Council Set to Pass Safe Passing Ordinance

October 9, 2012 § 3 Comments

The video above was posted to the Dallas Morning News city hall blog, and shows the head cam and audio of a bicyclist riding and describing how to ride in the new shared bicycle lanes in downtown.

Furthermore, Dallas is set to pass its first ever safe passing ordinance at tomorrow’s city council meeting.  It means that motor vehicles must “vacate the lane occupied by a vulnerable road user when passing, and reenter the lane occupied by the vulnerable road user only after passing at a safe distance”

Here’s the addendum’s full text:

The proposed ordinance would require the operator of a motor vehicle to: (1) vacate the lane occupied by a vulnerable road user when passing, and reenter the lane occupied by the vulnerable road user only after passing at a safe distance; (2) not turn right in front of a vulnerable road user unless safely clear of the vulnerable road user; and (3) not throw items at a vulnerable road user. A vulnerable road user includes operators of bicycles, hand cycles, unicycles, and other human-powered wheeled vehicles on a street or highway. A motor vehicle operator violating the ordinance may be subject to a fine not to exceed $500. The motor vehicle operator is provided a defense if the vulnerable road user was not complying with laws governing the operation of bicycles on streets and highways. A defense is also provided if the motor vehicle operator cannot change lanes because of a physical barrier or obstruction or because the change of lanes would be unlawful, and then passes the vulnerable road user at a safe
speed and distance.

Simply put, this provides the defense if ever someone is hit in the city of Dallas by a motor vehicle that doesn’t fully vacate a lane when passing a bicycle or other human-powered wheeled vehicle.  Of course, if you’re hit, a $500 fine  isn’t much when you’re in the hospital paying thousands of dollars recovering or even worse.

Now that we’ll have this ordinance, it’s up to us bicyclists to be informed and educated on how to ride appropriately with motor vehicles using the new infrastructure and on streets without infrastructure.

We recommend the following organization’s on-street bicycle workshops:

Richardson Adds More Bike Lanes

August 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Re-posted from Bike Friendly Richardson

New Bike Lanes On Canyon Creek Drive

The City of Richardson does it again. We now have some new bike lanes on Canyon Creek Drive, along with some newly repainted bike lanes on Yale Boulevard. As usual, we are grateful that the city has been doing this for cyclists. These are also great for calming traffic through these neighborhoods as well.

Here are some pics:

Most of the route is painted with a nice buffer between bikes and traffic, yet wide enough to keep riders out of the gutter.

See all photos of these new lanes here!

TONIGHT: Show up to support Bike Lanes on Ft. Worth Ave, pass it along!

June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

JOIN THE EVENT ON FB

SHOW UP TO SUPPORT BIKE LANES ON FT. WORTH AVE!

We need as many bike friendly supporters TONIGHT to attend at, 6:30 PM, June 27th at The Bataan Community Center 3232 Bataan Street, Dallas, TX 75208 for a city of Dallas public meeting.  PLEASE share this with as many people aas you know.  The people who show up to these meetings and fill out the feedback cards are the one’s that DON’T want bicycle infrastructure on streets!  See the public notice below:

CITY OF DALLAS
NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING

FORT WORTH AVENUE
PROPOSED THOROUGHFARE PLAN AMENDMENT

Your input is requested at a community meeting to discuss a proposed
Thoroughfare Plan amendment for Fort Worth Avenue on Wednesday, June
27, 2012 at

The Bataan Community Center
3232 Bataan Street
Dallas, TX 75208
6:30 p.m.

The proposed street design approach places emphasis on establishing a
design that balances vehicle movement while incorporating amenities that
accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users and are
consistent with the vision of the community. The proposed amendment
includes reducing the designated number of travel lanes from six to four
and adding a cycle track along the corridor. For additional information,
please contact Tanya Brooks at (214) 243-2083 or Max Kalhammer at (214)
671-8295.

UPDATE: Show up to support Bike Lanes on Ft. Worth Ave, pass it along!

June 20, 2012 § 4 Comments

*Original post had the wrong date of June 20th in the opening paragraph.  The actual date is June 27th.  The post has been corrected below

JOIN THE EVENT ON FB

SHOW UP TO SUPPORT BIKE LANES ON FT. WORTH AVE!

We need as many bike friendly supporters to attend Wednesday, 6:30 PM, June 27th at The Bataan Community Center 3232 Bataan Street, Dallas, TX 75208 for a city of Dallas public meeting.  PLEASE share this with as many people aas you know.  The people who show up to these meetings and fill out the feedback cards are the one’s that DON’T want bicycle infrastructure on streets!  See the public notice below:

CITY OF DALLAS
NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING

FORT WORTH AVENUE
PROPOSED THOROUGHFARE PLAN AMENDMENT

Your input is requested at a community meeting to discuss a proposed
Thoroughfare Plan amendment for Fort Worth Avenue on Wednesday, June
27, 2012 at

The Bataan Community Center
3232 Bataan Street
Dallas, TX 75208
6:30 p.m.

