As Deep Ellum continues to grow in business and in opportunities for artists, the more necessary the means to accommodate various forms of transportation. Earlier this year, Deep Ellum implemented plans to help reduce traffic by designating certain intersections as rideshare drop-off and pick-up spots. Shuttles from downtown Dallas offer residents and visitors alike ease of access to Deep Ellum, as the DART rails are currently under construction. The area also offers an abundance of electric scooters, meant to be ridden off the sidewalk in the direction of traffic, but suffice it to say, the experiment is proving disastrous. Cyclists, however, find that navigating Deep Ellum on a bicycle can prove rather difficult.
Since opening the Local Hub Bicycle Company in 2016, founder and owner Kristie Holt has made it her mission to make Deep Ellum more bike friendly. A few months ago, Holt installed a free bicycle repair station in front of Local Hub. Last month, the repair station was vandalized and the pump was stolen. Holt initially decided to brush off the incident, but with the help of local cyclists, she was able to raise the funds necessary to buy a new pump.
“I was just so thankful that we have a community of cyclists who really care about their neighbors,” Holt says. “When the pump first got stolen, I was just angry, I was upset, I was frustrated at the world, and people suggested that I raise money.”
BikeDFW, a nonprofit committed to promoting travel by bicycle as a sustainable means of travel, was one of the first groups to reach out to Holt. They donated half of what she would need to purchase a new pump, and Holt later decided to set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise the rest of the funds. Within 24 hours, she acquired the entirety of the money needed.
“It was amazing to see how quickly everybody reacted to the news about the pump because everybody uses that pump,” Holt says. “There are 20 to 30 people a day who depend on the pump. And it’s not just our customers. We have a lot of homeless people in the area who rely on that pump to air their tires and get to where they need to go.”
Holt’s bicycle repair station also contains multiple size adjustable wrenches. She has also helped install an on-street bike corral. Holt believes that although Deep Ellum isn’t necessarily designed for bikers, local cyclists have helped make the neighborhood more accessible for the biking community.
“There isn’t really a bike line through Deep Ellum,” Holt says. “There are sharrows on Main Street, so we don’t really have the infrastructure. If there were a bike lane through Deep Ellum, we could connect the Santa Fe Trail from downtown to the Trinity.”
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Holt says she transports herself via bicycle whenever possible and that she rarely uses her car. She believes that if Deep Ellum were set up to be more bike friendly, business would further grow within the area.
“Commerce (Street) is being redone over the next five years,” Holt says. “I don’t know what happened, but some business owners and developers didn’t want bike lanes. Which is really unfortunate, because bike lanes can increase their business and people can come to Deep Ellum without worrying about finding parking. Parking is such a huge issue here. Bike parking is always free, and you can usually get front door parking.”
Apart from the growth that bike trails would bring to Deep Ellum, Holt believes that cycling is more advantageous to her personal health and wellness.
“I have a car, but I just don’t drive it,” Holt says. “This weekend, I rode my bike 60 miles and I drove my car for five. I like to be outside. I like to feel the wind in my hair, and I like to hear the crickets chirping. Being on a bike offers you more control over who you’re going to see, what you’re gonna see and where you’re going to stop.”