Group pushing for biking master plan

POSTED: 06:25 PM MDT Apr 30, 2013    UPDATED: 06:18 PM MST Jan 15, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

A group of bike enthusiasts is trying to encourage cycling and work with the city to create master plan for bike routes.

Currently, the Texas Department of Transportation and the City of El Paso have bike routes in different parts of the city, but none of them provide comprehensive connectivity.

For avid cyclist, David Samaniego, it is impossible or dangerous to ride to work. "Unfortunately the way it stands, there's not really a safe route to ride my bike from the far westside to Downtown." His woe is shared by many El Pasoans.

The lack of bike routes has a ripple effect, according to the bike riders. If there aren't a lot of cyclists on the road, then car drivers don't get accustomed to sharing roadways with them and that can lead to accidents.

"Every city's gone through that. Through education and just having more cyclists on the road, they get used to it," said Samaniego.

Some of the cyclists in Samaniego's group, El Paso Bike Month, are trying to get the city to develop a master plan for bike routes.
The city's comprehensive plan, called Plan El Paso, which City Council passed last March, does call for more bike routes that'll come online in the next few years. But cyclists want a more cohesive and complete connectivity through cycling routes. A City Spokeswoman said the city is open to suggestions.

"El Paso has some of the best weather in the country, you could ride year round in El Paso so if we can make bicycling more safe in El Paso, it'd definitely be an asset."

For others, it's about quality of life and economic development. "When Google went to Austin, one of their biggest questions was 'what are your bike and pedestrian amenities?", said Ben Foster, Chair of the Mass Transit Board, who's also part of El Paso Bike Month.

The organization is planning several rides and activities through May. The bike month kicks off with a ride which starts at San Jacinto Plaza in Downtown Wednesday evening at 6. For more information, you can visit their website. It's on the "links mentioned" section of kvia.com.