The Man Who Wants to Shut Down Central for a 30-Mile Bike Ride Is "100 Percent" Sure He Has Approval. TxDOT Is Not.

central_mockingbird freeway.jpg
texasfreeway.com
Picture this, but with 10,000 bicycles.
Starting at 7 a.m. on Sunday, April 21, all four lanes of Central Expressway will be shut down for several hours as some 10,000 cyclists pedal their way from downtown Dallas to McKinney. That's at least what a group called Bike the City is promising.

It's an undeniably badass plan, reappropriating one of the region's major highways as one humungous bike lane. But its website, which is already soliciting registrations at $45 to $240 per person, and organizers' confidence seem a bit premature.

"In short, it's not a done deal at all," TxDOT spokeswoman Michelle Releford said. "What they're advertising on our website is not a done deal."

The agency could hypothetically shut down a portion of a major highway for an event, but a number of high bureaucratic hurdles would have to be surmounted first. To begin with, event organizers would need to obtain permission from each of the cities they intend to pass through, in this case Dallas, Richardson, Plano, Allen and McKinney.

If -- and only if -- all the municipalities agree to grant permits, would TxDOT have to approve the project and a traffic control plan which, when you're talking about diverting cars from a 30-miles stretch of highway, isn't easy.

"TxDOT really doesn't as a practice put traffic from a highway onto a city street," Releford said. "We really can't do that."

But Gary Lacara, who is organizing the event, is sure everything will fall into place. "100 percent," he told Unfair Park this morning. "I wouldn't attempt this if I wasn't."

Planning for the event -- which he stresses is not a race but a tour, open to anyone 12 and older -- began last July, when Lacara began meeting with each of the half dozen municipalities and TxDOT.

He hasn't yet formally requested permits (the city of Dallas' Office of Special Events requires requests to be filed at least 45 days before an event, which gives him another couple of weeks), but he says he's assured they will be granted.

TxDOT at least seems open to the proposal. "Safety is TxDOT's first priority, and we would like to honor his request as long as the safety of cyclists and motorists is ensured, traffic impacts are negligible and local cities are in support," agency spokesman Mark Pettit wrote to representatives of the municipalities along the route.

In an email to Unfair Park, he wrote that, "I can't speculate on the likelihood of whether permission will be granted since I don't know whether the municipalities along the route support the event; however, if he is able to accomplish all the requirements below it is possible."

But there's another question: Why? Lacara says he's an avid cyclist who helped organize a similar event in his native New York. He felt the Dallas ride would be fun and a good way to raise money for charity.

"I've raised millions of dollars for different organizations -- Boy Scouts, the YMCA, Kiwanis. The list goes on," he says.

And who doesn't want to give money to charity? Nevertheless, its probably wise to wait to sign up until all the permits are in place and it's clear the ride is actually going to happen.

Here, in case you were wondering, is the route:


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32 comments
CitzenKim
CitzenKim

And in a related note, my group "Crash the House" is inviting all the party people out there in the Metroplex to Gary Lacara's house at 10:00pm Saturday April 20.  We'll all just go in an have a kick-ass party all night long.  Entrance fee is $50 and will go to charities to be announced soon.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Can we then schedule a Le Mans type automobile road race on the Trinity trail?


Seems like a fair trade. 

d-may
d-may

From the website:
"Registration in each tour is limited to 10,000 participants. Sign up now to guarantee your spot before the tour sells out!"

Whoa! Better jump on now before that 10,000th spot is taken.

d-may
d-may

Honestly, I don't really even think this would make that good of a ride. 75 isn't exactly that interesting for a "Tour" It would be better for them to go up Ross onto Greenville Ave and Ave K  then up State hwy 5 into Downtown McKinney. 

It's basically the same thing, but you aren't shutting down 75 in the process, and that would make for a much more interesting tour. 

Mike Dunlap
Mike Dunlap

While we're on the subject of major changes to Central... Save Downtown Dallas: Tear Down Central Expressway

casiepierce
casiepierce

I would think that something of this magnitude would require a great deal of planning and I question why he doesn't have any permits secured yet for an event that's 90 days away. Maybe greasing municipal palms in NYC is a little different than the way we do it here in Dallas (in fact, I am SURE it is), but I just don't see this happening.

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

Does Chris Arnold have anything to do with this?

Luke Largey
Luke Largey

Afaik, plans to shut down a highway without permission gets the feds involved. Wonder how long he's going to be "100% sure" after they pay him a visit.

scott.braden
scott.braden

Yeah, I admire the "dream big" aspect, but, seriously, as a long-time local cyclist, there are lots of better places to have a ride.  

R.s. Rosenquist
R.s. Rosenquist

Fuck them, charge them the full amount of lost commerce and pain/suffering caused by every minute they shut the freeway down. Shut down Greenville Ave or something for your stupid attention whoring bicycle event.

Angela Thompson
Angela Thompson

all they really need is a lane. Too bad there isn't already one there. Is that the point?

Corey Jarque
Corey Jarque

there would be no challenge involved in that ride. count me out.

Debbie Bush
Debbie Bush

If he can get Dallas, Richardson, Plano, and Mckinney to close down central starting at 7 a.m.Sunday, heading north for however long it will take them to arrive at the finish line. How long and at what time are they going to shut down Central heading south to safely get the bikers back

Kendall Motzny
Kendall Motzny

Couldn't he have picked some better charities? jeez

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

I admire this guy.  I just want everyone to know I am planning the Memorial Day Weekend George Bush monster ride from Rowlett to DFW and back.  For 800 dollars a person you can ride to your hearts content on a car free Bush tollway all weekend long.  Just send the money to a charitable  corporation I am setting up in the Grand Caymans.  Should for some highly unlikely unforeseen reason the ride fail to go off I will make a full refund next year.   

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

you know what would be a better ride, start the fucker in Mckinney and take a scenic ride down 5 take greenville ave where it splits all the way into downtown, you could even wave at Avi as you ride through his neighborhood.  Then guess what.  They can invade KWP and spend good money in downtown/art district/uptown.  Why have a ride the goes away from the city you are trying to make more bike friendly?

BobLowlaw
BobLowlaw

I think this sounds awesome.  And if he does it, I will certainly ride it.  But even I don't think it's a good idea.  It would make tens of thousands of people hate us.  Drivers need to recognize that bikes have a right to use the road but at the same time, us bikers need to recognize that there are places where we just don't belong and that there is no sense antagonizing people..

ptmoore2012
ptmoore2012

Anyone who sends this man money is an idiot. Brett Shipp are you listening

Guesty
Guesty

1:  What similar event did he "help" organize in NYC?  What was his roll in organization?  Doesn't hurt to ask questions that would allow you to actually verify some things.  

2:  What incentive does Richardson, Allen, and Plano have to cut off so much commerce?  They aren't on the start or the finish, so the cyclists won't so much as buy Gatorade in their towns.  All they get is the inconvenience of closing off the route from Dallas to all their shops along Central. 

3:  You don't shut down one of the busiest highways connecting a major city core to its suburbs without more than a few weeks planning and notice.  The logistics are more difficult than any marathon ever planned in Dallas because of the amount of traffic that must be diverted.    

4:  What assurance does anyone have that the money will go to charity?  What charities have attached their names to this "event"?  None as far as I can see.  

I see this thing going down in flames.   

dualband71
dualband71

Email I sent to Bike The City,

Sent: Friday, January 25, 2013 3:06 PM
To: 'questions@bikethecities.com'
Subject: question regarding your Bike Tour...

First, LOVE IT.  Second is this a one way ride?  If so how will riders get back to Dallas (the starting point where they left their cars) safely?

Thank you

Lord knows we Dallas folks love our cars....

NewsDog
NewsDog

Never happen. The biggest problem I see is the run up Coit to Spring Valley then back over to 75. There are at least a dozen traffic lights and you have to get Dallas and Richardson to coordinate traffic controll. Every intersection and every entrance ramp to 75 along the route will have to be blocked off and manned by at least one cop (probably off duty). That expense alone will probably be several hundreds of thousands.

Oh, and the interchanges at NW Highway, 635 and Bush will be messed up.

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

life doesn't shut down on Sundays. I work, and people that have worked hard all week depend upon this road. the organizer is from New York. I will support bicycle rights to a point. somebody's trying to make a 'statement' don't give us this stuff about charity.

Tom434
Tom434

People complain about the marathons closing streets, I can wait for the reaction to closing US 75

poppacraig
poppacraig

What an astounding level of idiocy. The thought must have been "People of DFW don't hate cyclists enough, what can we do to spur that hatred on, possibly to the int of violence? I know! lets shut down miles and miles of one of the most important roads in the city, so that we can enjoy since bike ride while staring at brown walls and asphalt the entire time.

dualband71
dualband71

I'm blind...passed right over it...in the first paragraph...

"for the riders and a DART pass back to the starting area."

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