A tale of two bike events: photo essay

November 16th proved to be an awesome day for Denton bicycling events with the 2nd Annual Bicycle to Recycle Tour and the Golden Triangle Alleycat Race.

Both events started on the Square and ended socially at East Side Social Club. Christopher went with the race and Devin the Recycle Ride. Here’s what we saw:

[*Most Recycle Ride photos courtesy of Alana Presley with the City of Denton]

recycle ride prep with courthouse

recycle riders

recycle interview

recycle-ride-start

alley cat poster

jamis-focus

thumbs up at start

bub leading the masses

racer girl

mickey mouse tat guy

bub leading from the courthouse

race-placard

race-start

lots of cool stuff in this photo

bike-smiles-plus-weighing-in

winners-at-bullseye

winners-at-bullseye

checkpoint stickers

getting some recycle learning in

plastics are magic

biker-off-bell

recycling return

coming-into-finish-2

leaderboard tracking

racer finish announcement

bike fence conglomerate1

querencia karl

bicylce recycle tour sign

unt racer

sustainable denton table

race discussion

rusty's grubbing

good looking east side crowd

3rd place victor

vicory

Rail Trail Updates

Beyond the popular MLK Jr. Pedestrian bridge over Loop 288, the City has been keeping an eye on further ways of improving the look and amenities of the Rail Trail from the DCTA Transit Center down through Hickory Creek.

They currently have a vote taking place on EngageDenton to gather public input on benching and other resting amenities. My vote is for Benching option A, but my opinion is but one voice and vote. Hop on over and let Denton staff know what you like and what fits in for this environment.

 

- Christopher

Catharsis abated.

Sometime during the weekend around May graduation, my Schwinn Tourist was stolen off my front porch.

It was not a spectacular bike in any semblance of the word, and when Howard handed BikeDenton to Devin and I last year upon his ceremonious exit from our beloved Denton, I quietly felt sheepish about riding on such lowly a frame while writing in this space. Foolish, I know.

But this bike was a dear friend to me; my loyal steed throughout my collegiate career at UNT. To have it just disappear from my home at the point my studies were over and degree completed seemed oddly unfitting. I followed all the right procedures, filed the right police reports, and patiently waited, hoping to hear something… anything…

Thus swept in the disconnect.

Without my two wheels, I very quickly experienced a detachment from the bicycling community around me, a feeling that had regretfully already been creeping a little before that day in mid May. Sure, I was still ambulatory and experienced life at street-level, but the separation was definitely there. Summer came and went. I road tripped in moving some good friends to Minneapolis and got a sneak peek at the bicycling mecca they’ve got going on up North. I bought a mysterious “D.K.” road bike from another California-bound friend, but it turned out to be just under my size and later resold it.

Time dragged on and all the while,  a nagging feeling of unworthiness or lack of qualification to keep posting emerged. As such, I missed covering the completion and opening of the MLK pedestrian bridge over 288, showing up adequately for some exciting meetings for a Better Block initiative, and getting the ball rolling soon enough when Devin spotted the egregious offerings by staff for updates to the City’s Criteria Manuals.

Three weeks ago I corrected my pedal problem. Kevin & co. from the ever-amazing Bullseye Bike Shop set me up on a wonderful date with a Bianchi Tangent and I’ve been in love ever since. All my pent up anxiety over the last few months was completely washed away as soon that light frame and I hit Locust street. Now, am I saying that not actively riding was the primary factor in my absence from this site? No, a lingering apathy was. But the absence of active riding certainly did not help.

I don’t exactly enjoy writing about myself whatsoever, and I do not anticipate doing so again, but felt I owed a deserved explanation to this site’s readership and if no one else, Howard, for letting much of this year fall to the wayside.

But now I’m back…

David Minton/DRC

David Minton/DRC

… and what in the ever living hell?

This story from Denton Record-Chronicle writer John D. Harden on Sunday has ceased any warm and fuzzies I had from my return to riding. It’s excellently written and hits on some major players like Lt. Tom Woods with Denton PD and Councilmember Dalton, but there are a couple of choice quotes that I cannot move past.

Since 2008, more than 280 accidents in Denton involving a motor vehicle and either a bicyclist or a pedestrian occurred primarily on Denton’s busiest roads, according to records.

280 too many.

