BikeTexas and the Texas Trails Network is once again sponsoring this great conference. This year the conference will be held in Houston at the Houston Marriott Medical Center. March 9-11, 2016
Legacy Trails, the first planned regional hike and bike trail, is now a reality after grant funding was approved on Thursday.
The Texas Transportation Commission voted to award the city of Tyler more than $3.5 million in grant funds for the construction of a multi-use trail that eventually will extend from Grande Boulevard to Gresham, according to the city. The city will match $1.6 million for the project, which will come from half-cent sales tax monies.
The Tyler City Council approved a resolution in support of applying for a federal Transportation Alternative Program grant for the project in April.
Phase I of The Legacy Trail will start at Three Lakes Parkway and incorporate sections of Old Jacksonville Highway southward to Gresham. The trail will go down an out-of-use railroad bed owned by TxDOT that was once used to connect Tyler to Bullard. The Trail also will go along the new section of Cumberland Road northward to Three Lakes Parkway. Future phases will extend the 10-foot-wide concrete trail from Three Lakes Parkway northward to West Grande Boulevard. The rail corridor goes all the way to Bullard, and there is potential for some type of future trail system to extend all the way to Bullard.
Tyler Simpson, a longtime cyclist and owner of Simpson’s Fitness Adventure and Sports, said the trail system would benefit recreational riders and commuters the most. “It is going to tie the southern retail district in south Broadway all the way to the old Jacksonville district and Gresham, and it has the potential to go beyond that to Bullard possibly,” Simpson said. “It will be a great connector. If (cyclists) are shopping and want to do it on bike (or) they can now ride to work. That’s who it will accommodate the best – the recreational rider and the commuter.” Tyler leaders and the bicycling community thanked Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin for help in getting approval for the project. “I am very pleased that we were able to award Tyler these funds that will result in the first regional trail project in East Texas,” Austin said in a news release.
Video link of TxDOT Bicycle Advisory Committee presentation to the Texas Transportation Commission meeting on May 28th.
From Steve White of Kansas City Metro Bicycle Club:
600-700 cyclists per year have been killed on our nation’s roads since 2010, with injury figures approaching 50,000 per year. KCMBC created this message to make drivers more aware of cyclists and to stop the carnage. Please share it, it could save a life. Maybe even yours. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to further this cause, hit http://kcmbc.org or ask Bike Friendly Tyler how to donate locally. #lookuplookout Thank you Kelly C Boucher for the awesome job you and the rest of the Bike Friendly Tyler crew do on cycling advocacy. It’s great to have comrades in arms!
Thanks for sharing this video with us Steve!
This Thursday, May 28, the Texas Transportation Commission will have its monthly meeting. One item on the agenda is “Bicycle Initiatives”. The TxDOT Bicycle Advisory Committee will be addressing the commissioners to present a recently developed Texas Safe Bicycling Guide, a publication providing tips for safe bicycling for all bike users, and describe a pilot program idea for creating bike lane networks on existing roadways.
Last week I attended a Bicycle Taskforce meeting hosted by the Smith County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). This meeting consisted of a preliminary presentation of the Texas Safe Bicycling Guide (to include a handle bar hanger to be attached to all new bikes sold and a pamphlet available online), and the Hub and Spoke Tyler Bike Lane Study.
The Hub and Spoke Study originated in Tyler and is the work of the TxDOT Bicycle Advisory Committee and the University of Texas at Tyler. This study is being used to develop the Bike Lane Pilot Program being presented to the TxDOT commissioners at their meeting tomorrow. Many students and several professors at UT Tyler spent countless hours researching and observing every aspect of travel and connectivity on a route from UT Tyler to Tyler Junior College. This research was compiled into a forty page study. This study is the basis for what we hope will become a state-wide bike lane striping program.
Tomorrow (May 28th), the Bicycle Advisory Committee will ask the commissioners to approve the pilot program and ask for money to begin the program. The City of Tyler was chosen as the pilot city for this program. (The program was inspired by a similar program in El Paso.) Forty five miles of Tyler roadway were chosen for this project. These roads stretch across the city, both north to south and east to west. These roads will include areas of commerce and education and will connect several residential areas. A program/app is also in development. This program/app will allow cyclists to view all of the striped bike lanes in the city and develop routes to get from place to place.
We are making great progress! Please remember, progress is slow when you are working with government rules, regulations and red tape. This will not happen over night, but the passage of this pilot program looks very promising.
I will keep you update as more information becomes available.
FM 2493 Corridor Study:
The MPO has hired Brown and Gay Engineers (BGE) out of Dallas to conduct a corridor study for FM 2493 also known as Old Jacksonville Highway in Tyler and Houston Street in Bullard. Work on the study began in January of 2015 and is expected to take a year to complete. The study will provide recommended strategies to address items such as: traffic congestion, traffic signal locations, driveway placement, and locations of public transit bicycle and pedestrian amenities. BGE has started gathering traffic data over the 14 mile corridor length connecting Loop 323 in Tyler to Highway 69 in Bullard. The collection and evaluation of data is expected to continue through May with Public Open Houses beginning in June.
Transportation Improvement Plan:
On March 26th the MPO Policy Committee approved an amendment to the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). The amendment updated the funding allotted to the MPO from Proposition 1 funds. The news funds are being put toward improvements on Spur 248 which will be widened to four lanes as well as adding bike lanes. Existing funding was also reallocated toward the environmental analysis and possible right-of-way acquisition for the future widening of FM 2493.
The City of Tyler is applying for a grant through TxDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) to extend the current trail system in south Tyler. The proposal is for two new segments. The first segment will extend the current trail on West Grande Boulevard to Old Jacksonville Highway and follow it south to Gresham. The other section would connect to the Old Jacksonville extension and follow Dueling Oaks before going south and connecting to West Cumberland Road. From there pedestrians and bicyclists could follow Cumberland Road to Faulkner Park. The grant would provide the necessary funds required to construct these two proposed trails. Applications are due to TxDOT by May 4th, and the Tyler staff is hard at work completing the application and collecting support letters from the community. Further updates on this potential project will be provided after the response on the application has been received