Tag Archives: Bike Racks

Denton police request removal of bikes left at square

bike chained to handrail on the Denton square

photo by Adrian Rollett: http://acrollet.posterous.com/

Seeing all the bikes at last weekend’s 35C was inspiring, but the Denton Police Department kindly asked us to spread word that all leftover bikes chained around the square should be removed by Friday. Anything left over will be removed and impounded, so save yourself the trouble and get them while it’s easy. The presence of so many bikes indicates growing need for more bicycle parking, especially downtown. The city recently spent $55,000 on angled parking conversions to add 12 new car spots, but no new bike racks were added.

The Denton Police also wanted to remind everyone that it’s illegal to ride on the square sidewalks, and that cyclists should obey the laws of the road, ride with traffic, and use hand signals (simple pointing works fine for me).

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Ft Worth – Panther City closes, Trinity grows

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Today is the last day Panther City bikes will be open, ever. After 6 years, they’re closing. Cheers guys. It was definitely one of the cozier bike shops I’ve visited. There were couches, a keg of Rahr beer, Masi and Indy Fab bikes, and a great location next to the Spiral Diner. What a nice final portrait, gentlemen.  Just look at the spirit of adventure in that pose.

Outside the shop I found a beautiful Indy Fab bike with wooden fenders; a nice fit with long-reach Tektro sidepull brakes:

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Fort Worth has an increasing number of nice staple racks around town, especially on the south side, as Fortworthology reports.

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Magnolia has bike lanes that help encourage riding in the area, and I was pleasantly surprised to see some middle-aged women on bikes. The bike lanes seemed too narrow, though, and they passed right in the parallel parking door zones.  From the photo below, you can see Magnolia’s lanes might be wide enough to fit some wider bike lanes and narrower car lanes.

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A few miles away, Trinity Bikes seems to be growing quickly. We went there a year ago when Russ and Laura from Path Less Pedaled came to speak about long-distance bike touring. Trinity had so many interesting things in the shop, like this strange labyrinth Alex Moulton small-wheeled bike.

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The below beauty is a vintage Raleigh Professional, painted by Brian Baylis of Masi USA fame. Velo Orange hammered fenders.

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This is the new 3-speed fixed Sturmey Archer hub, which the Trinity guys said has a little bit of backward play before engaging. Perhaps good for touring, but not so good for freestyle.

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Bernie of Trinity rode this pink Surly 1 x 1 fixie (yes, a 26″ mountain bike frame) all the way to Austin earlier this year. If nothing else, it’s got the most mud clearance I’ve ever seen.  This bike makes me feel sweaty and weird, and I’m ok with that.

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Tribute to Big Mike’s bike rack

Big Mike's Coffee - full bike rack

I went to Big Mike’s Coffee this week, and to my surprise, the rack was at capacity (13 bikes) and I had to lock to a parking meter.  Thus, it’s time for a tribute post to that rack.

If there’s one bike rack in town that’s never empty (excluding the college campuses), it’s at Big Mike’s Coffee.  Anyone who’s lived here since Big Mike’s opened can attest to the striking visual presence of seeing all these bikes, parked in what used to be a car spot on the street.

That spot is technically a loading zone, according to the city.  Mike has to submit a loading zone application every year, along with $175, and then the Traffic Safety Commission approves the loading zone.  The irony is that all those beer trucks that block half a lane of traffic daily at this same intersection are not using paid loading zone spaces, and they do the same on the square.  Ugh.

So Mike also has to pay to share a car lot around the corner, for spaces he doesn’t necessarily need, because of a zoning requirement.  Should bike parking be required for developers and work in lieu of car parking, as it is in Forth Worth?  Should the city provide bike parking stalls, or at least staple racks along curbs?

These are some questions you might consider asking during the upcoming Bike Master Plan meetings for Denton.  Fort worth’s city council thought this important enough to add on after the passage of their master plan.  Bike parking is one of the top requirements for any bike-friendly city, as you can see from the League of American Bicyclists criteria.

