How Will Dallas Roll Out New Bike Plan? Just Look at the Plan For Fort Worth Avenue.

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Click to enlarge for a better look at a proposed plan to redo Fort Worth Ave.
By 2021 the city of Dallas hopes to have 1,296 miles of here-to-there dedicated to cyclists, 456 of which would be off-road -- trails, let's say. Which leaves the rest, 840 miles, spread up and down the cracked concrete, bike lanes and cycle tracks chief among the options. So, then, how to roll out the new bike plan approved by the council over the summer? The answer's contained in a briefing sent to council last night in advance of the Quality of Life Committee's meeting Monday morning, during which they'll take up Bike Plan Implementation.

As Theresa O'Donnell, head of Sustainable Development, told me last night: The Bike Plan will be treated like the forwardDallas! Comprehensive Plan, which more or less tells developers where they can kinda do what, but not exactly.

Says O'Donnell, "You can go to the forwardDallas! plan and look for the general location of your property and see some fuzzy brown color on it, which means it's appropriate for high density mixed-use transit-oriented development. But that doesn't mean you can build something 300 feet high there. You have to go through the zoning process, and if you make it through and if the property is suitable and you can plat it, then the vision becomes the reality. The Bike Plan is exactly the same way: It provides policy guidance about proper location and priority areas, but in most instances you're going to have to go through a thoroughfare amendment process before you stripe lanes."

And a thoroughfare amendment is no simple slam-dunk: There would more than likely be a series of town halls followed by the requisite public hearings in front of the CPC and council before their respective votes. Says O'Donnell, there are a lot of folks to consider when remaking a roadway: "commuters, residents, merchants, developers with beautiful grand visions. But public input and public consensus is a good thing and something we appreciate."

We'll get into this more on Monday; I know, you can't wait. But to see how this is going to play itself out, time and time and time again, the council's being presented with its first concrete look-see: creating a dedicated bike lane for Fort Worth Avenue, between Beckley and Hampton, in an effort to get cyclists in Oak Cliff and West Dallas into (or at least close to?) downtown. But how? Oh, the options.

First off, as the briefing explains, Public Works and Economic Development looked at this stretch of concrete (running past the Belmont and the proposed Sylvan Thirty development) and took a particular interest in it, even though it's not high on the Bike Plan's to-do list. (Per the briefing: "Although an important part of the ultimate citywide bike network, this corridor does not currently link many destinations and poses potential safety concerns for bicyclists without the critical Downtown linkage.")

Huitt-Zollars, the engineering firm that worked on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, has already been brought in to conceptually redevelop Fort Worth Ave.-West Commerce from Beckley to Westmoreland. The firm's 50 percent done with its redo and has four options for the city, including shared bike lanes, buffered bike lanes and a complete Complete Streets do-over. Some would be temporary (90 days, the max allowed by City Code at the moment); others, permanent.

"But there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered about the actual operation," says O'Donnell. Such as: "What happens at the intersection? Should we do buffered bike lanes? How do you get into downtown? Getting through Dealey Plaza is a feat in and of itself. And folks like you and Jason Roberts will get out there and mix in with the traffic. But me, with my 4- and 6-year-old trailing behind, where do we go?

"Those things have to be vetted and gone through. Same with Sylvan. For that section do we want to try the reverse-angle parking or are we good with parallel? Will it be on private or public property. And if it's public, do we go to the bank and Valero and say they need to dedicate more. When you try to execute practical application of a theory, that's when the warts begin to appear."


Theresa: The Bike Plan, what I am trying to lay out,
It's like the Forward Dallas masterplan.







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14 comments
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Thom Stayart
Thom Stayart

Hope this goes forward avoiding the normal "City Hall" bullshit. Dallas, The International City?" needs to act like one & promote bike lanes like every other city in the world!

Tim
Tim

"Getting through Dealey Plaza is a feat in and of itself."So why don't we start with downtown and move outward?  That seems like a reasonable course to me.  Of course, this is still Dallas.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

So if we have bike lanes, will cyclist stay in them, I mean some cant decide if the want to ride in the street, on the sidewalk or a combination of both.  you want a vehicle to completely change lanes to pass you right, well then when we are sitting at a red light, dont ride down the shoulder to be sitting first in line.  HOpefully dallas doesnt half ass this thing and gets it right the first time

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

We will know HOW the Plan works by the Number of Injured, Maimed for Life and Killed cyclist we have or in some cases wont have  after the first few years .If the numbers are low great keep it going .If they are high then the program can be scrapped ..Who is going to be around to complain ?

Lets talk about some law changes !

I think if you want to ride that Bike on a public provided place you should have to Register it with the state have a readable Tag. Have it Safety Inspected Lights Horn and Turn Signals brakes  and a readable inspection Sticker and most important if you are going to be a part of a traffic flow in congested area have a Drivers  License  endorsement showing you have taken a rider safety course and test .Of course you will need to have insurance as law requires for the tags and inspections .