The proposed street design approach places emphasis on establishing a
design that balances vehicle movement while incorporating amenities that
accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users and are
consistent with the vision of the community. The proposed amendment
includes reducing the designated number of travel lanes from six to four
and adding a cycle track along the corridor. For additional information,
please contact Tanya Brooks at (214) 243-2083 or Max Kalhammer at (214)
671-8295.

Update from City Hall

January 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

Check presented by Fort Worth Avenue Development Group to Councilmembers Alonzo and Griggs

The entire City Council along with City Manager Mary Suhm and others were on hand to celebrate the fundraising campaign by the Fort Worth Avenue Development Group to stripe bike lanes that were recommended in the 2011 Dallas Bike Plan. Council member Alonzo spoke on how it was necessary for communities to come together to help move these projects forward and stressed the importance for the city to implement this project. Scott Griggs, former president of the FWADG and council member for District 3, also spoke in support of the effort, while the Mayor congratulated the group and asked that more public and private partnerships like this occur throughout the city to help larger portions of the bike plan become reality. According to Dallas planning director, Theresa O’Donnell, the project will be expedited and should be installed by July of this year.

We’ll be celebrating this Friday, January 6th, at 6:30PM at the Bar Belmont. Join us for drinks and a group photo with the giant check! Click here for the Facebook invite.

Again, we want to acknowledge all of the local businesses and organizations throuhgout the corridor who contributed to the cause and helped make this campaign a success:

Fort Worth Avenue Development Group
Bike Friendly Oak Cliff
Options Real Estate
Old Oak Cliff Conservation League
Metro Paws
the Belmont Hotel
Victor Balis & Amanda Cross
SMOKE
Chicken Scratch
the Foundry

Press Conference at City Hall Announced for Bike Lanes on Fort Worth Avenue

January 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

After the recent controversy surrounding the absence of recommended bike lane installations (per the 2011 Dallas Bike Plan) on Fort Worth Avenue, the non-profit organization Fort Worth Avenue Development Group spearheaded a rapid fundraising effort which began with an initial $15,000 contribution by the group. An additional $10,000 has been donated by local businesses, organizations, and residents all along the two mile corridor in order to install bicycle lanes from Colorado Boulevard to Beckley Avenue. Council members Scott Griggs, and Monica Alonzo will welcome the group and accept the check which is being given with the condition that the bicycle infrastructure is installed within 6 months from the time given. Other donors include SMOKE, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, Amanda Cross, Victor Balis, the Belmont Hotel, Chicken Scratch, the Foundry, Metro Paws, the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, Options Real Estate, and area developers who are in strong support of the initiative to make Fort Worth Avenue “Bike Friendly”!

You can attend the press conference by heading to City Hall at noon on Wednesday, January 4th in the Flag Room (6th Floor). Click here for a Facebook invite and here to view the press release.

Bicycling and the “elite”

December 7, 2011 § 3 Comments

A friend of BFOC just forwarded the following article from Salon magazine on the new wave of urban cyclists and perceptions of elitism. It brings up some interesting points on how this simple and inexpensive mode of transit is surprisingly being pegged as “high-brow” by some. With that being said, my favorite part of the article was the author’s admission that New York’s development of bike lanes is what motivated him to begin cycling…more proof that infrastructure increases ridership:

“Like many of today’s bicyclists, I started riding when my city striped a bike lane near my apartment. It was the Prospect Park West bike lane, which became ground zero in New York’s bike wars. The lane was what made me first realize that biking to work was an option — I didn’t feel forced, but I did feel nudged, as if the city was suggesting that maybe I’d like to give this a whirl. I think this is the true power of bicycle infrastructure: It’s an implicit message that bikes are real transportation, and an advertisement for biking that runs right through the city in bright green paint.”

Bicycling NYC’s new infrastructure

August 10, 2010 § 6 Comments

We took the family to New York City this past week to get a first hand look at all of the new infrastructure projects taking place throughout the city. First off, I’d like to note that it is amazing how much has changed in so short a time. We bicycled and walked throughout Manhattan for four days straight and it was so encouraging to see what all has taken place.

Madison Square Pavement to Plaza Conversion

For starters, we headed over to the Madison Square park area to check out the new pavement to plaza and bicycle lanes. Immediately as we turned the corner and saw the pedestrian space carved out into a space that used to belong to cars, the feel and look of the area changed to a very casual and friendly environment. It was 9AM on a Monday, but people were out relaxing with coffee and reading newspapers. The bike lanes are fairly new and did an amazing job of thinning the streets, making it much safer to cross as a pedestrian, and had the double effect of slowing vehicles that used to take precedence here. It was a night and day difference from our last visit almost a year to the date prior.

Bicycling NYC with kids

One thing that was also incredibly encouraging from our last visit was not only the number of added bike lanes, but the sheer amount of children and seniors who were riding now. Our 9 year old immediately felt comfortable riding on major streets from Park Avenue to Grand Street. He didn’t have to worry about going fast, but simply relaxed and enjoyed a casual bike ride through the city. Something that really hit home with the bike infrastructure was noting bike speeds…when bike lanes were present people averaged around 8 mph, which is what is seen in cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen. This slowing of speeds allows much more time to analyze obstacles and view intersections…this coupled with the slower speeds of cars due to the thinning of the streets heightened our comfort and safety notably. Pedestrians would come in and out of the bike lanes to cross traffic, but speeds were so manageable that it made no difference…and even in instances when a cab would pull into a bike lane to drop someone off, we were already travelling slow enough to stop and allow them out, or comfortably exit and re-enter the lane. I’ve heard several fears, or concerns from those opposed to infrastructure related to this, and actually experiencing it first hand showed what a non-issue this really was…no different than driving a car and stopping for a few seconds while school bus stops to let children off.

