Tag Archives: UNT

NTdaily article on bike culture

The NTDaily did a nice article & video on bike culture in Denton. The video footage is all pleasing, but I can’t stop looking at the secondhand on the clock stuck in place!

Denton Bike Culture from NTDaily on Vimeo.

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UNT installs bike-repair stations

UNT installed two bike-repair stations with Park tools and air pumps near two entrances for the Union building. When I stopped by to check these out, students were already using the tools and commenting how useful the stations are. If you appreciate these (or notice they’re broken), tell union@unt.edu.

You can suspend a bike by the saddle; just insert the seatpost between the two tubes on top of the repair stations.

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Stolen orange Nishiki recovered, UNT PD seeks owner

If this stolen Nishiki road bike belongs to you, please contact Det. Sarah Weaver at the UNT Police Department. 940-565-3000.

They really want to get this back to the rightful owner, before it goes to UNT Surplus.

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SUV hits cyclist on Fry St

I haven’t liked covering so many recent accidents, but they deserve public attention, especially as the city bike plan is underway. We received a phone tip about this last night, and the NTDaily ran an article today about the accident.

Nathan Hardy was riding south on Fry St from City Parc to UNT, when he was struck by a Lincoln Navigator that was turning onto Oak. Both approached the green light, and the SUV failed to yield and struck Nathan. Denton police cited the driver for failure to yield.

Hardy was flung from his bike and slid about 20 feet, said Steven Schroeder, Hardy’s friend and roommate, who was cycling just behind him at the time of the accident.

“His bone was sticking out of his leg and he was screaming,” said Schroeder, a communication design sophomore.

The driver immediately pulled over and called 911, witnesses said. Emergency personnel arrived in less than five minutes and Hardy was transported to Denton Regional Hospital, Schroeder said.

According to a friend, Hardy rides a bike for his primary transportation and hadn’t driven in a year.

The accident scenario (car fails to yield and hits cyclist head on while turning) is eerily similar to another accident this week where local BMX photographer, Travis Kincaid, was struck head-on.

On a related note, I recently found a 1970’s plan by UNT and Denton to add bike lanes to Fry. Fry businesses (including one Curtis Loveless) fought the plan (to save a few parking spots), and obviously the project didn’t go through.

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Commission to discuss Ave C cycletrack removal

MUTCD sharrow symbol

The Avenue C bike lanes which UNT wanted to remove are up for discussion at tomorrow night’s Traffic Safety Commission meeting at City Hall in the council work room, 5:30PM. After outcry from concerned cyclists, UNT postponed the demolition, we met with the UNT College of Music, and now a new plan which includes sharrows on Ave C will be presented by city traffic engineers.

From the agenda for tomorrow night, behold:

Recently there has been some attention drawn to a section of Avenue C through the University of North Texas (UNT) campus. In 1987 the City of Denton added a raised section of pavement on the east side of Avenue C as part of a project intended to add a median to the street and narrow its cross section from Eagle Drive north to Mulberry Street in order to try to slow down traffic through campus. Avenue C was previously 56-feet from back of curb to back of curb (b/c to b/c). A 10’ section of striped paving identified as a bicycle lane was added on the east side of Avenue C along this distance and a 14-foot median was added. The northbound and southbound lanes are 15-feet in width from face of curb to face of curb.

The UNT has asked the City to remove a section of the raised pavement on Avenue C at the southeast corner of its intersection with Chestnut Street in order to install a “loading zone” adjacent to its Music Department. This “loading zone” is really a misnomer. It is not a commercial loading zone that is typically approved through Traffic Safety Commission per Ordinance 93-089. It is a section of street that is signed for No Parking, meaning that vehicles may stop temporarily to load or unload passengers, etc. as long as they do not exit the vehicle and leave it. It will not be striped for a loading zone, but will instead have a 6-inch dashed edge line extended from the end of the raised section north to the turn lane at Chestnut Street.

Southbound bicycles using the raised lane on the east side of Avenue C are placed in direct confrontation with vehicles turning right on any of the cross streets on campus and at Eagle Drive. This is an inherently unsafe installation; however, neither the City nor UNT have the funds to remove it in its entirety and change the configuration of Avenue C. For this reason, the City is installing bicycle “sharrows” (bicycle symbols with chevrons) in the lanes on each side of Avenue C and signage indicating that bicyclists are to share the road through the campus. This street has lower speeds by virtue of its configuration and speed limit, and the sharrow concept, while it has not been formally adopted by the City, is a recognized share-the-road marking that has been discussed with UNT for application in this case.
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City and UNT postpone Ave C cycletrack demolition

City traffic engineer Frank Payne just stated that the demolition of the Avenue C cycletrack is officially put on hold.  He says that they’ve discussed the project with UNT, and UNT has agreed to hold off on demolition pending additional research by city staff regarding right-of-way and permitting issues.

Stay tuned for more updates, because Avenue C isn’t going to become any less critical of a bicycle connection.  We’re optimistic that UNT will do the right thing, because, well, they’ve committed to it on page 12 of the official UNT Master Bicycle Plan:

“Major projects inclue:

- Improving the bike path along Avenue C to create better north south mobility and to start the transition to a pedestrian/bicycle mall as recommended in the Campus Master Plan”

Here’s the visual that clearly shows “Bike Path – New Pavement” for Ave C:

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UNT & city to remove Ave C bike lane/cycletrack

Ave C bike lane

You know that raised lane on Avenue C on the UNT campus?  First, it was a bidirectional bike lane, a very advanced design for Texas, and the only known cycletrack in the region.  Then, it suddenly became a loading zone.  Now, the formerly expensive cycletrack will become even more of a loading zone.  This raised facility is now considered to expensive to build, even if you wanted it, and now it’s going away.  We urge you to contact the representatives below and voice your opinion.

In an administrative announcement this morning, UNT explained that the city will remove the elevated bike lane on Ave C to replace it with a loading zone for cars.  If you spend time on the UNT campus, you perhaps already noticed the existing loading zone for the Music building, just around the corner from this one.  Now there will be two loading zones, and no bicycle facility, unless the engineers announce otherwise.

We hope that the city traffic engineers include bicycle facilities in the replacement design, or this invaluable cross-campus route will be lost.  At the recent bicycle facility meetings, the engineers hinted at bike-lane installations on Eagle and Welch.  We think a similar trans-campus route like Avenue C would compliment those routes quite well.

The City of Denton streets department will begin work on a new passenger drop-off lane on Ave. C, adjacent to the Music Building, beginning Monday, May 17.

As a result, Ave. C northbound between Highland and Chestnut, will be closed for approximately two weeks.  This section of street will re-open when construction is completed.

Crews will remove the existing elevated paved lane on the east side of Ave. C between the west bridge entrance and the northern most entrance to the Music Building.  They will install a new passenger drop-off lane.  The new installation is designed to ease the flow of traffic on Ave. C during peak hours.

We know that the UNT Chancellor, Lee Jackson, wants the UNT Denton campus to become more bike-friendly and walkable.  But does he know that unless replacement bike facilities are planned, we’ll lose an asset that would be extremely expensive to reproduce?

If you’d like to send polite comments to the relevant representatives, we suggest these folks:

Lee Jackson, UNT Chancellor, Lee.Jackson@unt.edu

Lane Rawlins, UNT President, V.Rawlins@unt.edu

Joe Richmond, UNT Transportation Director, joerichmond@unt.edu

Jim Engelbrecht, District 3 City Council rep, Jim.Engelbrecht@cityofdenton.com

Frank Payne, City of Denton Engineer, Frank.Payne@cityofdenton.com

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Fall Alleycat This Sunday – 3:30 – Mckenna Park

 

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This Sunday, there’s an alleycat race that spans from Mckenna park across downtown and through both college campuses.  The proceeds benefit Querencia Community Bike Shop, a worthy cause.

