If You're Into Biking, Just Go Ahead and Move to Fort Worth

Categories: Transportation

BikeShare.jpg
Flickr
Fort Worth will be getting a bike-share program, hopefully with less stupid-looking bikes. Dallas will not.
Dallas and Fort Worth are similar. They're both in Texas, both have oversized conceptions of themselves, and both came of age in the automobile era. The cities also developed similar bike plans, involving miles of designated bike lanes, at about the same time. And that's where, transit-wise at least, the two cities went separate ways. While Dallas all but shelved its bike plan, Fort Worth took the yellow jersey in the Tour de Decent Bike Infrastructure in North Texas.

It doesn't look ready to give up the lead anytime soon. This week, Michael Lindenberger at the Morning News notes that the U.S. Department of Transportation just awarded $1 million to our neighbor to the west to help launch a bike-share program (DART gets a more impressive $12 million, but it's for the much less intriguing purpose of purchasing compressed natural gas buses). The same morning, the city of Fort Worth announces that it will make parts of its bike lanes green to improve safety at intersections and merge points.

The bike-share program works by placing computerized bike racks at key points downtown, Lindenberger writes. Riders can check out the bike with a credit card or by using their monthly or yearly membership. They rent the bike for a specified time period, then return it to any one of the racks when the time is up.

The colored bike lane works by putting green paint on the ground.

Getting $1 million from the feds isn't enough to cover Fort Worth with bike-share racks, but it's something that transportation officials there want to expand if it proves successful. I don't see why it won't. I've never used one, but it certainly seems like a convenient means of transportation for people taking shorter trips in an urban center.

As for the green bike lanes, I'm not sure how effective they'll be. But it says something that Fort Worth hosted a news conference to make an announcement. When was the last time city officials in Dallas had a news conference about bikes?


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34 comments
jeffnisbet
jeffnisbet

The green lane works great. Just look at the success in Long Beach, CA specifically on 2nd street in Belmont Shores. Way to go Ft. Worth!

ChrisDangerShow
ChrisDangerShow

Dallas takes another black eye when it comes to being bike friendly, Ft. Worth is looking better and better every day..

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Can you imagine bike sharing in Dallas?  There wouldn't be a bike left in that rack after two full days of theft.  Just a bunch of hoodrats thieving and criming, and riding bikes around-ahhh, beautiful!

 

ps-Fort Worth is a better city than Dallas. Fort Worth has great parks and green spaces, Dallas has a shitty bridge. Fort Worth has a quaint downtown, Dallas has rubble, bums, and yuppies-preparing for urban flight in two years. Hello Frisco!

Hannibal_Lecter
Hannibal_Lecter

Bike share programs have been failures in most cities that have tried them. Not just in the U.S., but worldwide. Dallas had a program several years ago on the Katy Trail, but it died a very quick death after the bikes were stolen. The bike lockers are still there at the north end of the trail.

 

Actually, I can see a reason for Dallas to try such a program downtown. Put one of the bike rental stands next to the Omni Hotel to lure in the tourists. Then as soon as they hop on, strategically placed SWAT team personnel can write them $200 tickets for riding without a helmet. We're going to be needing every cent to pay off the bonds on that white elephant.

 

jharris214
jharris214

Actually the White Rock, Cottonwood, and Preston Ridge trails can take you all the way from White Rock to Highway 121, with only a few portions where you have to ride on the road itself.  That being said, Dallas still has a LONG way to go.  The Bike Plan has been in limbo for almost a lot as I've walked this Earth and that is unacceptable in my opinion. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

http://www.dallasparks.org/parks/trails.aspx

 

Mr. Nicholson, are you serious?  This city has plowed millions and bike organizations are all over the citizen participation end of it.  Concept!  Get a bike.  Ride the Santa Fe Trail from Deep Ellum to White Rock up to LBJ, catch a DART Light Rail where you can hang your bike inside on the bike hangers, zoom cross country on any street that already has sloped curbs at the intersections, or whip out your smartphone dial up dart.org and catch a bus and hang your bike on the front bike rack.  Or just ride to the Trinity Rail depot in D/T Dallas and roll your bike aboard, ending up in downtown Fort Worth and ride their trail system to your heart's content.

