Archive for the ‘Richardson’ Category
When you become a bike rider, you quickly learn the importance of keeping an eye on the weather. You never want to get caught in a Texas thunderstorm. Unlike my days living in the northwest – where the rain is frequent, consistently light and often drizzly – rain is rare in north Texas during the summer. But when it comes, it comes hard – usually with lightning and rolling thunder. It’s very intimidating, when you’re on a bike and typically avoided – especially by me.
I knew that there was a storm rolling through yesterday morning, but as I scanned the online radar and checked the hourly forecast, it looked like I had a small window to run an errand and grab a quick cup of coffee. My prediction was slightly off.
I did manage to get my mail sent off at the post office without a drop of rain, but as I rolled towards my coffee shop, I saw the dark clouds and lightning moving into my area very quickly. I decided to park it at my Starbucks and wait it out. Another interesting thing about Texas thunderstorms is that they usually leave as fast as they come.
With my tall, black coffee and the sound of pounding rain and thunder just outside, I comfortably read through a chapter of my book. Before I was able to get into the next chapter, my wife called and, after reminding me how crazy I was, asked if she needed to come get me. The rain was much lighter at this point, but she warned me that another wave was heading our way.
With a bit of pride and a lot of stubbornness, I declined her offer and told her riding home wouldn’t be a problem. I packed my book back into it’s Ziplock baggy and hit the road. Fortunately, most of the ride back was light and drizzly, just like my days up north. The streets, however, were still flooded from the storm and because I didn’t have fenders, I got soaked.
Aside from that, riding in the rain was actually pretty fun. I’ll still avoid the thunderstorms, though.
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.
This is my fifth year to participate in Methodist Health System’s WildRide! Against Cancer. Unlike last year, when I rode the 64 mile route with my buddy and barely made it, I opted to go easy and just do the 40 mile route (Well, with the new starting point this year, it was only 38 miles). The day was beautiful and the wind a little forgiving, which made this year’s rally one of the better ones for me.
Like with every WildRide, I keep promising myself that I’m going to get a new bike that’s lighter and not so mechanically challenged. Instead, I keep riding the only geared bike that I own – my 21-year old DiamondBack Apex mountain bike that’s been converted to a commuter. It’s heavy, the wheels wobble and the original drivetrain is showing it’s age. But, like the previous 4 WildRides and dozens of commutes to work, it gets me to where I need to go – even if I have to work a little harder.
As I stated earlier, this year’s rally started at a new location. It was still close to my house, so I opted to ride my bike the 4 miles to the rally. The new staging area was nice, but didn’t seem as well organized. I’m sure it’s just growing pains and getting used to the new place.
The starting lineup is usually much longer, giving room to all the cyclists who are planning on riding the 64 mile route – which is probably 75 percent, leaving the remaining lineup space for the 40 and 16 mile group. This year, it seemed to be the reverse, which left about 25 percent of the space for the lead group and a lot more for the rest. This forced many cyclists to cram together at the front, some waiting on the sidewalk and on the road median. Quite frankly, the rally always starts out slow for everybody, so it doesn’t really matter where you start.
Other than the awkward, overly-crowded start, the rally was really nice. The 40 (I mean 38) mile route was mostly the same with the typical rest stops, and riding over the Lavon Lake dam is always spectacular. Since I rode solo, this year’s ride was a bit lonely. Also, even though it wasn’t going to be as hard as last year’s 64 mile route, I think I had underestimated this year’s ride. I had forgotten that the 38 mile route was still a challenge for me, and it caught my legs off guard for the last few miles. I completed the route, but that 4 mile ride back to my house was miserable.
Here are a few pics of this year’s rally. 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:
They are opening up a new trail in my town. It’s a much needed extension of an existing trail, providing some great connections between our local DART rail train stations and neighborhoods. The City of Richardson and Dallas County are hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the trail this June.
Here are the details:
Date: Monday, June 2. 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Spring Valley DART Station/Central Trail – Spring Valley Road at Lingco Drive
Let’s try to get as many cyclists to this ceremony as possible, and show our appreciation for these connections.
I had forgotten all about this, until I ran across the pic in my photo stream.
A few years back, during the construction of one of Richardson’s bike trails, I buried a “Bike Friendly Richardson” pin in the ground before they laid the cement. I’m calling it a time capsule of positive thinking.
Hopefully, many years from now – when they dig it up to widen the trail – somebody will see that we cared about cycling back then.
A few years back, my city was awarded federal funding through a Safe Routes to School grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for two schools in Richardson: Richland Elementary and Yale Elementary. Yale Elementary happens to be part of my neighborhood.
It’s finally getting implemented and is scheduled to be complete next month. According to the SRTS plan (pdf), we will be getting:
• Barrier-free curb ramps
• Sidewalks (repairs and missing links)
• School crosswalk and signage upgrades
• Bike lanes
• Bike routes (I’m not sure what they mean by this)
They are already working on the sidewalks and barrier-free curb ramps in my neighborhood, Yale Park. It’ll also be nice to get the bike lanes, which will help calm the car traffic through the neighborhood streets, create more awareness for bicycling and encourage more people to ride. The new lanes through my neighborhood will start to connect the bike lanes in the Duck Creek neighborhood, just south of us, to the bike lanes on Collins Blvd, a few miles to the west. There will still be a gap on Collins.
The original information about our Safe Routes To School grant had mentioned bike racks for the schools, but they aren’t on the current proposal (pdf). That either means there wasn’t enough funds or ‘Bike routes’ listed above is a typo, and we are still getting them.
I’m glad that I live in a city that works hard to get grants like this. This is a big win for Richardson and I hope to see more developments that improve safety and encourage more active transportation.
No, it wasn’t a race.
Local bike shop, Richardson Bike Mart, known for it’s connection to the local cycling community, had their first ‘Coffee Crawl‘ last month. Having one of the largest inventories of road, race and mountain bikes in the area, their stores appear to cater to more experience riders, athletes and aspiring racers. However, Richardson Bike Mart hasn’t forgotten the fun side of bicycling and makes efforts to encourage other cyclists to get out and ride. The Richardson Bike Mart Coffee Crawl is the perfect example of that.
The idea was to get us cyclists out on our own schedules and pace, to explore the city - something I totally embrace with Suburban Assault - and visit local coffee shops or breakfast destinations. We had the entire month of November to accomplish as many rides as possible, taking photos at each stop.
Since I love coffee and riding, I fully embraced this challenge – riding and drinking coffee as often as I could. It totally paid off, because I was the winner of the very generous $100 gift certificate from Richardson Bike Mart. Believe me, I’m going to put it to some good use.
Thank you, Richardson Bike Mart!
Here are some of my pics from my coffee crawl rides: