Re: SOS Misinformation

We’re posting a letter we sent to the opposition’s leader, Mr. Buddy Saunders. We look forward to a response.

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Dear Mr. Saunders,

We have been forwarded a few of your SOS updates by our readership. Frankly, we find some, if not most of your statements misleading and others blatantly false. From Update #54 stems most of the misinformation that updates #55 & #56 are based on. To make sure that you are getting correct information to your readership, we’ve done an analysis of your updates and written up a summary of our findings. We did this analysis in the hopes that you would forward the information to your readership. After all, you wouldn’t want them to form opinions or act on bad information, would you? Send them this analysis and let them get more than just your point of view. Let them decide after they get the corrected information.

While we think your engagement in the process is admirable, the angst that you show against on-street infrastructure is misguided. At best your efforts to “inform” others are having a deleterious effect on the formation of a transportation network plan that has an implementation outlay of 30-40 years.
Even though you say you are not anti-biking we find this to be a disingenuous statement given your call to “Kill the Plan,” —  a plan that gives people transportation options, and will have a positive impact on the safety and health of Arlington residents for years to come. To limit the plan, reducing it from a well researched and developed “A” to a watered down “B” or “C” is to limit the future of Arlington’s transportation network, and the potential for Arlington to attract and retain the next generation of Arlingtonians.We admit, at times we find it hard to follow your contradictory statements.

  • If you are for fiscal responsibility, why are you against the new TDP and the $123 million savings that come with it? Why are you for the off-street trails when off-street infrastructure is the most costly portion of the plan?
  • If you are worried about bicycle safety, why are you against bicycle lanes that have a proven track record of improving safety?

But let us not digress from the matter at hand. The reason we wrote this e-mail was to get you to address the misinformation presented in the latest SOS updates. We’ve attached our analysis below.

In the interest of transparency we are CC:ing council and will place a copy of this e-mail on our blog at http://www.BikeFriendlyArlington.com. We look forward to receiving a response in regards to the actions you have taken vis-à-vis correcting false or misleading information you have published in regards to the TDP and H&B plans. Thanks for your time in this matter.
Ride on,
Bike Friendly Arlington

BFA’s Analysis of SOS’s Updates 54

  1. False Statement:  An overwhelming majority of Arlington’s citizens do not want bike lanes on any city streets.

The TRUTH:  An overwhelming majority of Arlington’s residents DO want bike lanes, as evidenced by the following: a survey during the community engagement process during the research and drafting of the hike and bike plan found the following: 94% of respondents said they’d bike more, and 88% said they’d walk more, if biking and walking improvements were implemented.  The community engagement process included both opponents and proponents of the plan.

During the Planning & Zoning Commission public hearings supporters outnumbered opponents by about a 3:1 margin.  Also, even opponents have said that they could see a plan that focuses on the UTA footprint and central Arlington (A plan should include more than just UTA and central Arlington, however).

The statement that a majority do not want bike lanes on ANY city streets is outright FALSE.


  1. False Statement:  Bicycle riders are free to ride anywhere in Arlington.

The TRUTH: this statement coldly, cruelly ignores all of the statements made by cyclists who describe being hit, clipped, had objects thrown at them, being threatened, or were too closely passed which created a danger for the cyclist, while bicycling on city streets.  These cyclists come from all over the city.  These statements have been made at numerous public hearings and forums.

Also, the city’s ordinance does not expressly permit bicycle riding on sidewalks, nor should it, because sidewalk riding is dangerous, especially when traveling against traffic.  This is because driveways and curb cuts allow traffic to cross sidewalks quickly with little view because of trees, vegetation and walls.  Also, motorists are focused on traffic on the street and are looking for breaks in street traffic, they’re not looking at the sidewalk.  A study confirms the danger of sidewalk riding, and another study shows that on-road bicycle lanes reduced collision and injury rates by about 50% (Reynolds, Conor, et al., “The Impact of Transportation Infrastructure on Bicycling Injuries and Crashes: A Review of the Literature,” Environmental Health, Vol. 8, no. 47 (2009)).


