this spring, when the City shut down much of the community in
response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the City cited outdoor recreation
as an essential activity, necessary to promoting our physical and
mental health. Shortly thereafter, however, due to the popularity of
getting out to walk, bike or play, the City decided our parks and
trails were too crowded, and shut them down. While the City has
since reopened the trails, the City has said that budget and safety
concerns have made it all but impossible to re-open parks and other
activity is important, and so are safe , comfortable places where we
can exercise. Open Streets are a simple, cost effective method of
creating such safe, welcoming, and perhaps most importantly, traffic
free spaces for people to get out and exercise, and on Tuesday, June
9th, the El Paso City Council will consider extending the Scenic
Sundays program to an everyday Scenic Summer.
City needs to do is close the gates to traffic, and in so doing, open
Scenic Drive exclusively to people to walk, to bike, and even to
play. Before the Pandemic, hundreds of people would enjoy Scenic
Drive as an open street every Sunday, so in response to the clear
demand for places to safely social distance while exercising, we
believe the City of El Paso should open streets all across the City
for people and businesses to engage in safe, essential and healthy
outdoor activity, and the first step in this process begins with
opening Scenic Drive to pedestrians and cyclists to create a Scenic
that you contact our Mayor and City Representatives right away, and
encourage all your friends, family and associates to do the same,
then sign up to speak on ITEM 23.1 next Tuesday (instructions below)
for recognizing outdoor activity and exercise
as essential for our physical and mental health, especially during
this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. I also want to thank you for
reopening our urban and natural open space trails for physical
activity. But even with the trails re-opened, we still need
more places where we can safely recreate and travel across our City,
and Scenic Summer (item 23.1) is a unique opportunity for the City of
El Paso to grow our very successful Scenic Sundays program and open
Scenic Drive exclusively to pedestrians and cyclists. I am asking
you to support Scenic Summer so that we may enjoy yet another needed
place where we can social distance and exercise for our physical
health and mental well being.
of Cities across the United States and the world have closed streets
down to vehicles during this pandemic to allow extra space for safe,
social distancing, by providing a traffic free opportunity for active
recreation and play. Through the simple act of voting for Scenic
Summer, and closing the gates to traffic, you can open Scenic Drive
to all El Pasoans.
It is out of our collective concern for
people’s health, well being and safety that we need to identify and
open more traffic free places for people of all ages and abilities to
be able to get out and exercise. Despite a reduction in traffic
volumes during the pandemic , we have seen an increase in traffic
fatalities over this time last year! For so many, our streets don’t
feel safe, and sidewalks are too narrow, or at times simply not
available or even usable. We need and deserve safe and comfortable
places to walk, bike, play, and even travel for essential activities,
while safely social distancing, and Scenic Summer gives us another
needed place where we can do just that.
opening Scenic Drive to people, we can:
Sponsored the item and voted YES
Mayor Dee Margo email@example.com (915) 212-0021 Was against 23.1
District 1 Representative Peter Svarzbein firstname.lastname@example.org (915) 212-0001 Sponsored the item and voted YES
District 2 Representative Alexsandra Annello email@example.com (915) 212-0002
Here you will find the video of the workshop and links to additional resources.
Topics Covered: ABC Quick Check, Fixing a Flat, Cleaning your Bike Chain
Enjoy the Ride
ABC Quick Check: https://bikeleague.org/content/basic-bike-check-just-remember-abc-quick-check
Bicycle Maintenence Zine: https://neighborhoodanarchists.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Bike-Maintenance-Zine-Bike-Church.pdf
How does TxDOT celebrate Bike Month?
By telling people who ride bikes that they don’t belong on Trans Mountain route, a popular and designated bike route.
On Friday, May 1st, TxDOT El Paso posted on twitter that “Bicyclists who ride Transmountain[sic] need to find alternate routes while nine miles of the roadway undergoes rehabilitation from 0.4 miles west of Resler to .055 miles west of US 54. Bike lane closed yet, crews continue to see bicyclists ride through construction zone.”
This flies in the face of state law which considers bikes as vehicles, with all the rights and responsibilities, and the “Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices” (MUTCD), Part 6 which provides guidance on Temporary Traffic Controls (TTC) in work zones:“The needs and control of all road users (motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians within the highway, or on private roads open to public travel, including persons with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Title II, Paragraph 35.130) through a TTC zone shall be an essential part of highway construction, utility work, maintenance operations, and the management of traffic incidents.”
By simply closing this bike route and not providing a safe, convenient, alternate route for people on bikes, TxDOT is discriminating against those who use Trans Mountain for transportation – and recreation… It doesn’t matter if someone is driving for recreation or transportation, so why should it matter for people riding bikes. Yet TxDOT (and most people in fact) assume people in cars are driving for transportation, and people on bikes are riding for recreation. Why we may be riding on Trans Mountain is irrelevant, all that matters is that this was a designated bike route, and TxDOT has failed to provide a safe route for us.
Please call Tomas Trevino, P.E., the TxDOT District Engineer at (361) 701-0169, and ask why TxDOT refuses to consider this an essential route, and provide a safe bike route over Trans Mountain, and when he will comply with both State Law and MUTCD guidance to ensure we too can safely travel over Trans Mountain on our bikes.
It’s time to gear up and hit the streets and trails with our 2019 gear!
Made by our friends at Primal, the 2019 jerseys feature a traditional fit with short sleeves, 3 rear pockets and a full hidden YKK zipper.
For those who want a more casual or MTB jersey, the henleys feature a lightweight technical fabric, short sleeves, rear zipper side pocket and a button collar.
Top your look off with our one size fits most cycling cap – mix and match with your 2019 jersey, henley, or with whatever you’re wearing the next time you ride. Keep the sun out of your eyes and two wheels down.
