Hunt's "At a Loss to Understand" Why City's Making It So Difficult to Roll Out Bike Plan

angelahuntbike.jpg
Via.
Council member Angela Hunt popped into the comments yesterday to express and explain her frustration with implementation of the city's new Bike Plan, unanimously okee-doked by the city council in June. Because, as we've been discussing since Saturday morning, the plan isn't really a plan -- more like a suggestion, in the words of frustrated cycling advocates who can't believe a 1981 proposition will serve as one amongst many roadblocks to implementation. (Though, interestingly, a former City Hall-walker told me yesterday city staff is misinterpreting the rule: I was told public hearings are necessary only when a street is widened, say, and not when it's restriped.)

Anyway. After a long absence from her blog, Hunt writes at great length about the new info presented to the Quality of Life Committee yesterday. Long story short: She is displeased at the revelation that it will cost $24,500 to paint a bike lane on a four-lane street. An excerpt:
I'm at a loss to understand why this is being explained months after the city council approved the bike plan. I mean, city staff attended every one of the bike plan meetings. Never once, when the consultants assured the audience that "routine accommodation" would allow us to quickly and cheaply implement the bike plan, never once did city staff jump up and say, "That's not feasible, Mr. Consultant. By our estimates it'll cost about 30 times more to put in bike lanes as we restripe, and we don't have the funding so don't give anyone false hope."
The whole item -- headlined "Dallas: The City That Loves to Plan" -- can be read here.

Meanwhile, on a very related note, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff this morning has an item titled "All Major US Cities beating Dallas for on-street bike infrastructure." Guess we aren't world-class yet after all.
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28 comments
trudat
trudat

What's the word...beauracracy?..BS?..just plain lack of interest in the will of the people?...How about some good ole non-violent, direct action to dramatize the point.  Anybody?  Is it worth putting it on the line - in person??

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Angela simple answer,City Manager does not want to do it. I'm not sure why City Council continue to think they run City. Councilmembers only run dirty work,like changing selection process of selecting DFW Board members now that has BACKFIRED on people who wanted it,just to get rid of some of us,their candidates DID NOT MAKE CUT. HA ,HA.Told you so. When Ms. Mary decide she wants to have bike lane on regular streets there will be some.

Jbarr
Jbarr

I don't want my earlier comment to be taken that our city staff gets it wrong. They get it. My preception is that we get people into these meetings citing their opinions as fact, when they're dead wrong. Bike lanes are needed. Let's pay for them ourselves, paint them ourselves, put them in with approval of the council. Get off the city management. Do something yourselves. Government can't fix it. They try but the city staff is pulled from meeting to meeting, with eberyone bitching. I'm just tired of Dallas Citizens expecting someone else , the city, a grant, a developer, to do what they can do if they will just do it. We are out of money folks!

Jbarr
Jbarr

Well, the bikes facts change depending on when you ask the question. I have been active in this area and find thast the so called experts pull facts out of the air. We need our transportation planners to give us real evaluations. Councilwomen Hunt, gets it and she's right the numbers are moving targets. John Barr

Magic Paint
Magic Paint

Ok everyone calm down 'cause it's going to be all OK. Just remember all the great BFOC talking points?

http://bikefriendlyoc.wordpres...

Now look at number 11: " Bicycle lanes in most cities are installed when the City happens to be resurfacing a road anyway. This allows the money to come from the regular budget for repairing a road and requires very minimal costs" - Oops I guess (Rickey Ricardo voice: "Max K, you got some 'splainin' to do!)

The other BFOC funding talking points are:

TIFs - TIF (Tax Incremented Financing) Districts - Tax - That will fly well!Parking Improvement Districts - Another fancy name for a TaxFederal Grants: Right - like that is really going to happen...Friends of Organizations - BFOC - start the bake sale now! Cookies for paint...

New idea:  maybe we should tax any and all concert poured in the city for bikes! That way we can pour more (separate) concrete for bikes!

How ironic that this is Deja-Vu the Trinity Toll Road. ...Of course the NTTA could pay for the bike lanes - or better yet why not have toll lanes for bicycles!

Anon
Anon

don't try to tell BFOC that. when you disagree with them, they block the comment from appearing on their website!

sue_j_s
sue_j_s

Robert, curious to know if you have had any further confirmation on this: "Though, interestingly, a former City Hall-walker told me yesterday city staff is misinterpreting the rule: I was told public hearings are necessary only when a street is widened, say, and not when it's restriped."

Ellum08
Ellum08

Why didn't Ms. Hunt pipe up during one of those meetings and ask Mr. Consultant herself if the plan was feasible?

She has been a council member for over six years and has approved every single budget during that time, so wouldn't she know first hand that the city has no 'extra' money?

Or did she think the tax raise she voted for a couple of years ago would cover this as well?

Guest
Guest

That's the whole point, though. The consultants said it wouldn't cost extra. Just re-do the stripes with bike lanes when you're redoing the stripes anyway. The staff now, after all this time, now says it will not only cost a shit-ton but also that there's a law on the books that effectively requires the city to go through the rezoning process to paint the stripes differently.

I mean, standing up to the consultants and saying, "Are you sure it will only cost this much? Are there any obscure laws that you're not thinking of?" And so on wouldn't necessarily be my first line of thinking and likely would not have resulted in a different answer from the consultant.

guest
guest

I want one of those moving sidewalk thingys, like they have in the airports. If we're gonna be World Class we've gotta start thinking futuristic...this bike lane shite seems 19th century "World Class"!