“They [cyclists] think they own the roads and they hold up traffic,” said resident Kris Peeples. “In smaller cities and around the universities, I think cycling is OK. But elsewhere — I don’t think so.”

Peeples said that confrontations with cyclists on the road have ruined her idea of what sharing the road means and she believes accidents happen because there’s a lack of respect on both ends.

“Roads are for cars. It’s just safer if you’re in one,” she said. “Yes, there are cyclists on the roads and it’s normal to see them, but we live in a culture where you’re only looking out for other cars.

Emphasis mine.

This is the primary reason why bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure is so damn important. For us as a town to ever experience a complete streets mindset — a safe and welcoming environment for all legal road traffic and peripheral pedestrian viability — the natural cues for driving awareness and comprehension need to be set in place, whether that’s striped lanes, clear signage, enforced ordinances, etc. We live in a culture that has been designed to have extreme favoritism for cars, but four wheels will never out rank two and vice versa. Remedial and future planning should always reflect that equality.

And often, the accidents are the result of a distracted driver or someone violating traffic laws.

Many records tell stories of bicyclists who pedal through stop signs, pedestrians dashing into streets as cars approach, and inattentive motorists failing to yield the right of way.

Additionally, a records analysis shows a nearly even split between motorists and pedestrians/cyclists regarding who was at fault for the accidents.

Again, /b and /em mine.

That lunatic who was snapped going the wrong way down Carroll with massive headphones on in the DRC story needs to absolutely have his wheels pulled be chided to oblivion. It is incredibly hard for me to contain my desperate anger and frustration over this individual and others like him who willfully put his life and the lives of those around them into such potentially-fatal chaos.

That goes for those behind a wheel and steering column as well.

There are still legitimate arguments to be made however for the cases of bicyclists not being recognized at lit intersections by the proper equipment or timers. As Portland is mentioned as a model elsewhere in Harden’s story, it should be noted that Howard had the blessed opportunity to put in a crosswalk timing change request in “Stumptown” on a Thursday only for it to be answered and modified the very next day. When a similar request — and its many repetitions — were made here in town, it took over a year to be addressedShameful.

Last year, the council dedicated $50,000 to begin implementing the [Bicycle & Pedestrian Mobility] plan, but little of that money was spent as bike lanes were added only to a few streets near UNT. At a workshop looking ahead at the 2013-14 budget, [Councilmember] Gregory lobbied for a metric — that the city measure itself against a goal of implementing 7 miles per year — but the idea didn’t get much traction.

Even more shameful is City staff’s dodging in providing adequate facilitation for the popular plan or, as mentioned previously in the Criteria Manual business, giving any due consideration to future road designs that stops cars going 40+ unchecked and ‘besmirched’ by alternate infrastructure.

—–

I was really looking forward to this post being a positive “get back on that bike” antiphon, but stories like this one just go to show how far we as both a bicycling and non-bicycling community have yet to go before we can adequately prevent accident #281_____. Thankfully, measures like the potential ban on mobile device use while operating a motor vehicle are coming forth from the Traffic Safety Commission and will hopefully be seen by Council and make it as an ordinance soon enough in Denton.

- Christopher Walker

Future Denton Streets: No Bike Lanes?

Hey y’all. Remember all of the meetings and work we did on the Bike Plan back in 2011? The city held meetings and discussions and got input on where we wanted bike lanes, sharrows, paths, and trails, and it turned out that we want them in every neighborhood and connecting all parts of Denton. The plan that we came up with will let people get from almost anywhere to almost anywhere in town. Unfortunately, our older roads are often too narrow, or lack sensors that can detect lights, or otherwise need to be reconfigured or repainted, so it is going to take years to pay for and retrofit all of the streets in the bike plan.

The bike plan didn’t include future streets, because those unbuilt streets were going to be built to new standards that include bike lanes and other amenities. There were going to be updates to our Transportation Design Criteria Manual, and they would make sure that all future neighborhoods and connecting streets had the proper accommodations. Well, the proposed revisions to the Criteria Manual are out, and they don’t have any bike lanes on any types of streets:

Urban Shoulder

New Arterials (large streets that connect different areas of town, like University, Carroll, McKinney, Bonnie Brae, Oak, Hickory, Elm, Windsor and Teasley) will have a 4 ft “urban shoulder”, described by the Denton Bike Plan as, “The draft 2010 AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design and Operation of Bicycle Facilities contains guidance that when retrofitting roads for bicycle facilities on constrained roadways, where the width guidelines for bike lanes and paved shoulders are not possible, undesignated paved shoulders can improve conditions for bicyclists more so than providing no designated shoulder at all.” But wait, we’re not retrofitting, we’re building new roads! Why are we putting a 4 ft feature designed for retrofitting onto narrow roads on brand new roadways? And how is an “undesignated shoulder” a bike accommodation?

Collectors (streets that lead to or from neighborhoods, and often connect to schools or shopping areas, like Scripture, Stuart, Panhandle, Ave A, Malone, and Hinkle) will have either 4 ft shoulders or sidewalks as bike accommodations. There will be no bike lanes or shared lanes to provide room for bikes on these roads, even though they generally are the type of road that runs in front of elementary and middle schools, and the bike plan puts a bike lane on almost every collector in Denton.

Where will this leave us in 20 years? Will we have another hundred miles of road too narrow for bike lanes? Will we have another 100,000 residents that have no safe bike route to their local elementary schools, neighborhood shops, or restaurants? Will we be fighting to just get a little paint on streets so that all of the newly built neighborhoods will be safely ride their bikes to the rest of Denton?

If you don’t want the future of Denton to be built without bike lanes, send your comments or lodge a protest here.
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Can you help a fellow traveller?

This gal and her decked-out touring ’84 Raleigh Super Course, dubbed “Ferdinand”, just caught my attention while walking around the Square.

babesandtheirbikes.com

babesandtheirbikes.com

Her name is Hillary-Anne Crosby and she’s writing a book called Babes and their Bikes with a design friend, Lauren. Their plan was to make a trek from Austin to Chicago, and document all the rad spoke’d gals they came across in their journey. They’ve made an effort to hit as many local bike shops as possible, most recently Oak Cliff Bicycle Co and Bullseye Bike Shop here in town.

Babesandtheirbikestrek

 

The recent, violent storms though in our part of the country have thrown a giant wrench in the trip plans however, as the Oklahoma leg of the journey is seeming all but impossible at this point. Hillary-Anne is on a schedule though, and is endeavoring to finish her journey by June 7.

I left Hillary-Anne outside of Jupiter House, where she said she was going to spend some time and recoup her strategy on how to continue onward. She had considered chartering a Greyhound to get through the next leg, but their requirements of boxing her bicycle were not proving viable.

If you know of any way you could help Hillary-Anne on her way to Chi-town or want to show up as a Babe on their Bike to be documented, shoot her an email at info@babesandtheirbikes.com.

 

Best of luck to ya, Hillary-Anne!

 

- Christopher

2013 Council Candidate Questionaire

BikeDenton ballot

*Updated with responses from Kevin Roden, Brendan Carroll and Jim Engelbrecht*

Howard always did really well to ask simple, pointed questions of our local politicians ahead of elections in years past. This year should be no different, as much of the concerns in the post-Denton Mobility Plan-approval world are much the same as before – with give or take marginal progress.

But first, the quick info:

Denton City Elections will take place Saturday, May 11 with early voting starting on April 29. You can find info on all of the candidates as well as whether you’re up to date on registration on VoteDenton, an excellent new elections resource. The cool kids over at WeDentonDoIt also have a slew of questionnaire articles of the candidates as part of their Politics Week a few back.

But now for our own.

“A recent BikeTexas study found that Denton, among the state’s largest 35 cities, leads with the most per capita cycling mode share at 1.5%. Additionally, we are second in pedestrian walking mode share at 5.1% to San Angelo (6.9%). Despite these metrics, Denton has consistently proven itself behind the curve in meeting the needs of appropriate bicycle and pedestrian accommodation, and has been consistently outdone by the core and even peripheral cities of the DFW metroplex.

1. Though we have had a vetted, approved Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Plan on the books for nearly a year and half, only one major priority has been addressed thus far in the Hickory and Oak street corridors – and even then in only the area between Bonnie Brae and Malone/Jagoe/Ave C streets. Most dedicated funding has been reported to be used in engineering costs by City staff. How will you as a Denton City Council member help ensure that the plan sees true implementation and can fulfill more tangible actions within a beneficial timeline?

2. What do you envision as the nature of mobility in Denton in the future – 5 years, 10 years, 20 years – and can our city support this vision?

