The Dallas Observer wrote an in-depth article this week on Dallas growing bicycle culture, and the pratts and pittfalls that preceeded it. Read the full article here and photo gallery here.
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Great article. I’ve gotta say, I do agree with some of the vehicular cycling concepts. I understand that its counter-intuitive for pro-cycling advocates to oppose bike lanes but there is some sense to it. For instance, it would be madness to paint a cycle lane on Jefferson Avenue and encourage people to use it instead of cruising down Brooklyn or one of the less trafficked streets that parallel it.
Instead of funds being used for that kind of effort I would much prefer to see them deployed strategically in places where there is no choice other that to ride with cars. This would include dedicated pedestrian lights at places like Pierce for accessing the OCNP as well as bike lanes on bridges like Commerce Street (though Zang is an excellent and sparsely trafficked alternative).
Do you know if anyone has ArcGIS style .shp files for the Dallas bicycle route maps? I’d like to play with a bike route calculation mashup for Google maps.
Michael Salcedo should be able to provide those for you of Salcedo Group, Inc. I can shoot you his info, as he’s a BFOC member, and did the GIS mapping for the mountain bike trails.
I’m less of an advocate for painted lines, and much more for dedicated, physically separated lanes, as those increase the overall perception of safety, while raising ridership numbers. I agree with the idea of using parallel offstreets, but would love to see bicycle boulevards implemented on these (which discourage pass-through traffic, and less stop signs for bicycle ROW, ref. http://www.streetfilms.org/berkeley-bike-boulevards/). Another key component is linking DART stations into the neighborhoods, and connecting schools. At that point, we could have a truly viable alternative, that makes people consider changing habits. In the end, to acheive a high level of ridership, we have to ask our city leaders to shoot for an over-the-top goal for modal share, like 20%. Even if we acheive only half of this, our city’s shape will be completely changed into a more livable model.
Forgot to mention, Jefferson needs the streetcar, not bike lanes. That alone would help its redevelopment. It was the main streetcar thoroughfare from 1887 to 1956. The businesses there now all suffer because they only have a handful of head-in parking spaces, with little opportunity for development of a critical mass of consumers. The only other option is to tear down buildings and create large parking lots, or develop a series of parking districts off of Centre street or Tenth. The existing building stock is from the 1910’s-1930’s, which was a heyday for that streetcar line. The Texas Theatre opened in 1931 with 2000 seats and no parking lots. The only way it was able to sell out was by residents travelling via the streetcar, or parking all along the boulevard.
[…] few blogs, including Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and DFW Point-To-Point posted a link to this Kimberly Thorpe article in the Dallas Observer. I […]
The Dallas Parks Department is planning improvements on the trail system on the east side of White Rock Lake. The plan should include bike lanes on East Lawther – which is closed to car traffic on most of the east side, and where not closed, is a series of cul de sacs – ending at the Bath House, the sailing clubs, Winfrey Point, etc.
The Park Board member for the area is Darren Boruff. Ask him to ask the planners to include bike lanes on East Lawther.
Make it safer for all cyclists. The Councilmen for the area are Angela Hunt and Sheffie Kadane. Since most cyclists ride White Rock sooner or later, its essential that the east side have bike lanes.
PM Summers! Don’t get me started. I met him at a Katy Trail extension meeting last winter and was shocked to hear him disparage bike lanes. Your article only confirms that he was a major obstacle to making Dallas streets more ridable for the average cyclist.
Mr. Summers claims that he did not really learn to ride a bike until he was 30. That is it in a nutshell. Yes, one can ride as a vehicle and survive in Dallas. I have been commuting to work for the past three years on just that theory (since there is no other option in Dallas). But would you send your 10 year old out on the mean streets of Dallas with no bicycle facilities? I think not!
Dallas wake up! One need only travel to Portland OR, Boulder, CO or Austin to see how effective quality bicycle facilities are at getting people out on their bikes.
No bike lanes are not perfect and don’t guarantee your safety 100%. But, they go a long way in letting the motoring public know that THIS AREA IS FOR BICYCLES SO STAY OUT!
Get with it Dallas!