Bike Friendly Oak Cliff’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

January 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

Making a New Year’s Resolution is easy, sticking to it is something totally different.

Happy New Year Dallas!

Happy New Year Dallas!

So we decided to share our goals for 2015, that way we can hold ourselves accountable.

Below is what we would like to accomplish here in Oak Cliff over the next year.

1. Implement a Productive Network of Bike Share Stations in Dallas

The expansion of the Bike Share Program at Fair Park is essential to its success.

The availability of the Bike Share Stations and the system’s convenience will encourage ridership.

Possible locations in Oak Cliff are:

  • Lake Cliff Park

    Fair Park Bike Share

    Fair Park Bike Share

  • Bishop Arts District
  • Texas Theatre
  • North Oak Cliff Public Library
  • Kidd Springs Park
  • Kiest Park
  • Hampton Dart Rail Station
  • Westmoreland Dart Rail Station
  • 8th and Corinth Rd Dart Rail Station
  • The Dallas Zoo
  • Wynnewood Village
  • Pecan Grove Park
  • Stevens Park Golf Course
  • Cedar Crest Golf Course
  • Moore Park/Trinity Trestle Trail

2. Create a Safe Passageway to Ride from Oak Cliff to Trinity Groves

Trinity Groves

Currently the most direct routes are unsafe for cyclists. The newest park in Dallas as well as the locale with the trendiest restaurants is only about 5 miles away from Oak Cliff and should be more accessible by bicycle.

The traffic on Beckley Ave is too fast to ride safely in the street and the sidewalk is too rough to ride.

Not to mention the tunnels at the bottom of the hill remind me of the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The other option is a combination of Edgefield Ave and Sylvan Ave. However, the last leg on Sylvan is through an industrial district that I do not feel comfortable riding with a group.

We would love to have greater access to this great new public space.

3. Install A Unique Gateway/Folk Art Sign on the Houston St Viaduct,

to welcome motorists and rail car passengers to our beloved Oak Cliff.

Welcome to Oak Cliff!

Welcome to Oak Cliff!

4. Improve and Repair Streets Including 7th St, Bishop Ave toward the south and Davis St

Pot holes, poor lighting and streets in disrepair may be a nuisance to motorists, but to cyclists, road conditions are critical.

Also, a road that’s safe for cyclists is better for everyone in the community.

No more pot-holes to tear-up motorvehicles, street lights to allow safe driving and deter crime will be appreciated by all our neighbors.

We know we can’t achieve these goals alone; we hope to have your support!

Happy New Year, Oak Cliff, let’s make it a good one!

Bike Friendly Oak Cliff

Happy Holidays Dallas!

December 23, 2014 § 2 Comments

Let’s go for a bike ride over the river and through the woods!

This time of year bicycles magically appear under the Christmas Tree or near the Hanukkah Menorah, so let’s break out the ol’ 10 Speed and revive the holiday spirit!

Reverchon Park at The Katy Trail

WPA Stonework circa 1930, Reverchon Park

One of my most useful bike routes around Dallas is from Oak Cliff to the Katy Trail.

This route provides access to restaurants, retail shops, art and entertainment as well as city parks from Oak Cliff through Downtown Dallas, Uptown and the Park Cities.


The route begins on the Jefferson Bridge Cycle Track, which leads north into Downtown Dallas. The Cycle Track is most safely accessed from Zang Blvd near Lake Cliff Park.

Beautiful Lake Cliff Park!

Beautiful Lake Cliff Park!

The Bike Lanes on both 5th St and Bishop Ave lead to this area.

At the end of the Cycle Track, stay straight on Market St. into the West End. ***Attention: Market is one way in this direction.***

Continue passed El Centro and the DART West End Rail Station and into the West End.
Take a right at Ross and then a left onto the Lamar St. bike lanes. Lamar will take you under Woodall Rogers, then passed Hooters and the House of Blues. At Houston St, take a right and this will lead you the American Airlines Center.

The Wonderful Katy Trail!

The Wonderful Katy Trail!

Just after the AAC, on the right hand side of the road is the south end of the Katy Trail. Take the ramp onto the sidewalk to access the pedestrian/cycling trail.

The temptation is for cyclists to fly up and down the trail since motor vehicle traffic is prohibited, however, just as much caution should be taken on the Katy Trail as on city streets.

Important for Cyclists to Remember:
1. Pedestrians on the trail are just a vulnerable as cyclists are in traffic.
2. Motor vehicles do cross the trail at intersections on the north end of the trail.

At the north end of the trail, Airline Road can be taken north and it leads directly to Gerald J Ford Stadium on the SMU campus.