Brooklyn Bridge bike/ped path

The Brooklyn bridge is an amazing site on its own, regardless of its bike/ped path, but the separation from cars and the ability to stop and look out over the water comfortably, made a world of difference in comparison to crossing bridges into Dallas. It really highlighted for me the lack of foresight in having our newest Caltrava bridge built without any bike/ped amenities.  Sadly, that was a lost opportunity for generations.

Cycle Track in NYC with Pedestrian Island

The last thing I’ll note was one of the major highlights…the cycle track. We’ve talked about these quite a bit in the past, but actually riding on them and seeing others along with the separation from cars was far and away greater than I anticipated. You slow down, have a conversation, see a fruit vendor to the side, and comfortably stop and take a break. The pedestrian islands created that additional barrier that was a godsend when walking with a stroller and kids.  Plus, they were signaled! Bikes and cars all stopped and movement was far more manageable than I had anticipated.

All in all, it was an amazing trip, and seeing/riding in this new infrastructure first hand along with children did more to motivate me than I had originally planned. Also, the fear that drivers would be upset if you left the bike lane turned out to be completely unfounded, as we (along with thousands of others) did this on a regular basis…and not a single honk…that even shocked me.  We have a lot of work ahead of us, but fortunately, enough cities nationwide have presented models for us to review and develop so that we can adopt the best the world has to offer.

The Austin Experience

June 7, 2010 § 5 Comments

A group of BFOC’ers made their way down to Austin last weekend to enjoy the sights and sounds and test out the new bike facilities in place to get a sense of what is in store for Dallas. The hills proved to be less worrisome than originally anticipated, but the sun around mid-day did require more stops to cool off.

The overall experience was wonderful. Austin has moved far ahead of Dallas in making quality of life a focus. The girls that went on the trip immediately favored the separated bike lanes over the street. There weren’t as many of these in place yet, but more are to come. The on-road bike lanes were hit and miss. Some were far too small and strode the line between the curb and street (Lake Austin Blvd), but others included painted barriers which felt far more comfortable (East Dean Keaton).

The Lamar pedestrian/bike bridge was an incredible facility to ride over. The city created a large curly-q styled ramp to bring bicycles to elevation and benches were placed along the bridge to stop and view the city. It was heavily trafficked while we were there.

At the hottest point of the day, we made our way down to Barton Springs to take a dip in the cool water. This was definitely a highlight of the trip and by bicycling in, we easily rode passed the line of cars attempting to get into the park and bypassed the giant parking lot. The city of Austin describes the park as:

“Three acres in size, fed from under ground springs and is on average 68 degrees year round. Over the years, Barton Springs Pool has drawn people from all walks of life, from legislators who have concocted state laws there to free-spirited topless sunbathers who turned heads in the seventies. Even Robert Redford learned to swim at the pool when he was five years old while visiting his mother’s relative in Austin. Today, Barton Springs still attracts a diverse crowd of people.”

While resting under a giant pecan tree and watching the hundreds of other swimmers who came out to beat the heat, it struck us that Oak Cliff once had two natural swimming pools with Kidd Springs and Lake Cliff Park. The former was fed by two large springs and was regularly visited by people throughout Dallas. At its peak in 1942, the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce held a picnic there that brought out 60,000 people. The following year, the picnic was cancelled for fear of polio. By 1947, Kidd Springs would turn into a “scenic pond” only, though its limestone floor still exists.

Sounds like we may have another project…

Scholars Review 23 International Studies. Bicycle Infrastructure Found Safer than Riding on Street

November 30, 2009 Comments Off

This month a group of scholars at the University of British Columbia conducted a literature review looking at all available studies linking bicycle safety with infrastructure. Their findings are clear, “taking the lane” is not the safest alternative:

“Results to date suggest that sidewalks and multi-use trails pose the highest risk, major roads are more hazardous than minor roads, and the presence of bicycle facilities (e.g. on-road bike routes, on-road marked bike lanes, and off-road bike paths) was associated with the lowest risk.”

The review’s background details the way the studies were selected, and we’ve linked to the tables they used outlining all 23 studies:

“This paper is organized as follows: first we provide an overview of bicycling safety and ridership. Next we offer definitions of, and alternative terminology for, the transportation infrastructure used by cyclists that might be expected to influence their safety (Table 1). We describe our literature search methodology and the inclusion and exclusion criteria, and present the results of the search in two detailed tables. Table 2 describes studies that assess the safety of intersections for cyclists, and Table 3 describes studies related to straightaways (i.e. roads, lanes, paths). We conclude by discussing the findings of this review, critiquing the methodological approaches used, and offering recommendations for future research.”

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