DriveKind RideKind video


This is an excellent educational video! Direct link to website provided on our Resources Page


UPDATE: = FOCUS! Freedom of Choice for “US”

Is it time to FOCUS on transportation, development & livability choices made by US?

The Candidate Responses are in! They can be accessed at the bottom of the page.

We thank and appreciate all the candidates who took the time to reply.

FOCUS

Developing a Comprehensive Multimodal Transportation System in El Paso Cultivates a balance of Economic Prosperity, Livability, Transportation Choice, Health and Happiness in our community. By developing a more robust, balanced, and equitable transportation system in El Paso Del Norte, the region has the opportunity to cultivate its balance of economic prosperity, livability, transportation choice, health and happiness.\r\n\r\nAs the pedestrian bicycle organization for El Paso Del Norte region, Velo Paso understands this and is working to promote and support efforts to advance work on a comprehensive transit system and bicycle highway network to connect the region from Sierra Blanca TX to Hatch NM.

We encourage ALL citizens of El Paso to reach out to candidates and tell them to support sound transportation investments.

“Historically, people have chosen to relocate based on where they had the best chance at finding employment. As we move forward, however, it will increasingly become the case that businesses will choose to locate themselves in areas that have the strongest workforce for their respective industries. We cannot allow the region to fall behind cities such as Minneapolis, Phoenix and Charlotte, which are proactively planning for rapidly evolving transportation and economic needs.”

Will you FOCUS on livability, walkability and streets planned for people? Let the candidates know what you want!

Candidates for City office are:

Representative, District 1:

  • Richard C. Bonart
  • Bertha A. Gallardo
  • Manuel J. Hinojosa
  • Daniel Lopez
  • Peter Svarzbein
  • Albert Weisenberger

Representative, District 5:

Representative, District 6:

Representative, District 8:


Velopaso Streamlines the Feedback Process

http://www.velopaso.org/feedback_forms

Use our feedback form to quickly submit your thoughts. We want to know how you want to utilize public spaces, transportation, roads and trails. The automated form is based off of city forms and emails your responses directly to the project manager, Justin Bass. Submit your responses today and help El Paso grow in a smart and utilizable way. Thank you for your continued support.


City of El Paso adds electronic feedback option for creation of Great Streets policy

https://www.elpasotexas.gov/engineering/project-updates/great-streets-and-corridor-plan

Above is link to City of El Paso Project Manager for creation of Great Streets policy and presentaion

El Pasoans interested in helping shape the future of our city’s transportation network can learn about the creation of the city’s Great Streets and Corridor plan online. The plan will seek to improve air quality, public health, and the quality of life for residents through the creation of multimodal streets that accommodate all modes of transportation. This project includes creation of a Complete Streets Policy, design standards and options for arterials, and an update to the City’s Thoroughfare Plan. By visiting elpasotexas.gov/engineering and clicking on “Great Streets and Corridor Plan” those interested can view the presentation which is being given at community meetings around the city and give feedback directly to the project manager.

“Streets are more than just asphalt and concrete, they are important public spaces which bind neighborhoods and help make up the fabric of a city,” said Fred Lopez, who oversees implementation of the city’s Capital Improvement Program which includes street resurfacing and street reconstruction. “Once it’s completed, elected leadership and city staff can rely on the Great Streets Policy to make sure we are building streets which are more sensitive to the neighborhoods in which they exist and which can better accommodate all users.”

The City of El Paso holding its next community meeting on the plan on Thursday, March 19, 2014, at 6pm in the Community Room at the El Paso Police Department’s Northeast Regional Command Center, 9600 Dyer Street. Creation of the Great Streets and Corridor Plan is part of the City of El Paso’s commitment to enhance and sustain El Paso’s infrastructure network.


COULD YOU GIVE UP DRIVING?

When most people think of transportation, they think of walking out their door, getting in their car, and driving somewhere. That is, unless they can’t afford a car, or worse, get too old to drive.

