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The Two-Wheeling Future of Fort Worth

9:10 AM PDT on June 15, 2009

When you think of the best bicycling cities in the US, Fort Worth, TX,
probably doesn't spring to mind. But there are some changes coming.
Hundreds of miles of new bike lanes, "road diets" and a proposed streetcar system could fundamentally change the way people think about getting around town there.

2722177975_b8e67ae386.jpgExchange Avenue, Fort Worth. How will bikes fit into this picture? Photo by Tabitha & Simon Chasing the Dream via Flickr.

Fort Worth is one of the fastest-growing cities in America, and Streetsblog Network member blog Fort Worthology has been doing a great job of documenting the challenges that growth poses. Today, member blog Bike Friendly Oak Cliff
of Dallas has an interview with Don Koski, one of the planners who is
helping shape Fort Worth's streetscape. He talked about the role of
transit-oriented development, how to incorporate bikes into road design
from the beginning, and why Fort Worth isn't too hot for bike
commuting:

[I]n Fort Worth we are planning and developingmore mixed-use centers and urban villages and redeveloping andinfilling downtown and other neighborhoods near downtown. We are alsoplanning for higher-density development along existing and futurecommuter rail stations and potential streetcar lines. Making theseareas and the city as a whole more accessible by bicycle is consistentwith these plans and visions.…

Regarding temperature, Idon’t buy the argument that people won’t bike because it’s toohot/cold/wet/etc. Look at the cities that have the highest bicyclecommute rates in the country: Portland (wet), Minneapolis (cold),Seattle (wet), and Tucson (hot). Certainly there are many cyclists whowon’t bike for transportation purposes when it’s hot, but there areother ways to address that, like by promoting the provision of showerand change facilities at major employers. In fact, I would say FortWorth has great potential as a bicycling city: relatively flat, decentstreet block pattern, great trail system to which to make connections,great cycling weather 8 months out of the year, etc.…

Whilewe don’t yet have quantitative data, we definitely feel that bicyclingis beginning to take off as a mode of transportation in Fort Worth.When gas rose to $4 a gallon a year ago, bicycles began showing up allover, and even with the cost of gas relieved somewhat, anecdotally webelieve the numbers are still higher than they’ve been in a long time.For a long time Fort Worth has had a number of substantial bike clubsprimarily interested in cycling for recreation. We believe a good pieceof that advocacy has crossed over into a call to make the city’stransportation network more accommodating of cyclists as well.

Other items of interest from around the network: Fifty Car Pile Up writes about race, class and bike-jacking on the trails of New Haven; Where looks at how dachas, or summer cottages, have provided food for urban Russians in economic hard times; and The Infrastructurist
breaks down the NY Times magazine special issue on infrastructure this
weekend, so you don't have to feel guilty for not reading every word.

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