Plano recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community

On November 16th, The League of American Bicyclists awarded Plano the Bronze-level, Bicycle Friendly Community status.  Brownsville and Plano become the sixth and seventh communities in Texas to achieve this recognition.  Austin has a gold-level status, Houston, San Antonio, The Woodlands and our good neighbors to the south, Richardson are all bronze-level communities.

BFC_Bronze_Seal_Template

Tomorrow night (Dec 14th, 2015) at 7pm, during the City Council meeting, the City will acknowledge the award.

It is not a trivial achievement.  Cities must proactively apply and are scored in 5 general categories (the 5 “E’s”), which are broken into various sub-categories:

  • Engineering (2/10)
  • Education (4/10)
  • Encouragement (1/10)
  • Enforcement (3/10)
  • Evaluation and Planning (2/10)

 

The applications are thoroughly reviewed, feedback is solicited from area bicyclists and a scorecard is prepared.  The numerical ratings above are our ratings in each category from the current scorecard.

Our next goal should be to achieve Silver-level before our 4-year term as a Bronze-level community expires.  We have some low hanging fruit to increasing our bicycle network, increasing bicycle related events and implementing an active bicycle advisory committee will move us significantly closer to that goal.

Here is a link to the Plano scorecard.

Make some time tomorrow night and turnout to celebrate and let the City know that we support their efforts to improve the quality of bicycling in Plano.  The Bronze-level award by the League of American Bicyclists is a great return on that investment that adds to the City of Plano’s resume as a great place to live and work.

Posted in Advocacy, Bicycle, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering, Evaluation and Planning, Plano, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

What is Bike Friendly about Plano?

Here is your chance to share your views and learn more.  The League of American Bicyclists is visiting 100 communities this year, bringing their bicycle-friendly expertise directly to the local level — and Plano is on the priority list!

Come meet Steve Clark, the League’s new Bicycle Friendly Community Specialist. He’ll be in town to experience first-hand the bicycle infrastructure in Plano, bringing together citizens and public agency staff to discuss issues and strategies for improvements, providing an assessment of current conditions and beginning to collaborate on short, medium and long-term solutions.

Date: Wednesday, March 19
Time: 6:30-8:00 PM
Location: Plano Parks and Recreation
Municipal Center South
1409 K Avenue
Plano, TX 75074
Parking: Cars on west side of building
Bikes inside lobby

Please RSVP to Renee Jordan reneej@plano.gov

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Important City Council Agenda for Monday, Sept 23rd at 7pm

Monday night’s City Council agenda includes the amendment of our Bicycle Transportation Plan and Bicycle Policy Statement. These documents were approved at the September 3rd Planning and Zoning Commission, and they are on the agenda for final approval by City Council Monday night, September 23rd at 7 PM.  There is also the approval of funding for the Plano-Richardson-Murphy trail connection project.

Cycling in Plano is a pleasure.  This items are significant to ensure that Plano continues to remember cyclists and others as we improve our transportation and recreation infrastructure.

This is one of those times where attendance matters.  Show up, wear something that shows that you are a cyclist, a pin, a hat, a jersey.  Let them know that you support these items.  There’s never a shortage when a ride is announced, a few people have put in a lot of work to get these items to this point.  Let’s let the city know that there was a lot of encouragement and support for their efforts!

Meeting location:

Plano Municipal Center
1520 K Avenue
Plano, TX 75074

 The complete agenda/packet for this meeting is available for download at this link, http://www.plano.gov/index.aspx?NID=1227

Posted in Advocacy, Bicycle, Plano | Tagged | 2 Comments

Job done! Well, not quite.

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!

Posted in Advocacy, Bicycle, Encouragement, Evaluation and Planning, Plano | 2 Comments

Election Day – Saturday, May 11th

Voting is the means to make a difference in Plano.  If you didn’t vote early, join me at the polls on Saturday.

