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


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)

Will bike lanes be Delayed?


For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott White, 915-240-2680
July 31, 2014
El Paso Faces Potential Delay of Promised Bike Lanes
On March 18 the El Paso City Council voted to recommit to using $2 million in federal funding for new bike infrastructure. To date, no new bike lanes have been created with these funds.

El Paso, TX – “It’s the bike share all over again,” said Velo Paso President Victor Cordero when he heard the news that the Transportation Planning Board (TPB) of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) would be considering reprogramming or even deprogramming $2 million that had been promised for new bike lanes. “Back in March we went to City Council to ask that they keep funding new bike lanes, and they did, but then nothing happened,” Mr. Cordero added. “So now we have to go before the MPO and ask them to save the money we were promised for new bike lanes.”

On March 18, 2014, the El Paso City Council voted down a proposal that would have suspend the creation of new bike lanes until a better bike lane planning process could be developed. The city already had been allocated $2 million in federal funding for bike lanes, and had the council voted to suspend bike lane construction, those funds could have been lost. Since then, the city has begun forming a new Bicycle Advisory Committee to aid in oversight and planning, and has gone on to adopt the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) guidelines. Despite this, and the council’s vote to affirm support for continued bike lane construction, no new bike lanes have been built with this funding. As a result, the funds could be forfeit at the end the the 2014 fiscal year.

“We were hoping these new lanes and paths would help connect the scattered infrastructure we do have, but as it looks now, we may have to wait until at least 2019 to see these promised bike lanes,” said Scott White, Policy Director and member of the new Bicycle Advisory Committee. “Instead of watching new bike lanes going in, we’re having to reach out to political leaders and the cycling community to ask for their support to preserve this crucial funding. Simply put, we can’t afford to wait 5 more years for safe routes for cyclists.”

The MPO will meet this Friday, August 1, 2014 at 10767 Gateway Blvd., West, Suite 605 (between Lomaland and Yarbrough) at 9:00 a.m. Velo Paso asks that everyone who believes in a better quality of like in the region please join them in asking the MPO to roll the funds over to the 2015 fiscal year, rather than making the city and it’s cyclists wait 5 more years.

If you cannot attend the meeting, Velo Paso asks that you please contact the members of the MPO TPB and ask them to preserve the bike lane funding. For more information about the MPO, and the TPB, please visit www.elpasompo.org.

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.

Nationwide study on biking and walking shows El Paso lags far behind peer cities

El Paso ranked among deadliest city for bicyclists and pedestrians, lowest levels of biking and walking, least amount of bicycle infrastructure

El Paso ranks among the highest in bicycle-pedestrian fatality rates, lowest in bicycling and walking levels, and dead last in bicycle infrastructure per square mile, according to the latest benchmark report on Bicycle and Walking in the United States which collects and analyzes data on the country’s 51 largest cities. (See attached excerpts from report.)

“El Paso’s leading in all the wrong indicators,” said Victor Cordero, vice president of the Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition. “Behind these numbers we find a mom who can’t bike down the street with her family or let her kids walk to school without feeling like she’s endangering their lives. It’s unacceptable and entirely preventable.”

The report is published by the Alliance for Biking and Walking, a nonprofit based in Washington DC that initiated the Benchmarking Report Project, in 2003, in order to improve access to biking and walking data. The benchmark report analyzed uniform national data sources from public agencies and organizations, as well as state and local surveys, collected in 2011 and 2012.

As data collection methods become standardized and more refined, the benchmark report is able to show how biking and walking impacts a whole host of factors previously too difficult to measure.

Health: Lower levels of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity were found in cities with higher shares of commuters who bike or walk to work. Safety: Lower bicycle-pedestrian fatality rates were found in cities with higher shares of commuters who bike or walk to work. Economy: Increased sales for businesses, higher commercial and residential property values and lower vacancies were found in locations with enhanced walking and biking facilities.

Bicycle and pedestrian advocates see this as a sobering wake up call and an opportunity for El Paso to make great strides in a short amount of time.