  1. False statement: “… The plan is based on a planning department forecast of “no population growth,” thereby justifying fewer lane miles ….” 

The TRUTH:  Of course Arlington’s population will grow, and the staff and consultant state this in the TDP at page 2: “Arlington is expected to grow to a population of approximately 438,000 with over 197,000 jobs by the year 2030.”  This growth was included in the TDP analysis, and when the consultants and staff concluded in the TDP that the increase in Arlington’s streets should be 216 lane miles instead of 348 lane miles.

Of course, Arlington is still growing.  But Arlington is rapidly becoming land-locked, and the RATE of its future growth will be different than in the past, with developments that are occuring around UTA campus, Viridian, and other projects.


  1. False statement“… this plan was prepared by the planning department without the experience and practical input of the public works and transportation departments….”

The TRUTH: Read page i of the TDP, which clearly shows that public works and transportation participated in the TDP, and talk to the following folks:

  • Bob Lowry, P.E. [Professional Engineer], Director of Public Works and Transportation
  • Jason Grimm, P.E. Project Engineer
  • Jill House, P.E., Assistant Director of Public Works and Transportation
  • Keith Melton, P.E., Assistant Director of Public Works and Transportation

  1. Awkward Statement“… TDP reduces planned street lanes by 132 lane miles.  This involves 32 different streets ….”

The TRUTH:  The TDP will INCREASE the city’s existing lane miles by 216 miles.  The 32 streets are actually 52 street segments.  Most of the 52 street segments actually will have NO CHANGE or actually see an increase in their lane miles from existing conditions.  The list of street segments in the TDP is at page 24, Table 5.2.  Look at the second column, entitled “From-To”, Look at “Existing Lanes” and look at “Recommended Change.”  Of those 52 street segments, about 73% of those segments (38 out of 52) will actually have NO CHANGE, or will see an INCREASE in the number of lane miles (54% of the listed segments would stay the same as existing conditions, and 19% of the listed segments would increase from existing conditions).  Only about 14 of the segments are planned to have an actual reduction in lane miles from existing conditions (27% of the segments listed–representing only about 2% to 2.5% of all the lane miles in the city).


  1. False statement: “…The city staff says this is based on the consultant’s study which concludes that approximately 80% of existing and planned streets will have excess capacity….”

The TRUTH: We are unsure where this 80% figure comes from.  It seems to be an apparent misquote from the May 24th City Council Work Session.  What the chief planner ACTUALLY said was that about 80% of the city’s total possible future land area (we’re virtually land-locked by other communities) has an existing land use, as shown in the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Map, and this is used by the consultant and a computer model along with other variables to predict future road needs.  The model also considers FUTURE development and land use, and, to be cautious, they assume high-intensity uses in future development in the model when projecting future road needs.   As a result of this analysis, only about 14 to 15 miles of roadway are planned to have lanes reduced from existing conditions.  This is only about 28-30 lane miles, and this represents only about 2.5% of all existing lane miles (1,200 lane miles total), and only about 2% of proposed future lane miles (1,416 lane miles).


  1. False statement:  These are the Option C streets that will see lane reductions, lane narrowing, and loss of residential on-street parking due to the addition of striped bike-only lanes:
    North Arlington:

    1. Baird Farm Road from Brown south to Lamar (bike lanes/no on street parking)
    2. Bert from Davis to Cooper? (map not clear)
    3. Lincoln from Green Oaks south to I-30  (bike lanes/no on street parking)
    4. Margaret from Green Oaks south to Bert (bike lanes/no on street parking)
    5. Washington from Cooper east to Lincoln

The TRUTH: Note: for the streets below, please refer to the Tiled Recommendation Maps (Appendix H) of the original proposed Hike and Bike plan.

  1. Baird Farm Road from Brown south to Lamar is already two lane and already has BIKE LANES!  And there are no parking problems.
  2. Bert from Davis to Cooper: No lane reductions are planned.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.  It simply involves striping, as indicated by the red and yellow dashes (NOT red and green dashes) on the map in original Hike and Bike Map Tile in Appendix H (p. H-6).
  3. Lincoln from Green Oaks south to I-30: No lane reductions are planned.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.  It simply involves striping, as indicated by the red and yellow dashes (NOT red and green dashes) on the map in original Hike and Bike Map Tile in Appendix H (p. H-6).
  4. Margaret from Green Oaks south to Bert: No lane reductions are planned.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.  It simply involves striping, as indicated by the red and yellow dashes (NOT red and green dashes) on the map in original Hike and Bike Map Tile in Appendix H (p. H-6).
  5. Washington from Cooper east to Lincoln: No lane reductions are planned.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.  It simply involves striping, as indicated by the red and yellow dashes (NOT red and green dashes) on the map in original Hike and Bike Map Tile in Appendix H (p. H-6).

Regarding PARKING:  Parking is not a problem because the original plan provides for flexibility and continued neighborhood involvement and if parking is an issue, other techniques can be used to create bike travel improvements, such as an edgeline, or, as staff suggested, creating special hours for parking. For instance, if parking occurs in the evening or having parking on one side of the street and utilizing biking symbols and signs.

Regarding “NARROWING”:  SOS’s claims of so-called “narrowing” is mostly just the application of a painted stripe on a street that is already more than wide enough to handle motor vehicles.  In fact, the OVER-WIDE lanes on many city streets causes speeding, and speeding in neighborhoods was listed as the top problem in the 2011 Citizen Survey, bigger than burglaries, illegal drug sales, and stray animals.  In those few instances of narrowing (for instance, as indicated by the Red and Green dash marks on the original Hike and Bike map at Appendix H) (none of which are listed here), those have only been planned where there is plenty of pavement width to do so with no sacrifice to safety, as the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials confirmed in its analysis, discussed in the Hike and Bike Plan at Chapter 3.


  1. False Statement: These are the Option C streets that will see lane reductions, lane narrowing, and loss of residential on-street parking due to the addition of striped bike-only lanes:
    West Arlington:

    1. Little Road from Green Oaks Treepoint (wide outside lane/no on street parking)
    2. Perkins south of Arkansas to Waterview (bike lanes/no on street parking)
    3. Shorewood and/or Bowen Springs Rd. (bike lanes/no on street parking)

The TRUTH:

  1. Little Road from Green Oaks to Treepoint:  No lane reductions are planned.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.  This route has a wide outside lane that will accomodate a re-stripe.  Also, there is already no parking on Little Road.
  2. Perkins south of Arkansas to Waterview:  this is one of the few travel lane conversions remaining in Option C, and it is near Lake Arlington, and there are no severe parking issues on Perkins.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.
  3. Shorewood and/or Bowen [sic] Springs Rd:  It’s Bowman Springs Rd (NOT Bowen) and anyway, the Bowman Springs Rd. bike improvement is a sidepath, not a bike lane. Shorewood between Saddle Ridge and Bowman Springs Rd. is a Travel Lane Conversion, has low traffic volume and will accomodate the conversion, little to no on street parking and is near Lake Arlington and will help cyclists get there.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.

  1. False statement: These are the Option C streets that will see lane reductions, lane narrowing, and loss of residential on-street parking due to the addition of striped bike-only lanes.
    Central Arlington:

    1. Abram from O.S. Gray Park east to Fielder (Travel Lane Conversion; 4 lanes reduced to 2 & bike lanes added):
    2. Davis from U.T.A. Blvd. south to Arkansas (Travel Lane Conversion; 4 lanes reduced to 2 & bike lanes added):
    3. Pecan from U.T.A. Blvd. south to Park Row (Travel Lane Conversion; 4 lanes reduced to 2 & bike lanes added)
    4. Sanford from Oakwood east to Mesquite (bike lanes/no on street parking)
    5. UTA Blvd from Davis to Mesquite (Travel Lane Conversion; 4 lanes reduced to 2 & bike lanes added)
    6. West Mitchell from Davis to several blocks east of Collins (Travel Lane Conversion; 4 lanes reduced to 2 & bike lanes added)

The TRUTH:

