Bike Laredo, within less than a year since its inception, has been able to coalesce the voices of the Texas Department of Transportation, City of Laredo officials and staff, local school districts, and mobility advocates with a resolve to work towards the implementation of an active transportation and trails system that is equitable, accessible and safe for all types of commuters through community outreach and advocacy.
Laredo, a city on the U.S.-Mexico border, has a ubiquitous car culture that has hindered the health, walkability, and quality of life of its citizens. A lack of mobility options in Laredo has had a direct economic and social impact on its residents. On average Laredoans spend 1/3 of household income on transportation costs. The county’s obesity rate is at 35.7%, about 6% higher than the state average. In addition, sitting on the border, Laredo has a transnational culture which makes commuting from country to country for work opportunities a common reality for its inhabitants. Many bike commuters are users whose bikes are the only means of transportation they have.
Within less than a year since its inception and working closely with the City of Laredo Health Department Active Living Coalition, the group has collaborated with stakeholders, officials, staff, and advocates to improve the active transportation and trail network. A few examples of their successes include utilizing community outreach and advocacy for the adoption of a citywide bikeway plan, collaborating with the city and state for the striping of bike lanes, and working with city on a media campaign educating cyclists and motorists on the rules of the road, among many other initiatives to make cycling culture a norm in this historic border city.
About the Presenters:
Frank is passionate about mobility issues and city-making that improve connectivity among citizens. As an architect, urban planner, and avid cyclist his insight has contributed to the formation of policies that impact urban life. After extensive community outreach and input on the City of Laredo Comprehensive Plan revealed connectivity was one of the top priorities for Laredoans’ quality of life, him and a group of advocates worked on the formation of Bike Laredo having achieved tremendous successes in the past year.
Karen Gaytan is a writer, filmmaker and one of the founding members of Bike Laredo. As a borderlands native particularly observant of inequality issues, she became involved in active transportation efforts to create a more equitable mobility system in Laredo. Her passion for research and organization drives her to work closely with community members and stakeholders for solution-driven initiatives. As a most recent cycling enthusiast, she enjoys learning about the new ways to enjoy cities through a cycling lens.
As a City of Laredo Council member, George Altgelt has played a vital role in the implementation of active transportation strategies. Through his collaboration with City of Laredo staff and insight of local government resources, Altgelt allows for expedited results that directly impact the quality of life of Laredoans. As an avid mountain cyclist with a passion for environmental and social justice, he works to ensure Laredoans live in an accessible and equitable city through a just transportation system.