November 13, 2014 § Leave a comment
Just received this interesting nugget about Downtown Dallas Inc working on a bike share plan with the city of Dallas.
The recent appearance of a private bike-sharing stand in the Dallas Arts District leads us to wonder just how far off public bike sharing might be for the city of Dallas at large. According to Kourtny Garrett, executive vice president of Downtown Dallas Inc., that day is a lot closer than you may think.
Garrett says that Downtown Dallas Inc., the nonprofit group that works to improve downtown on a number of levels, has recently been working with the City of Dallas and various neighborhood organizations to develop an integrative bike-sharing system.
“We have been doing a tremendous amount of research on systems in other cities and talking to operators and trying to figure out how to get the job done,” Garrett says. “Our goal is a system that would enable a user to, say, pick up a bike in Deep Ellum and drop it off in the West End. That entails finding one operator with compatible stations and the whole host of operational issues.”
“If we were to get the funding that we need today … you’re looking at a 12-month timeline,” says Kourtny Garrett of Downtown Dallas Inc.
Even though Garrett acknowledges that those issues are far from insignificant, she wants the public to know that solving them is one of the most important things they’re working on currently.
“There’s a huge economic component, and that’s really where we are right now — working through the profit and loss, working through a balance of the number of stations and number of bikes, and then working with the city on a public-private partnership that would entail sponsorships and grants,” Garrett says.
Still, even though public bike sharing is near the top of downtown Dallas’ agenda, don’t expect to see stands popping up next month.
“If we were to get the funding that we need today, in order to order all of the bikes and all the stations and have them installed in all the different locations, you’re looking at a 12-month timeline,” Garrett says.
And that’s only if the group had secured the necessary funding, something it has yet to do.
“There’s a plan in place — I wish I could give you a timeline, but I can’t right now because it all hinges on the funding — but there are a lot of components in the works because bike share is obviously something that’s very important to bring to Dallas and that we want to make happen with all of our partners,” Garrett says.
But when they do find sponsorships and other funding for the project, Garrett sees few other roadblocks toward its implementation.
“The city conceptually is on board,” Garrett says. “There are some things from an ordinance perspective that are already in place. But it’s really finding the dollars.”
While phase one of the project would focus on downtown and the surrounding area, Garrett envisions a time when it will become sustainable enough to go citywide.
“An important component of this is that you have all stations in a dense enough geography that it’s usable,” she says. “You don’t want to have a whole bunch of very disparate stations throughout the city that aren’t very usable.”
Garrett knows some segments of the city are clamoring for bike sharing, but she’s making sure they do their due diligence and not leaping before they look.
“What we don’t want to do is come out with a system that isn’t financially viable,” Garrett says. “And we want to make sure that the system also is very cost-effective for the user. We want something that’s accessible, that doesn’t preclude anyone from being able to afford to pull a bike out.
“I do think it’s important for the public to know that there are very serious conversations and very serious planning going on surrounding bike share, and that it will happen sooner rather than later.”
November 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
‘Ello Guvnor! BFOC is getting all dolled up once again for the 2014 Dallas Tweed Ride on Sunday, November 23rd. Once again we’ll meet at the Grassy Knoll in downtown Dallas at 1:30PM, ride through downtown, inside of Dallas Heritage Village, across the Houston bridge (if it’s completed), through Bishop Arts, and on to the Turner House in North Oak Cliff. Oddfellows Restaurant will sponsor the activities on the lawn including tug-of-war, jousting, and more! Matt Tolentino of the Singapore Slingers will be back performing accordion on the lawn, and there’ll be plenty of beer. The Facebook event is here.
It will be the perfect backdrop for the ride and we’ll plan on having a series of over-the-top British games inspired by the Chap Olympiad:
If you’re still looking for outfit ideas, be sure to stop by some of the event sponsor’s shops like Zola’s Everyday Vintage in the Bishop Arts District, and House of MacGreggor hats who are both offering discounts to all riders.
November 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
Dressing in tweed this time of year in Dallas just feels right, so that’s why BFOC presents the annual Dallas Tweed Ride on November 23, 2014 at 1:30 pm. We will ride from the infamous Grassy Knoll, staging from behind the white fence and take a nice, leisurely ride around downtown, ending in Oak Cliff at the Turner House. There we’ll have games, a band, food truck, and some delicious beverages so bring some cash. Wear your favorite Tweed, fancy dress, or steam punk outfit to look your best for all of the Dallasites who will be watching and waving you on!
Meet Up Time: 1:30 PM
Meet Up Location: Grassy Knoll
Route Distance: 8-9 miles
October 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
While the Governor’s race is dominating the election news in Texas, there are significant Propositions that could impact both State and Dallas County transportation and governance issues. The sample ballot reveals a Proposed Constitutional Amendment called Proposition 1:
“The constitutional amendment providing for the use and dedication of certain money transferred to the state highway fund to assist in the completion of transportation construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation projects, not to include toll roads.”
