Skip to Navigation Skip to Main Content
David Minton - DRC

Bike-friendly cities require planning

Profile image for Fort Worth Star-Telegram Editorial
Fort Worth Star-Telegram Editorial

Bikes are everywhere in Dallas. One would think this is a positive development.

No fewer than five companies -- VBikes, Ofo, Spin, LimeBike and MoBikes -- are offering bike-share services in the city.

But those bikes used by well-intentioned riders are not being returned properly. In fact, The Dallas Morning News reports Highland Park has decided rent-a-bikes abandoned on public property overnight will be impounded.

City leaders don't want Fort Worth to become overrun with bikes, like our neighbors to the east.

Our 46 BCycle stations, which are home to 250 bikes, saw 59,280 trips (up from about 56,000 in 2016) and fewer overall miles, at 266,648 (down from 286,000 in 2016).

Meanwhile, a recent city report here in Fort Worth demonstrates our bike usage rates are holding steady from 2016 to 2017.

Modest growth is a good thing.

But we think there's opportunity here, to continue a thoughtful discussion about the kinds and patterns of cycling on our streets.

But we also need to think about alternative modes of transportation as we look to attract a creative class to our city that will diversify our economic base.

The city's recent economic study highlighted a need to incentivize new types of business and business owners -- to bring more high-paying jobs to the region. The city's study calls for nearly 10,000 housing units within 1 mile of downtown and 25,000 within 2 miles.

Wouldn't it be great if those folks living in and near downtown felt comfortable riding their bikes to and from work? And for others, who live farther away, to do the same?

Each new city street that is laid down is striped for bike lanes. This is a constructive step in the right direction, as evidenced by the fact that bike lanes serve more of the city than they ever have.

But, some bike lanes and sidewalks in newer neighborhoods seem to start and stop with some degree of inconsistency.

And what about existing streets?

Signs that encourage cyclists to use the full lane may make sense for the expert rider, but those looking to battle rush hour traffic that's in our downtown are less comfortable in the saddle, so to speak.

Crossing East Seventh Street in downtown is a nightmare for anyone. Then there are those lanes, like on 10th Street, where bikes travel in two directions in the same lane.

Clearly delineated, safe lanes for cyclists have been incorporated into cities as large as New York. We can make it happen here.

The city's taken a positive step recently, in partnering with Strava, which is a web-based platform that charts riders' routes. It could use the data to prioritize where bike lanes should be added.

And then it can commit to a plan that makes it easier for us all to get around town on two wheels instead of four, if we are so inclined.

Just keep in mind, that more bike systems doesn't necessarily equal a more bike-friendly city. We need to make sure what happened in Dallas doesn't happen here.