Good news for anybody who has ever avoided bicycling in Dallas for fear of the automobile: The city's new bicycle coordinator, who moved here from Virginia, is on your side. Says Max Kalhammer of biking in Dallas: "My own experience has been mixed in terms of enjoyment and my own feeling of safety with riding. ... Some streets I feel very comfortable on. But others I don't. I've just learned to pick my routes very carefully."
You should do the same, he recommends, at least until Dallas gets a new comprehensive bike plan, as we mentioned Tuesday morning. We'll have much more with Kalhammer -- not to mention his predecessor, P.M. Summer, in next week's paper version of Unfair Park. But, as promised, here are more details concerning the bike plan update:
This December, North Central Texas Council of Governments and the city of Dallas will release a Request for Proposal to firms for a bicycle-friendly design for Dallas. Four to six weeks later, local government will begin to sift through the various applications and conduct any necessary follow-up interviews. Finally, by February or March, we should have a winner.
Now for the part that requires some patience.
After the city council selects a consulting firm -- and some folks, including Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, hope it'll be someone from outside the U.S. -- it will be another year, at least, till we see a complete and adopted plan. And then it'll be another five years as the various changes trickle in (and those will depend on many things, chief among them costs).
In the meantime, there will be plenty of opportunities for public involvement, Kalhammer stresses: "We're not going to be pushing any one type of facility over another before there is a chance to have input on everything."
Kalhammer expects that an advisory committee comprised of citizens will be in place by December. "There is a prescribed process," says Kalhammer when asked how citizens will be selected to serve. "It's going to be taken very seriously. It's going to mean something to be on this advisory committee."