It was stunning in May, that within a month of launching “Bike Friendly Plano”, Plano is proclaimed as The Most Bikeable City in Texas. There must be some correlation. It was a stunning announcement and it got some good play in social media. Even some of the other Bike Friendlies got a giggle out of the announcement.
We had to take a hiatus to some of the highest mountains in Colorado to digest such an accomplishment and begin planning for a future that we had previously thought to be years away. Plano is a leader among leaders, that is a heavy load.
OK, enough of the tongue-cheek jibber jabber. Let’s consider the source, Walkscore.com / Bikescore.com compiled the results and have a specific motive which is to help people find places to live that are well, “liveable”. This is a good and wholesome motive for which they have a business model. As part of their bait and tackle to lure customers, they have developed their walk and bike scoring systems. The premise is basically that most people don’t want to jump in their cars to go some where, they would rather walk or bike around the corner.
Let’s not kid ourselves, there are places in Texas that are preferable to ride in over Plano. That does not mean that riding in Plano isn’t great and when put in the context of what BikeScore is all about, they are right. Our trails are very useful both for transportation and recreation. Our on street system is very useful and connected to Google. Tell Google that you are wanting to ride your bike and the trails and on street system will be considered when developing the route.
Our City Trail planner is a cyclist and continually reaches out to the community for feedback, she is a Bicycle League Certified Instructor (aka, LCI) and regularly leads rides for novices. This grows the cyclist population in Plano with educated, safe riders.
The Plano Bicycle Association is the largest club in the state and continuously expands its ride options and seeks to promote safe, responsible riding as well as community service. Generally speaking, recreational cycling clubs are not the answer to getting the average citizen on a bike but PBA is an engaged and helpful resource for those looking into cycling here.
In just the last few years, there has been a noticeable increase in bicycle commuting, within and around Plano. No doubt this has to do with DART implementing support for bicycles on the trains and buses but also the implementation of on street signage. Plano was the first city in this area to not only update it’s signage but to also include the “Share the Road” and “Bicycles may occupy full lane” signs.
There are other areas that have refuted this designation and they have that right, there have been tremendous strides made in the last few years all over Texas. We need to be happy that we are part of the debate. Nothing has really changed with this designation except that it reminds us that we cyclists are making progress.
Plano still needs to work to make sure cycling is a transportation priority. We cannot afford to keep building roads. We need to make sure that our trails and on road systems fully and safely integrate with our DART services. We need to continue to work with our neighbors to to interface our trails and on street facilities. And most importantly, we need to do more to ensure cycling is a safe and attractive activity for our residents and visitors.
We are proud of this designation and will have healthy debate with those that disagree but let’s not forgot that we can be much better!