“I expect to see a reversal in these trends through the Bike Advisory Committee and renewed efforts by private and public leaders to address these urgent problems,” said Scott White, Velo Paso’s policy director and member of the City of El Paso’s Bike Advisory Committee. “Doing nothing is no longer an option because we can see that the old way of building roads, streets, and development led us to a dead end. A bikeable and walkable El Paso is good for our economy and good for the general health of our community.”

The first step, according to advocates, is to implement the recommendations developed by the League of American Bicyclists during their on-site assessment in February 2014. The recommendations range from “connecting a network of bike lanes and bike boulevards with sharrows and appropriate signage until protected bike lanes can substitute” to “reduce speeding through street design, public information campaigns & enforcement especially near schools and commercial districts.”

The next step is to attend TxDOT’s Texas Transportation Plan 2040 open house at the El Paso Multi-Purpose Center Ballet Room 9031 Viscount, El Paso, TX 79925, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Advocates call on TxDOT and El Paso DOT to move away from building capacity strictly for cars to prioritizing safety and accessibility by building roads for all modes of transportation.

See the full report here: http://www.bikewalkalliance.org/storage/documents/reports/2014BenchmarkingReport.pdf

Velo Paso and Bike Texas working to make El Paso more Bicycle-Friendly

By Leslie Luciano and Sarah Rich / Guest columnist [as printed in the April 6, 2014 El Paso Times]

Bicycle-friendly cities attract millennials

Texas is growing, but unfortunately so are our obesity and diabetes rates, as well as the cost to build and maintain our roads and highways.

The good news is young people who are drawn to Texas cities by our dynamic economy want access to parks, restaurants, museums, shopping, and recreation without having to sit in their cars on a freeway to get to those destinations.

The solution to this problem is becoming increasingly clear and simple. Make our cities more bike- and pedestrian-friendly, with dedicated infrastructure, pleasant public spaces, and denser downtowns and neighborhoods.

And Texas cities are responding in a big way.

In Fort Worth, $1.26 million in local bond money has been allocated to bicycle infrastructure.

In Dallas, a $51 million five-acre pedestrian walkway spans over a busy freeway, providing a safe, comfortable connection and revitalizing neighborhoods once impossible to reach by foot.

In Houston, Mayor Annise Park announced the Goal Zero Fatalities Bike Safety Campaign, which includes $50,000 for a Bicycle Master Plan. The City of Houston has also approved an expansive trails plan for the Houston region that builds on an approved $100M bond fund with another $100M to be raised by the Houston Parks Board, a non-profit that supports the development of Houston parks.

In Brownsville, the city has received positive press for adding bike trails, adopting a bicycle master plan, and hiring a full-time bicycle coordinator to oversee the city’s bike-related efforts. Brownsville sees bike infrastructure as integral to its quest to lower its 50 percent obesity rate and its 30 percent diabetes rate.

El Paso’s recent decisions to maintain funding for bike lanes, raise the standards for bike facilities, and create a Bicycle Advisory Committee put the city in step with other major cities in Texas and around the country.

After decades of car-centered development, there is a real shift toward making our cities people-friendly again.

Millennials, the generation between 17 and 35 years old, “own fewer cars and drive less than their predecessors,” according to an article published by National Association of Realtors. “(Millennials) would rather walk, bike, car-share, and use public transportation — and want to live where that’s all easy.”

Cities all over Texas and the United States are making changes to attract and retain millenials. Making these changes allows a city to compete in the search for talent and tourists.

More and more, these are the amenities that millennials expect to find in an American city.

Austin has certainly benefited from the investments it has made to provide a high quality of life to its residents: tech companies like Google, Facebook, Silicon Labs, and HomeAway, to name a few, are opening offices there, in large part because their employees want to live in a city with bike infrastructure and other mobility options.

This influx of tech companies has been great for Austin’s economy and its vitality.

The ingredients for a people-friendly city are not unique to these cities either. Some cities benefit from a top-down approach, while others are decidedly more grassroots.

The most successful cities, however, rely on a combination of political leadership, community support, high-impact projects, sensible connectivity and dedicated funding.

With Mayor Oscar Leeser’s leadership, the City Council’s vision, and the participation of El Pasoans from every walk of life, we expect El Paso to be the next great people-friendly city in Texas.

