What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

11 February 2012

Bogotá & Seville: Texas Trails Conference

Previously on Cheekyness: I went to the Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference, and afterwards I wrote about B-Cycle in San Antonio.

Source: BikeTexas / Ann Harkness
We continue our saga with the second session I attended: Lessons from Bogotá and Seville - A City Council Perspective. Three Dallas City Council members went out of the country last year to have a look at how cycling is done in other places, and they came back with changed perspectives and enthusiasm to try some things in Dallas.

In Bogatá, Ciclovía started with two blocks of city streets being blocked off for families to enjoy. Now, 75 miles of streets around Bogatá are closed every Sunday, and over one million people participate weekly. Very cool. 

Here in the U.S., cities are starting to catch on and have their own events from time to time. It's coming to Austin in May-- yay!-- and I'll be blogging about that later on once their publicity gets going.

The coolest thing (IMO) from Seville was their smart signage. Suppose you're on your way to work during rush hour-- along your route, you'd see signs in real time telling you how long it is projected to take from your position to get to major landmarks via different types of transportation. For instance, it might say, "DOWNTOWN: By Car, 15 minutes; By Bike, 8 minutes; Walking, 10 minutes." 

So, the point of these ladies going abroad was to see what they can do in Dallas. Currently, Dallas has no bike lanes, but they're on track to install some this spring, and the trips to cycling-friendly cities were to see what works and what does not. A comment was made during this session that Dallas has really done other cities a service by not putting in bike lanes for all these years; they've proven that just making your lanes wide enough for cars and cyclists to use the street is not enough. Hoping that all road users will magically be courteous doesn't work, and Dallas does not have many cyclists in consequence. (Actually, I read in Mia Birk's Joyride that the previous 'bicycle coordinator' in Dallas thought that anyone who isn't confident enough to take the lane on a bicycle has no business cycling on the street. I think that's dumb, as does Ms. Birk. But that didn't come up during this session. And as mentioned, Dallas has changed their collective minds about the use of bike lanes.)

Happily, since Dallas has made such wide streets, they have plenty of space to go around striping bike lanes. And the sooner, the better, IMO. Some day I may actually visit there, and I'd like to ride my bike in relative safety.

While on the subject of Dallas-- later on in the day, BikeTexas gave an award to Bike Friendly Oak Cliff for their work to promote cycling in their section of Dallas. It would be absolutely, crazy-awesome fantastic if Dallas could take off to become a leader in cycling-- not only would that be good for Texas, but it would be great for the entire South, since most bicycle-friendly cities in the U.S. are in the North. The sooner a southern city steps up to show us it can be done, the happier and safer we all shall be.

Do I have any readers from Dallas? Do you ride your bike? Everyone else: Did you see that Dallas is returning to cable TV this summer? 

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