Sounds good, we all want nice roads, even cyclist enjoy new pavement to ride on. Problem is the agency that would receive the funding the Texas Department of Transportation sees little benefit from diversifying the transportation options for Texans. The current budget heavily favors (80%) building more roads, designing new roads and maintaining infrastructure that is biased to motor vehicles.
A budget has not been released for what TxDOT would do with the approximately $1.7 billion per year the new fund would produce, but if current trends persist you can count on at least 80% of that going to the same old transportation infrastructure that has gotten us into the transportation crisis we are in now. Awarding this agency for their archaic approach to transportation planning, design and execution is not a good message for voters to send. A smart approach would be to reform the agency in the form of a new partnership with cities to create transportation options for all and not just focus on interstate mobility and reducing congestion for a few.
Voting against sends a clear message that there needs to be a plan for how to use these funds and reform of the agency that is administering them. The rainy day fund is not going anywhere soon and we need to get this right before throwing Billions at building outdated infrastructure that will only induce more demand on the transportation system and not resolve the transportation option crisis we face in Dallas and the State of Texas as a whole. Ask yourself if we give TXDOT more money to build roads what future fund are we going to rob to maintain them?
The good news is that the special charter amendment for Dallas County includes several smart measures that should improve the ability of the city to advance smart plans and governance. Proposition 1 is all about truth in bonding:
“Requiring Additional Disclosures on Ballots for Bond Programs. Shall Chapter XXI, Section 2 of the Dallas City Charter be amended to require that the ballot for the approval of a bond program must state the amount of bond issuance authorization, estimated amount of repayment including principal and interest based on current market conditions, and the purpose of the bonds?”
Council Member Scott Griggs led the charge on this measure that is aimed at letting voters know the exact cost of future bonds…think of it like when you buy a car, you don’t look at the sale price, but at the gross price after interest. Maybe we need more Kia’s and less Mercedes in Dallas given our $6.7 Billion dollar current debt that will result in over $100 million in interest. A FOR vote will give you this information up front before voting on future bonds.
The best news comes on Proposition 3, which would remove the arduous process of changing the legal description of a street in Dallas:
“Allowing Certain Changes to the Thoroughfare Plan Without Mailing Notice to Adjacent Property Owners. Shall Chapter XV, Section 8 of the Dallas City Charter be amended to allow changes to the Thoroughfare Plan that affect any area larger than one square mile and that does not increase the dimensional classification of a thoroughfare to be noticed through an alternate notice authorized by city council?”
The story goes that a group in East Dallas got this measure passed to prevent the widening of Swiss Avenue from two lanes to six in the 1960s or 70s. The unintended consequence of the law was that it made it a lengthy process to reduce lanes to include bicycle, transit and pedestrian infrastructure. Currently for projects like Ft Worth Avenue it took over one year to complete the legal changes to convert two lanes to bike lanes. Voting For this measure would remove the public notice requirement for doing such projects and should result in a much quicker process for building bike lanes on streets! Wisely the proposition does not retract the provision for widening streets…those will still need a public notice process and multiple public meetings to move forward, win win!
Thank you to all those leaders and advocates for getting these measures on the Ballot, now get out there and vote!
October 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
The Spooky Cross fun returns November 1 & 2! Not only is this one of the best cyclocross races in the state, it’s also a great time for family, non racers, bike enthusiasts, kids, and anyone with a pulse. Saturday November 1st we’ll be at Rosemont Elementary from 10-4pm. This will be a special day for the little ones. We’ll have face painting, Kidical Mass Ride, bike obstacle course, and spooky kids race – FREE!
The fun continues at Dallas Heritage Village Sunday. We’ll have bike racing from 10-4 with special prizes for wacky costumed racers. An antique bike show is also planned for the day. In addition to that, Oddfellows will be setting up a beer garden in the park making for a wonderful time. Beer, Oddfellows food, Live music, Bikes – all ingredients for a perfect day!
More information here
October 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
Join us for a fun, family-friendly bike ride over to the Spooky-Cross races at Rosemont Elementary. We will meet at 9:00 a.m. at Davis St. Espresso, 819 W. Davis St. We’ll hang out for a while in the back by the Magic Bus, enjoy some coffee, make sure everyone’s bikes are ready to roll and depart around 10:30. It will be a short slow-paced ride over to Rosemont Elementary where the kids can enjoy a bounce house, face painting and a special cross course set up for the kiddos! We will lead everyone back to Davis St. afterwards.
Here are the details:
Meet Up Time: