Tuesday, January 5

Fort Worth Bike Plan

This is news to me. Though I went to the BPAC Meeting in June where this was presented, this is the first time I've actually SEEN what Fort Worth has in mind in the area I ride. Accordingly, I sent the following email:
From: Steve A

Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 2010 8:27 PM
To: JULIAXXXX(at)fortworthgov.org
Cc: DON_KOSKI(at)fortworthgov.org

Subject: Bike Fort Worth Plan Comments

I bicycle commute to the Alliance Airport daily, and have comments about the designated proposed bike infrastructure in that area. Specifically:

Westport Parkway east of I35W, Old Denton north of Hwy 170, and Alta Vista between Westport and Keller Haslett, and Keller Hicks are all too narrow to include on-street bike lanes without major reconstruction of those roads. Due to the distances and relatively light population along these streets, I doubt that regular sweeping of dedicated bike lanes as specified in the plan would be the best use of city resources compared to a more multi-purpose approach. Placement of sharrow symbols and elimination of double yellow lines in areas with good sight distance on these roads would, however, help encourage Fort Worth Police not to pull over cyclists riding in a safe and legal lane position and would facilitate legal passing by motorists.

Westport between I-35W and Old Denton is particularly sensitive to bike commuters because it is currently the ONLY road other than Hwy 170 available to a cyclist coming from the southeastern direction. It is indicative of its suitability for cycling that I ride to work on Hwy 170 in preference to Westport.

Heritage Parkway and Timberland Parkway would work better as “on street designated bike routes” rather than with bike lanes. With bike lanes, traffic lanes would be narrower than desirable for motor traffic (especially trucks) without reconstruction of the street because the median and curbs are already in place and, being new, would not normally require work for many years into the future. Sharrows would be sufficient because motor traffic isn’t heavy. Should this change, reconstruction could easily be incorporated into the plan later. In addition, Timberland has a large school zone west of Alta Vista that acts to calm motor traffic in the area. In addition, Timberland is not a through street east of Excelsior due to barbed wire fences. I can’t understand why such fences (they even preclude easy pedestrian passage) would be present if this were City right of way. Nor is Park Vista a through street as shown in the plan.

Construction of the off-road bike path that roughly parallels Golden Triangle would provide good recreational riding improvements in conjunction with the existing Keller Path. However, it does not lead to any major employment areas, has relatively low resident population, and should be carefully questioned as a potential commuter route unless and until a practical connection with the employment center at Alliance can be completed.

One item not on the plan is I-35W. An off-road bike path on the west side of I-35W might provide cost effective access from the south. Currently, the I-35W Service Road is not continuous south of Alliance and there is right-of-way that might make such a route affordable.

Katy Road also is not on the plan. However, it provides a direct route to the southeast, and motor traffic is such that sharrows would work very well. With bicycle crossing over the railroad tracks at Johnson Road in cooperation with Keller, access to the east would be dramatically improved over present for relatively little cost.

Caylor Road also is not on the plan. It is the current preferred southerly leg when riding towards from Alliance between Keller Haslett and Katy Road. As in the case of Katy, sharrows would work well because motor traffic is not heavy.

If nothing else is done in far north Fort Worth, Westport and a finished southerly route should take precedence over all else. As I indicated to Don at the BPAC Meeting last summer; this area is not fully constructed and implementation of cyclist-friendly routes is a small fraction of the cost of trying to fix things later. I am sad to say that the new road construction to date near Alliance gives little consideration to movement of people by any means other than private motor vehicle.

I would be happy to ride along any of these routes with either of you so that you may see these roads from a cyclist’s standpoint firsthand. I may be reached at this email or via phone at 817-XXX-XXXX to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to forward this email to whoever may be most appropriate within the Fort Worth City Government or wherever else might help (after deleting my phone/email contact info).

Thanks for your consideration and I look forward to hearing back.

-Steve A

We shall see if anything comes of it - or of the plan itself. Perhaps Fort Worth is gently encouraging me to move on to my intended future career as a weekday ski patroller.

Yes I got a response, of the usual "we appreciate your comments and ...." nature.

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