Debunking the Opponent’s Myths
Opponents have made a number of FALSE CLAIMS and SUGGESTIONS about the New TDP and Hike & Bike plan, and they need to be corrected.
1. Myth #1:
Opponents falsely suggest that the TDP will reduce lanes in all the roadways listed in the TDP and cause congestion.
The NEW TDP will INCREASE the number of lane miles of roadway in the city by 216 miles, a much safer and more financially responsible number than the 348 miles stated in the old TDP. The old TDP planned for expansions that are larger than is needed, because Arlington is nearly built out.
Around 97% to 98% of the city’s existing roadway (in lane miles) will either have the same number of lanes as today, or have an increase in their number of lanes.
A small number of street segments, only around 2% to 3% of the city’s existing roadway (14 road segments comprising 14.7 miles of road, or 29.4 lane miles) (29.4 lane miles / 1,200 total existing miles = 2.45%), and only comprising around 2% of future total roadway (29.4 lane miles / 1,416 total future lane miles), would undergo what’s known as a “Road Diet” or “Travel Lane Conversion. Hike and Bike Plan, p. 3-12, Table 3.4, and Mobility in Arlington, February 2011, p. 3 (figures on total lane miles existing and planned).
Furthermore, these Road Diets will maintain traffic flow and increase safety by reducing accidents. These 14 segments are planned to have one vehicle lane converted to a bike lane. Those roads will still have two vehicle travel lanes, and 13 of the 14 will have a MIDDLE TURN LANE ADDED to MAINTAIN TRAFFIC FLOW and reduce collisions. Drivers turning left will have a free middle turn lane and will no longer clog traffic waiting behind them.
The TDP discusses specifically 52 road segments and proposed changes to them, at page 24, Table 5.2. Most of these roadway segments will NOT undergo a road diet or travel lane conversion and will actually either STAY THE SAME or INCREASE LANES! Only 14 road segments out of 52 listed in the TDP are planned to have a reduction in vehicle lanes.
Using computer modeling and analysis, professional engineers and planners have determined the NEW TDP will result in GOOD TRAFFIC FLOW, either a “Level of Service” of A/B, or a “Level of Service” C/D in which “traffic moves along at an efficient rate and posted speeds are maintained.”
2. MYTH #2:
Opponents falsely claim that a Road Level of Service C/D is inadequate.
Road Level of Service C/D is GOOD, for a mature community such as Arlington. Think of it as a balancing scale.
- Level C/D is the RIGHT BALANCE between the extremes of Level A/B (excessive cost, speed, and danger) and Level E/F (congestion). At Level of Service C/D, “…Traffic moves along at an efficient rate and posted speeds are maintained.”
- Level A/B means speeding and over-building in a city like Arlington. It’s excessive and expensive (taxpayers are paying for miles of road that won’t be fully utilized). Level A/B means “traffic volumes are much less than the actual capacity of the thoroughfare” and traffic flow is “at or above the posted speed limit.” It’s dangerous, because these roads increase SPEEDING and ACCIDENTS. These roads create unpleasant living conditions that could resemble living right on an interstate highway—near your neighborhood!). The 2011 Citizen Survey cited “speeding through neighborhoods” as the top concern among residents.
Although towns on the edges of the metroplex, (like McKinney or Mansfield) with vast open areas to annex and expand, might consider Level of Service A/B, ARLINGTON DOESN’T NEED THIS in most areas. WE’RE A MATURE COMMUNITY, virtually landlocked by other communities and our future growth will occur in different, creative ways, like around UTA and also the Veridian development.
Professional engineers and planners have analyzed our projected future growth and where it will occur and have determined that the new TDP roadway plans will accommodate our growth, at a lower cost to taxpayers and increased safety to the public.
Level C/D is just the right balance. It’s EFFICIENT and SAFE. It’s the GOAL LEVEL OF SERVICE that the city wants to achieve for most roads in Arlington, except for some areas where a predominantly pedestrian environment is desired, for instance, near UTA campus.
3. MYTH #3:
Opponents falsely state that we will lose 108 traffic lane miles of roadway.
There will only be a conversion of approximately 14.7 traffic lane miles of roadway from cars to bicycles or pedestrian uses (Road Diet). Hike and Bike Plan, p. 3-12, Table 3.4.