Not too long ago I saw a story on one of our local TV stations that asked the question ‘How old is too old to drive?’ The story of course was based on the assumption that one needs to drive to be able to be mobile, productive and get around, and that older people would lose their freedom if they had to stop driving. I thought about my own parents, and especially about my father who has voluntarily all but stopped driving. Then I began to really wonder about why he made that choice…

Every time I hear a story of someone losing the “right to drive” it is usually accompanied by a sense of isolation, grief and even a feeling that one can’t be independent any more. But how independent are we, when we’ve found ourselves made slaves to a single form of transportation? If our car breaks down, are we suddenly made helpless? Do our legs stop working? It can feel that way, because for so many of us, this is the world we know, to go somewhere you must get in a car. As children, so many of us walked or rode a bike, but now most children are taught from an early age as parents shuttle them back and forth to school daily, is that the only “safe” way to get around is in a car. Riding a bike is what you do for play near your house, or at park. Walking is what you do from the front door, to the car, and once you’ve reached your destination, from the car to the door. I myself roamed the neighborhood and beyond sometimes. I explored places. I even rode a bike as I delivered newspapers each afternoon. Would you let your child do these things today?
When I ask this question of others, they tell me no, it’s not safe out there. There are too many cars…

And driving their child to school each morning means one of those cars is theirs! We’ve created our own problem, by telling everyone there are too many cars, we have in fact encouraged parents to drive their children to school because it is the only “safe” option, thus adding that many more cars each morning, and reinforcing the message that you can only get there by car.

Planners, TRAFFIC engineers and developers haven’t helped either. Once the car came on the scene, we as a society began to reshape and reorganize our communities around the car. Suburbs began to pop up without sidewalks, roads got wider and wider, and neighborhoods got isolated. As more and more people began to live further from downtown or urban hub, they lost touch with the sense of what a walkable, livable community really was. Suddenly a trip to the grocery store was an expedition, not just a walk down the block. We need livability engineers to design livable space for ALL.

So in that light, it’s easy to see why people fear giving up driving, because they feel they will be isolated, and miles and miles away from daily necessities. Ok, well most people are these days. But the point is, the basic assumption was you could always just hop in your car to get there. Why would you need a store close by? Why would you need easy access to transit to cover greater distances? Why? The car was, and still is, for most people the answer.

We don’t have cars in case we need to go on a long trip, we have cars to go on short trips down the block, or around the corner, or to carry the kids to school, to pick them up, to run errands, to take us to the gym to exercise, to carry a month’s worth of groceries rather than fresh goods for the next couple of days. We, as a society, have made the car so much a part of our lives that we even talk about our “love affair” with cars! We can’t imagine life without them!


FOCUS! = Freedom of Choice for “US”

Is it time to FOCUS on transportation, development & livability choices made by US?

FOCUS

Developing a Comprehensive Multimodal Transportation System in El Paso Cultivates a balance of Economic Prosperity, Livability, Transportation Choice, Health and Happiness in our community. By developing a more robust, balanced, and equitable transportation system in El Paso Del Norte, the region has the opportunity to cultivate its balance of economic prosperity, livability, transportation choice, health and happiness.

As the pedestrian bicycle organization for El Paso Del Norte region, Velo Paso understands this and is working to promote and support efforts to advance work on a comprehensive transit system and bicycle highway network to connect the region from Sierra Blanca TX to Hatch NM.

We encourage ALL citizens of El Paso to reach out to candidates and tell them to support sound transportation investments.

Historically, people have chosen to relocate based on where they had the best chance at finding employment. As we move forward, however, it will increasingly become the case that businesses will choose to locate themselves in areas that have the strongest workforce for their respective industries. We cannot allow the region to fall behind cities such as Minneapolis, Phoenix and Charlotte, which are proactively planning for rapidly evolving transportation and economic needs.”

Will you FOCUS on livability, walkability and streets planned for people? Let the candidates know what you want!

Candidates for City office are:
Representative, District 1

Richard C. Bonart Bertha A. Gallardo Manuel J. Hinojosa Daniel Lopez Peter Svarzbein Albert Weisenberger

Representative, District 5

Michiel R. Noe Rosa Maria Cabrera

Representative, District 6

Claudia Ordaz Michael Pickett

Representative, District 8

Cortney Carlisle Niland Joshua Dagda

“Our fight is the good fight.” – Melissa Lugo, VeloPaso Equity Director

The League of American Bicyclists recently released a new report on Bike Equity: The New Movement: Bike Equity Today in which they share a range of examples as to how we can extend the scope of our advocacy efforts to include greater diversity. As a part of this report, our own Equity Director, Melissa Lugo was profiled for her efforts as a part of Velo Paso, to help us reach a greater part of our own walking and bicycling community, as we work to make our streets safer for all.

