On Friday, July 12, the El Paso MPO Transportation Policy Board approved $2.3 million in citywide bicycle infrastructure and programs over the next three years. Several bike advocates voiced their support for bike funding during the meeting, while countless others called and emailed their representatives ahead of time.
“Infrastructure and bike programs will not only help the [City of El Paso’s] new bike share program,” said Ben Foster, board member of Velo Paso, a bicycle-pedestrian coalition, “but it will also inspire people to dust off their bikes sitting in their garage and ride to work, school, parks and maybe even to an Aardvarks [minor league baseball] game.” Plans for the $60.8 million Triple-A ballpark include 80 bike racks, a requirement for LEED certification.
After doubts were raised earlier in the week about the bicycle infrastructure fund’s security, BikeTexas sent an Action Alert to bicycle advocates in El Paso, asking them to speak up. “The advocacy presence may have saved this pot of money from being diverted to other projects,” said a city official.
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El Paso – El Paso city representatives voted their support this week to develop the community’s first-ever bike share program. City representatives unanimously authorized Mayor Oscar Leeser to sign an interlocal agreement between the city, the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA), and the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), in which the city will provide $100,000 for a $2 million bicycle kiosk project. The $100,000 was budgeted as part of the city’s environmental services.
The main funding for the project comes from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program in the amount of $1,512,000. Other funding sources include $276,000 from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Rider 8 program; $88,000 from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Surface Transportation Program (STP); and $24,000 from the University of Texas at El Paso’s (UTEP) green fund.
Mathew McElroy, the city’s Deputy Director for Planning and Economic Development, explained the program to city officials, at a City Council meeting on July 9, saying that the bike kiosks are not intended to be amenities necessarily, but that they serve a greater function in planning the city’s mass transit system.
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Before 2012, I never really gave bicycling a second thought as an adult.
During my commute to work, I’d often see a bicyclist here or there but nothing that particularly caught my attention. On a personal level, I hadn’t even learned how to ride a bicycle until I was 14 years old and even then my learning curve with riding bikes was incredibly sloppy. I remember that at one point, I thought I had mastered the art of balancing on two wheels, so I took my borrowed, crooked old Schwinn cruiser up a steep hill and figured I’d coast down with ease.
Let’s just say the bike did make it down the hill – but without me on it.
Suddenly life happens. You get a job, a family, a car. Leisurely activities like bicycling become a ghost of the past and for many just a fond childhood memory. For me, the reinvigorated passion for bicycling as an adult came about through the tragedy of a busted Pontiac G6 engine. I was given a cheap mountain bike for free and luckily for me, I live and work Downtown so commuting was no issue.
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A local group is organizing events for bikers around the National Bike to School Day, May 7, and National Bike to Work Week, May 13-17.
The group, El Paso Bike Month, encourages the border community to increase bicycle use and become healthier while having a good time.
“We want people to be aware of biking and participate and see how fun it can be,” said Sarah Rich, a volunteer organizer for El Paso Bike Month.
Yesterday, May 1, the kick-off event for a month devoted to cycling, was scheduled for San Jacinto Plaza in downtown El Paso from 6 p.m to 8:30 p.m.
The kick-off route was planned to first go around Union Plaza and then have a stop at Armijo Park, between 7th and 8th avenues on Campbell Street. The ride was planned to be an easy pace, open to the public and completely free.
“We just want people to come out and have a great time,” Rich said.
El Paso Bike Month is volunteer-organized and has program events, workshops and rides.
A full calendar of events is available on elpasobikemonth.com and can be searched for on Facebook by typing “El Paso Bike Month.”
El Paso Bike Month will kick off with three Downtown events tonight.
They are: (1) El Paso Bike Month Proclamation by Mayor John Cook at San jacinto Plaza @ 7 p.m. (2) Downtown Redevelopment Tour on Two Wheels. After the proclamation, ride a two wheel tour to see the latest on downtown redevelopment. (3) Meet & Greet With The Bike Community. After the tour, let’s all gather for a social mixer at Bowie Feathers at 10 p.m.
Find out more about El Paso Bike Month by clicking here.
Copyright © 2020 Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition.
A 501©(3) nonprofit organization.