SMU - Gerald J Ford Stadium

SMU – Gerald J Ford Stadium

North Park Mall is also only a handful of blocks further to the north by way of Boedeker St.

Taking the route north to south, the route is exactly the same except through downtown. Coming off the Katy Trail, Lamar is one-way, so you must make your way to the other side of the AAC to head the opposite direction.

Go towards downtown on Victory Ave until you come to a T next to the Hard Rock Cafe. This road is Continental Ave. Take a left onto Continental and the next right onto Houston St.

Houston will take you all the way through downtown, passed the School Book Depository and Dealey Plaza. At Union Station, take a left onto Young St. in front of The Dallas Morning News and a right on Market puts you back on the Cycle Track and into Oak Cliff.

The Mavs got their holiday gift early, AKA Rajon Rondo, so go ahead a give yourself a present. Get out on your bike and explore the city. This route is a great place to start!

Thomas Cantu, Bicycle Commuter

Cycling the Mean Streets of Oak Cliff: A Guide to Making it Out Alive

December 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Oak Cliff is my favorite place to ride, which may sound odd based on its reputation as the rough side of town, but I stand by it.

Oak Cliff rivals the most scenic parts of town. The hills on Colorado Blvd through Kessler Park and around Stevens Park are second to none.

The history and many landmarks throughout Oak Cliff make it a great tourist destination even if you are from the Metroplex.

The Texas Theatre, Dallas Zoo, and beautiful parks like Lake Cliff, Kidd Springs and Kiest Park are all areas of interest. Not to mention, Oak Cliff is home and final resting place to a handful of notable historical figures and celebrities.

The Historical Texas Theatre

The Texas Theatre

Green Means GO!

Green Means GO!

Thanks to the grid-like layout of streets, Oak Cliff is ideal for touring by bicycle. Every main avenue has smaller side streets that run parallel, providing a much safer and enjoyable route for cyclists.
I always avoid cycling on Jefferson Blvd, Davis St, Westmoreland, Hampton and Illinois.
Great alternatives are: 12th St, 7th St, Edgefield and Clarendon.

And these side streets hide secrets, little gems otherwise overlooked. Whether it’s graffiti, a commissioned mural, a cute little house with a porch wrapped all the way around or even a rusted out ol’ bucket of bolts of a Chevy pickup, there is something for you to discover and cherish.

One World, One Bike, One Love.

One World, One Bike, One Love.

Tips for Cycling in a New Part of Town:

1. Plan your route.

Google Maps allows you to select different modes of transportation, from motorist to pedestrian. The bicycle option displays bike routes, lanes and trails on the map in GREEN.
Green Means GO!

2. Ride more carefully in unfamiliar areas.

Not only must cyclists be aware of motor vehicle traffic, unexpected road conditions like potholes are a concern.

3. Follow all traffic laws.

The goal is for motorists to be able to anticipate your actions, so make sure to use hand signals.

4. Avoid roads with heavy traffic.

Although it is your right to ride in the roadway, it may not always be wise.

5. Remember to take your time; there’s no rush.

Enjoy the scenery and don’t worry, Oak Cliff will be there when you get there.

El Si Hay Taqueria

El Si Hay Taqueria

Come enjoy Oak Cliff with us. We have a lot to offer, from the Bishop Arts District to scenic views and don’t forget the best tacos in town!

Thomas Cantu, Oak Cliff Cyclist

5 things Dallas got right in 2014

December 11, 2014 § 1 Comment

The efforts of those of us who call themselves “bike advocates” in Dallas can commonly feel like fruitless labor. We too-often find ourselves on the wrong end of the awards list when it comes to surveys, polls, and quality-of-infrastructure lists anytime we pick up a magazine or click on a Facebook link. It should reasonably surprise no one that so many of our own blog posts shared here assume a tone of frustration and negativity – and deservedly so. But, in the last few hours of 2014, we’d be amiss if we didn’t take a moment to graciously reflect on a few things that our Fair City did manage to get right this year without the usual pall of imminent doom.