 

Dallas has a pretty good system, but you actually have to get up off your face and use it.  It could be better but it is usable and huge.  Seriously, this blurb is 180 off reality.  You make absolutely no mention of what's on the ground, now.  It reads like you are located somewhere in New York.

sue_j_s
sue_j_s

 @Hannibal_Lecter

 

"Bike share programs have been failures in most cities that have tried them. Not just in the U.S., but worldwide"

 

Washington, DC:  "In September 2011, Capital Bikeshare announced it had reached 18,000 members and one million rides in its first year of operation, doubling initial expectations" [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_Bikeshare]

 

London, UK:  "BCH debuted [in 2010] with great fanfare, with over 90,000 users registering one million cycle rides being taken in the first ten weeks of operation."  "Currently there are some 8,000 'Boris Bikes' and 570 docking stations in the BCH scheme, which has been used for more than 10 million journeys to date."  "The project is expected to cost £140 million for planning and implementation over six years, and is potentially the only Transport for London (TfL) system to fully fund its annual cost of operation"

 

Denver, CO:  "B-cycle now boasts 52 stations — and 500 bikes — in high-traffic areas of the city. Through its short-term and annual memberships, riders logged more than 431,817 miles in 2011, a nearly 97 percent increase over 2010, said Denver Bike Sharing executive director Parry Burnap." http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_20447090/2-year-old-denver-bike-sharing-program-has#ixzz21Z5t22fE 

 

Minneapolis, MN: "In June 2010, Minneapolis, MN initiated operation of Nice Ride, one of the first examples of a large scale municipal bike sharing program in the US, along with Denver's B-cycle. Phase 1 included 700 bikes and 65 stations throughout Minneapolis[35] Due to popularity, the system was aggressively expanded into neighboring Saint Paul in 2011. As of April 29, 2012, Nice Ride had recorded a total of 330,000 trips, and a systemwide total of 1,330 bikes at 146 stations" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_sharing_system)

 

Boston, MA: "In 2011, Boston, MA launched its 60-station, 600-bike Hubway system, funded in part by a $3 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration, the contract to operate was awarded to Alta Bicycle Share. Bicycle-sharing arrived in Boston in July, greeted with a mix of excitement and skepticism. In its first 2 1/2 months, Hubway recorded 100,000 station-to-station rides, significantly eclipsing the pace of similar systems in Minneapolis (where Nice Ride needed six months to reach that mark) and Denver (where B-cycle needed 7 1/2 months).[37] After recording 140,000 trips in four months, Boston’s European-style bicycle-sharing system is expanding across the Charles River, with stations planned for Cambridge and Somerville after a winter hiatus. Brookline is working on two stations it hopes to open soon after the Cambridge and Somerville expansion." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_sharing_system)

lonerider
lonerider

 @Hannibal_Lecter You are so right about Dallas and the helmet law.  Ft. Worth has a more reasonable law of that only 18 and under are required to use a helmet while operating a bicycle.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @Hannibal_Lecter I was thinking about buying 50 - $800 Chinese 150cc scooters and trailering them to "city-approved and designated" corrals for people to rent downtown, Uptown, Deep Ellum, The Cedars, Southside to Lower Greeneville.  Just leave them in one of the corrals.  You cvan park them on the sidewalks in front of the buildings you want to go into.  They can accelerate from a standing stop like a car so they do not impede traffic and they are a blast to ride.  Can't get on the freeways.  

 

And here's a horrifying concept to the Observer - leave the taxpayer out of it.  

G_David
G_David

 @jharris214 And from White Rock, the Santa Fe Trail can get you to Deep Ellum and Fair Park, with downtown being a quick 5-minute ride down Main.

EricNicholson4
EricNicholson4 moderator

 @holmantx For the record, I take the Sante Fe Trail every day to get to work, or at least I have since we moved into our apartment off Grand two weeks ago. I agree that it's great, as is the Katy Trail which I used for the last few miles when I lived up north. The thing is that unless you happen to live and work near one of the good trails, there aren't many good safe routes. As it is, you have to be pretty dedicated and in some cases foolhardy if you want to ride to work.

downtownworker
downtownworker

 @holmantx Yes, we have great trails, but who do I have to give a blow job to in order to safely get from the Santa Fe Trail to the Katy Trail?

tomsnest
tomsnest

@sue_j_s @Hannibal_Lecter Thank you for these facts. I was going to do the same and look up cities I've been to as well. Amsterdam, Netherlands; Changwon, South Korea; Tokyo, Japan; Berlin, Germany; and Chicago, Illinois all had programs where my friends and coworkers raved about the convenience and success. With credit card verification, RFID tracking, and other forms of existing technology, theft is a minor issue compared to the major benefits. These unique bikes have little resale value, and those with smaller salaries with find greater utility in using the bikes more than stealing them.

jharris214
jharris214

 @lonerider  @Hannibal_Lecter

I was pinched once for that absurd helmet law.  Spent a half day in court with my bike helmet just to have a judge tell me the words 'dismissed'.   

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @EricNicholson4 Better than it was 20 years ago.

 

and not as good as it will be 20 years from now.

