An opinion editorial from BFOC Board Member, Jonathan Braddick:
Last week, Robert Wilonsky at the DMN reported about the delays in converting the old Continental bridge into a pedestrian park. Because I was curious about bicycle infrastructure, and hadn’t fully seen the design plans for the new park. I wasn’t shocked to find there are no plans for separated bicycle infrastructure in the plans. Yes, you’ll be able to ride your bicycle over the bridge, but no dedicated bicycle lanes separating bicycle traffic and pedestrian traffic. This certainly backs up why Bicycling Magazine voted us Worst city for Bicycling. See the full planning document below:
I quickly reviewed the 2011 Dallas Bike Plan, and noticed the bridge was designated as “Needs Further Review”. Of course, I understood when I voted on the plan, that the plan for closing the bridge to traffic and making it into a park had already been made public, so that made sense to me.
But now that we’ve passed the plan, it turns out the City Council voted NOT to include bicycle infrastructure on the bridge. I learned this from a quick email and quick reply from my council person, Scott Griggs. He informed me that he was apart of a minority vote to include infrastructure, which the rest of the council voted against.
So, now we come to the purpose of this post’s headline: “Mary Suhm, why doesn’t Continental pedestrian bridge have bicycle infrastructure?” A simple question, deserves a simple answer. Here are my many reasons why it should be included:
- The new bridge right next door doesn’t have bicycle infrastructure. For good reason, it’s a highway. Period.
- Mixing commuting/recreational bicycle traffic with meandering pedestrians is not a good idea. @KatyTrail, #Deaths
- Peter Laguerway, from Tool Design who helped the city put together our 2011 Dallas Bike Plan, spoke that we need to get our bridges right, because they are here for at least 50 years and in this case over a 100 years, in order to be a great bicycle friendly city
- The public didn’t get a vote on whether to include bicycle infrastructure or not. If a route says, “Needs Further Review”, it means that “We’re not ready to make a decision right now on what type of infrastructure to include, not “We’re not going to include it at all”. Since our council members also heard Peter say this about our bridge, I automatically assumed it was a no brainer.
- Because 8 and 80 year olds in West Dallas and Oak Cliff need safe connections across the Trinity too!
- Per the recent Ciclovia de Dallas and the Cedar Crest Better Bridge project, you can’t program the entire length of bridge, which this current design suggests with clowns and purple rainbows! Creating nodes of activity throughout the bridge worked for Ciclovia de Dallas, with large sections open up to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. This would then open up space for bicycle infrastructure.
Here are examples of demonstrations done on the Cedar Crest bridge and the Houston St. Viaduct where both park amenities, bicycles, and bicycle infrastructure co-existed. By the way, these events where partially funded or supported by the City of Dallas and implemented by Team Better Block and BFOC: