What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

13 February 2012

Senator Ellis: Texas Trails Conference

Yes, I'm still posting about the Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference. It was a very good day.

I remember that the food for lunch was very good. I do not remember what it was, except that we had chocolate cake for dessert. And I could have eaten just chocolate cake and been perfectly happy.

Source: BikeTexas / Ann Harkness
So the lunchtime keynote speaker was State Senator Rodney Ellis, from Houston. I've heard Senator Ellis' name a lot at BikeTexas, because he's good friends with the director, and they work together on a lot of issues. (This is the point in the conference when I gave up note-taking for live-tweeting, so I'm having to piece together what he said from my tweets and from memory. Here goes.)

Senator Ellis leads a lot of bike rides during legislative sessions, in his district, and this past year, as the national conference of state legislators. He said, "I make it my business to get as many of my colleagues as possible out on a bike ride." He talked about the benefits of cycling, not the least of which is that everyone relaxes and for a few minutes it's not about red vs. blue, but instead is about having fun and seeing things at a slower pace than the usual breakneck legislative crazy. Plus, once lawmakers have been on a bike a few times, they are a lot more open to the idea of making sure streets are safe for people to continue cycling.

He also talked about how city bike rides are great for showcasing the city and getting people to be more active. This came on the heels of sharing the success of Tour da Hood, a bike ride that the Senator leads in Houston through less-than-wonderful neighbourhoods, which "generated excitement".

He mentioned the problem with getting a statewide Safe Passing Law passed in the '09 legislative session (it passed through the state legislature with bipartisan support, but then the governor who I will under no circumstances mention by name on my blog vetoed it). Despite that disappointment, Senator Ellis said he was proud that several cities in Texas have their own Safe Passing ordinances (including Austin and San Antonio).

It was great to hear from Senator Ellis. And that takes care of part three of my conference posts. I bet you're glad that I don't recap all of my days in this kind of detail, eh?

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