Rolling Town Halls Pay Off for Price

More than 130 people attended ride with Fort Worth mayor this week

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price's weekly rolling town halls are gathering momentum with more than 130 people biking with the mayor and giving their input on city government this week.

    Getting public input on city issues can be tricky, so Fort Worth's mayor is rolling with a different approach.

    "When you do a town hall that's set in a neighborhood meeting or City Hall or something, we're lucky to get 20 or 30 people," Mayor Betsy Price said.

    But Fort Worth is getting different results by letting residents strap on a helmet and jump on a bike.

    "I always say if you're dumb enough to put your spandex on and go out in public, they'll talk to you," Price said.

    As she approaches her first year in office, Price's weekly bike rides have gone from about two dozen or so riders to some times as many four times that number. On Wednesday, at least 130 people took part in a rolling town hall that started and ended at Central Market on Hulen Street.

    "It was exciting to see that many people getting out and talking to us," she said. "Most of them stayed after the ride."

    The ride was sponsored by Central Market and included discounts on food and beverages afterward. Money generated from the ride benefited the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies, Healthy Community charity.

    Jim West joined Price for the first time at the Wednesday ride and plans to go to more in the future. West, who has been an active cyclist for nearly 20 years, said that while past mayors always supported the bicycle community, it's nice to have a mayor leading rides in the city.

    "It makes people aware that bicycles have a right to be out on the roads," he said.

    In this age of long days and busy schedules, the rolling town halls just make sense, Price said.

    "I believe you can't govern very well behind a desk," she said. "You've got to be out finding out what your citizens need and talking to them."

    The next community ride is Saturday morning at the Joint Reserve Base, where more than 150 people are expected.

    The mayor is also planning a walkabout for those who don't ride.