“After years of inaction, Fort Worth, the land of pickup trucks and SUVs, may finally be ready to pump some air into the tires of a citywide bike system.”
— Fort Worth Weekly, May 13
Fort Worth observed national Bike to Work Day on Friday and, judging from this year’s turnout, compared to last year, the city and a core group of activist cyclists may be making some progress toward turning Cowtown into a more bicycle-friendly metropolis.
Dick Ruddell, president of the The T (the Fort Worth Transportation Authority), and Betsy Price, Tarrant County tax assessor/collector, were among a group of 60 to 75 cyclists who rode from their homes, rendezvoused at the new downtown campus of Tarrant County College (formerly Radio Shack headquarters) at 7:55 a.m. and pedaled through downtown to the Intermodal Transportation Center escorted by members of the Fort Worth police bicycle patrol. (Check out Gordon Dickson’s coverage of the event for the Star-Telegram.)
It was hardly a “critical mass” ride, like those that have paralyzed motorized traffic in such cities as San Francisco. But the turnout was a lot more encouraging than last year, Ruddell said, when only four cyclists turned up for a similar Bike to Work Day event.
As noted in an article in the current issue of Fort Worth Weekly, the city now has an ambitious plan to get people out of their cars, pickups and SUVs and onto bicycles.
“It’s a $113 million, 20- to 30-year scheme for various kinds of bikeways, from riverside trails to heavily trafficked streets, that would enable Cowtonians to ride their two-wheelers not only to parks but also to work, to the store, and even to Dallas,” the Fort Worth Weekly said. “After a few more tweaks, officials hope to take it to the city council for approval in late summer and then to start looking for regional, state, and federal grants to help fund the work.”
The city estimates that only about 0.2 percent of Fort Worth’s 720,000 residents currently ride their bikes to work. By comparison, in Austin, the state’s most active bike-commuting city, about 1 percent of the population rides to work on bicycles.