All three drew art and inspiration from the tradition of Dia de Los Muertos and are here now just in time for the holidays.
Jerseys and henleys are available in women’s and men’s sizes — click on the link for Primal’s sizing chart: https://www.primalwear.com/pages/size-chart
Don’t miss out, order yours TODAY!
The Bike Swap is back!
It’s free and fun for all!
So gather up all your old and extra bikes, bike part, and bikey stuff, or start saving your pennies for all the great deals!
Wheels, deals, workshops, vendors, food, music, community and fun!
Monarch (204 E. Rio Grande)
There’s not many better combinations than bikes and books, except for getting to deliver those books on your bikes and getting to see the smile they bring to a child’s face.
Join us on Friday, September 20 to deliver books to children at Rosa Guerrero Elementary School. We’ll meet at Mas y Menos Coffee Shop (1035 Belvedere St) to load up books onto our bikes at 8am – bring your bike racks, panniers, backpacks, bike trailers or cargo bikes – then we’ll ride to Rosa Guerrero Elementary School to deliver the books to the students.
Ride for Reading donates books to children of low-income areas to promote literacy, as well as educating children about bicycling.
So let’s get ready for a morning full of books, bikes, and fun!!
Bicycle Safety and the El Paso Streetcar Project
by Cat Cort
As many El Pasoans are aware, the $97 million El Paso Streetcar
Project is coming to fruition in 2018. The route is slated to run nearly five
miles, in two loops running downtown and uptown with 27 stops along the way.
From a bike rider’s perspective, maintaining cycling safety around the tracks
can at times, literally be a slippery slope. Many experienced urban riders have
already sustained injuries due to crashes in and around the tracks, as most of
the usual bike routes through the city and around the UTEP campus now run
parallel to the streetcar project. In even just a short trip downtown, cyclists
are forced to cross or ride parallel to the tracks due placement and other
obstacles (e.g. traffic, buses and parked cars).
Of particular concern are instances in which bicycle tires
become stuck in the track’s “flangeways” (gaps
in the road surface alongside rails) or when conditions are wet
and tires slide in or simply lose traction on the track surface. This is
especially dangerous when traveling downhill at high speeds and when turning to
cross the tracks – at any angle. There are several downtown intersections that have
no warning of the tracks a rider will encounter (see below photos) which adds
to the difficulty and danger inherent to navigating El Paso by bicycle. Hazardous
routes and unsafe conditions created by the addition of the streetcar tracks
serves to demotivate and intimidate bicycle users, especially beginner riders,
families with children, or visitors that may be interested in renting SunCycle
bikes to explore downtown.
A 2016 study of streetcar track-related bicycle crashes in Toronto
reported that crashes were more
common on major city streets with parked cars and no bike infrastructure, which
describes nearly all of the downtown avenues in El Paso. As per the
design of the City, the El Paso Streetcar runs on shared roadways rather than
having a dedicated rail right of way, which means cyclists on these streets
will be forced into making quick decisions and sudden safety maneuvers around
the tracks to avoid other accidents. Since the City has no apparent plans to make
these routes safer (e.g. creating physically separated bike lanes, protected
intersections, installing proper signage etc.) or to create connected,
alternate safe routes for cyclists around El Paso, the responsibility once
again falls to us, the commuters and recreational cyclists of El Paso, to watch
out for our own safety, especially in the downtown area.
Ways to be a smart cyclist around tracks include knowing and
planning your routes, riding a bike with thicker tires (though anything less
than a fat bike is still prone to getting caught), using lights at night and of
course, wearing safety gear such as helmets and gloves. Crossing tracks at a
perpendicular angle (optimally between 45-90°) and performing two-step left
turns are other ways to avoid crashes, but far from error-proof and can go
wrong in seconds during an unexpected maneuver or in inclement weather
conditions when road surfaces are slick.
Furthermore, why should 100% of the responsibility fall to
the non-vehicular road user? Although there are no formal design guidelines,
there are numerous infrastructure examples and studies from cities around the
world that include multi-use safety measures – basic research that could have
been integrated into the City of El Paso’s design from the start. Even if our current
infrastructure does not allow for creation of protected bike routes, the City
could look into rubber flangeway fillers that provide a level surface for
bicyclists but which the streetcar can safely pass over. At the very least, an
awareness campaign including proper signage or route designation (see video)
would certainly help alert unfamiliar riders how to safely interact with
streetcar tracks, but again this method isn’t foolproof and still doesn’t remove
the inherent danger that shared roadway designs pose to bicyclists.
While we welcome an alternative to driving between
attractions in El Paso and look forward to lightening the traffic load during
downtown events, we can’t help but feel as though the lack of proper
consideration for cyclists and non-vehicular users is an egregious infrastructure
planning error on behalf of the City of El Paso and the Camino
Real Regional Mobility Authority.
Have you experienced a crash and/or sustained an injury due to the
El Paso Streetcar Project? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or submit
a comment under “Contact Us” page. Remember, the single best investment you can make to improve conditions
for people who walk and bike El Paso’s border region is to become a member of
Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition today at http://www.velopaso.org/membership.
Video: How to Properly Cross Rail
Tracks on Your Bike
Alter, Lloyd. 2016. Cyclists and streetcar tracks don’t mix.
El Paso Streetcar Project at Sunmetro.net
Maus, Jonathan. 2011. A few ideas on how to improve streetcar track safety. BikePortland.org
Teschke, et al. 2016. Bicycling crashes on streetcar (tram)
or train tracks: mixed methods to identify prevention measures. BMC Public
Health 16:617. Biomedcentral.com
Vance, Steve. 2010. Bikes and Streetcar Tracks. Stevencanplan.com
Copyright © 2020 Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition.
A 501©(3) nonprofit organization.