RTGolden
RTGolden

aaaaah, you may be correct.  But, what if they put in in fake 'suspension bridge' bike lanes with exposed plumbing arches and dreamcatcher cables?  Now THAT'S world class, buddy.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I may be wrong on this, and I'm sure someone here will let me know if I am.  I'm not a lifelong Dallas resident, nor have I, until recently, paid much attention to what's going on in Dallas.  I have gotten a crash course in Dallas sociology and political science right here at Observer 101.  It would seem to me that much of what does or doesn't get done in Dallas is in the hands of this elusive group known as 'staff'.  I assume staff refers to department heads and their lackeys, who are accountable to the city manager's office.  It is apparent that the city manager's office doesn't really care what the council thinks, what they want, or whom they represent.  The city mgr seems to be working for the Citizen's Council.I would guess that the bike lanes and various other projects that seem to run into economic blockades are not in the interest of the City Manager, her lackeys, or her bosses.  Staff didn't raise any objections to what the consultants were saying because staff doesn't care.  Bike lanes aren't going to keep Park Cities' campaign contributions flowing in, nor are they going to be advantageous to Park Cities' residents.  You won't get a huge influx of Planoites, Friscans or other suburbanites coming in to bike on Dallas' streets.  It is a project that will benefit Dallas residents, and, sorry, there's no money in the budget for that.

Dal Guy
Dal Guy

Can't afford to paint bike lanes but, hey, let's build a toll road in the river bottoms.

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

never once did city staff jump up and say, "That's not feasible, Mr. Consultant..."------------------------------------------------------------------

Yeah right Angela.  And if that city staffer HAD jumped up and said that, he would have found himself out of work the next day. 

cp
cp

You don't attend many council meetings or committee briefings. do you? Jill Jordan does that on a daily basis. 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

A) Bike lanes are racist.B) The proper cronies weren't given the contract for it.C) World-class cities require special expensive paint for bike lanes.D) Larry Hagman wasn't available for a ribbon cutting to get it rolling.E) It's DISD's fault.F) Rick PerryG) Let Arlington have that projectH) All of the above

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

the consultants........ Mr. Consultant.

I guess they didn't do enough of the "Consult" Thing about this did they .

"Never once, when the consultants assured the audience that "routine accommodation" would allow us to quickly and cheaply implement the bike plan, never once did city staff jump up and say, "That's not feasible, Mr. Consultant."

Is finding out an expected cost part of the question Mr. Consultant should ask as a part of the job they are hired to do ?

Perhaps next time it should be ? In Bold Print at the bottom of the page ?

I am sure the actual payments the consultant expects to be paid are very clear to the council and to the consultant themselves.

Green Source DFW
Green Source DFW

Agreed. The real question is "has this happened with other of the city's lofty 'plans'". Perhaps this is the reason they number in the hundreds but are never implemented properly. What about Downtown Dallas 360? Are costs there properly understood by the council? This city calls itself "can do" but beneath the bluster one wonders if the term is accurate at times. Meanwhile things need to be taking place on the ground NOW to make Dallas more sustainable and increase quality of life.

Anon
Anon

I think the city (and A Hunt and Scott Griggs in particular) should look into this issue and make sure not to dismiss it as a snarky comment. What is the scope of work for which these bike consultants are paid? Consulting is a very high margin business, and can be well worth it when the advice is sound. It can save money and headaches down the road when it is done well. Often, it's just a bunch of expensive guys in suits telling you what you wanted to hear or already knew. Or telling you where they want you to get without building an actionable course to navigate your way to the desired end.If their services were supposed to include a plan to finance and pay for the bike plan recommendations, why isn't the city going back to them and asking for money back? If their recommendation that bike lanes could be wrapped into regular maintenance was just based on their idea that "hey, it shouldn't really be too much more expensive" then they did not actually provide the service for which they were contracted and paid. If it wasn't within the scope of their work, why wasn't city staff asked to chime in from day one? 

Oak Cliff Clavin
Oak Cliff Clavin

Is the suggestion that indie-rockers make lousy urban planners? 

Oak Cliff Clavin
Oak Cliff Clavin

This will become my new excuse for everything:

Did you take out the trash Honey? Nope, staff didn't tell me.

james
james

are you sure you want that trash can emptied? do you want it returned to its place? do i dump it in the usual dumpster? what day next month would you like this done? that will be $462.56 please for permits, labor, and taxes. why so much? well it's against the rules to put a trash can back without sanitizing it.   ...then the human might ask 'but the sanitized trash can isn't clean? to which big brother might reply...well it's a specially approved sanitizing spray that coats all the small bits of trash and makes them stick to the sides and bottom of the can.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Seems like some city staff need to be flipping hamburgers and not working at the city.

Montemalone
Montemalone

They'd have to hire consultants to tell them when to flip, how many times to flip, whether or not to salt, and to let them know when it's done.

Guest
Guest

Might I make a suggestion as to why the city is throwing up road blocks to implementing a bike plan?

The city is designed to throw up road blocks for anything and everything. The only time these road blocks are whisked away with ease is when a big developer is behind whatever needs to get approved.

Montemalone
Montemalone

with big campaign donations, don't forget

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