PLANO

City of Plano Election Information

Voting and Ballot information

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We have a whole month but it’s all happening this week!

While May is National Bike Month, almost all the events seem to be happening this coming week.  We at once acknowledge the inherit risks of riding a bike, We also have opportunities to take action and improve upon those risks and encourage everyone to ride more and in different ways.

On Monday, May 13, the City of Plano will present it’s Bike to Work proclamation at the City Council Meeting, at 7 pm.  The proclamations are first on the agenda and short.  This is a good time to be seen as cyclist in Plano.  Nothing makes an impression on government like showing up.

On Tuesday, May 14th, comments related to Accessibility Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way; Shared Use Paths are due to the Federal Access Board.  If you have ideas, input or concerns regarding trail design, speak now or live with the consequences.  You can find more information about what is being proposed and submit comments by following the link.

The Ride of Silence occurs Wednesday night, May 15th at 7:00pm local time all around the world.  The Ride of Silence exists for three simple purposes:

      • To HONOR those who have been injured or killed
      • To RAISE AWARENESS that we are here
      • To ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD

Locally, the “Mother ride”, the ride that originated to memorialize former Plano Bicycle Association President, Larry Schwartz is held at White Rock Lake.  In Plano, the ride will begin at the Trishop on Windhaven.  The rides are 8-9 miles at 12mph or less.

On Friday, May 17th it’s Bike to Work Day.  You can certainly do this individually but, why not make it a big deal at work and see how full you can get that unused bike rack.  Your office does have a bike rack doesn’t it?  This year, DART has teamed up with BikeDFW to sponsor Bike Commuter Energizer Stations.  The Plano location is at the intersection of the Chisholm and Bluebonnet trails, just west of the Dog Park in Jack Carter Park and should be open as early as 5:30am.

The Plano Bike Energizer station will open at 5:30am

The Plano Bike Energizer station will open at 5:30am

Don’t be like I’ve been lately, go ride your bike!

 

 

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Perspective – seeing the cyclist as well as the peloton

I tend to think of myself as a middle-tier cyclist.  I know that I ride a lot but I know many people who ride more, know more, ride better and ride faster than myself.  I went to a wedding reception a while back.  It was mentioned by my wife and other guests that there were other “avid cyclists” there.  I think this was their way of saying, “some people here might understand you”.

Like most people that ride on a regular basis, I can always think of something to say when it comes to bicycling.  It’s always nice to talk to people that don’t think of a bicycle as something that takes up space in their garage or that cyclists have a third eye.  Once I met the other cyclists, I found that they were very nice guys, that I could indeed talk with about cycling.  They rode the White Rock trail on about a weekly basis and had plans to complete a 100-K event that summer.  The idea of riding with a club, racing or commuting was not in those folks perspective.  They just like meeting up with one or two friends, getting a pretty good workout and socializing.  The same things I like, in a different format. However, I think I caught them looking for my third eye.

These individuals clearly have a life beyond cycling.  I do as well but cycling is a clear and dominate theme in my life, the cyclists I met that evening can carry on interesting conversations about other things whereas I have to think about it a little more.  The interesting thing to me was that my wife, the hosts and other guests put us all into the same category of people with a third eye who ride bikes often.

I don’t want to be singled out as a cyclist, any more than people want to be singled out for their ethnicity.  This started with riding to work,  I don’t want to stand out on the bus or as I walk into my workplace.  I don’t mind being in shorts but I want them to appear more everyday than cycling-specific.  I don’t want to waddle around in my cleats, I really prefer  regular shoes when I step off the bike.

If people perceive me as a “normal” guy and if I demonstrate cycling as routine behavior, then just maybe more people will give it try.  In a flat area such as Plano, a single-speed is a perfect choice for running around.  When was the last time you jumped on a bike without changing clothes?  Give it a try and remember why you really ride a bike.

Go ride your bike!

Posted in Bicycle, Encouragement, Plano | Leave a comment