If You're Into Biking, Just Go Ahead and Move to Fort Worth
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.
Flickr Fort Worth will be getting a bike-share program, hopefully with less stupid-looking bikes. Dallas will not.
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?