June 10th, 2009

For over a decade, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) has sponsored a special sub-committee to the Regional Transportation Council (RTC), whose purpose is to advise the parent entity on bicycle and pedestrian issues. Named the Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Task Force (BPTTF), this committee has historically been egalitarian in nature and comprised of not only representatives of municipal governments, but also included members of various advocacy groups and at large “interested parties”. All members brought unique and relevant perspectives to the table and had an equal vote in the decision making process.

Unfortunately, in recent years the BPTTF became somewhat ineffective. Meetings were few and far between; often occurring only annually. As a result, the agenda became so packed that little room remained for discussion. It largely became a show-and-tell gathering wherein invited speakers or municipal representives simply presented study findings or project summaries. Any attempt to provide commentary or criticism was often stifled in the interest of keeping the meeting on track in order to ensure it did not exceed its ninety minute allocation. Platitiudes that ample opportunities would be extended in future meetings to accommodate feedback were offered to pacify questioners, but never realized. These meetings did not occur and necessary discussions were left in perpetual limbo.

Earlier this year, I was fortunate to receive surreptitious notification that regular meetings of an advisory committee would resume. However, it would not be the BPTTF of old. Renamed and restructured, the new entity would be known as the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). [Actually, it was originally to be named the Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Action Council (BP-TAC).]  No longer would the franchise members be comprised of knowledgeable members of the transportation and recreational cycling communities. Instead, the group will be comprised of seven transportation providers, 35 municipal representatives from the Surface Transportation Technical Committee (STTC), nine STTC county representatives and four regional focus groups. It is these four “focus groups” to which advocacy representatives will be relegated.

The Regional Focus Groups will be designated by COG staff and do not seen to be based upon merit or relevance. A single representative will be allowed from the Texas Bicycle Coalition (TBC), the Texas Trails Network (TTN), BikeDFW, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Of these groups, only two have any realistic experience directing bicycle transportation activity. The TTN is focused on recreational issues and TCEQ, while a legitimate voice for the RTC in general, has no bicycle related credentials. Having their voice filtered through a sub-committee designed to offer bicycle related input seems ridiculous.

Of course, “interested parties” have been assured that their presence and participation is still appreciated. They will simply not have a vote in any deciding poll and will be relegated to the sidelines.

Planning for this restructuring was apparently initiated last summer (July). A follow-up message distributed in January updated prospective members on the progress. Were it not for a friendly contact within one of the proposed municipal entities, I likely would not have received notice until the notice included below was distributed. This even though I have been a regular, active and cited member of the original BPTTF for over a decade.

With that introduction in mind, I present the following notice to interested parties and encourage you to make an effort to attend. This is especially true for those who have been dedicated participants of the BPTTF in the past. Get your ducks aligned and be prepared to express your dissatisfaction at this restructuring and demand equal representation by legitimate, experienced bicycle advocates.

Good Afternoon,

The North Central Texas Council of Governments’ (NCTCOG) newly restructured Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) is set to hold its first meeting on June 17, 2009 from 3:15 pm to 4:30 pm in the Transportation Council Room at the NCTCOG offices. I apologize for the inactivity of the BPAC in recent months, but with the emergence of many new bicycle and pedestrian projects, our goal is to become a more active body within the region. We are planning to hold three BPAC meetings for the year 2009; the dates for the last two meetings of the year will be announced at the BPAC meeting on June 17.

Representing the BPAC as Chair for the 2009 term will be Don Koski. He is a Senior Planner with the City of Fort Worth Transportation and Public Works Department, and is the principal planner for Bike Fort Worth, the City’s updated comprehensive bicycle transportation plan. Fulfilling the role of Vice Chair for the BPAC 2009 term is Ms. Renée Burke Jordan. Renée is the Trail System Planner for the City of Plano’s Parks and Recreation Department, and the planner responsible for the 2009 update to the City’s Bicycle Transportation Plan.

The agenda for this meeting will include a review of the restructuring of the BPAC, an update on the 2009 Sustainable Development Call for Projects funding program, status of the Regional Veloweb updates, and an update on the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG). We are also designating time for presentations on bicycle and pedestrian initiatives and/or projects occurring throughout the region.  For this meeting we will focus on the Cities of Fort Worth and Plano.  Future meetings will include presentations on bicycle and pedestrian projects from other Cities.

In addition, NCTCOG is offering a FREE webinar hosted by Peter Lagerway on Bicycle Master Plans before the meeting from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, also in the Transportation Council Room. Come early and learn the step-by-step process of how to create and implement a successful bicycle master plan in your city.  Please see the attached flyer for more details.

To RSVP for the meeting and webinar, please respond to this e-mail by June 12, 2009.

A map to the NCTCOG offices can be found here.

I look forward to seeing all of you there. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at anytime.

Thank you,

Deborah Humphreys

Transportation Planner | Bicycle and Pedestrian Program

North Central Texas Council of Governments

616 Six Flags Drive | Arlington, TX 76011

Direct: (817) 608-2394

Fax: (817) 640-3028

P please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

One Response to “NCTCOG BPAC”

  1. Steve A says:

    For anyone else planning to go, the meeting is in the Centerpoint II building. I’m informed that there are “bicycle racks in the rear of the building that you are welcome to use.”

    Deborah did not have a copy of the Fort Worth Bike Plan she could send me.

    My plan is to listen and observe with an open mind. I’d be interested in comparing notes & impressions after the meeting.

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