Even after decades of bad policy and worse infrastructure decisions, we shouldn’t completely ignore the feeling that things are, just maybe, moving in the right direction. No, it ain’t all milk and honey just yet, but all those 19-page surveys, group rides in oppressive heat, online petitions, and city council meetings (and meetings and meetings and meetings) have earned us a few wins. So, as a little overdue positive holiday cheer, here’s a short list of things that the BFOC family agreed went right this year:

The completion of the Trinity Skyline Trail

14438074981_8f18646d4a_m

Photo: Richard Wezensky

What began as a conversation between Angela Hunt and Scott Griggs (and later a simple path tamped and mowed into riverbanks by DORBA stalwarts Dave Gray and Paul Hakes) was finally realized in 2014 as a fully paved bike and pedestrian trail tracing both sides of the Trinity inside the levees. It’s the first solid infrastructure we’ve seen in this area of the floodway that’s slated for some ambitious park development, and it couldn’t have arrived soon enough. The trail connects Crow Park at the new Sylvan bridge in the Design District down to the Santa Fe Trestle bridge, where you can cross the river and follow it most all the way back up to the new Continental Bridge park. Although the Skyline Trail has technically not fully opened, it already sees daily use as both a recreational and commuter connector to cross the Trinity away from motor vehicle traffic.

Repeal of the helmet ordinance

scott-griggs-e1337816156266

In what may be the most pleasantly surprising action by city council, a 1996 ordinance requiring cyclists to wear helmets on city streets was eased to allow those over 17 years of age to ride neighborhood streets without fear of citation. Dallas’ ordinance, now in line with most major metro cities in the US, figures to ease the barrier to entry for the maybe-forthcoming city wide bike sharing programs akin to what we see in Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. While BFOC still encourages helmet use, the ordinance went largely unenforced in most areas of the city, according to citation data, so council saw fit to do the right thing. If the post-ordinance pattern of ridership data from other major US cities holds true for Dallas, we can expect this to have a positive impact on our own numbers here at home. We’re all for the choice of personal responsibility, and hey, we’re confident we can find something else to chat about with Officer Gordon.

Hiring of new Bicycle Coordinator Ashley Haire

NM_10bikeczarA

Photo: Ron Baselice/DMN

With the abrupt departure of Max Kallhammer not too long after the Dallas Bike plan was passed, speculation went wild about who would be chained to the post that was seemingly unfit for any bright-eyed transit planner bearing ideas that were less than 50 years old. The Dallas Morning News anointed Ashley Haire the new ‘Dallas Bike Czar’ roughly 90 seconds after her hiring, and it wasn’t much later that she and teammate Transportation Planner Jared White were overseeing as much bike-friendly road striping as we’ve seen in a decade. We can only hope since she’s a legit engineer who hails from the bike lane holy-lands of both Austin and Portland, that council can shut up and listen to her advice when it comes to matters of design. Ashley has been closely engaged with the newly formed Dallas Bicycle Coalition since its inception, and, based on her comments, has a solid grasp of the cultural attitudes that North Texas bike commuters face daily that make Dallas all the things that Portland ain’t. Good luck, Ashley. Welcome to Dallas. We’re rooting for you.

Assembly of the Dallas Bicycle Coalition

dallasbikecoalition

We must tip our hats to Councilmen Phillip Kingston, Scott Griggs, and Adam Medrano for greasing the wheels leading to the formation of the Dallas Bicycle Coalition. The coalition was later organized as a group of citizens who engage (both to inform and give feedback) with city staff on our behalf every month as Dallas struggles to get the planned projects on the ground. The Dallas Bicycle Coalition is comprised of cyclists from the various neighborhood Bike-Friendly groups that have sprung up around town, and chaired by Oak Cliff’s own Jonathan Braddick.

The bicycle-rack adorned D-Link shuttle

Bishop Arts District

While we wait patiently on the opening of the Oak Cliff Streetcar, the collaboration between DART and the Downtown Dallas Corporation has given commuters the next-best option to get a ride in and out of downtown from Oak Cliff without the car keys when you need it. The recognizable hot-pink bus shuttle requires no fare, runs every 15 minutes, and has brand-spanking-new bike racks mounted to the front of each bus. It might not offer service as early or late (11am – 11:30pm M-Sat) as it should, but bicycles hanging off the front of the ol’ 722 headed to Bishop & Davis are an increasingly common sight. This only leads us to believe the word is clearly out about how easy riding the D-Link with your bike is, or the Bishop Arts valet situation is really as bad as you’ve heard. Hint: It’s probably both.

Better Block Holiday Market

December 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Christmas Market

Come join us next week for the Better Block Christmas Market. Saturday December 20th, Team Better Block will be transforming a bit of Davis into a Scandinavian winter wonderland. The festivities will take place next to Lucky Dog Books (633 W. Davis). Come take care of some last minute Christmas shopping while enjoying some holiday cheer. Vendors will include ReGeared, Girlsewcute Jewelry and Nammi food Truck.  Bike Friendly Oak Cliff will be hosting a Christmas Lights ride that will cruise Oak Cliff in search of the area’s most spectacular lights. The ride will depart from the market at 6pm and will be approximately one hour long. See you there!

