Greetings, San Antonio cyclists!
As we gear up for an impassioned spring cycling season, we want to provide some important resources regarding legislative updates happening at the state and local levels that affect bike infrastructure and road safety. The Texas Streets Coalition, a network of more than 25 nonprofit organizations and community groups from across Texas that are working to improve the transportation system and empower one another to successfully advocate for the diverse transportation needs of our growing state, was kind enough to share a 2023 legislative update identifying key state-level funding priorities that will impact bike and highway infrastructure in 2023.
Bike San Antonio supports the group’s Vision of a safe, healthy and just Texas transportation system locally, regionally and statewide that provides dignified multimodal access for all people regardless of age, ability, or place and Mission to champion people’s access first by informing, reforming,and transforming TxDOT and other integrative transportation projects and processes through dynamic advocacy. Please read on to find out more about the changes needed to the Texas transportation system to reduce traffic deaths and congestion, as well as the high costs of transportation, and to improve access for all.
An Efficient State Highway Fund
HJR 77/ SJR 37 led by Air Alliance
Proposing a constitutional amendment to transfer state general revenue into the Texas State Highway Fund for spending on multi-modal transportation projects including public transportation, bike paths, and sidewalks. Allows TxDOT to build projects to best meet the needs of the diverse Texas population.
Local Street Design Authority
Led by STOP TxDOT I-45
Will transfer design authority from TxDOT to city governments for all road extents within the limits of the municipal government. Will allow local municipalities to maintain the integrity of their local transportation plans, often created with input from constituents and voter approval, and integral to connecting the municipality.
Transparent Identification for TxDOT Field Staff and Contractors
HB 1969 led by STOP TxDOT I-45
Requires on-site identification for TxDOT contractors and subcontractors by way of a visible ID badge and vehicle decal. Will ensure public awareness of TxDOT projects and protect the public from potential scammers.
Fair Decision Making at MPOs
Led by Farm&City
Will require Texas Metropolitan Planning Organizations to analyze their decision-making strategies to ensure democratic processes are aligned to the principle of one-person, one-vote, giving proportional weight to population.
Safe Neighborhood Streets
HB 2224/ SB 1663 led by Farm&City
Will allow cities to set safe speed limits on residential streets. Specifically it will allow 25 mile per hour streets and remove cumbersome bureaucracy and costs to implement. This will increase quality of life, economic growth and property values as crashes, injuries, and deaths are reduced.
We also received a guide that was guide that was shared with us by a reader of our blog. Mr. Leo Clarke is a consultant and researcher of digital content and media who owns and manages his own firm. The online handbook, entitled Share the Road: Cyclist & Pedestrian Safety Awareness for Drivers, includes important information about, and updates to, The Highway Code, a government guide to the rules of the road prepared by the Department for Transport and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, aiming to create a clear system for anyone using the road in the UK, whether they’re walking, driving, or biking, to keep everything running smoothly.
The 17th edition of this handbook, published in 2022, features a new “hierarchy of road users” that classifies road users according to their risk in the event of a collision, with the most vulnerable listed at the top. This information will be pertinent to all cyclists and pedestrians, including those of us in the Lone Star State, where bicyclist and pedestrian crashes comprised 36% of all fatal crashes on Texas roadways between 2015 and 2019 that fall within the 290-square mile portion of the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s planning area (and a small portion of the Capital Area MPO [CAMPO] planning area) located northeast of San Antonio between Interstate Highway (IH) 35 and IH-10, as reported in the AAMPO’s April 2022 Subregional Planning Study.
Other factors in road safety, including Level of Traffic Stress (LTS), which quantifies how stressful it feels to ride a bike close to cars, buses, and other traffic, access to active transportation and multimodal transportation options, and roadway connectivity, are included in the final report.
The U.S. government does not currently preside over its own Highway Code. Instead, we have the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, designed to prevent and reduce vehicle crashes.
We at Bike San Antonio also anticipate the preparation of the 2022 (Scheduled) Bike Network Plan, beginning in Fall of 2022. This updated plan will build on the foundation provided by the 2011 San Antonio Bike Plan and 2011 Bike Master Plan (BMP), which outlined the purpose and need for bicycle facilities in San Antonio, and accommodate the implementation of bicycle facilities over the past few years, to update policies and include the introduction of feasibility studies to support further implementation of multimodal infrastructure. The new plan will focus on evaluating all areas of San Antonio, as well as the City of San Antonio Transportation Department’s re-evaluation of its programs and initiatives to provide clearer guidance on how to achieve safer streets and account for all transportation modes in planning, design, and implementation.
Among the topics and language to be addressed in the new plan include:
- Language regarding the implementation and connectivity associated with road capacity, parking, and the accommodation of additional bike facilities (additional traffic operations analysis and schematic development to determine the impacts of adding bicycle facilities to secure funding for bike facility implementation)
- Strengthening public outreach to garner community support for the future success of the bicycle network
- Addressing equity as it relates to a citizen’s transportation needs
We hope that these online tools will help readers familiarize themselves with the key components of ridership across borders, ensuring all road users can co-exist safely and share the road in 2023 and beyond.