The city will actually have an INCREASE of 216 traffic lane miles of roadway. Mobility in Arlington, February 2011, p. 3.
4. MYTH #4:
Opponents falsely claim that the TDP and Hike and Bike plan are too costly and will hurt the environment.
the new TDP is CHEAPER than the Old Plan (by $130 million!), and together with the Hike and Bike plan will bring GREATER BENEFITS to people in their everyday lives, in Safety, Health, Environment, Economics, Choice and Community.
Opponents have publicized false fuel cost figures on the new TDP plan, using INCORRECT ASSUMPTIONS. For instance:
a. Most importantly, they fail to include the POSITIVE ECONOMIC BENEFITS of the new plans. Studies show that CALMING TRAFFIC to reasonable speeds, and PEDESTRIAN and BICYCLE IMPROVEMENTS will actually INCREASE PROPERTY VALUES, INCREASE COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY, and LOWER HEALTH CARE COSTS for people. (See “ECONOMICS” and “HEALTH” below).
b. they use the wrong number for the increase in the number of daily vehicle minutes traveled per capita. The new TDP is projected to result in only one extra minute of travel per day on average.
c. they estimate future fuel consumption based on population instead of number of vehicles on the road. This is like assuming that babies and kids under 16 are driving, when in fact children are passengers, not drivers.
d. they assume that no one switches to other forms of transportation over the next 20 years
e. they assume no improvements in gas mileage for cars over the next 20 years
f. they fail to discount the future fuel expense to net present value terms, and express it in today’s dollars, (a dollar expense tomorrow is less than a dollar today) and they fail to take into account changes in people’s future purchasing power.
5. MYTH #5:
Opponents falsely suggest that “…The bike plan will convert 271.7 miles (see bike plan section 3-5) of street lanes from vehicle use to bicycle use.”
Only about 14.7 miles of street, would be converted from car to bicycle: that’s only about 2% of all city streets planned! And in these few cases, car lanes will STILL EXIST on these roads, and cars will gain a clear MIDDLE TURN LANE which will MAINTAIN TRAFFIC FLOW and REDUCE ACCIDENTS.
Most bike routes will be created from painted stripes, arrows, signs, and off road sidepaths and greenways. The Plan is very flexible in how this is done.
- around 90% of the planned on-street bike routes DON’T REQUIRE CONVERSION OF CAR LANES.
6. MYTH #6:
Opponents falsely suggest that bicycle lane construction costs the same as street construction ($1 million per mile).
The Top Priority bike projects at Appendix C of the Hike and Bike Plan provide dollar figures for bike projects, and simple arithmetic shows that all are well below the Opposition’s false dollar figure of $1 million per mile. For instance, Bike Project #2 is only $2,437 per mile.
7. MYTH #7:
Opponents falsely suggest that Right of Way costs were omitted in the Priority Bike projects.
There are no Right of Way applicable costs for the on-street Priority Pilot and Bike projects because all of these projects fit within existing city Right of Way.
8. MYTH #8:
Opponents falsely claim that changing stations will be one of the new “building code requirements” beginning in 2012-2013.
There was never a “building code requirement” for changing stations in the Hike and Bike Plan.
 Mobility in Arlington, February 2011, page 3, Table entitled, “2030 Thoroughfare Development Plan (TDP) Performance,” Level of Service (LOS) A-D, http://www.arlingtontx.gov/planning/pdf/TDP/February%20Brochure_Final.pdf ; and City of Arlington Thoroughfare Development Plan, Draft February 2011, http://www.arlingtontx.gov/planning/pdf/TDP/FEB_2011_TDP_REPORT.pdf , at page 5, definitions of Level of Service (L.O.S.).
City of Arlington Thoroughfare Development Plan, Draft February 2011, http://www.arlingtontx.gov/planning/pdf/TDP/FEB_2011_TDP_REPORT.pdf , at page 5, definitions of Level of Service (L.O.S.).
 S.O.S. Update #14.
 S.O.S. Update #22.
 S.O.S. Update #22
 S.O.S. Update # 22.
 Hike and Bike Plan, Appendix C.
 S.O.S. Update #22.