Ft Worth bicycle advocates are excited about the city council's unanimous approval of a bike plan that will radically expand the bike infrastructure. This north central Texas city of 700,000 sprawled over 300 square miles in Tarrant, Wise, Parker and Denton Counties plans to expand the bike network 10 fold and otherwise work to encourage bike use.
As Kevin Buchanan of Forthworthology reports:
At last night’s Fort Worth City Council meeting, a mass of bicyclists turned out in support of the Bike Fort Worth plan, which the council would be voting on adopting and implementing. Groups from the newly formed Bike Friendly Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Bicycling Association, and the LMRA Bicycle Club joined individual supporters to express their enthusiasm over the proposal. Supporters took many forms, male and female, from the hipsters to the sports riders to daily commuters to families with kids.
The plan received enthusiastic endorsement from the council, especially Councilmembers Joel Burns and Carter Burdette. Finally, Mayor Moncrief also spoke out strongly in favor of the plan, saying that Fort Worth deserves real transportation alternatives.
The Fort Worth City Council unanimously voted to approve and implement the ambitious Bike Fort Worth bicycle transportation plan. After the vote, there was a standing ovation from the entire council chamber.
Besides radically expanding the miles of bike lanes and bike paths, some of the more important and useful aspects of the new Ft Worth Bike Plan include:
Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Program will be created in city government to manage implementation of the bike plan. The city will also designate a Bicycle Coordinator. A citizen Bicycle Advisory Committee will be the liaison providing input to city government on cyclist needs.
Bike Fort Worth website will be created for a one stop shop on bicycling resources in Ft Worth.
Plan performance will be measured through bicycle traffic counts, opinion surveys, and counting miles of paint and pavement.
Bicycle crash data: Bike Plan planners received data from the Ft Worth police on bike crashes, but discovered the data was incomplete and useless for planning purposes. Policies will be changed to provide better, more complete information on bicycle street safety.
Traffic signals: Calibrate signals to detect bikes, road markings directing cyclists to the location of loop detectors, and green phase timing lengthened to give cyclists enough time to cross an intersection.
Bridge design guidelines requiring wide outside lanes when the bridge is one "a proposed bikeway."
Bicycle Parking: Bike racks should accommodate "U" locks and provide two points of contact for a bike frame. Ribbon racks are discouraged. New city government office construction will incorporate bike parking in the design, and showers & lockers will also be designed into new government buildings. Planning & Zoning codes will be modified to include requirements for bike parking in new developments (currently, Ft Worth has no bike parking requirements in the city code).
Bicycle safety education: The city will encourage the school districts serving city residents to provide bike safety education for children. Safe Routes to School program participation will be expanded. A bike map with safety information will be printed. The city will promote bicycling for transportation through events. (Sadly, the onus seems to be on the cyclists to stay safe; there's no mention in the plan on educating motorists on their responsbilities.)
Enforcement: Better enforcement of speed limits, red lights, wrong way riding, and reckless driving & riding. Police will be trained on "the rights and responsibilities of cyclists and motorists." Police will also receive training on common bike / car crash types, and given guidance on crash reports so more detailed data analysis can be done.
Proposed new traffic ordinances include 3 foot passing law, anti dooring law (What?! Texas already doesn't have a law like this? It's in the Uniform Vehicle Code.) No parking in bike lanes. Specific prohibitions on right hook and left cross crashes. Ban sidewalk riding in high pedestrian traffic zones.