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.