Tag Archives: commuting

winter sunset

P1010427

It’s so easy to pull over on a bicycle and watch the sun set.  Life is too short to drive past all the beauty.

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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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Querencia Bikes-To-Kids Awards

As seen over on the qcbs.org site, Querencia concluded its first ever Bikes-To-Kids program last week on Thursday, and they have some pictures of the excellent artwork made by the 4th and 5th grade Art Club students.

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Former Dentonite Hit and Badly Injured in Austin

ianhospital

From http://helpian.tumblr.com/:

On the night of Saturday October 17th, while riding his bike home, a car hit Ian Mcdougall, guitarist of our band Riverboat Gamblers.  He sustained some pretty heavy injuries including a broken hip, a broken wrist and hemmoraging under the skull along with many lacerations, torn ligaments, bruises and and scrapes.

He was rushed by ambulance to Brackenridge hospital in Austin and stayed in the ICU for 2 days before being moved into his own room where he is undergoing physical therapy while awaiting the results on X-rays and MRIs as well as a deluge of other various tests.

That being said, the prognosis is better than we had first thought.  We are happy that he is going to be ok and that he is alive and with us.  Unfortunately, not only is he in for a long recovery and is in a lot of pain, but he will be celebrating his birthday in bed with hospital food.

On another unfortunate note, there are a pile of bills currently gaining a Mt. Everest-like summit from all his hospital expenses.  We set up a PayPal account for our band mate and friend to try and help him get on top of the debt and focus on his recovery.  His PayPal account email is ian.gambler@gmail.com.  Anything you can afford to give will be greatly appreciated by Ian and his family.  Thank you all for your support and we wish Ian the speediest of recoveries.

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Southridge Neighborhood Requests Pennsylvania Bike Lane

At last night’s city council meeting, Southridge resident Sarah Richey addressed the council to request a bike lane for Pennsylvania Drive.  With support from others in Southridge, Sarah requested the city council to take action and respond to the request.

Pennsylvania is quite wide for a residential street, but it also lacks sidewalks.  Children attending Sam Houston Elementary off Teasley must walk or ride in the street to get there, and Sarah’s request aims to change that by having a dedicated space for cyclists and pedestrians.  She’ll be checking back with the City Manager’s office in two weeks to inquire whether any action has been taken.

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Bicycle Commuting Up 43% Since 2000

The 2008 Census Bureau results of the American Community Study, released today, show a 43% increase in use of bicycles as a primary means of getting to work.   2007-2008 saw a 14% increase.

I’m proud to be part of the 43% who switched.

Percent of Americans who bike to work
2000 Census: 0.38%
2005: 0.40%
2006: 0.45%
2007: 0.48%
2008: 0.55%
Percent Change
2000 to 2008: 43.40%
2005 to 2008: 35.80%
2007 to 2008: 14.30%
Percent of Americans who bike to work
2000 Census: 0.38%
2005: 0.40%
2006: 0.45%
2007: 0.48%
2008: 0.55%
Percent Change
2000 to 2008: 43.40%
2005 to 2008: 35.80%
2007 to 2008: 14.30%
Credit to League of American Bicyclists for the heads up.
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1975 – “Denton is a city of bikes”

Do bicycles outsell cars in Denton?  A Denton bicycle salesman from 1975 declared that, and I wonder if it holds true 34 years later?

In 2009, we have three active commercial shops in Denton (Bullseye, Denton Bicycle, and Bicycle Path) and one community shop (Querencia).  Two weeks ago, both Bullseye and Bicycle Path employees reported strong sales at the beginning of the fall semester, and both shops appeared to have sold out of the most practical commuter-style bikes.

June 15, 1975, John W. Moody wrote a Denton Record Chronicle article about the prominence and growth of cycle commuting in Denton.  Highlights from the article include a statement from a bicycle salesman that bikes were outselling cars two-to-one, a description of the Yellow Jacket Gang, and general discussion of the relative ease of cycle commuting to UNT and TWU.  Photos by Jim Mahoney.

Photos and text from newspaperarchive.com via the Denton Library research portal:

VW rider

Not long ago, a Denton auto dealer and a bicycle salesman were having an argument. It was a friendly type of argument, one of those discussions where there was more joking than anything else.  But this conversation was on a subject close to each of the men’s hearts – the merits of various cars and bicycles.  “I don’t care what car you like,” said the bike man, “but whatever it is, it’s being outsold by bicycles in Denton two to one.”  Obviously, bicycles are cheaper than autos.  And the gasoline expense are certainly only less than a car, they are nonexistent.

NTSUtowerrider

But other than all that, anyone driving down any neighborhood in any part of the city will soon learn that Denton is a city of bikes.  In fact, it has been that way for some time.  Bicycles swarm down Mingo Road and for that matter in the downtown areas.  Bicycle Clubs practically each weekend take long rides and the clubs are gaining members at practically every bend of the road.  Denton Police officers have a strong interest in bicycle safety, and pains have been taken in recent years to hold bicycle clinics.  Bicycles are also changing the face of the downtown area, as bicycle racks have suddenly appeared on the downtown square.  More are scheduled to appear if the first ones are actually put to use.

rider-past-cars

And the change is not only due to the number of bicycles and growing public notice of the fact.  There are also a complete change in the riders.  Time was in Denton when bicycle riders were youngsters somewhere between junior high age and those just on the verge of applying for a driver’s license.  Not so, any more.  Young adults – and old adults – are seen pedaling down the street at nearly every other intersection.  And those who feel that they’ve reached the age where a bicycle might be a bit dangerous, there’s always a tricycle.  For several senior citizens have banded together for tricycle trips.  But these three-wheelers are not ordinarily tricycles.  They are giant tricycles and it takes more skill than you would believe to operate one.  Bicycle riders are generally lost until they get the feel of the big tricycles.  One group of oldsters take trips around the neighborhood and go shopping together.  They were bright yellow jackets and call themselves the “Yellow Jacket Gang.”  But the bulk of the bicycle riders in Denton are more likely students.  And their reasons are more than fun or economics, although both of these probably play a part.  Students use the bicycles because they are handy.

Yellow Jacket Gang

With parking space at a premium around North Texas State University, a bicycle is perhaps the most convenient method of traveling from one end of the campus to another.  Bicycles racks abound at NTSU and there is no question about these being used.  Some students find a bicycle so much a necessity they transport them back and forth from Dallas and Fort Worth by their cars.  They still have to find a parking place, but after that they take off on their bikes and save a good deal of shoe leather.

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Bikelstar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica actress, Kandyse McClure (Dualla, to my fellow nerds), shows off her vintage Raleigh townie bike and talks about her history of biking.  She bought the bike form her local community bike shop, and she talks about her choice to be car-free.

I love the idea of a vintage bike that has been given new life and the folks at Our Community Bikes do an awesome job – new tires, brakes, gears and chain so that she’s safe and road ready but nothing to take away from her original charm. Since I am still without a vehicle these days (by choice of course) my bike has to be practical – so the basket up front, the rack in the back and a bell where necessary elements but also help restore her to her former glory. I can see it now – flowers, fruit and a baguette piled up in the basket and purchases from a day at the used bookstore secured to the rack.

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Epic Work Commute

Danny MacAskill demonstrates an epic work commute.

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DCTA Rail Trail to eventually cross Lake Lewisville

DCTAbikepedlakecrossing

Last night at DCTA’s Citizen Advisory Committee meeting in Denton, Boris Palchik of DCTA reaffirmed that DCTA does intend to eventually build the Rail Trail across the lake and along the full DCTA A-train line.  The A-train website also states this and describes future intent to connect to other regional trails:

The trail, which will begin in Denton and ultimately connect all five DCTA stations, will parallel the DCTA rail and will tie into a pedestrian bridge being developed by TXDOT over Lewisville Lake. Connections to other municipal trails are also being coordinated.

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