Leslie Luciano works on policy issues at the local, state and national level for Bike Texas, the state’s premiere bicycle advocacy organization. She has served on the Bicycle Advisory Committee and sits on the Bike Share Governing and City Advisory Boards in Austin. Sarah Rich is an attorney at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and a co-founder and board member of Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition in El Paso.

Why Do TxDOT and El Paso DOT Build Killer Streets Instead of Complete Streets?

Press Statement

For Immediate Release

Contact: Victor Cordero, 915-472-0985

March 30, 2014

Why Do TxDOT and El Paso DOT Build Killer Streets Instead of Complete Streets?

City hits a dozen pedestrian fatalities in first 3 months of 2014; Advocates seek solution, demand Complete Streets

El Paso, TX – El Paso may be the Safest City in the U.S., but that distinction won’t protect pedestrians trying to cross the street. A 51-year-old man was fatally hit by a car in the Lower Valley on Friday night, bringing the death toll in the first three months of 2014 to 12, nearly one pedestrian fatality per week.

El Paso led the state in pedestrian fatalities in 2007, according to the El Paso Times. Traffic Fatality Statistics, available on the El Paso Police Department’s website, show that there were 79 pedestrian deaths between 2009 and June 2013.

“Our streets are killing us. We need to prioritize the lives of people over cars,” said Scott White, Policy Director of Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition.

Last August, Velo Paso issued a statement following the tragic deaths of Jose Cordova, a 9-year-old boy who was killed while riding his bicycle, and two pedestrians who were fatally struck by motor vehicles within 90 minutes of each other on opposite sides of the city. The advocacy group urged the city to implement Complete Streets, a policy referenced in the Comprehensive City Plan, which was approved by the El Paso City Council in March 2012.

The Comprehensive Plan devotes entire chapters to “Community Concerns” and “Strategies for Addressing Community Concerns,” in which practical solutions to safer pedestrian access throughout the city are organized and described in great detail. Hazardous streets like Mesa are dissected, diagrammed and analyzed, then given specific guidelines on how to enhance safety and ease of access.

In Community Concerns, the Comprehensive Plan states that “most of El Paso’s major arterials are designed only for high-speed vehicular traffic. Walking, bicycling, or using transit are often unsafe or even impossible […]” Input gathered from public meetings conducted during Comprehensive Plan information sessions showed that community members emphasized the need for “neighborhoods, place-making, safety, personal mobility, and the potential for streets to add value to their surroundings rather than as a means to more quickly get somewhere else.”

Mesa, a TxDOT road and the site of several tragic pedestrian deaths, is described as “unfortunately [having] been [designed] with a focus solely on facilitating automobile travel […] While the posted speed limit is 35 mph, the majority of cars currently travel down Mesa Street at speeds between 40 and 50 mph – well above the safe range for pedestrian activity.”

The plan offers a step-by-step solution that involves narrowing car lanes, “widening sidewalks, and encouraging street-oriented buildings [that] will, over time, improve the behavior of drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.”

“We know there’s a plan to incrementally improve dangerous streets in El Paso,” said Victor Cordero of Velo Paso. “We need City Council and TxDOT to make Complete Streets their top priority and move forward on it as soon as possible. Lives are at stake.”



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.

Don’t Let City Council Back-Pedal

Thank you El Paso, with your support, and the generous votes of our City Council, El Paso now has a Bicycle Advisory Committee!!!

On Tuesday City Council will consider two agenda items. One calls for ending any new spending on bike lanes, the other calls for the creation of a Bike Advisory Council to help facilitate community investment and bicycle policy.

We are asking all bicycle riders to join us as we urge a NO vote on 11.3 (ending spending on Bike Lanes), and a YES vote on item 11.4 (creating a Bike Advisory Council).

It is important that we turn out on force to show the city and City Council that #WeRideElPaso, and that we not only need safe routes and bike lanes, but we want to play a roll in the planning and design of these facilities.

