Back, Pedal: Dallas Bike Lanes Won't Be Easy, But They Just Might Happen After All

Categories: City Hall

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Thank you, Delia Jasso, for this lovely addition to my cubicle.
The bureaucratic red tape for bike lanes is loosening in Dallas. Well, OK. There's talk of it loosening. Which, for those who like to want to ride their bicycles, who want to ride them where they like, is better than nothing.

At today's meeting of the city council's Transportation and Environment Committee. Theresa O'Donnell, director of Sustainable Development and Construction, addressed two questions posed to her by several council members (and many others, directly or indirectly): Is there money for bike lanes? And, is it efficient to paint bike lanes as streets undergo routine re-striping?

"It actually is quite a bit more intensive than normal striping," said O'Donnell, touching on a conversation that was explored in-depth in December, when council members learned that re-striping 840 miles of on-street bike routes would cost a hefty $16 million. And while 198 of 312 miles of road slated for re-striping overlap with the city's bike plan, council was also told it would cost an additional $4.1 to do so. Not to mention: Many of those miles would require thoroughfare plan amendments, which is a months-long public process similar to zoning. In a December column, Jim found that this thick bureaucratic quagmire is uniquely Dallas. Other cities around the country tag on bike striping to routine street maintenance, avoiding this conversation altogether.

This afternoon, O'Donnell said it may be possible to group several street segments together for thoroughfare amendments or to streamline the whole process -- if the council agrees it's necessary.

But one thing is still certain:

"In most instances we wouldn't recommend striping the biking facility at the same time [as the rest of the street]," O'Donnell said. It would leave jangly bits of disconnected path and would be expensive to paint, even if the trucks are already on the street. But despite the complicating factors, O'Donnell said, "We found six [bike lane corridors] that make a lot of sense."

The list: a link through downtown that would connect the Katy Trail and the Santa Fe Trail; striping along Fort Worth Avenue; along the Davis Corridor and West 7th Street in Oak Cliff; a "bike link" from neighborhoods to the Northhaven Trail; links to the Trinity from the Katy Trail and Bishop Arts; and a link from downtown to Oak Cliff.

The Grand Total: 21 to 22 miles, $453,000 to $495,000, with $160,000 funding identified and a funding gap twice that -- oh, and maintenance, which doesn't come free.

That last bit is the catch. Where will the money come from? The city's grant seeking has been unsuccessful thus far, and mutterings of leftover savings from a 2006 bond package sound far-fetched. As it stands now, private funding and prayers are the best bets.

Nonetheless, O'Donnell said, "We think those certainly make sense for us to continue to pursue."

Council member Delia Jasso provided her general thoughts on the issue, "As far as guidance, I think whatever is the easiest and the fastest ... I think you'll have a lot of private interest in this as well." She brought along a couple props, flashing bike lights, which are important for safety, and a "Please be kind to cyclists" bumper sticker, which she kindly gave to me.

When O'Donnell was pressed further about funding by council member Sandy Grayson and others who echoed her concerns, O'Donnell said city staff is still exploring options. "We continue to kind of look under rocks," she said. But O'Donnell agreed to provide more information about the money next month. Pedal, pedal, pedal.

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Richard Wharton
Richard Wharton

www.cyclingsavvydfw.org

No need for bike lanes, and this doesn't cost the city a dime. Drive your bike responsibly, like a motorist, and cycling becomes... mundane. Cyclists are not 'Special Needs' folks. Why so much emphasis on bike lanes when huge chunks of the city have no sidewalks? You want to promote neighborhoods and transportation, start there. Bikes already have access to the roads, as is, right now.

Branden Helms
Branden Helms

Part of the issue is that Dallas roads are designed to get as many cars through the area as fast as possible. 45 miles an hour, the legal speed limit on many Dallas roads (and how many people exceed that), can be a death sentence to the bike that happened to be legally riding when the Dallas driver was distracted by the text message being sent. A better designed road would mitigate that, but that cat is out of the bag.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Or, the more likely scenario, in my experience, 45 mph becomes a serious threat to motorist safety when a jackass on a bike comes barreling off the trail at white rock, into traffic and cars have to slam on their brakes and swerve to avoid killing said biker.

On the flip side, bikers want motorists to respect and honor their right to operate on the city streets, but just try running, jogging, walking or even pushing a baby stroller along the trails around white rock lake.  Bikers, like has been said above, think it's 'all about ME', and believe that everyone and everything should give way to their particular wants.

When bikers can insert themselves responsibly into traffic.  Hold their place in line at red lights and stop signs, make proper turns, properly occupy a lane, use proper hand signals and follow all the laws and rules governing bicycle use on roadways, then they can come and ask for 'extra' funds to be dedicated to them.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

The internet was put to sleep by that boring response, you had no valid points-thank you! 

REBOOT.  haghjSAiaDUIiuFHEOFjfjvj. 

ps-Please try again.  Drug tests will be taken-sir. 

Branden Helms
Branden Helms

Anecdotes are useless, I guess in your experience, every driver in Dallas has been courteous and followed every law.

I personally have seen "45 mph becomes a serious threat to motorist safety when a jackass in a car comes barreling through/around an intersection, into traffic and cars have to slam on their brakes and swerve to avoid killing said driver.The problem you discuss is not a car vs. bike thing, but a human thing.