A founding member of the VeloPaso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition, Melissa Lugo has been at the forefront of advocating for bike-friendly infrastructure in predominantly Hispanic communities in El Paso, TX. Throughout the city, which is approximately 80% Hispanic, very limited bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure exists and Lugo has led VeloPaso in not only organizing public awareness campaigns to encourage biking, walking, and mass transit, but also pushing for inclusive citywide planning.

WHAT BIKE EQUITY MEANS

For Lugo, bike equity isn’t just about demographics, but the balance of power on the roads and in the decision making process. Her bike equity vision is three-fold: “Bicyclists are given equal priority of road use as motorized vehicles; cyclists along with all road users are part of a transparent city planning process; and bicyclists are represented at the city council level.”

SHIFTING PRIORITIES

“In El Paso those not transporting in a motor vehicle are treated like third-class citizens,” she says. “We have been working fervently to create awareness and to change the paradigm. Our coalition encompasses ALL vulnerable road users—mainly pedestrians and cyclists. The current built environment has been designed with motor vehicles as the first priority. Sidewalks and bike lanes start and stop without rhyme or reason. There exists no concern for anyone not driving a 2,000-pound motorized metal box.” Lugo is pushing for a shift in that paradigm: “Our streets should be designed to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation users and motorized vehicles in that order [and] bicycles should be accessible to everyone regardless of income.”

IGNORANCE RATHER THAN INTENT

“West Texas has a long way to go [when it comes to bike equity],” she said. “Geographically and economically we are far away from state concern for funding. The ‘Car is King’ mentality expressed by our state Department of Transportation district engineer is about 40 years behind schedule. The lack of transport equality is not just that of discrimination but also shortsightedness and misinformation. What I’ve found works for me is sharing personal experiences as to how riding a bicycle empowers me and others to become active in our community.”

AWARENESS ISN’T ENOUGH

“The more awareness created, the better equipped elected officials are to make better decisions for ALL road users. As an organization VeloPaso connects with city officials in person, by email to voice growing concerns for equal access to safer roads and supporting accessible, multimodal, bicycle transportation… [But] we cannot just educate ourselves to safer, more bicycle-friendly streets. We need action to change the built environment to accommodate all road users.”

UNRAVELING A LIE

“Our fight is the good fight. What we do as bicycle advocates is extremely important. Our dependence on auto transport, even for the most menial tasks has been fabricated and adhered to by developers, auto manufacturers and energy suppliers. Open up the eyes of the soul and find the truth.”

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE: The New Movement: Bike Equity Today


What if the Trolley money were available for OTHER Projects?

State Representative Joe Pickett has recently renewed his objections to the process behind the downtown trolley project, pointing out a required public hearing was not held, that there were other inconsistencies. He also says in his letter to the Texas Transportation Commission that “The second issue is the false information that this was funding only for the trolley project.”

So we wondered, what if, as Rep. Pickett suggests, we could use these funds for other projects?

Well, we know bike and pedestrian projects are good for business. They can (and have!) revitalized neighborhoods all over the world by creating new transportation options, and bring new traffic to local businesses:

In Manhattan, NY, protected bike lanes led to a 49% increase in retails sales at local businesses! (New York City Department of Transportation. Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets. NYC, 2012.) On Valencia Street in San Francisco, CA, 2/3 of merchants say bike lanes had an overall positive effect on business. (Drennen, Emily, “Economic Effects of Traffic Calming on Urban Small Businesses,” San Francisco, CA) And overall, bike projects, dollar for dollar, create 1.5x the jobs that road projects create! (Garrett-Peltier, Heidi, Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure: A National Study of Employment Impacts, Political Economy Research Institute University of Massachusetts, Amherst, June 2011)

So just for fun, we decided to compare what we could build with $30 million (there’s $97 allocated for the trolley, but we don’t need to get greedy):
One mile of street widening, or

600 miles of quality bike lanes, or 100 miles of sidewalks, or 300 miles of buffered bike lanes, or 120 miles of bike boulevards, or 30 miles of bike trails, or 20 miles of physically separated cycle tracks, or 2,000 rapid flashing beacon systems. (Source: Tulsa Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee)

