Monday, Dallas City Council reviewed details for the implementation of the bike plan as reported by the Dallas Morning News. The gist of the meeting was that the bike plan was unrealistic and is too costly to implement. Somehow other cities across the country manage to build hundreds of miles of bike infrastructure a year, and maintain said infrastructure without busting City budgets.
The fact is, for under 2% of the City’s annual transportation budget over 100 miles of bike infrastructure could be built.
If you’ve been down Fort Worth Avenue lately you will find a huge opportunity missed. In November, two miles of the road were resurfaced. The bike plan calls for a bike boulevard along FWA with separated bike lanes in both directions. Unfortunately, when it came time to stripe the newly paved streets, no bike lanes were included. In more functional cities, the bike plan is reviewed before any improvements or repairs are done to a street. Bike infrastructure is then installed as part of the overall street repair. This allows for inexpensive installation of bike infrastructure as work crews are already doing work to that section of street.
Unfortunately, Dallas seems to be adept at commissioning plans but has a history of failure when it comes to realizing them. The latest challenges the City faces implementing the bike plan are a symptom of a larger problem of how our City is operated. As other cities move ahead quickly with bike lanes and other bike infrastructure, Dallas risks being left in the dust. Beyond bikes, this is an economic development problem. Without transportation options, Dallas becomes less competitive in attracting new employers and the creative class who are the engines of our modern economy.
Bike Friendly Oak Cliff challenges the City to build out 13 miles of bike lanes in 2012 – that’s 1% of the overall plan. Lets not let Dallas be left behind!