Thursday, June 9, 2011
The Dallas bike plan passed: Now what?
By the end of the summer, some projects will already be complete.
Now it's up to Max Kalhammer, senior transportation planner for the department of sustainable development and construction at the city, and his team, to gather funding and initiate construction on the first 50 miles of a plan that affects nearly 1,300 miles in Dallas. Previously, the city's bike plan hadn't been updated since 1985.
The first step is to implement about two-dozen “demonstration” projects, all slated to be finished by the end of 2012. Of those two-dozen projects (which you can see on page 23 of the final plan), some don't have funding yet. Some are bond-funded.
When those projects are completed, new projects will be identified and implemented for the next 10 years. “We're going to be as aggressive as possible about it,” Kalhammer said. “The most important thing is we're satisfying existing demand … and that [the bike facilities are] well-used and the quality is consistent and maintained. We're going to do our due diligence, you could say, to make sure our bicycle facilities are progressive and [of] the highest quality. We've seen the successes and the mistakes of cities in Texas and around the country, and we're going to try to avoid those.”
Of the 23 projects in the first phase, five will most likely be the first to begin construction. They also might be the first projects finished:
The Central Core Connector (CCC): Costing about $500,000 and marked as the highest priority, this project will connect the Katy Trail to the Santa Fe Trail, and Oak Cliff through downtown Dallas. The project is 10-12 miles in length. It hasn't been funded yet, but when it receives appropriate funding, construction will begin.
Safety treatments for trail-road crossings: This safety improvement is funded through TxDOT and the Federal Highway Administration. It includes pavement markings, new cross walks, and signage on dozens of locations in Dallas.
NC (North Central) route: This project will provide a bicycle connection to NorthPark Center. It's about four miles long and will begin work in August or September, if funding is secured.
N. Bishop Ave: In Oak Cliff, this bond-funded project will add two bike lanes. Construction begins the week of June 13, but it will not be finished for eight months.
Sign removal/replacement: About 5,000 way-finding signs will be placed city-wide. As the bike network stands now, you'd have to consult a map to see how to travel from one trail to another. With the green and white way-finding signs, “you can plan your trip en route,” Kalhammer said. The project costs $800,000 and isn't funded yet, though the city has applied for a grant.
Across the city, three main types of bike lanes will be implemented: First, a shared lane, which is a 10-14 foot lane that isn't exclusive to cyclists. Second, a dedicated bike lane, which is 5 feet wide and will be marked with a solid white line between the bike lane and the vehicular lane. And third, a buffered bike lane, marked with two white lines to add more separation.