Tag Archives: NCTCOG

City Council to Request $2 million in Bike/Ped Funds Tonight

As we previously mentioned on Oct 21, TXDOT has about $70 million dollars to give out as part of their State Transportation Enhancement Program, or STEP.  Denton city planning staff doesn’t have any shovel-ready bike/pedestrian proposals, and so they won’t be applying for the STEP money this year.

However, tonight’s city council meeting includes consent agenda items D and E which would allow Denton to apply for STEP money for two bike/pedestrian projects totaling about $2.25 million in cost, for which the city must pay 20%.

D.  Consider approval of a resolution of the City Council of the City of Denton, Texas, certifying funding and support for the 2009 Statewide Transportation Enhancement Program Nomination Form with the Texas Department of Transportation, authorizing the City Manager to submit an application to receive funding to construct the Hickory Street corridor and entertainment district project under the program and, if the grant is approved, to execute the grant agreement and take other actions necessary to implement the grant; and providing an effective date. The Mobility Committee recommends approval (3-0).

E.  Consider approval of a resolution of the City of Denton, Texas, certifying funding and support for the 2009 State Wide Transportation Enhancement Program nomination form with the Texas Department of Transportation, authorizing the City Manager to submit an application to receive funding to construct the Cooper Creek Bike and Pedestrian Trail Project under the program and, if the grant is approved, to execute the grant agreement and take other actions necessary to implement the grant; and providing the effective date. The Mobility Committee recommends approval (3-0).

The first item is a call for significant sidewalk improvements on Hickory St, which the city has sought to revitalize for several years now.  They applied previously in 2006 when the state funding was cut, and as such, they surely had the plans ready to resubmit.

Linda Ratliff, director of Economic Development writes:

The proposed project will connect the historic Courthouse on the Square, the planned passenger rail platform and Downtown Transit Center and the University of North Texas. The Hickory Street Corridor and Entertainment District will begin at Carroll Boulevard and extend east to Elm Street, will exclude the block from Elm to Locust, and will then continue from Locust Street to the proposed multimodal transit station at Railroad Road. All of the existing sidewalks within both sections of the project will be removed and replaced with 11’ concrete sidewalks edged by a brick detail 1-2 feet in from the curb. Pedestrian lighting is proposed throughout the project, as are trashcans, benches, bike racks, street trees, landscaped corner beds and flowerpots at various intersections. An irrigation system will also be installed along the length of the project.

The current three driving lanes will be reduced to two lanes approximately 12’ wide. Angle-in parking and a possible bike lane may be incorporated following the recommendations of the Downtown Implementation Plan study.

The text of the actual application to NCTCOG reads less ambiguously when mentioning the bike lane:

The South side of the street will be devoted to an 8′ bike lane.

Answering the “Project Use and Benefits” section, Denton makes the case for connecting UNT/TWU/downtown via pedestrian and bicycle access:

The University of North Texas, Texas Woman’s University, downtown and the future transit center are not fully connected.  People in one center cannot easily move to the other.  Establishing effective linkages depends on creating a pedestrian and bicyclist friendly environment.

It’s a shame that the tabled Oak/Hickory bike lane proposal isn’t applicable for the STEP program, because it would nicely compliment this Hickory STEP fund request.

Item E on the consent agenda asks for about $300K in STEP funds for a 1.4 mile paved non-road trail that spans north Denton

This project is viewed as an urgent need proposal to connect the existing Cooper Creek Trail at Evers Park extending northwestward into North Pointe Park along Cooper Creek at Fallmeadow Drive and continuing to the University of North Texas School of Engineering campus. This will accommodate neighborhood needs for a safe route to school and park facilities. The project includes an eight foot wide by 7,100 linear foot concrete paved trail and a 75′ linear foot prefabricated steel span pedestrian bridge across the creek.

The primary beneficiaries of this project will be two new growing neighborhoods with many families who need a pedestrian friendly way and safe route to school and parks. The proposed extension will provide new opportunities for the North Pointe and McKamy-Evers neighborhoods to access the elementary school and Evers Park.

Unfortunately, the Western end of the proposed trail is not near the actual entrance to the UNT Discovery Park campus.  The campus is surrounded by a barbed wire fence, and the only entrance is at the south end facing Elm/Hwy 77.  Hopefully this will not be a “Trail to Nowhere”.  I hope the city comes up with a similar plan to provide safer passage from downtown to Discovery Park, as cyclists and pedestrians still have to move along the 55mph shoulder-less highway to get to work/school.