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Industrial Street gets bike racks

Dan's Silverleaf staple racks

Hear ye, clients of Fuzzy’s, Roosters, Dan’s Silverleaf, Little Guy’s Movers, and Seniors In Motion.  Your days of locking bikes to the handicap handrail on Industrial are over.  Marcus and Chris from Little Guy’s Movers have installed the nicest bike racks in Denton, and they’re sheltered from rain.  These same gentlemen blocked off their parking spots to create a beer garden during last year’s downtown criterium bike race .

What makes these the nicest racks in town?  When Chris and Marcus asked me what cyclists like, I told them “staple racks, like you see in Portland and Austin”.  Not only did they install staple racks, but they’re coated in some soft non-scratching material, and they match the facade of Dan’s Silverleaf.  They are quite large, even for staples, but I was able to get my mini U-lock over the rack easily. What you see here is half of the racks, and an identical other set will be installed soon.  Each staple holds 2 bikes, so soon Industrial will have 20 bike parking spots.

For years we all locked our bikes to the handicap rail, but after telling Little Guy’s proprietors Marcus and Chris about the great bike racks at Eno’s Pizzeria in Oak Cliff, they couldn’t help but install the nicest racks in all of Denton.

What’s so great about staple racks?  For starters, they’re 30″ apart and keep the bikes from getting tangled up, like the wave/serpentine racks common on campus and on the square.  Second, they’re far easier to position wherever you want, and not necessarily in a row.  Austin has them along the sidewalk edges downtown. Third, they give you many locking points.  Fourth, they look classy.

Needless to say, we applaud the men of Little Guy’s Movers for raising the bar for bike accommodations in Denton.  The city did not have racks to give these businesses, so they took matters into their own hands.  Want to say thanks?  Go get a pint at Dan’s, or food at Roosters and Fuzzy’s, and lock your bike up at this fancy rack.  We’ll see you there.

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S Fort Worth to get new bike racks, the kind cyclists love

Kevin over at Fortworthology writes that Fort Worth South Inc, a nonprofit working to revitalize south Fort Worth, sought to increase and improve bicycle parking in their area.  They collaborated on a bicycle parking plan, just received approval from city council, and are now cleared to fund the plan with TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district money.

Ft Worth bike racks

What does this have to do with Denton, you ask?

One, they’re smartly installing staple racks, which cyclists love, and are VASTLY superior to the “cost-efficient” serpentine/wave racks you commonly see in Denton.  While wave racks are often touted as holding X number of bikes, you’ll never actually see that number of bikes on one because they all get stuck together.  Anyone who’s parked a bike at crowded UNT wave racks knows that all too well.

Two, they’re using TIF district money to, well, improve the district.  That’s how it works.  You improve an area, and the improvement hopefully brings gains that offset the cost of the improvements.  I bring this up because as the Dinerstein Corp just received approval to develop a $30,000,000 project on Fry St, which is said to bring in $600,000 in yearly tax revenue.  Think that could do amazing positive things to transform the neighborhood?  Yeah, me too.   I’m not saying it has to necessarily be a TIF, but we need to find ways to encourage and capture specific tax income and use it wisely, instead of the money flowing into centralized coffers and out to projects on the sprawling fringes of town.  Western Blvd by the airport = $10 million.  Planned S. Bonnie Brae expansion = $50 million (10 of which the city will pay).  Let’s focus a mere tiny, tiny, tiny amount in comparison towards the center of town where people already live.  Bike racks are cheap, y’all.

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Greenhouse rack love

greenhouse-rack

Black bean burger.  Black bean Chalupas.  John B Burger.  Mussels.  Guinness.  Sidecar cocktails.  Porch dining.  Totally awesome bike rack?

Today, we thank Ken Currin, owner of The Greenhouse restaurant, for building this great bike rack.  Yeah, I know, serpentine racks aren’t always a cyclist fave, but a covered roof and a bench?  We think credit is due, and we’ve consciously made a few more recent trips to the Greenhouse to express our appreciation, and we know this bike alcove couldn’t have been cheap.

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we have to admit

Denton gets a little bike-friendlier every day.  We just noticed that Lucky Lou’s on Hickory St  added a new large bike rack, moved the existing rack over, and added some really thoughtful amenities: public air pump, seat covers.  This is an awesome surprise.  All those cyclists spending $.50 for air from the 7-11 can now air up for free at Lou’s!  Just remember who showed you the love.

