Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Official Bike Friendly Garland Ride

BFG riders from right to left: Tim, Rik, Jared and Johnny
 On a crisp 40 degree October morning, overlooking a sparkling lake with the fog in our horizon, a group of four determined riders that included me met for a ride through Garland. The purpose of this ride was to see if it was possible to ride the length of Garland from Windsurf Bay Park all the way into Downtown. We also wanted to see if this could be done safely. Our results were very surprising.

Once we started to move our legs the cold weather became more manageable. We were able to get to the Duck Creek Greenbelt from Rowlett road and took this multiple use pathway all the way to Centerville Road. From Centerville we were able to get into a residential neighborhood then on to Fifth Street. Fifth Street took us into the heart of Downtown Garland.

We stopped for some grub at a mom and pop breakfast diner called Hubbard's Cupboard. This place was really old timey in appearance and I also liked how they had an outdoor seating area. They are about one bike rack away from being a bike friendly business. Any ideas?

Hubbard's Cupboard- The happening place
We ate, now we are ready for the ride!

 After breakfast at Hubbard's we headed back to our starting point. We took Glenbrook Road and were amazed at the city's progress in posting signage to make road users aware of cyclists.  On our first ride through Garland, we noticed no such signs. All along Glenbrook and Duck Creek Road, we saw freshly planted "Share the Road" and "May use full lane" signs. There was even a driver who honked at us to get out of her way as we passed one of these signs. I pointed to her, then I pointed to the sign, and the problem was solved. She knew she had to share the road with us.

"Share the Road" signs like these are becoming commonplace in Garland.

"We took a picture of this sign because it was funny"

I never thought I would see one of these  in Garland. Great progress!
We are looking forward to doing more rides like this on a regular basis. For those who weren't able to attend this ride, there will be other opportunities in the near future. On our list of proposed rides are riding to White Rock Lake and riding from Garland to Sunnyvale. Stay tuned and check out our events page for more information as well as weekly group rides.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The BFG Inaugural Ride is Here!

It's here!  Get ready for a 40 degree morning ride!  Click HERE for directions to Windsurf Bay Park.  Remember, this is a casual pace, no-drop ride.  Spandex is not recommended. :)

Some tips for Sunday's ride:
  • Dress warm and comfortably.
  • Use protective and  reflective gear if available.
  • Stay with the group and follow the rules of the road
  • Be ready for a 20 mile ride
  • We will stop for breakfast in Downtown Garland in the interim of our ride.
We will be setting the pace for an easy ride and so we can accommodate all skill levels of cyclists present. All levels of cyclist and bicycles welcome. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

BikeDFW Fall Meetup

This evening, I had a chance to attend BikeDFW's Fall Meetup at REI in Dallas.  I estimate around 60 people were in attendance from all over the Metroplex.  Among the attendees, it was pretty much a "who's who" of DFW cycling advocacy.  It was very cool to finally meet some of these guys.

Speaking at the event were the city of Richardson's Assistant Director of Traffic and Transportation Dave Carter, and the city of Fort Worth's Transportation and Planning Senior Planner Julia McCleeary. Also presenting on grass roots advocacy were Bike Friendly Fort Worth, and MaryAnn Means from the Fort Worth Mayor's Office.

Dave Carter showed how they've transformed a number of streets to be accommodating to cyclists by using an array of different types of infrastructure and signage.  The emphasis was that you have to choose what works best for any given situation, and sometimes the best solution is nothing at all.  The education and "training" of drivers was also emphasized.

He also gave us a glimpse of how some of this stuff actually gets done.  For instance, traffic calming was something that the citizens were demanding all over the city, so they used this demand for traffic calming and built bike lanes to accomplish it.  That's brilliant.

These are some of the criteria that the city of Richardson looks for when creating a bike route.  Mostly common sense, but good to keep in mind when asking "why not my favorite street?".

  • Collector streets with excess roadway capacity
  • Strong Potential for Demand
  • Safety
  • Minimal Intersections
Julia McCleeary presented for the city of Fort Worth.  In just two years after their bike plan was approved, they've done what so many said was impossible in North Texas.  They've built out comprehensive bicycle infrastructure that works, and people actually use.  Ridership is continually increasing, and cyclists are riding all over the city and downtown.

She gave these ideas on how to make a difference in your city:
  • Make a plan
  • Create bike friendly policies
  • Grassroots advocacy
  • Look for creative funding
  • Free bike corrals at events
  • Partner with transit, health, and safety agencies
  • Educate the public at community events
Finally, the message about grass roots advocacy was loud and clear:  We have to be out there advocating, educating, and riding!  There are a lot of great people working for the cities that could use our help in making noise.  They do all they can, but after a while, even they can get ignored.  If 10 citizens call about something, it tends to get noticed.  Organizing events and educating the public is crucial.  When people put a human face on cycling, there's a lot more acceptance and respect given.  This is something that Bike Friendly Fort Worth, Bike Friendly Richardson, and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff have been really great at.  I think it's easy to see how that's paid off for them and their communities.   -Jared