Posts Tagged ‘Richardson’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Last Friday, my local bike advocacy group, Bike Friendly Richardson, hosted our 5th annual Black Friday Bike Ride. The event isn’t a race, a charity ride or even an advocacy statement. The Black Friday Ride is just a nice, alternative way to spend the country’s busiest shopping day by riding a bike, instead of dealing with mad rush of crowds fighting over flat screen TVs. Unlike shopping, the ride is a relaxed, low paced, no-drop cruise around town.
This year’s group was amazing as always. On bikes ranging from mountain to road, a little over a dozen riders gathered at the new Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson. As a group ride leader, this is a good amount. Fewer is ok, but once the group gets over 30 riders, it becomes difficult to manage.
The cruise took us through some remarkable neighborhoods in Richardson. I always hear comments from folks that didn’t know these areas existed. As we rolled into the north part of town, past the University of Texas, Dallas campus, we stopped at the Pearl Cup for a nice little break.
On the ride back, we had to make a small emergency stop. One of our riders got a flat. The group waited patiently as the repair was made, which gave us a chance to visit with each other a little more – something you don’t get waiting in the long lines at Wal-mart.
At the end of the ride, which totaled a little under eleven miles, a few of us grabbed a beer at the Glass Half Full Taproom, which is connected to the Alamo Drafthouse. They had an amazing selection of brews on tap that would impress any craft beer aficionado. It’s great to have places like this and the Pearl Cup in Richardson.
Overall, the ride was great and the riders were happy. We hope to continue the tradition of the Black Friday Ride for years to come. Here are some pics:
It’s that time of year again. It’s the time to AVOID all the big crowds at the shopping mall, work off that Thanksgiving dinner and have a fun ride around town.
You are invited to attend Bike Friendly Richardson‘s FIFTH (that’s right, 5th) annual Black Friday Ride. Started five years ago as the inaugural ride that launched Bike Friendly Richardson, the Black Friday Ride gives folks an alternative way to kick off the holiday season. This is a casual paced ride that will explore many of the different route options available to Richardson cyclists. We will ride on back-roads, side-streets, multi-purpose trails and available bike lanes.
Come on out to the Richardson Heights Shopping Center, enjoy a tasty lunch at Haystack Burgers, or one of the many fine restaurants in the area. We’ll meet in front of the Alamo Drafthouse around 1:00 pm.
More details to come.