From the Facebook event page:

COME OUT AND HELP US SUPPORT QUERENCIA COMMUNITY BIKE SHOP
– QCBS is a non profit organization that provides the Denton cycling community with access to tools, workspace, and assistance (free of charge). for more about the services and programs that they run for the community – http://www.qcbs.org
– All Proceeds from the race will be donated to QCBS.

All riders welcome

here is the race outline as it stands now:
– race starts and ends at McKenna park
– registration opens at 3:30pm and closes at 4:00pm, announcements will follow and the race will begin as close to 4:00 as possible.

- As it stands right now there will be two categories, this may change based on attendance.

- Single Race
each entry is his/her own team – no help. each rider must visit ALL check points. the route taken in between checkpoints, and the order of checkpoints will be left up to the rider. – – entry is 3$ – – prizes for 1st 2nd and 3rd

- Team Race
Form a team if you don’t want to ride as far, want to finish faster, or simply want to compete with a friend. at least one member from each team must visit all check points (checkpoints are the same as the singlerace checkpoints) teams should consist of 3 people, but entries of 2 person teams will be accepted. – – entry is 6$ per team – – Prizes for 1st and 2nd

Checkpoint Locations – check points can be visited in any order. you must show your card to attendant.

UNT Campus – Library Mall Fountain. Circular fountain

North Lakes Park – “fishing pier”

Denton Square – Courthouse front steps

TWU – Circular fountain in front of the library

The final Check In will be your return to McKenna Park. after having visited the first four.

Maps and pictures of the check point locations will be available in limited quantity before the race.

judging/points/score!
– points will be awarded to riders at each checkpoint. more points for the faster you get there. As mentioned, no particular order is required in choosing which checkpoints to go to. First one to attend all four checkpoints, and check back in at McKenna (first to finish) will be given a lot of points. It will be possible (but unlikely) for this person to not come in first overall.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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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Interview with Todd Spinks, UNT Sustainability Director

Under the direction of current UNT president, Gretchen Bataille, the campus is noticeably evolving.  The landscaping trends towards low-water use and native plants, new buildings are planned out with sustainable goals in mind, and transit expands beyond the mere trickle of buses in years past.  In February of this year, UNT recruited Todd Spinks, a former EPA official and UNT alum, to head a new Sustainability department.  BikeDenton sought this interview with Todd to profile his job and get a feeling what changes lie ahead for UNT.

How would you describe the state of sustainability when you arrived at UNT?

In 2010, UNT will celebrate its 75th year as an environmental steward. Indeed, since 1935, the university has had a very proactive position in lessening its impact on the environment. As such, it was no surprise to find all types of activities related to sustainability going on when I arrived. However, I was very surprised to find the high number of activities that were taking place, from the individual level to the organizational level.

Because the President took such a progressive move, establishing an independent Office of Sustainability, UNT will now have the capacity to bring cohesion to all of the efforts related to sustainability, consequently, increasing its ability to affect change on campus and abroad.

What are some sustainability initiatives you expect UNT to implement, and over what timeline will they be implemented?

UNT has already begun to implement many projects and will continue to put forth a number of efforts in a variety of areas, to include:

  • UNT’s President signed the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC)
    • Commitment to move UNT toward reaching carbon neutrality
  • Completed a full Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory
    • 90% of UNT’s emissions come from the energy we use and from our commuting habits.
  • Currently drafting a Climate Action Plan
    • Will present project recommendations to the President to lessen environmental impact. The recommendations will be assessed by the President and upon her decision, certain projects will be implemented.
  • All new construction will meet LEED Silver standards. The buildings mentioned below will be completed within the next two to three years.
    • Life Sciences Building (LEED Silver)
    • Business Building (LEED Platinum)
    • Athletic Stadium (LEED Gold)
    • General Academic Building (Dallas Campus, LEED Gold)
  • Development of bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees in sustainability
    • The bachelor’s and master’s degrees are intended to be launched within the next two years.
      • They will emphasize an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability and will be very applied.
  • Establish a Tree Policy
    • This goes into effect this summer. According to the policy, no tree can be removed without my approval.
  • University Operations
    • The Office of Sustainability is working with numerous programs across campus to increase environmental awareness and implement efforts that will lessen UNT’s impact on the planet. Many other initiatives will be instituted once the President has approved the recommendations.

