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The Dallas Bike Plan is stalled and here’s why

Submitted by on December 12, 2011 – 6:20 pm9 Comments

Well *I* don't have the money, I thought YOU had the money!

While on one hand we have a modern Dallas Bike Plan, on the other we lack a plan of execution.  Or more specifically, we lack the funds to execute that plan.  Seems nobody mentioned that detail to the city council when they were having the plan drawn up.  So mix in a little right hand not talking to the left hand for flavor.

Therefore the bike plan is stalled, especially the plan to re-stripe 840 lane miles for bikes and the associated signage. From the Dallas Morning News City Hall blog:

The first Dallas bike plan was approved this year with the promise that the city of the car would take big steps soon to stripe streets with dedicated lanes for bicycles.

But in two briefings today, a council committee was told implementing the plan will be complicated and costly.

Specifically, the plan to re-stripe 840 lane miles for bikes and place accompanying signs will cost some $16 million that is not available.

“There was not funding identified (in drawing the bike plan). It was not a fiscally-constrained plan. This was the ideal plan. This was my daughter’s Santa Claus list,” said Theresa O’Donnell, director of the city’s development department.

Council member Angela Hunt, who chaired the city’s bike plan committee, appeared angry at that information.

The cost, she said, was supposed to be minimal because striping was to take place during the normal street re-construction process.

“I recall as we worked on the bike plan, that a point was made during more than one of the presentations by our consultants – with city staff present – that the bike plan would be implemented during re-striping processes.”

“No staff member jumped up and said, wait, wait that’s not correct we don’t have the funding for that. No one pulled me aside …and said we aren’t gong to be able to implement this as easily as our consultants are telling us,” she said.

O’Donnell said she didn’t have a good answer why the additional cost of re-striping wasn’t explored by staff during the drawing of the bike plan.

O’Donnell went on to explain that the process of putting in bike lanes will be more complex than had been widely understood.

Read the rest of the article here.  And read more about additional challenges that are frustrating the implementation of the Dallas Bike Plan from Unfair Park.  In short there’s a charter amendment from 1981 that requires public hearings and notifications to anyone living within 200 feet of a proposed change made to the street before the council can sign off on it.

If you multiply 840 miles of striped lanes for bikes, by those who live within 400 feet (both sides of the street) of said lanes who must be notified and engaged for discussion, you have an awful lot of potential for people to undermine these improvements.  At least that’s my understanding of the subject.  What a logistical nightmare.   This could tack years on to the plan being implemented, as well as making it possible for lanes to only be implemented in some sections, but not all.

These two articles give a good illustration why I would be an unfit person to work in government or any bureaucratic environment.  Just reading this stuff gives me an aneurism.  The good news is at least we have several competent city council members who value the Dallas Bike Plan and want to see it fully implemented.  In fact without them we wouldn’t be discussing this.  That’s what we’ve go going for us.

Anyhow…It’s always good to know what city council district you live in and who represents you.  Here’s a handy map for you.

- Chris

 

 

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Chris started riding a bike again when he noticed the Preston Ridge Trail being constructed across the street from his house. Since then he co-founded Biking in Dallas, has gone through countless Craigslist bike projects (some better than others) and can be found pedaling around town on a Electra Ticino with a camera in tow.

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