The Sherman City Council recently declared its unanimous support for a plan to improve the city’s bicycle infrastructure.
Along with the resolution of support and a proclamation declaring May “Sherman Bike Month,” the council members received a draft copy of the newly updated Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
“Part of the parks master plan involves biking thoroughfares and hiking bike trails, things like that,” City Manager Robby Hefton said. “This resolution is really one of many steps we’ll be taking to address the need and desire for these infrastructure improvements throughout town. The fact that we’ve just done this proclamation and now have this resolution, the support ties in well with the timing of receiving the parks master plan.”
The request for the resolution supporting the prioritization of bicycle infrastructure improvements came from Parks and Recreation Board Chairman Sholdon Daniels, who also recently founded the group “Bike Sherman” to promote cycling in the city. Council member Terrence Steele presented the council’s proclamation to Daniels after reading it aloud during Monday’s meeting.
“Sherman’s road and trail system attracts bicyclists each year, providing economic health, transportation, tourism and scenic benefits,” Steele read from the proclamation. “Creating a bicycling-friendly community has been shown to improve citizens’ health, well-being and quality of life, growing the economy of Sherman, attracting tourism dollars, improving traffic safety, supporting student learning outcomes and reducing pollution, congestion and wear and tear on our streets and roads.”
After receiving the proclamation, Daniels thanked the council for its support of the bicycle initiatives.
“There’s a lot of people out there that are going to take advantage of this move, and we look forward to seeing all the new infrastructure, whether it be shared bike lanes, bicycle boulevards, dedicated bike lanes, more signs,” Daniels said. “We just want it to be safer, and we appreciate you all trying to make it that way.”
Director of Public Services Steve Ayers said the work on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan was a collaboration between the community, the Parks and Recreation Board, city staff and community planners.
“As a part of that master plan, it does play into an emphasis on bikes in Sherman,” Ayers said. “And we’re actually going to work with Parks and Recreation and our planner to maybe have a subsection of that master plan to go into more detail on planning. So right now, it’s a team effort with the parks board and staff to come up with some good, realistic, practical recommendations of some things we can act on in the near future.”
Council member Shawn Teamann said when he took part in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan input session, he saw the overwhelming support of citizens requesting bicycle infrastructure improvements. Teamann said he’s been meeting with staff and the Parks and Recreation board about adding some bicycle boulevards in the city.
“Those would basically be a shared roadway space with bicyclists and help connect the parks around Sherman,” Teamann said of the bicycle boulevards. “There’s no set-in-stone plans on that right now, but we’re getting very close to having something that could be presentable, for instance, to connect Pecan Grove West over to Fairview Park and trying to get it all the way over to Old Settlers Park on the east side of town.”
With the talk of increased bicycle lines around the city, council member Pam Howeth, who is also a teacher at Sherman High School, said it could cut down on the number of students she sees walking to school in the morning.
“I think seeing some of you responsible adult males biking and maybe speaking to them, maybe they’ll start seeing that it is OK,” Howeth said, adding she believes students stop seeing cycling as cool in middle school. “Instead of walking, maybe they’ll actually start biking to school with the infrastructure we have.”