Every Sunday night, Mark Troxler prepares for his evening bike ride. He heads over to The Chat Room Pub off West Magnolia to join fellow cyclists for a leisurely ten-mile bike ride. Troxler is the founder of Night Riders, a Fort Worth based biking group that promotes cycling in Fort Worth by having leisurely social bike rides every week.
Founded over a year ago, the group began small with six to seven riders, meeting at the Chat Room every Sunday evening. Now, the Sunday evening bike rides average 30 people a week. Troxler attributes this increase in membership to word of mouth. Since the creation of Night Riders, Troxler says, that many group members are now using their bikes for their main method of transportation.
In an effort to transform the city of Fort Worth towards a more biker friendly environment, the Fort Worth City Council passed an extensive plan, Bike Fort Worth, in February 2010. Bike Fort Worth’s primary goals are to triple the bicycle commuter rate, improve bicycle safety and attain national recognition as a “Bicycle Friendly Community” by 2015.
The plan hopes to increase the cycling commuter rate from around 645 daily commuters in 2007 to at least 2,000 daily commuters by 2020. The plan’s goal towards safety would reduce the rate of bicycle-related crashes by ten percent by 2020.
According to the Bike Fort Worth Transportation Plan, there are a total of 102.6 miles of existing biking trails across the city. The new recommended biking plan contains over 1,000 miles of interconnected on-and-off street facilities throughout the city, from dedicated bike lanes, signed routes, and bus & bike-only lanes in Downtown Fort Worth. In addition to creating new bike lanes and trails, Bike Fort Worth proposes creating new traffic ordinances, and providing bike parking through zoning requirements.
Fort Worth districts have already taken action to improve bike parking around the city. South Fort Worth began implementing new biker friendly projects with the Near Southside Bike Parking Improvement Plan. Phase One of the plan calls for the installation of 80 new bike racks spread out across Magnolia Avenue, Jennings Avenue, and South Main Street. The new racks, which have already arrived, will be installed near main entrances of destinations across the district. The Near Southside Plan is a joint venture with Fort Worthology, Fort Worth South Inc., and Trinity Bicycles.
The Bike Fort Worth plan addresses the need for logical and convenient parking throughout the entire city of Fort Worth. Fort Worthology creator Kevin Buchanan said that one of the most significant provisions of the plan is, “the planned increase in on-street bike infrastructure, as well as the required bike parking,” which Buchanan says will not only legitimize cycling as an alternative transportation method, but also make it safer for people to move around the city using their bikes.
According to Buchanan’s website, other improvements from the plan include the creation of bike connections between districts in the central city. The plan also calls for changes to street design, subdivision standards, and the construction of a Downtown Bicycle Commuter Station.
Trinity Bicycles Employee of the Month, Bryan McKendy, says he is excited for the Bike Fort Worth plan. "It’s a lot more comprehensive than a lot of us assumed going into it. It addresses areas of Fort Worth where there was either no service or the continuity of bike service was poor,” McKendy said.
One of the outreach programs featured within Bike Fort Worth is the re-instituted Clean Air Bike Rally to be held on Sunday October 16. The rally is one feature of the new plan that calls for various extensive education, enforcement, and outreach programs to create a more sustainable Fort Worth. The proceeds from the rally benefit the Fort Worth Police Bike Patrol Support Group.