Southwest Cycling Times

I don’t know if bicycling and walking are especially hot topics or if I am just tuning in more, but I’ve found a plethora of good stories in the news.  Here’s a brief summary of individual articles with a link for further reading if a topic strikes your interest.   Though the literature surveyed here always has national and global implications, my approach is looking at issues from a regional perspective based on issues that are of particular interest in the Southwestern U.S.

The League of American Bicyclists released their report on Bicycle Friendly Universities.  University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University remain at Bronze status.  Lots of room for improvement here to move up to Silver, Gold, all the way to Platinum.  Campuses are always a locus for walking and bicycling culture.  Places to build up from!  Both ASU and UofA register at the Gold level, and Utah’s largest two State universities come in at Silver.  Colorado and New Mexico both have some room for improvement.  My alma mater Univ. of Nevada at Reno made it to Bronze.  Look for UNLV to step up.  Bicycling and learning go together.

Dallas lost its bike coordinator to a private firm in Denver, Colorado.  This story covering that transition looks into Dallas’s history integrating bicycling transportation and touches on the process of opening up more choices for active transportation in a city built with cars in mind.  Texas’s motto is “Drive Friendly The Texas Way.”  Very important to put this in context with everyone we encounter on the road, not just the folks traveling in the same way we are, that look like us.  I can see a photo shop opportunity for including bicycles in this sign.

drive friendly

Building bicycle friendliness is an incremental process.  The work that Dallas’s bike coordinator put in carves the way for the next steps and gives us something to build on.  I see a lot of cars with Texas plates in New Mexico and Texans love to come here for our mountains and cultural roots.  So bicycle friendliness there matters here too, bicycles matter everywhere.  We are definitely one nation interconnected and interdependent.  I also think interchange of people–people switching jobs, etc.–can be a good thing.  That is what keeps NY City vibrant and relevant, the influx of new ideas and culture, and the migration of influential people.  Mix it up.

People ask a good question.   How are we going to pay for better bicycling infrastructure?  This article The True Costs of Driving  shifts the way we think about paying for roads and puts it in terms of how much our transportation choices cost.  Clearly bicycles add value with no risk to our future, and with direct improvements to health.  Bicycling is a good choice by any metric.  We can’t afford not to invest in bicycling infrastructure, especially for the benefits to our health.

We’ve all heard about Colorado’s commitment to bicycle infrastructure.  Well how about Oslo’s.  They’ve got it right, that bicycling is in the interest of everyone in the city, not just the traffic department.  A new holistic forward looking framework is developing that sees bikability and walkability as being issues that go way beyond transportation.  They are central to sustainable urban development.   Making every city a place where ordinary people can bicycle is the future.

River Fall splendor

The Fall colors on the Bosque Trail along the Río Grande light it up


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