Regional Connections Before Local Connections #2

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Disappointment.

That’s what we feel. Nearly 2 years since we fought for on-street bicycle infrastructure in Arlington, to make the city safer, and more accessible by its residents, the city has yet to install any of the planned bike routes.

To add to the disappointment is the finger-in-the-eye announcement that the city is funding a multi-year bus pilot program at the cost of $350,000 a year i.e. Pilot bus project could begin rolling in Arlington by August, and Passengers would pay $5 to $8 fare on Arlington bus service to Centre Port. In terms of bike infrastructure, that is the entire on-street portion of the Hike & Bike Plan ($291,000) plus an extra $50,000. If the city put that kind of money into on-street infrastructure on a yearly basis, we would already have the on-street infrastructure sanctioned by the approved plan, plus the infrastructure in the original plan that was cut out as a false compromise with Tea Party members and U.N. conspiracy theorists Buddy Saunders and Zack Maxwell.

While connecting the city’s residents to the TRE line (after they passed on having a station of their own) is admirable though somewhat overdue, at the end of the day it’s just another pilot program that can disappear when the political will disappears, or money is tight i.e. according to a blog article at the Dallas Morning News about the newest pilot program:

“Arlington has tried commuter bus lines before, partnering with the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, known as The T, in 2008 to run an express service to and from downtown Fort Worth. That park-and-ride effort folded in 2011 because of low ridership and insufficient funding.” (Benning, DMN)

Paint on the ground, stays on the ground. And routes put in place become better known and more used over time. If the city is serious about better transportation options for its residents, they’d do well to follow through on the Plan they passed in August of 2011 instead of frilling away dollars on another bus pilot program which, if past performance is any indication, is going to be another source of disappointment for Arlington transportation advocates.

If you feel like bicycle infrastructure is not getting it’s due recognition, or you want to express your disappointment with the current direction the city’s transportation policy is headed, please write the city council and let them know that you support the Hike & Bike Plan’s implementation.

You can write to the entire council by copying & pasting their email addresses below to your e-mail program of choice:

To: robert.cluck@arlingtontx.gov, charlie.parker@arlingtontx.gov, sheri.capehart@arlingtontx.gov, robert.rivera@arlingtontx.gov, lana.wolff@arlingtontx.gov, robert.shepard@arlingtontx.gov, michael.glaspie@arlingtontx.gov, jimmy.bennett@arlingtontx.gov, kathryn.wilemon@arlingtontx.gov

CC: Bikefriendlyarlington@gmail.com

Subject: I support implementing the Hike & Bike Plan

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  1. Phil

    Here is a copy of the email I wrote to the city council.
    Dear City Council Members and others;
    Please act on improving Arlington’s city streets for bike riders. I ride approximately 300 miles a week on the city streets. A week does not go by without a close call of getting hit by a car, truck, bus(school) and even a police car. I fear that the next time I wrote to you it will be from my hospital bed. It is a serious matter now in Arlington with the increase in traffic in the “Entertainment District” and with the city petitioning for my events in the our venues, the traffic will only increase. Please at least start a program much like what the Mayor of Ft. Worth has done which I believe is an example of an elected official looking out for the citizens of the community…please do the same!!
    Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or concerns.


    Thanks

    Felipe G.

    • OurTask is spreading fast like a bush fire but with Ambassadorial prargom plan in the pipeline,I can only compare it to a Tsunami but with positive cause.In the near future the Youths who have been with OurTask will not allow themselves to be called the leaders of tomorrow; because they will show you how to be a leader of today. Its indeed an idea that its time has come and nobody can stop us now.High, we fly.

    • I’m so glad I found my solution online.

  2. Phil

    Robert Rivera responded with a very positive response, however Charlie Parker responded and I quote “With the traffic concerns in Arlington, I can’t support a plan that reduces the number of lanes in a street to accommodate bicyclists.

    Charlie

    Sent from my iPad” end of quote.
    At least we know who supports safer streets in Arlington.

  3. Zack Maxwell

    Lol. I love how I have gotten under your skin so that two years later you continue bringing my name up. -Zack

  4. Phil

    This the reply I received from the Planning Manager City of Arlington. There are some advancements in the plan.

    Felipe,
    The Hike and Bike System Master Plan was adopted by City Council in 2011. A copy of that document is available on our website at: http://www.arlingtontx.gov/planning/HikeandBike.html
    The City is working hard to identify funding to implement the hike and bike facilities included in the Plan. These facilities include a mix of bike routes, bike lanes, off-street trails and filling in sidewalk gaps. Since the Plan was adopted we have been able to construct almost 2 miles of additional off-street trails as well as 0.7 miles of bike lanes on Norwood Lane. Currently, bike routes on E. Lovers Lane are being included in a residential rebuild project our Public Works and Transportation Department plans to complete by the end of the year. Additionally, the City is using $24,000 in Fiscal Year 2012 savings to have 3.3 miles of bike routes and 4.5 miles of bike lanes designed on several streets around UT Arlington. Once these facilities are designed, the City hopes to utilize a Texas Department of Transportation grant we were previously awarded to implement them over the next couple of years. The City will also continue to look for grant opportunities that can be used to continue building the recommendations included in the Hike and Bike Plan.

    Another important element of the Hike and Bike Plan is education and public outreach to improve the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists. With that goal in mind, the City hosted five free bicycle safety classes last summer and fall (four for adults, one for children). We are currently planning more classes for the summer and fall.

    We appreciate your interest in bicycling in Arlington and we welcome any comments or questions you may have.
    Thank you!
    Alicia Winkelblech, AICP, CNU-A
    Planning Manager
    City of Arlington




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