So if the money from the trolley project were to come available, we’ve got ideas how it should be spent. Funding for transportation over the past few decades has gone primarily to roads for cars, it’s time we brought a little balance back to the system with a real commitment to funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects for a change. This can be done by:

installing sidewalks and curb cuts connecting our on-street bike lane network using canals and utility easements to create hike/bike trails and linear parks planning for and creating dedicated walking and biking infrastructure (such as short cuts between neighborhoods and destinations separate from our roads) encouraging developers to build denser, multi-use neighborhoods where buildings are a mix of residential, businesses, shops, restaurants, schools and public spaces all within easy walking distance of one another (as opposed to the low density single use developments we see being built today) adding street furniture and trees to make sidewalks more welcoming and installing end of ride amenities such as bike racks/parking to welcome bike riders.

Don’t get us wrong, the trolley would be a great addition to the downtown/UTEP area, but it’s fun to play what if…

Or, we could stop dreaming, and really get behind a real commitment to restoring balance to our transportation system if the city/county and all the local municipalities could work with the MPO to dedicate a substantial portion of the Surface Transportation Program funding that is set aside for metro mobility (STP-MM) annually, just for bike and pedestrian projects. Other regional MPOs have made similar annual commitments, why not the Paso del Norte Region?


Promised El Paso Bike Lanes On Hold, Or Are They?

As originally appeared on BikeTexas.org

On March 18 the El Paso City Council voted to recommit to using $2 million in federal funding for new bike infrastructure. On August 1 the funding was reprogrammed for FY 2019. On August 12, the El Paso City Council voted to move forward with four new projects.

It’s hard being a bicycle advocate in El Paso when you’re not sure if you’re winning or losing the battle.

By Scott White, Velo Paso

El Paso, TX – Just moments after the Transportation Planning Board (TPB) of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) voted on August 1 to reprogram $2 million in federal funding that had been slated for new bike lanes, we found ourselves wondering “where can we tell people to ride, when they already think there aren’t safe places to ride now?” El Paso has a long history of underfunding (or worse, defunding) bicycle infrastructure in favor of other projects, and our fear was that we had witnessed El Paso’s huge new commitment to bicycle infrastructure vanish before our eyes. In El Paso, when bike projects get delayed, they usually don’t come back.

Or do they?

el paso city hall bicyclists

In March of this year, El Paso’s City Council narrowly voted to move forward with new bike infrastructure, after about 50 members of Velo Paso and the local cycling community rode to City Council to ask the council to preserve that funding. One of our council members had proposed that the city should suspend future bike lane construction after receiving complaints that cyclists weren’t using the bike lanes. We pointed out that the existing lanes were often substandard, poorly designed, full of debris, didn’t feel safe, were not connected, and often were not where riders needed bike lanes. Despite our concerns, we were told it was in our interest to wait for a better design process to be implemented, rather than for the city to continue to build bad bike lanes. (We were later told the proposal was meant to “punish” those who designed bad bike lanes, yet the real result would have been to deny bicycle riders the safe places we have been asking for!)

We agreed that a better planning process was needed, but making us wait wasn’t making us any safer, either. Fortunately, one of our friends on council agreed with us, and had already placed on the day’s agenda a motion to form a Bicycle Advisory Committee. After prolonged debate, mostly about the financial costs of the lanes (as opposed to the need for safe transportation options), the Council narrowly voted down the proposal to suspend bike lane construction. The Council also approved the new Bicycle Advisory Committee to help facilitate the creation of better bicycle infrastructure.

It was a good day for cycling in El Paso. Or so we thought: Almost five months later, the Bicycle Advisory Committee has yet to meet. Just five of nine positions have been filled, and the vote to NOT suspend bike lane construction has apparently had no real effect.

One of the challenges of building any sort of transportation infrastructure can be the deadlines. About the time we were expecting to hear about the new plans, we instead learned that the city had been unable to move the planning process along far enough to let the projects move forward. In other words, it appears as though someone sat on the bike lane projects (intentionally or unintentionally, we don’t know), and now as the fiscal year was coming to an end, the money couldn’t be spent because the city wasn’t ready. (Federal funds have a “use it or lose it” policy attached.)

We lost the funding, and we were fit to be tied. Until…

It turned out that someone, somewhere in the city had been working on bike/walk projects, so just a couple of weeks after we had been told the city wouldn’t be ready to spend the $2 million for bike lanes, we were amazed to hear they had four hike/bike projects ready to be put forward. On August 12, the council voted unanimously in favor of all of them.

