Spot the Difference: Plan “B”

If you couldn’t make Monday’s subcommittee meeting, you may have read in the Star-Telegram article: “Arlington’s latest plan drastically cuts proposed on-street bike lanes“.

This is no joke. The Plan presented by the Council Subcommittee is such a cutback from the Plan recommended by P&Z in February, it’s actually a regression from the 2002 bike route plan Council asked staff and the consultant to update. So “yes,” the City’s political leadership has spent $250,000 and 1.5 years of staff time, and positive citizen participation to take Arlington’s hiking & biking infrastructure backwards.  

Don’t believe it?

 This plan is “Plan A” as recommended by P&Z in February (Source).

Plan AThe plan revealed on Monday, “Plan B,” (Source) was cut back by staff at the request of the council subcommittee that was formed to study Plan A.Plan B

Below is a comparison of the two plans (Source):

  Plan A Plan B change
Bike Lanes 108 17 -84%
On-street Bike Routes 33 24 -27%
Other On-street Bike Facilities 22 0 -100%
Off-street Trails 118 61 -48%
Total Bike System 282 102 -63%
Estimated Cost for On-street Bike Facilities $1,000,000 $200,000 -80%
Estimated Cost for Off-street Trails $71,700,000 $37,600,000 -48%
Total Estimated Cost for Bike System $72,700,000 $37,800,000 -48%

Why are these changes being proposed?

Council has felt pressure from the plan’s naysayers to reach a compromise.  Those who oppose Plan “A” have spent a lot of time spreading myths and misinformation about the Plan, but very little time researching their own positions. This new Plan “B” is a false compromise, an average between Plan “A” and basically nothing. This false compromise is apparently a way to appease a vocal opposition, which has treated both supporters and the City Council very poorly during this debate.

As one Bike Friendly Arlington supporter recently wrote in an e-mail to council:

Reducing the Bike & Hike Plan to only $200,000 in on-street bike lanes to get the opposition to calm down is like rewarding a child throwing a tantrum. By appeasing the disrespectful, threatening citizens of Arlington instead of the friendly, helpful citizens of Arlington, you will only make your jobs and the development of Arlington more difficult.”

“I’ve witnessed they way you’ve been treated during public forums, and several of us have been treated the same way. We’ve been yelled at by the ornery opposition, we have been told that we are worthless, and we have been threatened. Many of our yard signs have been run over by vehicles and we’re becoming more afraid that the opposition won’t stop there. Once they are satisfied with how they’ve held Arlington back using brute force and bad behavior, they will move on to a new issue which they will treat with the same distaste and intolerance.” (emphasis ours)

What can you do?

  • Vote this Saturday, but also Write the subcommittee and CC: the rest of the Council.  Tell them how you feel about the two plans. Let them know that Plan “B” is a false compromise and a step backward. Pacifying the opposition with a scaled back plan is not the answer to Arlington’s walking and bicycling issues.  To e-mail, just copy and paste:
TO: robert.shepard@arlingtontx.gov; jimmy.bennett@arlingtontx.gov; kathryn.wilemon@arlingtontx.gov
CC: robert.cluck@arlingtontx.gov; mel.leblanc@arlingtontx.gov; sheri.capehart@arlingtontx.gov; lana.wolff@arlingtontx.gov; robert.rivera@arlingtontx.gov; gene.patrick@arlingtontx.gov
  • Come to the upcoming meetings:
    • Tuesday, May 17, 3:00pm: Subcommittee meeting, with more potential cuts
    • Tuesday, May 24, afternoon: Subcommittee presents their revised plan to council for review
    • Tuesday, June 14, 6:30pm: Tentative date of public hearing and city council vote
  • Learn more about both Plan A and Plan B:
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