According to Bicycling magazine, Dallas is the worst cycling city in America. The biennial ranking of America’s Best Bike Cities has rated Dallas the worst city twice since 2008.
The complete list can be found on their website; however, it is a 51-page slideshow. The magazine hits newsstands on May 29 and may be easier to read.
Portland, Oregon, made number one on the list, which raises an interesting point: what are we doing wrong? Texans have a long history of being competitive, especially in Dallas.
The trouble may be with the 2011 Dallas Bike Plan, a 76-page comprehensive testament to bureaucracy at its finest, complete with pie charts, commentary from committees and advisory boards, and stock photos of what happy bikers might look like.
But according to Bicycling, Dallas has created almost no new cycling infrastructure even after its adoption of a bicycle master plan.
Frank Librio with the City of Dallas stated in an e-mail, “The City of Dallas is committed to adhering to the goals and recommendations of the adopted 2011 Bike Plan,”
Bicycling activists in Dallas have pressured the city for more aggressive and accelerated implementation than outlined in the plan, calling for use of funding already allocated to other projects. Money rarely grows on trees this time of year, and the city has had to be firm with the timelines in the adopted plan.
If you think that the Dallas plan is long, take a look at the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030. You read right: Portland’s plan goes through 2030 and beyond. If you’re having trouble loading the page, it’s because their plan is 258-pages long.
The public involvement in Portland’s planning may have been key. According to the Portland Bicycle Plan, eight percent of Portland residents reported bicycling as their primary commute mode.
When the city wanted public input, they hosted open houses that offered organic snacks, childcare, and extra bike parking. Surveys captured in the Portland plan show overwhelming support and satisfaction from city residents.
Whether the improvements scheduled over the next few years is sufficient to distance us from the worst rating remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: we won’t be beating Portland anytime soon.