City Will Add 70 Miles of Bike Lanes by the End of 2014. Beyond that, Things Get Complicated.

Thumbnail image for DeepEllumSharedBikeLane.jpg
Dallas Trinity Trails
The city of Dallas has been criticized at times for the agonizingly slow implementation of its 2011 Dallas Bike Plan. Two years after its adoption, only about 10 percent of the planned 1,127 miles of bike lanes and trails have been been put in place. That would seem to indicate that the city is behind.

Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan told a City Council briefing this morning that's not the case. The first phase of the program, which cost $1 million and runs through 2014, is fully funded through the street department budget. That means an additional 70 or so miles of bike infrastructure will be laid down within 20 months.

So the city's network of trails and bike lanes will go from this

BikeSystemNow.jpg

to this

BikeSystem2014.jpg

very quickly.

As for the medium- and long-term parts of the 10-year plan? "It will take us many, many years to do it," Jordan said. "Not 10."

Unless, of course, the City Council decides to put a lot more bike money in the budget or includes it in a future bond program, which, given the past appetite for funding the bike plan, seems unlikely. Other than that, City Manager Mary Suhm said there are grants that can be applied for.

It's more than a lack of money that could trip up the bike program, though. There's also classic pork-barrel politics. After Jordan finished, council members lined up to voice their desire for certain bike facilities in their respective districts. Tennell Atkins wondered why more trails aren't slated for southern Dallas and asked Jordan to "go back and kind of tweak" the plan to add more.

Dwaine Caraway was next. "My constituents cannot and will not be left out," he said. "So we need to find out a way to get a connection between Cedar Crest and Bishop Arts." And then there was Jerry Allen: "I'm gonna look for the exactly same thing in my neck of the woods."

All that input from the council could end up improving the plan, or the various pet projects and demands for funding could muck things up even further.

Angela Hunt was the only council member who advocated for a wholesale rethinking of the bike plan, which she suggests puts too much focus on shared bike lanes and not enough on cycle tracks like the one that just opened on Jefferson.

She urged Jordan to survey bike traffic on each type of facility "to see if they're an effective tool in our tool box."

"I think if you look at the bike counts on streets that have these markings, I think it's going to be effectively nil." In that case, she said, the city should focus on encouraging ridership by building more separated bike lanes and nixing its helmet law.

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34 comments
ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

so since Ive seen the bike lanes downtown, I have not seen a cyclist use them.  Im sure they do, but ive yet to see it, and Im down here a lot

Mike Dunlap
Mike Dunlap

What lanes do we already have? We aren't Austin... or New York... or San Francisco... or Chicago... or London... or you know, basically all the great cities of the world that have been laying down hundreds of miles of real bike lanes over the past decade.

Mike Dunlap
Mike Dunlap

So true. Calling sharrows "bike lanes" is a joke.

Osvaldo Garcia
Osvaldo Garcia

Why not use the dam sidewalks is not like people ever walk...niggas you ain't do'n no tour de france

Steve Black
Steve Black

So cyclists don't know where they should be?? Those barneys should be on bike PATHS!

Clarissa Nicole
Clarissa Nicole

It's true. It pisses me off when I have to drive 5 and can't go around them.

Russ Coffman
Russ Coffman

That symbol just makes it easier for hillbillies in "compensating" monster trucks to find bikers.

Casie Pierce
Casie Pierce

Sorry but painting a little picture of a bicycle in a car lane does not make it a bike lane.

Allissa Stephens
Allissa Stephens

I lived in L.A. and there were bike lanes everywhere AND plenty of accidents involving cars and bikes.

bugnot999
bugnot999

"My constituents cannot and will not be left out."

Then go raise more money. 

Anyone can tell you the Cedar Crest area has far more pressing issues to deal with before worrying about attracting Bishop Art District's pedestrians & cyclist.

Robert Salazar
Robert Salazar

Really bikes belong in "cycle tracks"—that way bikes and cars aren't even within six feet of each other, instead of three feet like bike lanes

Robert Salazar
Robert Salazar

Why? Have you never been to San Fran or Minneapolis

Allissa Stephens
Allissa Stephens

Let's just add to the traffic problems we already have! I would be scared to death to ride in a bike lane in a major city!!!

BenS.
BenS.

So even with the 20 month projection, there is not a fix for the Santa Fe Trestle Trail to connect on the north end with some kind of concrete trail/path/road. That's really discouraging as that whole project will remain a "Bridge Too Far".  One that can only be accessed on The Cedars side by mountain bike. It's a difficult pill to swallow seeing a multi-million dollar project just waste away because it does not go anywhere. Nor will it apparently.

To Dwaine Caraway, I would suggest figuring out a safe way across I-35 to Bishop Arts. Cyclists can figure it out from there. Frankly, the residents in that neighborhood would be more interested in finding an easier way to the grocery stores on Jefferson, not the nightlife on Bishop. The renamed Turner Courts Projects, now called Buckeye Trails Commons is supposed to have a Farmer's Market and some other things. How about a bike lane down Lamar from Downtown to get there?

To Jerry Allen, I would suggest figuring out a safe way across I-635. Cyclists can figure it out from there. I know of at least two cyclists killed in that corridor and one seriously injured over the past few years.

Most of the "good ideas" were outlined and submitted on comment sheets a couple years ago by experienced cyclists. Go through the shoe box of paper and re-read them.

downtownworker
downtownworker

So there will be bike lanes on the new Sylvan Avenue bridge? Hope they're not shared lanes or you can expect a lot of dead cyclists.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Two women, side by side, chatting and laughing and cruising at 8 mph southwest on Columbia in Old East Dallas toward Deep Ellum . . . at 5:00 PM last Thursday.

14 cars behind them.

Girl Power (ha!).

You should have seen the looks on the car faces.

Somebody is going to get smeared.  Probably by a DART bus.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

"Pork barrel politics" ... what exactly did you expect from 14-1?


14-1, all of the problems of ward politics with none of the benefits.

Clay
Clay

@ScottsMerkin I use them, plenty of friends do also. .. I see a lot of empty rodes, and parked cars... I guess no one uses them.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

@holmantx @looptwelve I Believe .... I am kind of..... sort of ..OKAY I at least I hope the Sober Properly Licensed Inspected and Insured Or any combination there of would respect the lane ownership using common courtesy first and as last resort the law .Nah who am I bullshitting . I just hope folks the two women don't have the misfortune of being run down by the kind of folks who won't give a Haul Truck room to stop.

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