am
We will be providing snacks, beverages and FREE bicycle safety checks at most stations.
Let us know you are coming on our Facebook Event Page.
MORE DETAILS TO COME.
Now that spring is upon us, bicycling and cycling related activities are starting to ramp up. This weekend was no exception.
Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference
For me, it started on Friday, when I attended the last day of the Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference in Fort Worth.
Hosted by BikeTexas and the Texas Trails Network, the conference was held for anyone involved in the planning, construction, funding, economics, operation, management, promotion and use of bicycle, pedestrian, and other transportation modes. According to their site: The TTAT Conference brought together those involved with bicycle, pedestrian, and other active transportation and recreation modes from around Texas and the world with the goals of sharing current information and examples, and sparking inspiration to continue striving to make things better in each of our communities. The conference focused on issues of economic development, health, safety, and many other topics relevant to advancing active transportation and trails.
My local advocacy group, BikeDFW, had a table at the conference, which allowed me to attend the last day. While there, I got to sit in on a few seminars that were quite impressive and much more informative than I had expected. I also got to meet other advocates and professionals who are passionate about making Texas better for bicyclists and pedestrians – not only on our growing trail network, but also on our streets and in our neighborhoods.
The TTAT conference seemed small, but it grows larger each time – with this year being the biggest one yet. They are held every other year, so the next one will be held in 2016 – in Houston. If I can get free, I plan on attending that full event. If you are a bike or active transportation advocate, you should see about attending as well.
Here are a few pics from the event. Click here to see my full set.
ALSO THIS LAST WEEKED:
Friends of the Katy Trail – Membership and Safety Day
The weekend didn’t stop with the TTAT Confernce. With BikeDFW, I also got to help out at the Friends of the Katy Trail – Membership and Safety Day in Dallas. At the event, BikeDFW joined with Bicycles Plus and helped promote trail etiquette and safety. While there, we installed or gave away almost a hundred free bicycle bells, donated by Bicycles Plus.
Overall, it was a great day and a great event. We got to meet lots of folks and hopefully helped make the trail a bit safer for both pedestrians and cyclists.
Here are a few pics from the event. Click here to see my full set.
Ok. I actually did get to ride this weekend. I got to give the BikeDFW trailer hauler a test spin with some volunteer passengers. We didn’t bring our helmets, so I couldn’t get it going very fast (we were even passed by a few joggers, haha) – but, it was a blast to ride and a great little supply hauler.