Invisible Riders on the Border

Invisible Riders on the Border

Over ten thousand people per day cross through the pedestrian/bicycle international bridge of Laredo, Texas, strolling from one country to another as part of their daily commute. Those on bike, sometimes known as invisible riders, are especially vulnerable because they lack the infrastructure and protection to safely ride down major streets. Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico are considered “sister cities”, adjacent to one another and sharing both economic vitality and challenges. In 2016, the nation’s only dedicated bike lane in an international bridge was developed there, enabling social equity to a vulnerable population on the border. The new, low-traffic bridge bike lane together with the inherent affordability and convenience of bicycling led to a rise in bicycle use in the city. However, the infrastructure to support the new bicyclists was lacking. This became an opportunity for advocates and state and city officials and staff to work together in developing solutions. The City of Laredo Traffic, Planning, Health, Parks & Leisure, Police, and Public Transportation departments along with the Texas Department of Transportation and local advocates worked together to build on the momentum of the bridge bike lane. These agencies partnered to initiate efforts that facilitate the ‘first mile, last mile’ stretches for bicyclists, including bike racks, repair stations, bike racks on all buses, bike safety ordinances, educational programs, and awareness campaigns. With a comprehensive and equitable approach, we are bringing invisible riders into the light.

Frank RotnofskyFrank Rotnofsky is a registered Architect in Texas and New York with over 30 years of experience in urban design, master planning, feasibility studies, historical preservation, institutional and commercial design.

Frank is a founding principal of Able City, an architecture, urbanism, and city making firm with offices in both Laredo and San Antonio, Texas.

Prior to Able City, Frank worked with Gaetano Pesce, Artist, Architect in Venice, Italy, as well as various architectural firms in New York City. In 1996, together with Viviana Frank, he co-founded Frank Architects, Inc. in Laredo, TX.

His commitment and perspective in transportation connectivity and mobility issues makes him a key team member in Able City as he explores efficient and sustainable ways to connect people to places. His passion for mobility led him to found Bike Laredo, an advocacy group focusing on diversity in transportation. He is an avid road and mountain bike cyclist focused on making Texas a safer more rideable/walkable state. When he’s not cycling, Frank can be found making transcendental Spotify playlists for his indoor cycling class.

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