To sign up to address City Council, please fill out the online form here: http://www.elpasotexas.gov/muni_clerk/signup_form_agenda.asp
Ride to Council route

Ride to Council route

The City Council meeting starts at 8:00 at the new City Council chambers at the old El Paso Times building at 300 N. Campbell St. If you wish to ride your bike to council, we will gather at 913 E Nevada Ave at 7:30AM and depart, as a group, for the City Council meeting at approximately 7:45AM. (click on thumbnail of map at right for full sized map of the Ride to Council)

If you can’t make it to speak to council on Tuesday, please call or e-mail the Mayor and your representative to ask them to vote NO on 11.3 – ending spending on Bike Lanes, and to vote YES on item 11.4 – creating a Bike Advisory Council.

Mayor Oscar Leeser, mayor@elpasotexas.gov, (915) 541-4145
Rep. Ann Morgan Lilly, district1@elpasotexas.gov, (915) 541-4151 (West)
Rep. Larry Romero, district2@elpasotexas.gov, (915) 541-4996 (Central)
Rep. Emma Acosta, district3@elpasotexas.gov, (915) 541-4515 (East Central)
Rep. Carl Robinson, district4@elpasotexas.gov, (915) 541-4400 (North East)
Rep. Michiel R. Noe, district5@elpasotexas.gov, (915) 541-4701 (Far East)
Rep. Eddie Holguin, district6@elpasotexas.gov, (915) 541-4182 (Far East/Lower Valley)
Rep. Lily Limon, district7@elpasotexas.gov, (915) 541-4108 (East/Lower Valley)
Rep. Cortney Niland, district8@elpasotexas.gov, (915) 541-4123 (West/Downtown)

Please help us spread the word as we work to protect need bicycle lanes, and hope to secure a real voice in the future planning and design of our bike infrastructure.
Follow Velo Paso on Facebook, Twitter, and join our Facebook Ride to Council event

Can we make El Paso Bike Friendly?

On Monday, February 24th, Stephen Clark, aka “Bike Friendly Steve,” from the League of American Bicyclists, paid El Paso a visit, to learn more about our existing bicycle facilities, and offer some insight and advice to local transportation planners and Velo Paso members as to how we might make El Paso Bicycle Friendly.

Over the past few years we have seen a good deal of improvement, but there’s so much more we can do. From better design of bike lanes (and improve our existing ones), to simple things like better signage, or even lockers and showers for bike commuters.

Perhaps the biggest change we can help effect, with your help, is to change the conversation from making our roads safe, to making our rides pleasurable, and ultimately to make riding advantageous!

There’s lots of work to do, and we’re still scribbling notes from Steve’s visit. So for now, here’s some of the news coverage:

Non-profit to help El Paso become bicycle friendly city – KTSM

Expert on bike-friendly cities visits El Paso today – El Paso Times

El Paso bike lanes: Roads to be more cyclist friendly – El Paso Times

Eastsiders react to El Paso’s bike programs – El Paso Times

Lets put an end to unnecessary deaths

Last August, Trey Hancock was riding his bicycle when he was hit and killed by a pickup truck. Immediately following the crash the driver reportedly said that he saw Hancock and thought he had enough room to pass safely, but then blamed Hancock for supposedly swerving into his path. When faced with the choice of possibly slowing down and moving over to share the road, the driver chose instead to continue as though no one was there. The result was another unnecessary death.

The driver was eventually charged with careless driving, and faces a possible fine of $25 to $100, and perhaps even 5 to 30 days in jail. The problem with such a light charge is that it sends a clear message that we won’t be held accountable for the decisions we do or do not make when behind the wheel.

It also tells us that in the eyes of the law, life is cheap.

It’s time Texas and New Mexico not only pass strict vulnerable road user laws, but enforce them. What happened to Trey Hancock was no accident. Had the driver who killed him simply taken a moment to change lanes or slow down in order to pass safely, a loving father and husband would still be with his family today, and we would still have our dear friend.

Those split-second decisions we must constantly make while we are behind the wheel can forever alter another person’s life, and our own, in an instant.

Please pay attention, slow down, and move over to give cyclists and all other vulnerable road users at least 3 feet when passing (5 feet if you’re in a commercial vehicle). It’s not just common courtesy, in El Paso it’s the law, and it could be the difference between the life and death of a loved one.

Read The El Paso Times coverage here:Border Patrol agent charged with misdemeanor in biker death

Copyright © 2020 Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition.
A 501©(3) nonprofit organization.