Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition launching project to make city mor - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition launching project to make city more bike-friendly

The Nacogdoches Healthy Coalition volunteers are using existing grant money to create awareness how cycling can improve a person’s health. (Source: KTRE Staff) The Nacogdoches Healthy Coalition volunteers are using existing grant money to create awareness how cycling can improve a person’s health. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Cyclist Dr. William Forbes cycles about 2,000 miles a year, most of it in Nacogdoches County. (Source: KTRE Staff) Cyclist Dr. William Forbes cycles about 2,000 miles a year, most of it in Nacogdoches County. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Application for new funding is underway to help pay for decorative, but functional bike racks will be made by a local artist and placed around Nacogdoches. (Source: KTRE Staff) Application for new funding is underway to help pay for decorative, but functional bike racks will be made by a local artist and placed around Nacogdoches. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition is launching “Bike Nac Project.”

The goal is to focus on making Nacogdoches a bike-friendly town, something cyclists say is definitely needed for safety and health reasons.

Dr. William Forbes is an avid cyclist, and he has been for over 40 years.

"I try to cycle 2,000 miles a year which is about 170 miles a month,” Forbes said.

Most of those miles are pedaled right around Nacogdoches and Nacogdoches County.

The Sustainable Community Development specialist said the city could use some bike friendly improvements.  

"Some of the more dangerous things are the higher traffic roads with little or no shoulder such as University Drive,” Forbes said.

Cyclists use side streets, but say improvements could be made there, too.

"Be appropriate for painted bike lanes. They're not that expensive,” Forbes said. “Often, you're talking 1 to2 percent of the budget for all transportation."

To move in that direction, the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition is seeking grants to promote cycling as a way to improve heart health. Nacogdoches County has a poor state ranking when it comes to being physically active.

"That's why our heart disease ranking is so high,” said Vista McCroskey, a prevention specialist at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital. “That's why our obesity and diabetes rankings are so high."

The volunteers are seeking funding for the construction of forward thinking bike racks. They have a tangible purpose, but more so will instill awareness that cycling is good for the body.

"A large, modern-looking bicycle rack will remind our people as they travel about town that our town is trying to become more bikable,” said Kim Barton, the director of community health for Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital.

Forbes is confident interest in his favorite mode of transportation will reach others through every bike-related reminder.

"It's one of those things where you build it and people will use it,” Forbes said.

Right now, the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition is seeking commitment letters to attach to a promising grant application.

Contact Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital's prevention specialist if you want to help out.

By the way, it turns out today is National Bike to Work Day.

Copyright 2016 KTRE. All rights reserved.

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