 

And for the record, I rode Santa Fe before they paved it.  One day I was zipping along toward Grand where the bridge is now and zoomed by a car with three young thugs just sitting there.  On the trail, 500 yards from the closest road.  They cranked up and fell in behind me and began closing the gap.  I swooped left up a hill 30 yards and dismounted.  They stopped but I had the high ground.  They yelled at me to come here.  I walked down to the drivers side, whipped around my butt pack and unzipped, then wrapped my hand around, a Kahr PM40 automatic pistol.  I had decided that if I saw a weapon, I was going to shoot all three of these thugs.  I was not going to wait for them to deploy and fire.  They sped away.

jharris214
jharris214

 @jesteban78  @holmantx

 Although I have a road bike, I usually take Haskell from the Santa Fe, loop around to Exposition, take Exposition to Elm, and then Elm all the way down to Houston Street.   Victory Park is usually so empty I can ride the middle lane all the way to the Katy.   Actually all those streets tend to be pretty bare of traffic with the exception of Elm through downtown.  However Elm is on a decline in downtown so I actually outpace most cars. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @jesteban78 No, not unless you are giving out free ones.

 

You just don't get one of the lanes on Elm, Main or Commerce.  You just have to cruise the massive sidewalks.  Every curb is sloped to accommodate you.  

 

I ride to the Katy from Deep Ellum three or four times a week, but mostly to 24-Hour Fitness downtown.  Sometimes on the street when the traffic permits, but mostly on the exaggerated sidewalks - they are 5 yards wide.  And it's all downhill to the American Airlines Center.  You can also riade to the front and lock your bike down in front of every venue and walk right in.  Much faster than by car.  

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @Eric_The_Midget in other countries, I carry a small squeeze bottle filled with ammonia. 

Eric_The_Midget
Eric_The_Midget

 @holmantx I'm always packing when I ride my bike; although lately I've had to worry more about dogs than thugs.

G_David
G_David

 @EricNicholson4 If he's like many of the Hispanics I encounter in such conditions, he's wearing what appears to be a head-to-toe outfit made out of a weather balloon or trash bag other non-porous material.  It's mind-boggling.

EricNicholson4
EricNicholson4 moderator

 @holmantx The most dangerous thing I've come across is this really chubby Hispanic kid, maybe 8, who for whatever reason jogs every day in July at 5:45 p.m. Always afraid he's going to keel over right in my path. Love his moxie, though.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @EricNicholson4 They were fishing for easy money off that section of the trail.  I couldn't let them take an easier prey, which is what they were looking for.

 

My brother stopped two thugs who had a nurse down on the trail below the dam many years ago.  They wanted his bike and he had itpulled up and over him while they wailed on him with lockblades.  They had him opened up pretty good when my brother came jogging up, yelled "HEY!".  They started walking towrd him.  He started walking toward Grand Ave.  They went to a trot and so did he.  They broke into a full sprint and so did he.  Chip made it to Grand Ave, leapt onto the running board of a Dallas garbage truck, and had the driver call the cops on his radio.  The young thugs broke of the pursuit, tossed the lockblades and jogged off.  Buts hard to blend in when a police helo is hovering overhead.  

 

He went back to the downed nurse.  One of the knife wounds had sliced through a gland that's under your jaw line and he was surprised how bright yellow it was.  He took off his sock and was going to apply direct pressure to stop the bleeding but the nurse said:

 

"use my sock".

 

It was written up in the Dallas Morning News.

 

Hey, it's the city.  The bad guys hunt off these trails.  Always have.  You just got to be prepared to defeat the element of surprise, which is their best tactic.  

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @jharris214  @jesteban78 It could be better but I think it's pretty good, really.  And it's downtown.  A small geographic area compared to what's needed (and partially in place) to get around the rest of this town (and burbs).  

 

I got flipped over the hood downtown last summer by a guy who wanted to make a right turn on red through a gash of crossing pedestrians.  I was the only biker.  I walked around to the driver side and told him to get out of the truck.  He wouldn't.  He just wanted to bump me.  Let me know.  The redneck qhotient is always there.

 

But yeah, the trail system is extensive and bike cops are on them.  

 

I've ridden in metros from Bangkok to Rio and the big difference is their towns are much denser (envision miles of downtown Dallas) and they grew accommodating thousands of bikes on the streets for a reason - people couldn't afford cars and gas.  It's why they are dense-packed.

 

We're too spread out.  Best to mount a bus or light rail to take out the big distance chunks, then zero up by bike.

 

But you really CAN bike it to the Light Rail and ride to downtown if you want.  And vice-versa.

G_David
G_David

 @jesteban78 Then I suggest you continue to take Flora and relax a little.

downtownworker
downtownworker

 @holmantx My point was that there is a good plan to connect the two trails but the process is laughably slow.

 

I ride from Bryan Place to 24-Hour Fitness (via Ross Ave) 3-4 times a week. If it weren't for the calm traffic on Flora, I might be dead.

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