Some exemptions for kids .

Aside from that I see no problem with folks who want special considerations in lanes and other things

And the rules of the road will apply

Anon
Anon

this is exactly correct. even those of us who would like to accommodate bikers and help make them feel safe get frustrated when their behavior is completely unpredictable. will they follow the traffic laws? or will they think of themselves as glorified pedestrians? it would help if the leaders of the movement agreed. as it is, I have seen Jason Roberts run red lights, drive the wrong way against traffic, and ride his bikes on sidewalks. clearly, with a car culture that respected bikes, or infrastructure that made it safer, they wouldn't have to resort to law-breaking. but in the meantime it just isn't good marketing.

Richard Wharton
Richard Wharton

www.cyclingsavvydfw.com. Easy solution. They just taught it last weekend, and had people riding over Central via NW Hwy, and back over Park Lane, with zero problems. It's easy, quick, affordable, and effective. Think about teaching cyclists how to be better bike drivers  before throwing up something that is essentially atherosclerosis of the road system. 

James Donohue
James Donohue

Great, but I think there is a need for more promotion of Bicycling as a means of transportation. Most people don't even realize the advantages of Bicycles. 

Just to mention a few points:

1) A Bicyclist can cover five times the distance that a Pedestrian can cover , in the same amount of time. This is due to the fact that the Gears, the transmission of the Bicycle, make the wheel revolve Five times , with each revolution of the pedals. It's called "Mechanical Advantage". Add to that the rolling of the wheels, the cyclist can take a five second break, and keep rolling. This has been true since the chain drive bicycle was invented in 1886.

2) In 1975, bicycle helmets appeared , they cost $500.00 back then, but for people with brains, it was worth it. Helmets have come down in price since then due to mass production.

3) Around 1990, someone invented a better rear-view mirror for Bicycles. The new mirrors are mounted on the end of the handlebars, and have a convex lens, so the Cyclist has a wide angle view. (Older mirrors were useless, the rider could only see his own clothes, not any cars behind him).

4) There are better lights available for night riding, with LED's in place of bulbs. The new lights last a long, long time on a set of batteries.

5) The ten speed bicycle was introduced to the USA (from Italy) in 1960. Todays bikes have a minimum of twenty-one speeds. A ten speed bike today is an antique.

6) The Video Camcorder. I got one back in 1992. Today , a cell phone can record video. It's amazing what a little video surveillance will do . Soon as the camera is pointed at them, the car drivers suddenly remember how to drive in a straight line!

7) For the Automobile, most cars today have rack-and-pinnion steering, so it's easier for drivers to pass bicycles safely. (better handling)

Andyroo
Andyroo

Exisisting budgets for road overlay, restriping and sidewalk repair could build major portions of the bike plan, make roads safer for pedestrians and all travelers. We just need to take the focus from the car to people.

The sidewalk repair to davis street near bishop arts could havr made it into a main street. Instead we reinforced the autocentric design. Why? Because streets are on autopilot in Dallas and departmental coordination is nonexisistant. Its starts with leadership. Privately we need a transportation czar to watch over all projects and onternally we need an assistant city manager were the transportation "buck" stops at.

Jason Howard
Jason Howard

I hope the new bike plan will be good for us. I am looking forward to the new plan.

dallasmay
dallasmay

The correct answer is two fold.

1) Do the easy stuff quickly. 2) Do the hard stuff slowly.  

There are some very easy and nearly free things the city can do to bring about major aspects of the bike plan. We already have thousands of perfectly good roads that are acceptable for biking. We can easily and clearly make those roads "bike routes" by simply painting clear markings on the roads. (http://nctcog.org/trans/images... We don't even need to make special lans. Clear symbols on the roads will be enough to educate drivers and bikers that this road is an acceptable bike route. We could start this today for very little money. 

As for the more expensive and difficult stuff, we should roll it out with regularly scheduled road maintenance. There is no real need to rush this. We should take our time, do it right, and not pinch pennies. Every year, the city of Dallas has funds built into it's budget for regularly scheduled road maintenance.  Roads have about a 30-40 year life span, they don't last forever, and need to be rebuilt with regular frequency. Roll out the hard stuff with regular maintenance. If we follow these two steps we can achieve both goals. We can quickly have a wide network of clear bike routes, and in 50 years the citizens of Dallas will have a robust built infrastructure. 

The WRONG ANSWER would be to take out public debt in order to rush out a half ass'ed system.  

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

The WRONG ANSWER would be to take out public debt in order to rush out a half ass'ed system.

But just think how much heat we would take off the Bozos who thought the Standing wave was a well planned project ?

JM
JM

You forgot about the "public hearings".

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