News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

After years of promises, will Dallas finally pedal forward with a new plan for more bike lanes?

bikes.jpeg
Keren Carrión
/
KERA
Bikers gather at Dallas City Hall for an initiative called Bike To City Hall to promote environment-friendly transit, on Oct. 20, 2021.

It’s hard to get around the city of Dallas on a bike. In fact, the city ranks as one of the unfriendliest cities for biking in the U.S.

Part of the reason is that Dallas did not embrace the idea of bike lanes. In 2011, there was a plan that called for creating more than 1,000 miles of bike routes, yet so far, only about 20% of that plan has been implemented, according to city leaders.

Earlier this week, several Dallas council members and other bicycle enthusiasts cycled about two miles to promote bike safety for the 2021 Bike to City Hall event.

Dallas leaders expressed their commitment to revisit the city’s 10 year-old bike lane map and make the city more green by building  parks and trails and fixing up sidewalks to encourage walking.

“You've heard the expression voting with your feet. Well, you voted with your wheels this morning, you voted for better bike facilities, for more bike paths and trails, and for taking the city back for people,” said council member Paul Ridley, who represents the area of Uptown, East Dallas and Lower Greenville.

Currently Dallas has about 20 miles on-street protected bike lanes, or bikeways that are at street level and offer physical protection from passing traffic. In comparison, Austin has more than 50 miles of on-street protected bike lanes.

“I used to bike to work, but then I had kids, and I was certain I'd die if I kept traveling downtown without designated bike lanes,” said Dallas lawyer Stephen Green. “Integrated bike lanes would help make Dallas a world class city that promotes health and safety.”

Dallas residents rely heavily on their vehicles. If Mayor Pro Tem Chad West, a huge advocate for biking in Dallas, had his way there would be bike lanes across the city.

West said it’s time to change the mindset of drivers and he proudly pointed to the approval of $2 million in the council’s budget for more bike lanes.

“We can’t ask our residents to go out there and ride a bike and walk to work if it is not safe, and that’s on us as a city to make sure to give them an infrastructure,” said West. He represents North Oak Cliff and Bishop Arts.

Updating the 10 year-old bike plan, involves bringing in consultants to identify which neighborhoods are in need of more lanes. Council member Jaime Resendez, who represents the area of Pleasant Grove and Southeast Dallas, said bike infrastructure is “pretty much nonexistent.”

The city's Department of Transportation will present the next steps to the council later this year.

"We as a city have got to do better about our infrastructure to make sure it gets that way. Because you're not in fear for your life, most of the time when you're in a car, but if you're a cyclist, there's a lot of really scary moments out there when you're crossing our intersections,” West said.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member for KERA News. Email Alejandra at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.