The point is simple, the streets of Dallas are designed for cars and nothing else.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Novel idea's:

-fix potholes first!?-make people on bikes ride on the BIKE TRAIL?

Dallas problem solved-thank you.....whew, who knew I was such a genius?  See, that's all ya gotta do, just think practical Dallas. __________

Next Problem-The Trninty River:-Quit dumping pig blood into the path of the Dallas Wave. 

Next Problem-Downtown sucks:-Maybe next time lure a major franchise sports town to downtown (Rangers, Cowboys)

Next Problem-Dallas Schools:-Oh I can't fix that I'm not a frickin' miracle worker!

Branden Helms
Branden Helms

And what do you do when you get to the end of the trails?

It may not matter much, but I don't think you are a genius. I think you are typical of the old guard that doesn't know anything but cars.

KP
KP

What do you do when you get to the end of the bike lanes?

Bike lanes are not the fantastic solution many people like to think they are (they introduce more dangers than they eliminate).  The truth is that it is possible (borderline easy) to drive a bicycle on our existing streets.  This can be done in a safe fashion and without causing the city to spend massive amounts of money on construction and maintenance (and proper maintenance for bicycle facilities is rather expensive, with the striping and sweeping required).

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Being practical is angry?  OK.  You've never seen a fat guy on a bike?  Oh boy!  Take off "them rose colored glasses, son".  Try driving up 121 towards Bonham on a Saturday to have some fun......it's ASSWHIP central.  Fat guy sweat, and 5 miles per hour, and  "I rule the road" is prevalent.

ps-Why am I arguing with hippies? 

Branden Helms
Branden Helms

Boy you are angry. If traffic is so bad, why not try a bike? Somehow, I have never seen a fat guy on a bike in traffic, but I sure have seen a fat guy in cars all over the city.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

They do...stay on the trail you fruit!  Last thing I wanna see is another fat bike dude riding 5 MPH on Mockingbird.....shit (traffic) sucks already!   Loo, have a Granola bar, and move to San Francisco, you can ride yer bike, and peacock in yer fruity gear-and drive all over tarnation.  Good luck!

Branden Helms
Branden Helms

I agree, but Kergo explicitly implied bikes belong on the trails only. That is what I was responding to.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

I don't care.  Ride on the grass, parking lots, whatever, just stay off the ROAD. Old Guard?  What are taking down the Kaiser's government here?  I hike regularly...but guess what?  I DON'T hike down I-45.  

ps-Do people in Dallas on bikes know that Rome is burning?  You folks need a jolt of reality.  If you all cared about the city, being free, blah blah blah, you'd know that the cities infrastructure needs to be fixed-but heck that's a South Dallas problem, right?  You guys should have shirts made that say, "it's all about me; and my retarded bike!".   You think Cleophis in Fair Park is worried about Alice the Hippie riding bike her bike down Commerce St?  The guy can't even pay his bills!

Ally Fiesta
Ally Fiesta

Well there are people who care. So yr opinion is moot. We live in Dallas & as citizens of Dallas we are going to get our bike lane. 

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Threatened?  By fat, uniformed bike guy-no!  5 Feet becomes 20 feet, and then it's 13 miles per hour, and not not obeying traffic laws..   Again, Portland will welcome  you with OPEN arms-go....NOW. 

ps-I had a friend that once told me that taking LSD everyday will make you smart; now, he's dead.  Sometimes practical reality is just reality-sir. 

Branden Helms
Branden Helms

Yes, we don't understand. We don't understand, why five feet on the side of the road makes you so mad. We don't understand why guys like you are so threatened by people on bikes. We don't understand why the city is designed only for cars, despite the massive amount of negative externalities. We don't understand why people use anecdotes that apply to humanity and use it as a negative example against bikes. We don't understand why people are so married to the idea of their vehicles, despite the high cost of gas, insurance, payments, etc. We don't understand why the idea of being in your car hours a day is preferable for some folks. Most of all, we don't understand why people get so angry when this idea comes up. This won't reduce your ability to use the car.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

This shit above gave me a headache........I'm going to bed.  People on bikes just DON'T understand.  You sir, have what they call "white peoples problems".  The city is broken.  Shall we fix what's broken?  Nope!  Let's install frickin' bikes lanes on the STREET; even though we have bike trails.  

ps-This is not Portland dipshit!

Branden Helms
Branden Helms

Your analogy is useless. The vast majority of bikers will never even consider biking on an interstate. Instead, we prefer the street, where Texas State law recognizes us alongside a motor vehicle. There is a speed limit, rarely a minimum.

Kergo, why are you so angry? We aren't asking to replace bike lanes in the budget with the hiring of police officers. We are asking for bike lanes to be added to routine maintenance and restriping of current streets. That has proven to add very little if anything to the budget in other cities.

Do you think Cleophis in Fair Park is worried about your SUV riding on potholes down Lemmon? The guy can't even pay his bills!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

give em bike lanes for all I care, but then keep their asses in them.  But they wont, there will still be that moron on ross cutting in and out of traffice, running red lights and riding between stopped cars to the front of the line at red lights.  Bike lanes sound, but if we cant maintain the streets as it is, who is going to maintain the bike lanes?

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