We will reward Lucky Lou’s goodwill by buying drinks and relaxing on the porch!  Salut, friends.

lucky lous bike love

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Fort Worth Bike Plan looks incredible, faces vote tomorrow

Kevin Buchanan at the Fortworthology New Urbanism blog provides a great overview of the ambitious Fort Worth Bike Plan.  His article is so comprehensive and good, that I won’t do it disservice by summarizing.  The entire text is available as a huge pdf from the city.

Read it and imagine a similar plan for Denton:

Fortworthology Bike Plan Article

If you don’t have time to read that article, here are some tasty snippets:

  • Increasing bicycling in Fort Worth.  Double the rate of cycling for all trip purposes and triple the bicycle commuter rate from 0.2% (approx. 645 daily commuters) at present to 0.6% (approx. 2,000 daily commuters) by the year 2020.
  • Improve bicyclist safety.  Establish a system to track bike crashes, and reduce the rate of crashes by ten percent by 2020.
  • National recognition.  Earn a “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation from the League of American Bicyclists by 2015 (Austin is currently the only city in Texas with such a designation).

Network expansion:

Currently, Fort Worth’s bicycle transportation system (such as it is) totals 102.6 miles.  57.3 miles are off-street trails (think the Trinity Trails, etc.), a scant 6.4 miles are on-street bike lanes, and 38.9 miles are on-street signed routes (the existing green “bike route” signs and on-street sharrow icons).

Under Bike Fort Worth, it is proposed that the bicycle transportation network be radically enlarged, and a much greater focus be given to on-street infrastructure.  Under the proposal, Fort Worth’s bicycle transportation network would increase from the existing 102.6 miles to 924.7 miles.  224.7 miles of that would be off-street paths & trails, with the other 700 miles being dedicated to on-street infrastructure:  480.3 miles of on-street dedicated bike lanes, 218.3 miles of on-street signed routes (sharrow routes), and 1.4 miles of bus & bike-only lanes in Downtown Fort Worth.

Bike rack design and placement:

Recommended bike rack designs have common factors that include supporting the bicycle frame in at least two contact points and accommodating the most widely used locking devices such as U-locks. Ribbon-style racks and racks that only secure the bike by the front wheel are discouraged. Racks should have a protective coating that will preserve the rack material and limit replacement needs. Cyclists and the public should easily recognize preferred bike racks.

On innovative street marking designs:

The plan also states that the city should look into a variety of on-street infrastructure designs for different situations (shown in one of the images above), including Portland-style Bicycle Boulevards, Bike Boxes, colored bike lanes, bicycle-only traffic signals, contra-flow bike lanes, and cycle tracks.

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Interview With UNT Transportation Director, Joe Richmond

photo credit: UNT Inhouse Magazine

Thanks so much for talking with us. What is your background leading to your position as Transportation Director at UNT?

I initially worked as a shuttle bus driver for UT Austin, before I went to work for Capital Metro in Austin, just as they were born. I worked at Capital Metro for 18 years. I actually had an office on the UT campus while I worked for Capital Metro.

We see more cyclists riding on campus every year. Is cycling ridership increasing at UNT, and do you know if it’s been recently measured?

I don’t have a scientific method for measuring, but the bike racks appear to be at capacity. We have around 2500 bikes parked on campus. We purchased 100 racks and placed them strategic locations on campus.

Cycling was recently decriminalized on campus, and many bike racks have been installed.  What drove these changes?

We had a  bike consultant come in and provide us with a Campus Bicycle Master Plan which was adopted by the UNT  board of Regents in 2006. One of their recommendations was to install racks near entrances to the buildings. This came from a series of  focus groups. I was intimately involved with the study

Is demand still increasing, and do you think more racks will be installed?

Yes!

Dallas just hired a bike coordinator, and Fort Worth and Austin have published ambitious master bicycle plans. For their efforts, all three cities are attracting national attention. Would you like to see comprehensive bike and pedestrian plans in Denton, especially given the advantage of Denton’s smaller city size?

