May 8, 2017

Fort Worth City Council will paint new paths for TCU/Westcliff cyclists

TCU/Westcliff residents and Fort Worth Bicycle Association members were able to submit their opinions on how the bond money should be used.

Photo courtesy of Martha Jones

TCU/Westcliff residents and Fort Worth Bicycle Association members were able to submit their opinions on how the bond money should be used.

Fort Worth City Council has set aside a $200,000 bond to improve the bicycle infrastructure in the TCU/Westcliff area.

The bond stems from Bike Fort Worth, a comprehensive bicycle transportation plan the city proposed in 2009. The document identifies three goals to benchmark the success of the master plan:

  1. Triple the number of bicycle commuters (0.02 percent to 0.06 percent).
  2. Decrease the level of bicycle related crashes by 10 percent.
  3. Attain designation as a “Bicycle Friendly Community” by the League of American Bicyclists.

The bond for TCU/Westcliff is one of many baby steps Fort Worth has taken to improve the riding experience for recreational and commuting cyclists in the community.

“The overall guide for this bond funding is meant to bridge gaps in the on-street bicycle network and connect to the trail systems,” said Julia Ryan, Fort Worth transportation planner.

The bicycle infrastructure bond was first introduced through a survey posted by the Fort Worth Planning and Development Department. TCU/Westcliff residents and Fort Worth Bicycle Association members were able to submit their opinions on how the money should be used.

The Three Popular Suggestions

The city council held a short public meeting Mar. 22 that allowed residents to discuss the suggestions from the survey and propose new ideas.

The three most popular suggestions were:

    1. Put a bike lane and signage on Park Hill and Hartwood Drive.
    2. Put a bike lane on Rogers Road.
    3. Extend the existing bike lane on University Drive.

Resident Martha Jones, who has been a cyclist in the area for over 25 years, attended the meeting and formed the Park Hill proposal with a group of friends.

“During the meeting my friend asked, ‘why can’t we design the bike lanes where the cyclists are already riding?'” Jones said. “This is how we came up with this option, because many people do ride up Park Hill.”

Jones said Park Hill is attractive to current cyclists and runners because it is a wide, neighborhood road. Additionally, if riders take Park Hill to Hartwood it leads them to the Trinity Trail entrance under the Clearfork Main Street bridge.

Jones added that only Park Hill Drive would need a bike lane, and Hartwood Drive would just need signage to make people aware of the route.

“The Park Hill route would cost the least amount of money, it is a scenic ride and it doesn’t put drivers or cyclists at risk,” Jones said.

The suggestion to put a bike lane on Rogers Road was also a contender during the meeting.

“There are limitations as far as safety goes on Rogers, because there are no curbs and there is a deep drop off,” Jones said. “Personally I don’t ride it, but majority of cyclists like this path.”

The proposal to extend the existing University Drive bike lane to the Trinity Trail Entrance near Woodshed Smokehouse wasn’t as well-received by attendees due to existing congestion of the main street.

“Extending or fixing the sidewalk in the future is what people would want to see here, but we only have $200,000 to play with,” Jones said. “It isn’t the best short-term solution.”

The Next Steps

Ryan said the city hopes to have a second public meeting this summer, likely in late June or early July, with the goal of installation this fall.

“While this funding is primarily to install bicycle lanes, it has the added benefit of improving the pedestrian experience as well,” Ryan said. “Bike lanes will also reduce the noise and vehicle blowback that are typically associated with sidewalks next to vehicle travel lanes.”

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