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Sunday, January 23, 2022
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$2 Million Allocated to Improve Dallas Bicycle Infrastructure

City & State

Person on a bicycle in a bicycle lane. | Image by Christina Felsing

The 2022 City of Dallas budget will be allocating $2 million for the city’s bike lane program. According to the Dallas Observer, it will be the first time in a decade that the bike plan has been updated. The funding will improve infrastructure and address gaps left in the program from 2011.

During last month’s 2021 Bike to City Hall event, several city council members were present to speak about bike safety. They also spoke about the need for biking infrastructure.

Councilmember Chad West said, “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.”

The plan approved in 2011 was meant to replace the one from 1985. It would have created an advisory board, added 1,300 miles in bike routes, and encouraged more residents to start cycling.

“There wasn’t a single year until this year’s budget that the council fully funded the bike plan in accordance with the plan requirements,” West told the Observer.

Today, only some of the 2011 plan has been completed. Michael Rogers, head of transportation in Dallas, stated the city focused on protecting bike infrastructure and making it safer.

Rogers told the Dallas Observer, “Even though we’ve only done 11%, we’re trying to do them differently, more holistic, and in a safer way.”

According to West, the bike plan was not made a priority in recent years.

“I just don’t think that the city as a whole has made it a priority,” he explained.

West told the Dallas Observer that the bike funding for 2022 was proof that the city has started adjusting priorities to support bicycle transportation. He added that the goal is to make Dallas healthier, more connected, and more welcoming for cyclists.

“Having connected bike lanes, it opens up the door for more healthy options,” West said. “It opens up the door for connected neighborhoods for people who might not have cars who might be able to use a bike to get around. It opens up the door, really, to just a whole new way of travel for individuals.”

The 2022 plan will add more destinations to city bike routes, as well as update current routes. A city memo sent out on November 5 stated new construction will connect the bike lanes on Zang Boulevard and Bishop Avenue. There will also be protected lanes built on Vernon Avenue.

The memo also stated that funding will be used to build the first infrastructure for on-street bicycles in the Fourth District. Bicycling Magazine ranked Dallas as the worst city for cyclists in 2008 and 2012.

There are reminders of the 1985 Greater Dallas Bike Plan around the city in the form of faded lines and street signs. In 1983, a law that defined bicycles as vehicles was passed in the states. According to the Observer, this gave cyclists the same road rights and responsibilities as motorists.

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