Will Dallas Climb Out of the Bike-Friendly Cellar?

A one-way, high-speed road on this viaduct will be converted to two-way traffic flow and equipped with a protected bikeway. Image: Bike-Friendly Oak Cliff

Bicycling Magazine recently delved into the question of what makes a bike-friendly city, and of all the places they rated, Dallas came out at the bottom. But maybe it won’t stay there for long.

Network blog Bike Friendly Oak Cliff (reporting from suburban Dallas) took a closer look at how the Big D is faring. Turns out, the city is making some good progress in several areas.

Here’s their status report, based on Bicycling’s criteria:

  • Elevated bike paths
    • Status:  Unchecked, Falling: The Sante Fe bridge is probably still considered just a bridge, but it’s “elevated.” It’s also not yet officially open and behind schedule.  But, no we have nothing remotely like an elevated bike path.
  • Bike boxes at intersections
    • Status:  Unchecked, Neutral: Can’t say these are going to be used at intersections in Dallas, but another item we don’t have
  • Bicycle commuter stations
    • Status:  Unchecked, Rising: This idea was discussed during meetings held for the 2011 Bike Plan, but I don’t see the city taking it on.
  • Bike-share programs
    • Status:  Unchecked, Falling: Costs associated with these programs and the lack of funds from the city foresee no city shared bicycle program.
  • Bike-themed festivals
    • Status:  Check, Rising: Cyclesomatic was the first bicycle themed festival in Dallas when it started in October 2009 as a one week festival.  Since then it’s grown to a full month worth of bicycle related events and activities for all.
  • Elementary-school bicycle trains
    • Status:  Half-Check, Rising: iBike Rosemont is a week long event at Rosemont Elementary school in Oak Cliff that encourages children to ride a bicycle to school.
  • Cyclist-friendly cafe’s
    • Status:  Check, Rising: From Oddfellows’ bicycle parking and discount (yes, it’s more of a restaurant we know) to Pearl Cup ride meet ups, the aforementioned Dallas Bicycle Cafe and countless other bicycle friendly businesses, we can go ahead and say we’re doing pretty good in this department.
  • Bicycle parking
    • StatusHalf-check, Rising: There are fine examples in Oak Cliff where a business has made extra space for bicycle parking.
  • Bike racks on buses
    • StatusCheck, Complete: Back in 2006- 2007 I was lucky enough to be on the DART Bicycle Advisory Committee. This was when DART was still the largest transportation system without bicycle racks on their buses.
  • Closed-street cycling events
    • Status: Half Check, Rising: To date, we’ve had one closed street event or Ciclovia here in Dallas.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Portland Transit reports that the city is adding transit tracker screens in business lobbies. Market Urbanism carries coverage of the “great market urbanism versus market suburbanism” debate yesterday at the Cato Institute. And Bike Portland wonders how TriMet’s fare increases and route reductions will affect the balance between car travel and bike travel.