Please answer with pragmatism.”

Candidates were given until Friday, April 19 to give their responses. Kevin Roden, Dalton Gregory, Alfredo Sanchez, Griffen Rice, Brendan Carroll, Jim Engelbrecht, Joey Hawkins and Phil Kregel got back to us; Kevin Roden did not. Brendan Carroll plans on getting to us later today.

District 1

Kevin Roden

1. During last year’s budget talks, we agreed on a dedicated fund for the bike plan. What that means is money unused during a given fiscal year will be rolled-over and accumulated for the next year. That was an important step as we get our street and engineering team geared up to begin implementing the plan. I don’t know the veracity of your allegation that “most dedicated funding has been reported to be used for engineering costs.” Any street realignment where stripes are concerned will necessarily involve engineering to properly align the road. What we don’t want coming from that fund – and this is something council made clear in the last budget cycle – is money associated with public hearings and notifications relating to new lane projects and other such costs.

Several significant projects are in the works, including lanes on Windsor (which will connect several neighborhoods to two elementary schools, a middle school, a library, several parks, etc.). We also made sure the recently passed $20 million street bond program included data on streets which are designated for lanes in the bike plan. While those streets are being redone (and that starts this year), bike lanes will be added at no additional cost to the bike lane funding (it is included in the cost to redo the streets and comes out of the bond program).

We need to have an annual or semi-annual review and status update of the plan and the funding. We are heading into another budget cycle, so that always gives us an opportunity to find out where we are and retool from there.

2. You are going to see a significant increase in density in the core of the city (downtown and surrounding neighborhoods) in the next 20 years. That is a signal that more people want to put themselves in a geographical living condition where walking, biking, or public transit is more accessible. I also recommend that we increase the amount of neighborhood/commercial districts in order to create this possibility in other areas of town. Consider, for instance, what has developed organically on Congress Street between the Greenhouse and Seven Mile and how that connects to the TWU neighborhoods, the Bolivar Street neighborhood, and the Panhandle/Congress/Egan neighborhood. Understanding how this works and how it can be fostered in other parts of town will go a long way to creating more walkable/bikable pockets throughout the city.

District 2

Dalton Gregory

1. I have been pushing staff to produce tangible results that address the bike plan. As long as I am on council I will be insisting on action to accomplish the plan. Since it is a ten-year plan, we should see an average of 10% accomplished each year. I expected it to start slowly since it takes some time to gear up. But there are some other factors that have exacerbated the delays.

We had a false start to add bike lanes on Pennsylvania in the Southridge subdivision when those who had been lobbying for the facilities did not show up to public hearings and those opposed were well represented. Also, some engineering effort has gone into a bike route on Sycamore from the Downtown Denton Transit Center to UNT but there is an interest in shifting that route over to Oak and Hickory.

Here is the good news. The Traffic Safety Commission and the Council Mobility Committee have both received reports in April regarding the Windsor bike route, which will include bike lanes, road diets, and road sharing features in different segments. That route will connect to two other bike lanes, three parks, three schools, a public library, a recreation center, and an off street bike path along Cooper Creek from Sherman Drive that will eventually connect with UNT’s Discovery Park. The city has applied for a state grant to help fund the Cooper Creek path. And the pedestrian/bike bridge over Loop 288 parallel to the A-Train line is almost complete.

2. I expect to see the ten-year bike plan to be fully operational on time. In the seventh or eighth year of the plan, we need to review what has been accomplished and develop a plan for the next ten years. We need to add a component for educating motorist and bicyclists – probably by adding a “bicycle manager” to the staff. Schools must start teaching bike safety to children and their parents with the support of the city and volunteer groups such as yours. Supporting the plan and the vision to provide adequate pedestrian and bike accommodations will only happen if citizens communicate their desires and elect council members who will are knowledgeable advocates.

Citizen advocacy and involvement is crucial. Howard Draper helped educate other council members and me about what was possible. His advocacy was not just complaining but offering real solutions. He was both idealistic and pragmatic.

You ask if we can support the vision. It is important to understand that there are other areas competing for limited funds. Good roads make bike accommodations possible. In 2009, we should have been spending about $10 million a year to keep our roads repaired but we were only spending $1.9 million. Now we are up to $4.2 but that is still far short of the amount needed. We should celebrate a 52% increase during some very tough budget years but council must require staff to present a plan to fully fund our road budget in the next five years.

