An Update on the Proposed Arlington Hike and Bike Plan
Bicycle infrastructure is on a roll in the DFW metroplex! Dallas recently passed their 2011 Dallas Bike Plan and the Bike Fort Worth Plan has already implemented an impressive number of bike lanes and routes and created a vibrant community atmosphere in the Near Southside District. Arlington City Council will vote on a modified version of Arlington’s Hike and Bike Plan on June 28, 2011.
Arlington is several strides behind its neighbors. It’s been over a year and a half since transportation planners and private consultants worked with the public to create Arlington’s Hike and Bike System Master Plan, and several months since the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the plan for approval (in February 2011). But when the original proposed Hike and Bike System Master Plan landed in the hands of Arlington City Council Members and Arlington’s more regressive residents, it changed from a transportation plan into a recreational compromise.
The City Council changed the Hike and Bike plan from a comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian transportation system to a plan that emphasizes cycling and walking for recreation rather than transportation. The plans are now referred to as Option A, B, and C. The plan that will be put for a vote before Council is Option C. But, “Plan C, with its focus on on-street bike routes and not bike lanes, does little to bridge the experience gap between novice cyclists that only feel comfortable riding in parks on trails, and experienced cyclists who already feel comfortable riding in the street with traffic” (Plan “C”: Mind The Gap).
Plan A was projected to create a viable and integrated transportation and recreation system with 108 miles of striped bike lanes, 33 miles of bike routes, and 118 miles of off-street trails. Plan C includes only 16 miles of bike lanes, 43 miles of bicycle routes, and just 64 miles of off-street facilities. Plan C gives the impression of a compromise: it balances on- and off-street bicycle facilities in mileage rather than estimated funding, thus creating fewer on-street bike lanes (Refer to the plan comparison chart for cost estimates).
We are encouraging amendments to Plan C for bike routes to return to the plan as bike lanes, as they were designated in the original plan. Plan C is not the kind of Hike and Bike Plan that Bike Friendly Arlington expected, but it’s better than no plan at all.
We’d like to extend an invitation to all cyclists, pedestrians, BFA supporters, and businesses to the public hearing at City Hall Council Chambers, 101 W. Abram Street, on June 28, 2011, at 6:30pm. The meeting will likely be unruly and at times incredulous, but we could use all the support we can get on the positive side. Please wear your yellow support shirt if you have one, and if you don’t we will be handing out more in the lobby.
Please join us to help get a Hike and Bike System Master Plan that properly accommodates for Arlington’s diverse citizenship – ages 8-to-80 – once and for all!