Dallas’ Bike Coordinator’s response to the recent BFOC article

Dallas’ Bike Coordinator and bike lane antagonist, PM Summer, responded to our recent posting on Oak Cliff’s bikelane effort with a “those crazy hipster kids are drinkin’ the kool-aid”post of his own.

Quote:

The neo-urban hipsters, on the other hand, are at once proud of Oak Cliff and desirous that it be something else. That something is Portland. The new “Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom” of American communities (where the poor are shipped out of town, and Federal subsidized housing is provided for Liberal Arts Majors working at Starbuck’s… I’m not making this up)

I remind you, this an employee of the city of Dallas, who effects the future of all things related to bicycle transit planning in our community. If you feel as strongly as we do about pushing for progressive bicycle facilities, similar to what exists in Boulder and Portland (cities that PM deems failures), email your city councilperson.

My response:

PM, this statement:

“the new “Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom” of American communities (where the poor are shipped out of town, and Federal subsidized housing is provided for Liberal Arts Majors working at Starbuck’s… I’m not making this up)”

We have a disagreement. But this response is beyond something I would fathom from a professional.

You will always find fault with bike lanes, and that’s okay. We understand that, and expect it from someone who is a devout Forester. But we’re being tasked to visit these cities, sit down and meet with their elected officials, and transit planners, and ride in the lanes. We both know that your arguments are going to become harder and harder to push as more cities adopt these…unless they are failures. Nobody said change was easy, but we can’t stop progress. It’s a wasted effort.

As far as density goes, I’m actually shocked that you haven’t been following the recent developments in North Oak Cliff. Have you not heard anything whatsoever about the Davis Study setup by two council members to address the rapidly growing infrastructure anticipated by the Mixed Use developments planned around Bishop Arts? I’m a little taken aback here, because we’ve even showed you overlays in meetings. This spans for 2 miles to the West of Bishop, and 1 mile to the South.

Also realize that John Schubert is a polarizing figure in the world of bicycle infrastructure debates, and I wouldn’t quote him anymore than I would Michael Moore to back my arguments.

You asked the question where will the Bike Lanes go?

We asked the questions:

If bike lanes are such major failures as you suggest, why are cities throughout the world continuing to implement them?

If bike lanes truly lead to rashes of accidents, wouldn’t places like Portland be removing them, and not adding more each year? and Boulder?

Why is Dallas rated at the bottom of government census lists for bicycle ridership?

I look forward to this debate, and I see no reason why we can’t keep things above level, and not sink into aspersions.

4 comments

  1. Seriously? Neo-hipsters?

    What we want is for Oak Cliff to be walkable, bikeable and allow for the highest quality of life available.

    Perhaps PM needs to find a new job.

  2. Though juvenile, I can handle the name calling…it’s the heir of supremacy that really stands out.

    I immediately emailed my council person. It’s uncalled for. I suggest everyone else do the same. Considering our tax dollars subsidize his salary, he needs to remember who he’s working for.

  3. […] 18, 2008 · No Comments Portland (ie. BFOC’s “Magic Kingdom“) Bike […]

  4. I know this is an old thread, but I just read it!

    I think both sides may be both right & wrong. Bike lanes have a place in bicycle transportation, as do off road bike trails and on street shared access. Neither off street trails nor bike lanes can stand alone, but they can be part of an integrated plan. Off street trails are the nicest, but they are expensive both to build, and to acquire land for. They end up being only along creeks and under utility lines as a result.

    Bike lanes, planned for and constructed properly, can work. There has to be room for them. Bike lanes between motor vehicle lanes and parking can be problematic. The lanes have to have room to make it through intersections safely. They must be continuous — ones that start and stop are worse than nothing at all. The layout is critical, and not always easy.

    Also, bike lanes must be maintained — swept. One of the few bike lanes in the Dallas area is in Allen (Twin Creeks Blvd.). It is so full of trash that it is unrideable, and when I ride in the street I get honked at for not using the bike lane — Catch 22!

    At some point in a bike transportation system there also has to be on street shared access — you can’t bike lane every street. Having signage and pavement marking promoting “Sharing the Road” is essential to let people know that bikes will be on the road. These markings say “Bikes Belong” — a good educational message.

    Good luck! I rode to the Bishop Arts District a few weeks ago from Plano, enjoyed it, and took DART rail back. I plan on making this one of my regular rides!

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