Yes, I think the time is right. Based on the growth and the alternative transportation initiatives, the stars are lining up right for Denton. All we’re missing is infrastructure and policies. The demand, energy, need, and social acceptance are already here.  In my opinion, Denton is perfect for this. I can close my eyes and see corridors with bikes, buses, and pedestrians.   No single occupancy vehicles.

If your department advocates cycling and walking, does that conflict with UNT Parking services which collect income from drivers?

UNT Parking and Transportation work as a TDM model, “Travel Demand Management”, and we want people to come to this university and have a pleasant experience. Fewer cars on campus equal less congestion, pollution, and aggravation.

UNT Transportation services have recently undergone huge increases in bus capacity, routes, handicap access, and bicycle accommodation during the last few years. Did you oversee this transition, and do you consider it a success?

I absolutely consider this a success. The student fee was voted and accepted by the UNT Board of Regents in 2002, and the service was first operated by a private contractor, Noble Coaches. I think the ridership back then was about one thousand per day with the city operating one route for UNT and their LINK system. Then, we agreed to operate 10 buses, purchased by UNT, in conjuction with Denton. The service continued to grow, so we bought used buses from Dallas. We transferred ownership of 15 buses from DART to the City of Denton. We had 27 buses total, and then DCTA received their funding to come into existence from area cities. The city was amiable to transferring the assets from DCTA, so DCTA took over the service. This is directly patterned after the UT/Capital Metro relationship.

(Joe provided data with which I created the following graph)

How many buses does UNT currently use?

UNT owns 12 buses, DCTA provides the rest for a total of 27.
UNT bus service accounts for about 85% of DCTA’s total ridership.

The City of Denton has shown renewed interest in multi-modal transit, especially with the DCTA A-train coming soon. Do you anticipate many students will commute to UNT via the train?

Yes, 200 students ride the Commuter Express every day from Lewisville and Dallas, and we expect this number to continue to increase.

Are there any related transit plans to ease passage between the train station and the UNT campus?

Absolutely. DCTA is looking to provide efficient links to the universities from the rail stations.

In what ways do you anticipate transit services to evolve at UNT in the future?

A totally walk and roll campus

I’d like to see enhanced and improved connections to major off-campus Denton destinations. I think we serve the students quite well, getting them from off campus housing to campus. I’d like to see more cycling and walking. We have a web-based rideshare program, customized to the UNT community. We also have a late-night E-ride service from 9PM-2AM on-campus only.

This fall, we’re starting a car-sharing program so students/employees can rent cars by the hours. It’s becoming very popular on dense urban environments and campuses. We’ll have 2 Priuses, 1 Camry, and a Ford Escape. The hourly rates will start as low as $8/hour. Reservations can be made online, and users receive an access card so they’ll never have to go to a counter or deal with a person.

The one bike lane on campus runs along Avenue C. It has a huge pothole alongside the music building, and cars park in it constantly. Can this bike lane be improved?

We don’t consider it an official bike lane.

A few years ago, at a President Pohl sack lunch, UNT administrative staff expressed plans to develop separated pedestrian and cycling paths. Does UNT intend to further expand bicycle routes or implement separated cycling/walking paths?

I don’t think we’re going to implement separated paths, this is working pretty well. We periodically check with Risk Management to see if there are any pedestrian/cyclist accidents, and there are no reported injury accidents to date.

Do you ever walk or cycle on campus?

I prefer walking; I can get across campus in 10 minutes and see users of campus transportation, see full bike racks, hear the music, and I feel like part of the campus community. You get the campus experience. Nothing will give you the campus experience like taking a 10 minute walk through UNT. You’ll see loneliest people in town in their cars.

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Denton Square Gets Bike Racks

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After 100+ years of bike traffic on the Denton square, city staff installed serpentine racks to accommodate bicycles.

As previously mentioned, city staff indicated that bike racks were due to be installed soon.  This week, we started seeing some of the smaller ones appearing on or near the square.  So far there are small racks by Banter and Beth Marie’s, and the larger ones should appear soon.

City Contact: Julie Glover, Economic Development Program Administrator

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