Does cycling fit into the sustainability initiatives, and if so, how?

Cycling is an extremely important activity supported by the Office. As mentioned above, a significant percentage of UNT’s emissions come from our commuters. Many of these commuters live near campus. An increase in cycling would therefore decrease our emissions level. Accordingly, the Office is working with other members of the UNT family as well as the City of Denton to promote increased cycling on and around campus.

We love the massive expansion of bicycle racks on campus. It seems like more and more people are riding near campus. Do you have any statistics to show if cycling ridership at UNT is increasing?

The Office of Sustainability is accumulating data on this. However, you might contact UNT’s police department. They may have some stats for you on this.

Employees and students often express frustration with parking at UNT, and driving and parking costs have been steadily increasing. The environmental and health benefits of cycling and walking are numerous.  Can cycling and walking help alleviate parking frustration at UNT, and should UNT promote cycling and walking?

As stated above, increased cycling would support UNT’s efforts to decrease its emissions. It would indeed also positively impact the parking conditions on campus. The Office fully supports cycling and walking to and from campus.

The DCTA A-train will soon provide service to downtown Denton. Do you anticipate that many students will use this, and do you think that the train is part of a greater multi-modal transit evolution in Denton?

The A-Train link will be invaluable in assisting those who commute from the Dallas area to UNT. The benefits are obvious and numerous. I do believe many students will initially utilize the A-Train, but like any other major initiative, efforts must be taken to ensure the benefits are highly visible. In addition, all stakeholders will need to continuously assess the use to ensure that the service and individual activities that are associated with its use are kept convenient in order to promote a culture shift. The hope here is that, if effective, UNT and its partners can impact behavior in a positive way.

UNT has some great talent in the environmental disciplines. Are these folks from the academic side being connected with administrative and logistical (i.e. facilities) staff to work towards sustainability goals?

One of the primary objectives of the Office of Sustainability is to bring cohesion in all that UNT is doing in sustainability. This is an area that is very important to me personally and I believe the result of a coordinated, cohesive focus on moving the institution toward its goal will increase the likelihood of us getting there. Indeed, UNT has much to offer, and over the next couple of years the university will be better able to leverage all of its intellectual and professional assets to address environmental challenges here in the region as well as across the globe.

Which other universities might you look to as models of sustainability, and why?

There are a number of universities around the nation, and world that are implementing substantive policies and programs to address environmental concerns. The Office of Sustainability has recently completed an analysis of all of the schools around the country that are currently putting forth such efforts. The interesting discovery that we have found, is that UNT is quite unique in that, not only is it incorporating sustainability in everything it does, but it is consciously addressing the three fundamental areas at the same time. That is, whether in research, daily operations, outreach efforts, or the educational programs UNT offers, the institution is considering concerns related to society, the environment, and the economy. UNT is quickly rising as a global leader in this regard.

Many of the projects you’re involved in will likely address large-scale institutional inefficiencies. What can individual UNT employees do to help UNT become more sustainable?

The Office of Sustainability will launch an initiative this fall. It is called the “We Mean Green Challenge”. Essentially, the Office will ask departments to identify activities they can put forth to become more environmentally friendly. They will then pledge to enact these efforts and allow themselves to be audited by students. Consequently, this will ensure that the programs and departments are all held accountable to the student body, not a particular office. This is quite logical as it is really the students’ university and so therefore we would like the students to help us guide it into the future.  As departments and programs become increasingly more “green,” they will receive recognition for the level of “greenness” that they are putting forth. When they reach the highest level, or the We Mean Green level, they will be allowed to exhibit their office/program name along with the new We Mean Green logo.

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