Fort Worth Skunks Dallas on Bike Plan

Categories: Transportation

FtWorthBikePlan.jpg
City of Fort Worth
Couple of years ago, Fort Worth had about as few bike lanes as Dallas. Now it doesn't.
It was shortly before or not long after I read Robert Wilonsky's post from earlier this week about Dallas retaking its rightful crown as the country's worst major city for cyclists that I wiped out, in suitably humiliating fashion, as I rode my bike to work down Hillcrest Road. I would blame the fall on the city's reluctance to lay down bike lanes as called for in last year's bike plan, but this was in University Park, and it had more to do with the water gushing onto the road. A tap of the brakes at the Mockingbird Lane stoplight and the wheels start sliding.

Don't worry. I'm fine. All I lost was a little bit of self-respect. But it did get me wondering why, given the seeming momentum at City Hall behind becoming more bike friendly when I left the city two years ago, riding one's bike in the city remains as suicidal as it was when I was in high school and thought nothing of barreling helmet-less down major streets, yelling obscenities at the F-350-driving assholes who would see how close their side mirrors could get without actually hitting me.

City spokesman offered Wilonsky something of an explanation:

The bike plan was developed over a yearlong period with extensive community input. Post adoption, some members of the bike community were advocating for more aggressive implementation and departure from the original plan for a much more accelerated implementation schedule and calling for a reallocation of current year general fund revenues to accomplish their goals. Staff is on track with implementing the recommendations of the adopted bike plan in a fiscally responsible manner that does not disrupt or delay other prior commitments and obligations.

OK. I haven't spent enough time with the 2011 bike plan to know its ins and outs. The argument from the bike plan's advocates -- Why the hell aren't you laying bike lanes when you restripe roads like you said you would? -- seems pretty damn reasonable, but what do I know? Maybe it's just any large, cash-strapped municipality would be this, um, deliberative when implementing what amounts to something of a paradigm shift in thinking about transportation.

But wait, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff points out. Have you looked at Fort Worth?

I hadn't, but now I have, and there seems to be quite a bit of bicycling infrastructure over there. Last I checked, Fort Worth is also a conservative, North Texas city built around the automobile, and I assume that their sales and property tax receipts have sucked just as much as they have in Dallas. Maybe they had a head start?

But BFOC's Zac Lytle, who knows these things, said that no, they developed a bike plan around the same time Dallas did. The only difference is, Fort Worth has actually implemented its proposals.

Lytle doesn't buy the argument that the city is holding back for want of cash or that people like himself are trying to move faster than the bike plan calls for. For some reason, Lytle says, the powers-that-be with the city simply don't want bike lanes.

"I've been watching the streets that have been designated and it's always a disappointing surprise when I see them restriped without the street infrastructure they're supposed to be having," he said. "Then the city just drops the ball and restripes it as it originally was striped."

The hope is that Dallas' last-place ranking will spur implementation of the bike plan -- not only because it's embarrassing, Lytle says, but also because it contributes to the perception of Dallas as somewhere that sucks.

"It's something that lots of people, when they're looking at where to live, this is one of those things we look at when we're weighing where we want to live."

And we all know that our city's leaders do not want people to think we suck. How else to explain the Calatrava?

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14 comments
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Brian Smith
Brian Smith

It really is complete bullshit. $300 million for a hotel, $185 million for a bridge, but they can't find $1.6-$1.8 million per year for bike lanes (which seems high).

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

Why is this surprising to you?   Bike commuters won't vote for these politicians. Bike commuters won't give money to these politicians. Bike lanes won't end up on any fancy Dallas Chamber of commerce video. Bike commuters don't have one itty bitty bit of political power. So therefor, there is no real  good reason for any elected official or Dallas City official to spend one nickle on them. 

In fact, I would say that in the view of the decision makers and elected officials, anyone riding bikes on the city streets in Dallas is some sort of tree hugging socialist, humanistic atheist or left wing anarchist.

You see - on-street bike riders represent every single thing the Dallas elite hate. And by God they are going to dig their heels in and make sure someone is going to sweat blood before they pay to make the lives of a few dirty hippy asshole tree hugger socialist any easier.

Becuase on-street bike riding is un-American

Gary
Gary

Are you going to sign  Roy Oswalt or not?

steve_a_dfw
steve_a_dfw

I've heard that the Dallas attitude was one reason Boeing went to Chicago instead of Dallas.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Cowtown has it right because they had a series of mayors who actually care about their city, unlike Big D, where its 2012 and they still act like its 1977. I've given up on this city actually getting it when it comes to being green. Hell, the burbs have more hike/bike trails combined than Dallas proper...I cant wait to move...

G_David
G_David

You have to remember, this is Dallas.  Only losers ride their bike to work.  I guess that makes you and I both losers.

A-nony-mouse
A-nony-mouse

What is going to be even funnier: Fort Worth has the Trinity River Vision projects (http://www.trinityrivervision..... Both the park project and the Trinity Uptown urban waterfront project will probably be finished before anything gets started with the Dallas Trinity River project.

Salty
Salty

I work in Ft Worth, but live in Dallas.  I'm always amazed at what they have done with the Trinity trails in Ft Worth.   We do have large marge though.

Adam from East Dallas
Adam from East Dallas

That's because Cowtown doesn't have light rail, I-35W is only 4 lanes and they still ride horses to work.

Marcstuff
Marcstuff

Unlike East Sallas where they don't go to work.

rangotango
rangotango

Proud FW-ian here, but okay that was funny.

Matthewmcgowan7
Matthewmcgowan7

Oh, noble cosmopolitan gentleman, please tell me more about the enlightened ways of you fine Dallasites compared to us, the backward hicks of Fort Worth who "ride horses to work." 

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