DART d-Link to the Rescue!

December 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Last week the d-Link saved my butt.

One evening, on my commute home, thanks to the pot-holes up and down Elm Street, from Deep Ellum to downtown, I broke a spoke. I faced a 2-3 mile walk home, through downtown, over the Trinity, by way of the Jefferson Blvd Bridge. Luckily, I remembered the d-Link before I got too stressed.

Bishop Arts District

Bishop Arts District

I had ridden the d-Link previously, mostly to avoid the weather. There always seemed to be very few riders. Much to my surprise, as I boarded, I was greeted by a bus full of commuters. They all appeared to be regulars, chatting with each other like neighbors.

The short trip unexpectedly reminded me of my first ride on the light rail as a child. It was magical.

First, it was FREE and it appeared exactly when I needed it. And second, the buses are so new and clean, just like the trains were when they were brand new.

The d-Link is Route 722 and runs 11am – 11:30pm Monday through Saturday.

If I had not been aware of the d-Link I would have trudged my way up and over the bridge and cussed the pot-holes the entire span. Instead I hopped on a free, climate-controlled bus and reminisced about the magic and wonder of a childhood adventure.

The d-Link is a pilot program that needs our support as a community. If we do not embrace and utilize the service, how will DART know that they are fulfilling a need? Ridership shows the DART our support.

The d-Link is good for Oak Cliff and its residents. It brings business and provides free public transportation throughout the neighborhood and into downtown.

Use the d-Link and support the community. It runs late enough to get to the AAC and back for Mavs and Stars games. Avoid traffic and access the Arts District, Uptown, South Side and Main Street. If nothing else, take your kids for an adventure and create memories that sneak back into their consciousness when they least expect it.

By: Thomas Cantu, Bike Commuter

No Better Way to Start the Day!

December 5, 2014 Comments Off

Sometimes we all need a little extra motivation to get out of bed in the morning and take ourselves to work.

Good Morning Sunshine!

Good Morning Sunshine!

For me, I find the little push I need on two wheels.

I didn’t always commute to work on a bicycle, so I know it can be intimidating and takes preparation. A good step in overcoming these obstacles is knowing a safe route.
I commute from North Oak Cliff to the far side of Deep Ellum. My route begins on the Cycle Track, the divided bike lanes on Jefferson Bridge, which I take into Downtown. The Cycle Track is most safely accessed from Zang Blvd near Lake Cliff Park.


The Bike Lanes on both 5th St and Bishop Ave lead to this area.

At the end of the Cycle Track, I make a right onto Young St and merge into traffic.

The first few times I attempted this route, I continued straight on Market St and turned right on Main St, so that I could utilize the bike lanes. I quickly realized that Main St is uphill going west to East. And with only one lane of traffic going each way, a slow cyclist creates a traffic jam for other commuters.

Young St however has three lanes of traffic going in each direction, so motorists are able to pass. From there I continue by City Hall and the Central Public Library.

After the intersection of Ervay St and Young, the street will essentially go from two lanes to only one. This is due to Parking Meters on the street and cars occupying those spaces.

So be sure to merge into the left hand lane before the next intersection.

From there, I remain on Young St until I enter Deep Ellum (Young St changes names to Canton).

After I ride under the overpasses and into Deep Ellum, I take Crowdus St toward the left to Main St and ride the rest of the way to work on the bike lanes.

And if I’m not in too big of a rush, I can stop by Murray Street Coffee Shop, where they know there’s no need to leave room for cream, but to leave some for potholes.

Bicycle Rapair Station

They even have Bike Repair Stands in Deep Ellum!

The return trip is just as easy. I begin on the bike lanes on Main St. in Deep Ellum and head towards Downtown Dallas. Since the lanes are downhill in this direction, I am able to keep up with traffic and I cruise all the way to Houston St, where I take a left.

After Union Station, I make a left onto Young Street and at Market St. make a right onto the Cycle Track. Then, it’s home, sweet home.

By:  Thomas Cantu, Bicycle Commuter

This route is great because it provides access to:
1. Downtown Dallas
2. Dart Light Rail
3. Dealey Plaza
4. The West End
5. The Arts District
6. Central Public Library
7. City Hall
8. Farmers Market
9. Deep Ellum
10. Baylor Hospital
11. Fair Park
12. Santa Fe Trail
13. The Dallas Zoo
14. Lake Cliff Park
15. Kidd Springs Park
16. Bishop Arts District
17. The Kessler Theater
18. The Texas Theatre
19. Methodist Hospital

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