Another bridge party: Perhaps Ciclovia de Dallas will get something rolling

Reposted from The Dallas Morning News

by Roy Appleton

A century ago, the Houston Street bridge officially opened with speeches, cannon fire and a parade of wagons, carriages and those new-fangled things called automobiles.

Earlier this month there was some serious celebrating on the still-not-open Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

For six hours next month, the Trinity River crossing will be closed to motor vehicles, turned over to walkers, bicyclists, skaters and others who enjoy a slower pace. And it may be just a start.

Ciclovia de Dallas will take over the bridge between downtown and Oak Cliff from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 14. The scene will include dancing, a market, dog park, food trucks, roaming musicians, kite-flying and bicycle activities galore.

Two officers of Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, sponsors of the event, discussed their plans this morning with the City Council’s Quality of Life Committee.

“It’s a time for the community to come together and experience each other at a slower speed,” said Andrew Howard, secretary of the advocacy group and a principle in Dallas-based Team Better Block.

He and Zac Lytle, Bike Friendly president, also talked about the worldwide success of ciclovias and how the volunteer group could use the city’s help in keeping the Dallas effort rolling.

“We’d like to make this a regular event,” Lytle told the committee, adding: “To be effective it’s something the city needs to take on. We’re hoping this will plant a seed.”

Their words drew positive replies. “Look for me on the 14th,” said council member Dwaine Caraway, after encouraging the pair to market the event to people and businesses in southern Dallas.

Carolyn Davis asked them about creating a Bike Friendly South Dallas.

Angela Hunt, a bicycling advocate and chairwoman of the committee, mentioned she had attended a ciclovia in Colombia, where the concept originated and is now a regular Sunday event.

“The city of Dallas needs to take this on,” she said. “You’ve given us a blueprint.”

We’ll see where this goes. For now, if you want to participate or learn more about the city’s first ciclovia, click here.

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