Potential Bike Lane in Deep Ellum
We attended a public meeting a few weeks ago to discuss the redesign of Commerce Street in Deep Ellum. If you’ve driven, walked, or ridden down Commerce, you know there are a lot of improvements that need to be made to this street to create sustainable infrastructure that will be relevant decades from now. The city presented 2 options at the preliminary meeting to gather input from everyone that attended the meeting.
The first option presented by the city increased the sidewalks from 12 feet to 17 feet, left parallel parking, and switched the traffic pattern to a 2 way street.
The second option left the sidewalks at 12 feet, left parallel parking, switched the traffic pattern to a 2 way street, and included a protected 2 way cycle track.
The most consistant concern from everyone attending the meeting, including us, was losing parking. The first thought when someone hears the words bike lane they automatically assume parking is going to be sacrificed. In this case, no parking would be lost because the parallel parking acts a barrier to create a protect bike lane. We were really excited to see the protected cycle track option because Deep Ellum does not have a bike lane. It has sharrows on Main Street, which means that cyclists are supposed to share a lane with cars and have the right to take the full lane. Installing a protected bike lane has many proven benefits including an increase in revenue for the businesses located along the bike lane, increasing ridership by allowing cyclists to have a safe place to ride, reducing traffic speeds and accidents, and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Based on the Strava heat map, which is an app that cyclists can use to log their rides, Deep Ellum is one of the most bike traveled neighborhoods in Urban Dallas. Deep Ellum connects cyclists from Downtown, Oak Cliff, Uptown, The Cedars, Design District, East Dallas, and West Dallas who want to use the Santa Fe Trail to get to and from White Rock Lake. One of the biggest impacts it could make is creating a connecter from the Santa Fe Trail to the Trinity. How great would it be to go from the Santa Fe Trail to the Trinity on a real bike lane!
With Dallas changing as a city and Deep Ellum changing as a neighborhood, we have to design for our future and create multi modal transportation options for all the residents of our great city. Not everyone can afford or wants to own a car. We sold 356 bikes since we opened our doors December 2015. Those are mostly people riding for transportation who would much rather be riding their bike to work than sitting in a traffic jam on 75. Let’s work together to give them a safe place to ride their bikes.
Because it was a public meeting, anyone was welcome to attend and voice their concerns and suggestions. Thanks to the cycling advocates that attended, the bike lane is still being considered. If the small group that attended didn’t speak up, the bike lane would have been nixed. We constantly hear complaints about Dallas lacking good bicycle infrastructure. If you want to change that, you have to ask for it. Attending public meetings and emailing or calling your City Council person and the Mayor are the best ways to do that. If everyone that attends cycling events like critical mass did these things, it could have a huge impact on the decision making process on if/where bicycle infrastructure is placed and changing the yearly budget for the transportation department. The next public meeting about Commerce Street will be in January. We will be posting the meeting information on our Facebook page as soon as it’s announced. If you aren’t able to attend the meeting, email the Deep Ellum Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org, The City of Dallas Transportation Coordinator Jared White at email@example.com, and City Council person Adam Medrano at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them your thoughts on the potential bike lane on Commerce.
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We appreciate everyone’s time and efforts on making Dallas a great community for cyclists.
*Header image is of a protected cycle track in Prospect Park, Brooklyn via nyc.gov