Alfredo Sanchez

1. As a federal employee with the USDA Forest Service, the thing we dreaded most was that our projects would go through Engineering because funds would be spent with little to show for it. From your letter it seems that you are facing the same issue. As a citizen you can request to know how much funding was available and how that funding was utilized. That is the only way to put a stop to spending on salaries rather than projects.

As a council member we are not directly involved with the budget. We should be influencing project development based on citizen interest. As a citizen and member of a concerned group, you should be taking every opportunity to speak at council meetings to make your concerns known.

As a council member I do see a need for bicycle lanes. We have many students who do not own a car and the only means of transportation is their bicycle. There are others in the city who utilize bicycles as a form of needed transportation because they do not have a car or cannot afford any other means of transportation. Because of the great weather we have here in Denton, weekends are a great time for many groups to take to the street and ride their bikes. Denton is very unique in that it has two Universities. Denton should be made more bike friendly and I would throw my full support for this project.

Pedestrian accommodation is also crucial in that it improves the quality of life for many that do not have a car. There are many who utilize their wheel chairs on roads which is very dangerous. Denton citizens who decide to walk should not feel threatened by traffic speeding on right next to them.

2. Because of how our cities are built, spread out, I still see vehicles as the major form of transportation. I do see people moving to smaller vehicles as gas prices continue to escalate. I also see people moving toward other means of transportation like motor cycles/scooters and bicycles. Long term, we need to better plan our cities to be more energy efficient and more environmental friendly but that only comes from people educating themselves and understanding their options.

District 3

Brendan Carroll

1. Denton is a maturing city that is enduring a period of significant population growth. This growth factor coupled with an already high ad valorem tax rate makes allocating funds for new initiatives difficult if not impossible. While there is an approved mobility plan in place with a clear implementation plan, the true costs haven’t been calculated – nor have all of the funding sources been identified. As a council member, I would advocate a serious evaluation of what we consider our priorities. In the case of safe mobility throughout our city, we have placed too much significance on the single occupant motor vehicle. Perhaps we should apply the funds from civil fines collected through traffic camera violations to fund our Pedestrian and Bicycle Mobility Plan. I’d certainly like to see more progress, but it is important to remember that a beneficial timeline is part of one’s perspective, while those that are making the compromise now might see the project as a failure, in years to come, those that witness a fully implemented, maintained and progressing plan will see it in a different light.

2. Part of what I envision is happening right now and being planned for in the Denton Comprehensive Plan. I’d like to see special districts with greater density and mixed uses than we currently see in our city. This would curtail an unsustainable sprawl, reduce impact on all types of city infrastructure and shape our community in a positive manner. The types of districts that I am suggesting would provide goods and services, entertainment, education and employment opportunities within smaller geographic areas than are currently planned for in our city. A perfect example of this type of design is represented by the Sterling project in the Fry St. area. While this development was quite contentious for many of the long time residents of Denton, myself included, the final results for those residents that it accommodates is quite nice. Mobility in Denton will be significantly impacted by this type of planning and development.

Jim Engelbrecht

1. The city is finishing an $800,000+ bridge over Loop 288 to complete the hike/bike trail from the DCTA station Downtown to Lake Dallas. In time, as the I-35E corridor is expanded, the trail will extend all the way to Dallas. Meanwhile, Windsor Street on the north side is on the cusp of being restriped to include bike lanes in some sections and share the road in others.

2. Discussions have been ongoing to link the rail trail to the hike/bike trail north of Denton leading to Lake Ray Roberts and beyond. Continued funding through the annual budget will ensure the city continues to implement other aspects of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Plan.

Griffen Rice

1. I think bike lanes are extremely important and as the only candidate who depends on biking as my main form of transportation this subject is near and dear to me.

Right now Denton is still recovering from the recession, which is why implementation has been so slow. I think the budget does need to be reevaluated and roads/bike lanes do need more attention.

2. As for the long term vision, I think building restrictions right now are harmful to Denton’s city planning. We allow buildings to be built to close to the curb, which makes it more expensive if not impossible to widen roads. There is also a height restriction on buildings, which will cause urban sprawl as the city grows and put more pressure on the roads budget. If we grow up instead of out we will not only be creating a more environmentally friendly city, but one that also is cost effective. The density of the city will also encourage more people to walk and/or bike because of their proximity to all the places they need to go.

