The City is setting its budget now and our Council Representatives are hosting virtual town hall meetings for input throughout August. (The new fiscal year starts Oct 1.) Now is our chance to have an impact on the conversation – and we all now funding for bike infrastructure is desperately needed.
The Observer published a great overview of where we’re at back in February. Basically, we’ve completed 11% of the 2011 Bike Plan, intended to be complete by 2021.
Bicycle infrastructure has been funded at $500,000 each year until the 2018-2019 budget. At that time, the City Manager proposed an increase to $1 million, recommending increases of $500,000 for the following two years to reach $2 million by the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Here we are now, 9 years after the 2011 Bike Plan, intended to be a 10 year implementation, and we’re basically in the same place we started.
As Michael Rogers stated in the Observer article, ” ‘At $500,000, we couldn’t do a whole lot other than sharrows,’ said Rogers, referencing the widely maligned painted street markings that are designed to encourage drivers to ‘share’ with bicycles. Recent research has suggested they don’t make cyclists any safer.”
This is outrageous. And this year’s budget proposal would cut the budget back to $500,000 again.
Now is our chance to have an impact on these decisions.
The Dallas Bike Coalition is heading up a campaign to make our voices heard loud and clear. They can help to email your Council Representative (with a draft letter and links to find your Council Rep’s contact info), & sign the petition to send to all Council Members and our City Manager.
Biking is especially important now, more than ever. It’s important to:
- our health during COVID
- as transportation for essential workers
- jumping start the economy after COVID
Bikes have always been important for health, transportation, and the economy. Now we’re also seeing that fewer cars on the road can have a major impact on our air quality, pollution and resiliency of our city too.
Let’s be clear, bicycle lanes and trails aren’t just for the wealthy suburbs. These critical infrastructure investments are essential transportation for our youth, our elderly, and those in our community dependent on wheelchair mobility. (Did you notice the wheelchair in the image above? The photographer caught their shadow. I’ve seen people in wheelchairs using bike lanes to go grocery shopping, and walk the dog… all over Europe. Bike lanes open so many doors for so many of us who don’t drive cars.)
We need to be funding our bike infrastructure with even more funding now, facing current challenges of COVID-19 economic impacts and the continued focus on creating a more equitable city and facing the realities of Climate Change and our own impact on it.
Bike lanes and trails are about mobility and equity.