  1. Abram from O.S. Gray Park east to Fielder:  this is NOT a Travel Lane Conversion.  It is the addition of bike lanes with new construction, as indicated by the red and orange dash marks in the original Hike and Bike plan map at Appendix H (p. H-9).  The opponents are confusing this with Norwood, and a city councilmember states that this neighborhood wants the Norwood travel lane conversion to calm down traffic and reduce speeding.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.
  2. Davis from UTA Blvd south to Arkansas:  this is NOT a Travel Lane Conversion.  The road is already 2 lanes.  The pavement width is already wide enough to accommodate bike lanes, as indicated by the red and yellow dash marks in the original Hike and Bike plan map at Appendix H.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.
  3. Pecan from UTA Blvd south to Park Row:  Pecan from UTA Blvd to Mitchell already has bike lanes and is already 2 lanes.  It is NOT a Travel Lane Conversion.  Pecan from Mitchell to Park Row is a Travel Lane Conversion to 2 lanes, with low traffic volume and will accommodate the conversion, little to no on street parking, and it is badly needed to get UTA cyclists to housing, shopping, and practical destinations.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.
  4. Sanford from Oakwood east to Mesquite:  No lane reductions are planned.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.  It simply involves striping, as indicated by the red and yellow dashes (NOT red and green dashes) on the map in original Hike and Bike Map Tile in Appendix H (pp. H-5 & H-6).  Regarding PARKING:  Parking is not a problem because the original plan provides for flexibility and continued neighborhood involvement and if parking is an issue, other techniques can be used to create bike travel improvements, such as an edgeline, or, as staff suggested, creating special hours for parking for instance, if parking occurs in the evening, or having parking on one side of the street and utilizing biking symbols and signs.
  5. UTA Blvd from Davis to Mesquite:  False:  No parking issues.  There is currently no parking on this segment.  Also, this is a Travel Lane Conversion that UTA wants to continue make the campus more pedestrian friendly.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.
  6. West Mitchell from Davis to several blocks east of Collins St.:  There is currently little to no parking on this segment.  Also, this is a travel lane conversion that UTA wants to continue make the campus more pedestrian friendly.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.

  1. False Statement: These are the Option C streets that will see lane reductions, lane narrowing, and loss of residential on-street parking due to the addition of striped bike-only lanes.
    South Arlington:

    1. Calender from Collins south to Turner-Warner (bike lanes/no on street parking)
    2. Bowen from Bardin south to Redstone (bike lanes/no on street parking)

The TRUTH:

  1. Calender Rd. from Collard, (NOT Collins) south to Turner-Warner:  First, Calender Rd from Sublett to Curry is already a 2-lane road with bike lanes and no parking issues.  Second, Calender Rd. from Collard to Sublett, and from Curry Rd. to Turner-Warnell (not Warner):  No lane reductions are planned.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.  It involves new construction of bike lanes as indicated by the red and orange dashes on the map in original Hike and Bike Map Tile in Appendix H (p. H-13 && H-17).
  2. Bowen from Bardin south to Redstone:  No lane reductions are planned.  No narrowing below AASHTO standards.  It involves new construction of bike lanes as indicated by the red and orange dashes on the map in original Hike and Bike Map Tile in Appendix H (p. H-13 && H-17).  No parking issues.
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  1. Unfortunately, Mr Saunders does not care about the TRUTH, he only cares about his agenda….whatever that REALLY is.

  2. Heather

    Thanks for all of the research and hard work in putting all of this information together. You guys have done a great job.

    However, I suspect that no amount of truth will sway those with closed minds. Many of the SOS supporters are against any change regardless of the proven benefits. Which is too bad for Arlington, because as long as those people control our City Council, we’ll never see it become the attractive, flourishing city it could be.

    Great job, guys! We all appreciate it!

    • BFA Admin

      Hi Heather,

      We know that it probably won’t change any minds in the SOS camp. But it’s out there now. And Mr. Saunders will have to deal with it. Publicly.

      BFA

  3. Tiffany Todd

    Hello,

    My name is Tiffany Todd and I am a reporter for The Shorthorn. I am working on a story about the Hike and Bike plan. Would love to hear your thoughts on recent developments. Feel free to email anytime.
    Thank you,
    Tiffany Todd
    ttodd@mavs.uta.edu

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