To quote PathLessPedaled,”Moms and families on bikes are key to bike advocacy.”
Last night, a crowd of around sixty people asked city council for initial funding for the Bike Plan. Since it was first announced, the city budget surplus rose from $192,000 to 333,676, making Bike Plan jumpstart funds even more plausible.
Among those who spoke in favor, a senior woman (who said she rode 10 miles from Robson Ranch!) and two elementary school girls had the council rapt with attention. Another citizen gave a powerful presentation that showed how Denton could paint 20 miles of bike accommodations in the first year for $232,295, if done efficiently. Parent and advocate, Amber Briggle, explained that bike infrastructure can raise property values by 11%, and that even a modest 3% increase would bring almost $1,000,000 in revenue to Denton.
The supporters spanned an age range of 8-80 years old, which is the ideal range that Complete Streets says we should design our roads for. What’s more, the supporters were roughly even in gender split, which is ultra-super-mega-important in bike advocacy. Crazy important.
So how did the council react? Well, the mayor dispelled any notion that council would make an immediate decision, because they vote on the overall budget on Sept 20. Shortly after that, the Bike Plan comes to council for approval in October. Immediate decisions aside, the overwhelming citizen support made an obvious impression on council. Councilman Jim Engelbrecht said it was rare to see so many younger people participating in the civil discourse, and he said “these people deserve an answer.” Mayor Burroughs opined that the city should consider integrating bicycle accommodations with maintenance work, to conserve money and effort. Additionally, the mayor called for traffic signals to detect bikes and education to “get the word out.” Councilman Roden asked for a staff report on why no significant progress had been made in the last 12 years, despite stated goals to expand bicycle infrastructure.
Bike Plan momentum is high, and the council members know that. Within the next month, we’ll know more about specific monetary allocation to the plan, and we’ll see the Bike Plan make its way through the Traffic Safety and Planning & Zoning boards before final approval from council.