District 4

Joey Hawkins

1. Let me start by saying that I am not fully informed on the status of this project, but I will attempt to answer based on general information I have gathered. I will also say that, like most residents, I am all for better safety and accessibility for cyclists, pedestrians, and users of other alternatives to cars. We voted for it – we want it! Many of my employees’ only means of transportation are bicycles and feet. Many more of us would choose to utilize a healthier and cheaper way to get around in town if there were appropriate lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks. We all know that it is more fiscally responsible to have less wear and tear on the roads that would have to be repaired eventually. I don’t think there is any argument about that.

Practically, however, I imagine that this process will take longer than anyone wants. Again, I don’t know the details. I do know that there are several factors that have to be successfully addressed. For example, one of the main projects (which you referred to in your question) will be for the Hickory and Oak Street Corridors. These streets offer their own particular concerns because they span the UNT district, our beautiful district of private homes on the Historic Registry, retail space, the Courthouse Square, and crossing tracks into the Denton Terminus of the A Train. This is an area with diverse existing infrastructure and varying concerns by property and business owners. The plan has to be as perfect as we can make it and, to my understanding, it is still going through adjustments. As anyone who has started a building project will tell you, this is one of the most tedious and sometimes frustrating steps. The residents of Denton have agreed to fund this development, but I doubt we would be so agreeable if asked for more funding to redo it in five or ten years because it didn’t meet our needs or take into account plans currently in the pipeline.

That said, I imagine there are ways that some parts of the project could be expedited. It reviewing some of the City Council minutes, as well as this BikeDenton website, I am curious about the change in the plan from Pennsylvania Avenue to Windsor Drive, due to the Pennsylvania residents’ complaints. I will use that as an example, although I repeat that I am speaking without information about why that incident happened. However, I think that, had the neighborhood been properly informed and consulted about the proposal before it actually became a plan, that delay and expense might have been avoided. That is the kind of thing that looks, from the outside, like and area for improvement that I would be diligent about addressing. Some things just take a lot of time, but we don’t have to waste time.

2. We are obviously still a very car-centric society in Texas. That is changing slowly and will continue to do so as people have to change their way of thinking. Just to name a few factors that could act as catalysts in that change: rising fuel costs; nationwide and local economy; relations with oil producing countries; advances in alternative fuel technologies; greater awareness of environmental concerns; aging populations; more local businesses to provide employment, reducing distance commuting; increased number of businesses and residents providing larger tax base for infrastructure; increased ridership on buses and trains once the schedules are more frequent and flexible . . . So, to answer your question, my best guesses would be:

5 years – small increase in regular usage of bicycles and public transportation

10 years – technological advances in alternative fuel sources will affect automobiles and public transportation; if the city starts growing up instead of out, there could be a greater dependence on walking and cycling

20 years – Hovercrafts! But seriously, as fast as technology is changing, even the experts admit that we have no idea where we’ll be.

Can our City support that vision? Absolutely, as long as we continue to be fiscally responsible, true to our identity, welcoming to new business, conservative of natural resources, and cooperative and considerate with each other, we will be a great city that embraces our future in a uniquely Denton way.

Phil Kregel

1. I will stay vigilant and in the ears of city staff to help ensure implementation. I will also attempt to get the community involved more in the process so they, too, can hold the staff accountable. We have a very large deficit in pedestrian friendly roads and as an avid bike rider, I would be a stern voice to communicate the bike communities needs and wants to the city staff and colleagues on the council.

2. I would love if the square became an all pedestrian area on the weekend by detouring car traffic around the square, I think it would add a great vibrancy to already unique culture on the square. I honestly don’t think our mobility rationale will change any time soon, unfortunately. I see the roads continue to fall behind and lack maintenance and with more people moving to Denton, means more cars on the road, so our elected officials really need to re consider investing more monies in our roads rather than convention centers.

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Scenes: 2013 Trinity Bicycles BikeSwap at Rahr & Sons Brewery

Rahr goodnessI was able to catch the last hour or so of this year’s Bike Swap down in Ft. Worth. Here are some things I saw.

part swappin holy frijole's beast modeIn the course of me walking around, I somehow missed our local Querencia guys three or four times. Sorry Neal, Nate & co. – I’ll catch ya’ll next time.

friendly folksGood to see our Ft. Worth compatriots doing well. They were promoting some fun Night Ride activities and raising funds to put up a Fixtation in town. I can wholly get behind that. This fine gentleman to the left sold me an excellent pair of Dallas-made Rozik commuter shorts. Speaking of, my purchases for the day:

Rahr purchasesI additionally got the fine chance of chatting with Julia McCleeary, one of Ft. Worth’s excellent Senior Transportation Planners.

