Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dallas Falls Further Behind in Biking

Five entries ago, I brought up the fact that Dallas is falling behind several Texas cities in offering a bike share service. Now it appears they are even falling behind in the multi-state region.

Oklahoma City has now officially joined the ranks of cities who have some kind of bike share program. Launched a week ago, the somewhat unfortunately named Spokies bike share program adds another dimension of transportation options in Downtown Oklahoma City . It offer six stations around the neighborhood where you can pick up or drop off a bike. Memberships are available, even as low as one-day, pretty much guaranteeing anyone can use the service.

There is one quote which I want to pull out of the article that shows why they have it, but Dallas has nothing yet to show for it.

City Councilwoman Meg Salyer, who lives and works downtown, is a Spokies advocate and said bicycle sharing adds another dynamic dimension to the ongoing transformation of Oklahoma City's urban core.

Political will plain and simple. We aren't talking something that is expensive, time-consuming or difficult to implement. I could give you suitable locations right now. Within a week, I could map out favorable land-use and demographic data to further supplement station locations. Yet, we have a political body beholden to interests that insist on pursuing archaic ideas based solely on car use.

Sadly, OKC isn't the only one passing Dallas. LSU in Baton Rogue, Louisiana is there. The University of Arkansas has one too. Even Tulsa, Oklahoma offers a program.

I wonder how long the list will become before Dallas makes a serious attempt at getting on the list. The ironic thing is that with Deep Ellum, Uptown and Knox-Henderson, Dallas has a much larger urban area to choose from and presumably much larger opportunity for success. 

The 2011 Bike Plan called for a bike share program, but given the fact that staffers are saying bike lanes are financially unfeasible, I doubt the bike share will be realized anytime soon.
It really isn't hard to put four-six of these around various locations in the city, and not that expensive either.
This is my ultimate frustration with the City of Dallas. On the one hand, they talk a good game. Let's create a vibrant urban area, let's increase mass transit use, let's bring more residents to downtown, etc. But on the other hand, their actions don't support the words. Approval of buildings like Hunt or Museum Towers, continued pursuit of the Trinity Tollway, little attention to detail on the urban design all have negative consequences to a vibrant urban area. In some ways, downtown is revitalizing itself due to outside factors rather than city action or programs. Imagine what could be accomplished if what the city did and pursued were beneficial to an urban Dallas.


Courtney said...

I kinda like the name. Spokes + Okies = Spokies! :) Would love to see a bike-share (and also a car-share) sprout up in Dallas!

Debra said...

I'm not sure I understand the comment "Even Tulsa, Oklahoma offers a program". Why the "even Tulsa"?

Branden said...

Even Tulsa because they are a city under 400,000 in population in a region of less than a million.

Dallas has 1.2 million people in a region around 6 million.

As far as downtown, according to the Tulsa World,, roughly 4,000 people live in their downtown, whereas Dallas has roughly 50% more.

As far as office population, Dallas has five times the office population, which should also means more retail and restaurant activity and hotel rooms.

If Tulsa can operate a bike share program, Dallas has no excuse. Dallas is denser and operates in near the same geographic footprint. The only thing Tulsa has that Dallas does not is a University nearby, though it isn't an OU or UTA in terms of students. It has an enrollment of just over 4,000.