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…