Bike the Metroplex!…and hopefully soon Arlington too

Cities all around the Metroplex are making great strides to advance bicycle infrastructure.

Fort Worth

Fort Worth unanimously approved their BikeFW plan in February of 2010. This plan provides 480 miles of on-street bike lanes, 218 miles of on-street bike routes, and 224 miles of off-street trails.

As Mayor Mike Moncrief stated before he voted to approve the plan “The important message tonight is alternative modes of transportation.  We deserve options from which to choose” (see his comments starting at 01:24:00 here).

To supplement this plan, the Fort Worth City Council also recently unanimously approved both a Safe Passing Ordinance (requiring a vehicle to give three feet of space between it and a vulnerable road user) and a bicycle parking ordinance for the city.

Dallas

Just this month the Dallas City Council also unanimously approved the 2011 Dallas Bike Plan.  This plan provides 255 miles of on-street bike lanes, 188 miles of on-street bike routes, and 456 miles of off-street trails.

Other area cities

The City of Denton has a bike plan underway, but in the meantime, unanimously approved a Safe Passing Ordinance.

The City of Richardson’s bike plan contains a robust system of bike lanes, routes, and trails.

Arlington?

We realize Arlington is not any of these cities, and we appreciate that too. We love Arlington. But we feel Arlington is missing an opportunity to provide real amenities for its citizens. Our neighbors are attracting creative people who help spur economic development and Arlington needs to do the same.

For a comparison of these plans versus Arlington’s proposed Option C:

Arlington
Option C
Bike Fort Worth Dallas Bike Plan
Bike Lanes 16 480 123
Bike Routes 43 218 203
Other on-street 2 1 514
Off-street Trails 64 200 456
Total Miles 125 924 1296

With a quick glance, wouldn’t you think Arlington deserves more? Now take a look at Option A – the plan created over a year and half with the work of the public, city staff, and experienced consultants:

Arlington
Option A
Bike Lanes 108
Bike Routes 33
Other on-street 22
Off-street Trails 118
Total Miles 281

Better, no? Also, Arlington’s Option A is about 58% on-street and 42% off-street, which is closer to Fort Worth’s percentages (75% on-street and 25% off-street) and Dallas’ percentages (65% on-street / 35% off-street). (By comparison, Arlington’s Option C is only about 49% on-street / 51% off-street – learn more here.) Option A also has many more miles of lanes, instead of routes, which is a better option – people want on-street facilities to get to practical destinations.

For a full understanding of the differences between these facilities, please see our post about bike lanes and bike routes, and why bike lanes are accessible to more users than bike routes.

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  1. Bikedude

    So if a majority of cities in the region are implementing bike plans all around the same time, where is this idea coming from? It has to be coming from a single source making an incredible push for bike lanes in our metroplex.Any ideas?

  2. No, I don’t think it’s coming from a single source. In fact I think Dallas and Fort Worth are coming from different directions to achieve similar solutions. One thing that sets Dallas apart from its western neighbors, though, is the network of rail that complements bicycles and gives them much better range.

    I really think Arlington will make progress. The secret, if there is one, is to keep a positive attitude and show that bicycles are here to stay…. to quote Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

  3. A portion of my recent letter to Arlington City Council Members. A chance encounter with Arlington Citizens enjoying Fort Worth bicycle infrastructure.


    During my bicycle ride home on Saturday, May 28th I came across a man and his wife exiting the Trinity Trails System at Bellaire Drive in southwest Fort Worth. This fifty-plus year old couple was proceeding along Bellaire Drive’s Bike Lane towards Pecan Park and into Benbrook.  The three of us enjoyed a short conversation during which I asked if they lived in Fort Worth or Benbrook.  I was surprised to learn they were Arlington residents who feel Arlington lacks bicycle-friendly options; as such, they routinely drive to Fort Worth with their bicycles.  They explained this weekly trip provides the opportunity to enjoy a bicycle ride, get some exercise, do some light shopping, and get lunch- all in one trip. 

    This Arlington couple parks their car along the Trinity Trail System in Fort Worth, bicycles to various trail entrances/exits and then utilizes Bike Lanes/Routes to shops and eateries (those include downtown Fort Worth, retail along S. Hulen Street, and even the Star Bucks in Benbrook).  They do not wish to simply bicycle on a trail around a singular city park.  The gentleman explained such opportunities do not exist in Arlington.  My un-asked question, how long will this couple drive from their empty nest residence to a location they enjoy and value?

    Everyone recognizes Arlington has as many or more wonderful destinations as Fort Worth or Dallas; however, it lacks safe accessibility for those residents and guests who wish to commute as pedestrians or bicyclists.  Our membership looks forward to an Arlington of the future which provides such access for everyone on its public roadways.

    Thank you for your consideration,
    Jim Wilson
    President, LMRA Bicycle Club

    • Pawel P.

      Thanks, Jim. You are a champion.

      • Thanks but no. Now I can list some:
        – Kyle Carr who helped so much when we first began pushing for access in FW, and who designed those terrific “I support BIKE Fort Worth Plan” t-shirts.
        – Don Koski who put together FW Bicycle Study Technical Committee which authored BIKE Fort Worth Plan.
        – Julia McCleeary who took over for Don in FW without missing a step. She has made great strides implementing the plan.
        – Everyone who shows-up at meetings in support of greater bicycle/pedestrian access. Together they show this is not some small fringe movement.
        – Those in Arlington, especially Bike Friendly Arlington who against all odds continue to respectfully, and strongly support greater access.




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