You might recall that El Paso had some similar fun last year with our back-and-forth over the bike share program (on again, off again, on again, off… well, you get the picture). We finally got it approved, and yet we’re still waiting for that, too. It just seems that while the idea of bike friendly projects appeals to our local leaders, those charged with bringing them to fruition don’t always seem to get it. Or get that we need better infrastructure NOW. For too long El Paso has continued to build roads for cars, not people – leading many local drivers to believe anything that isn’t a car doesn’t belong on the road, and that “well, if they’re on the road in front of me, they’re just asking for it, right?…”

In addition to the four new projects, we are also happy to report that city will soon be developing a new Bicycle Master Plan and has just approved a Complete Streets policy that we hope will help prioritize pedestrian and bicycle friendly infrastructure. It’s hard to tell where our city leaders are headed sometimes, but we hope these new projects and policies mean the city will little by little connect the hike/bike network across our community. Additionally, we at Velo Paso have begun to gather key partners and reach out to the surrounding municipalities to promote bicycle friendly policies, and are beginning to plan our own vision for a connected Paso del Norte region.

It’s funny how one day we can despair for the future of our community, and the next we can find ourselves racing to the top – just like each rider can have a bad days and good days. But each morning we get back on and get out there, knowing that the next ride might just be our best yet, or it could be a suffer fest. Either way, with a little support from our friends, we know we can make it to the end.

—–

About Velo Paso: Velo Paso is a group of avid cyclists and engaged citizens from across the Paso del Norte region who want to improve conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians in our community. For more information, please visit www.velopaso.org, www.facebook.com/velopaso, and www.twitter.com/velopaso.


El Paso Livability Summit

On August 21, 2014 the FHWA will be hosting the “El Paso Livability Summit” and Velo Paso has been invited to present! Please join us for an inspiring and informative day discussing best practices for livability and sustainability in the El Paso region, and how transportation systems can best support livability, for the El Paso metropolitan area and region.

The summit is free, so please mark your calendar and register by August 15,
CLICK HERE for flyer with more information and registration form.

El Paso Livability Summit

August 21, 2014 -8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
TecH20 Water Resources Learning Center
10751 Montana Avenue, El Paso, TX 79935

DRAFT PROGRAM AGENDA

I. Introduction and Welcome (9:00 – 9:20 AM)
Shana Baker, Livability Team Leader, FHWA HQ’s Office of Human Environment

II. Development of Multi-Modal Transportation Plan/Rider 8 Ozone Calculator (9:20 – 9:40 AM)
Michael Medina, Executive Director, El Paso MPO

III. Bike Share El Paso (9:40 – 10:00 AM)
Raymond Telles, Executive Director, Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority

IV. Implementation of Complete Streets (10:00 – 10:20 AM)
Fred Lopez, Transportation Planning Administrator, City of El Paso

BREAK (10:20 – 10:40 AM)

V. Bicycle Advisory Committee and Events (10:40 – 11:00 AM)
Victor Cordero/Scott White, Velo Paso Bicycle Pedestrian Coalition

VI. BRIO RTS- Rapid Transit System (11:00 – 11:20 AM)
Jay Banasiak, Director, Sun Metro, City of El Paso

LUNCH (on your own) (11:30 – 12:45 PM)

VII. Creating Walkable and More Livable Communities (12:45 – 1:05 PM)
Mathew McElroy, Development Director, City of El Paso

VIII. Sustainable Mobility for Ciudad Juarez (1:05 – 1:35 PM)
Ing. Nicolás López, Jefe de Movilidad e Infraestructura,Instituto Municipal de Investigación Y Planeación (IMIP)

IX. The New Model for Affordable Housing- LEED Certified Paisano Green Community (1:35 – 1:55 PM)
Gerald Cichon, CEO, Housing Authority of the City of El Paso

X. GRO El Paso Initiative (1:55 – 2:15 PM)
U.S. Green Building Council Chihuahuan Desert Chapter

BREAK (2:15 – 2:30 PM)

XI. Development of El Paso Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Plan (2:30-3:30 PM)
El Paso MPO

XII. Closing Session and Next Steps (3:30-4:30 PM)

Copyright © 2019 Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition.
A 501©(3) nonprofit organization.