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NCTCOG Oct 21, 2009 recap

So I made it to another NCTCOG meeting yesterday, and there were a couple interesting presentations I’d like to mention:

  • TXDOT just opened their program call for “Transportation Enhancement” project submissions.  They have about $70 million to give out, and bike/ped programs will get top priority.
    • I didn’t see any representatives from Denton present at the meeting.  Contact your council member and mayor if you want to encourage participation.
    • Caveat: TXDOT will give priority to shovel-ready projects, so if Denton’s planning department doesn’t have a proposal ready, we won’t have a good chance at getting funding.  You can call them at (940) 349-8541 and ask that they submit application to TXDOT.
    • Remember this opportunity, because next time you hear “we’re broke” as an excuse to not improve Denton’s bike/ped infrastructure, you’ll know we missed a chance at federal funding.
    • The program call closes in December.

The federally-funded program supports transportation-related activities that promote the quality of the environment through aesthetic enhancements associated with transportation.

Projects should go above and beyond standard transportation activities and be integrated into the surrounding environment in a sensitive and creative manner that contributes to the livelihood of the communities; promotes the quality of the environment; and enhances the aesthetics of our roadways.

Eligible projects must demonstrate a relationship to the surface transportation system through either function or impact. Project nominated must incorporate one of the following 12 categories:

  1. pedestrians and bicycles facilities
  2. safety and education activities for pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Don Koski, respected planner for Ft Worth and BFOC interviewee, has left to work for the Federal Transit Administration.  Could this bode well for public transit in DFW?  We’ll see.  He was the chair of the NCTCOG bike/ped committee, so we’ll see who replaces him.  He’s left an impressive standard in Ft Worth to uphold.
  • Dave Carter of Richardson gave a presentation on their Bicycle Route Masterplan.  It’s a great start, and they worked hard with the community to include all angles.  The Canyon Creek HOA, stakeholders at Richardson Bike Mart, and cyclists were all included in the planning for this since 2007.  There are only a couple dedicated bike lanes, but it’s a start.
    • I liked Dave’s candid admission that post-WWII planning has been negligent of non-car transit.
    • Dave presented pictures of the Custer Rd bike lane, and it’s pretty interesting because it allows parking in the bike lane.  Now, that lane appears to be 11′ wide, so it may turn out to work just fine.  I’m skeptical, but I could see how this might work ok.
    • If you look at this diagram, you’ll see that the City of Richardson is just fine with a 10′ car lane, an 8′ parking lane, and a 4′ bike lane.
    • Denton’s traffic engineer, Bud Vokoun, uses totally different math, as seen at the controversial Oak/Hickory bike lane proposal, which was tabled and shows no signs of reappearing.
    • I am flabbergasted that the suburb (Richardson) in which I grew up is executing more progressive transit planning than Denton.  Is that because they’ve sprawled to capacity and are now looking inward for improvements?  When will Denton catch up/wake up?
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Regional Bike Committee Meeting Next Wednesday 8/19

August 19, 2009
3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
North Central Texas Council of Governments
Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG is a voluntary collective of local governments, and among other things, they will be discussing the Veloweb, an ambitious bike trail network intended to link DFW regions.  The 2009 chair of the NCTCOG Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is Don Koski, whose name you might recognize from a recent interview on the Bike Friendly Oak Cliff blog.  Don is Forth Worth’s senior planner, and having worked previously in the twin cities, he’s coming from a city ranked in the top 10 bike-friendly American cities.  This BPAC group has published a 2030 Mobility Plan which allocated $213 million for regional bicycle and pedestrian improvements.  This meeting is open to the public, and RSVP is requested for anyone interested in the Safe Routes To School webinar at 2PM.

Please join NCTCOG as we welcome Texas Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program Coordinators Melanie Young and Cheryl Cook, from the TxDOT Dallas District, and Joel Mallard, from the TxDOT Fort Worth District. Each Coordinator will be available for a question and answer session following a presentation on the Texas SRTS Program. In addition, a presentation on the Dallas County Cottonwood Trail project will be given, and plans for the Regional Veloweb Update Review Meetings will be discussed.

Free Safe Routes to School Webinar from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm!
ATTN: If you are interested in attending this webinar, please RSVP immediately, as space is limited.

For additional information or questions, please contact Deborah Humphreys
at dhumphreys@nctcog.org or (817) 608-2394.

Come early and listen as APBP examines critical components of effective bicycle and pedestrian education programs for children. Learn how the hands-on education program in Winterthur, Switzerland, became routine, repeated and reinforced annually (a speaker from Winterthur, Switzerland has been invited). In addition, find out how schools can use the new pedestrian safety curriculum developed for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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