FtW staff

She and her group extolled upon me the great progress they’ve made as of late, but with still that twinge of fight in her/them to progress even more and not sit idle and complacent. And really, one does not have to go far to read about how Ft. Worth is doing. She did mention her excitement over Denton going after reverse-angled parking however!

It was not until my drive home though that it fully hit me how far ahead Ft. Worth is compared to the rest of the metroplex. Protected 5-6′ bike lanes are practically everywhere, even in areas that might normally be forgotten or considered “less than notable”. At intersections, a lot of bike lanes would have protected striping to the center area in between cars, allowing for easily visible go-aheads on green. Where there is not a lane, there are sharrows – even on heavily trafficked 30MPH+ roadways. Around Sundance Square, bikes are marked and signed to join in on the bus lanes, then widening their purview to 12′ lanes.

I know it may have been said before, but Ft. Worth is literally miles ahead of everyone else in this regard, especially Denton.

Time to step it up, folks.

- Christopher

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Bullseye Bike Shop Garage Sale

IMG_2192

Folks, if you haven’t already, I highly suggest swinging by Bullesye Bike Shop on Locust to catch the tail end of their garage sale. There’s some real (not so hidden) gems in there for way cheaper than they should be.

facebook event.

Also, their revamp of the storefront is looking swell.

IMG_2190

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Denton Bike Plans, Now and Future

In the past few months bike riders have noticed several changes around Denton. The addition of bike lanes to the west ends of Oak and Hickory is almost complete. The UNT pedestrian bridge has opened, offering an alternative to the North Texas Blvd bridge and Bonnie Brae underpass. The main span of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Pedestrian Bridge has been placed over Loop 288 and will soon provide a connection from Corinth, NCTC, and far southeast Denton to downtown (as well as providing a good route to cargo bike riders on their trips to Home Depot and Target). Tonight, City Council will hear a plan for improvements to East Hickory Street that will include back-in parking, a layout that dramatically increases visibility from parked cars and decreases car/car and car/bike accidents.

These changes would not have happened without the efforts of hundreds of citizens who wrote letters and called City Council, showed up to dozens of meetings for the bike plan, Traffic Safety Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission, and City Council, and represented bike riders and pedestrians. But, this goes further back than the bike plan in 2011 or meetings on the the rail trail in 2009. In 1999, the first Denton Comprehensive Plan was adopted which included real mention of bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. The Comprehensive Plan has guided planning, zoning, transportation and engineering decisions for the past 14 years in Denton.

Now Denton is writing a new Comprehensive Plan, and we need to make sure that bicycle riders and pedestrians are represented in this one as well. There are two input meetings this week about the plan:

Thursday Feb. 7, 2013
6 – 8:30 P.M.
Advanced Technology Complex
1504 Long Road, Denton

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013
9 – 11:30 A.M.
John Guyer High School
7501 Teasley Ln., Denton

Bring your ideas about what Denton needs in the next 15 years.

 

- Devin

The State of Mobility in Denton, 20 years hence.

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Tonight in the upper room of Denton Square Donuts (208 West Oak St), City staff will be on hand to discuss the bike community of Denton and what it is we wish it to evolve into.

The input they receive will help mold the Comprehensive Plan for our fair town for the next 20 years. The Plan itself is a series of guideposts from which Council and staff can refer to develop policy and implementation for the future.

From the DentonPlan2030 website:

The Comprehensive Plan is:

  • A reflection of community values and aspirations – What do we want Denton to be?
  • A guide for the management of growth and change
  • A reference point for decision-making
  • A 20-year, community “to-do” list

For us, this could be how the Pedestrian & Bike Mobility Plan evolves; how road management, design and construction are handled; how trails and pedestrian pathways are made sensible and responsible to Denton’s walking public.

So, if you’d like to have a say in the future make-up of mobility in Denton, I would suggest showing up to DSD at either of the two sessions at 6:30 and 8:00 PM.

- Christopher

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