We kicked off the day with yet another look at Public Works' plans to make over Riverfront Boulevard from Cadiz and Continental, otherwise known as Dallas's Avenue des Champs-Élysée. Assistant Public Works Director Alan Hendrix just led the council through the PowerPoint; no need to rehash the history. Instead, as this is an action-packed agenda, let's get right to the red meat: Which option will the committee send to the full council?
Why, the six-lane option, of course, otherwise known as Option 2. Because that's the only one we can afford. And if we don't spend that $29,127,713 in North Central Texas Council of Governments Regional Toll Revenue, which has been set aside specifically for the Riverfront redo, then it goes adios. "Timing really is critical," said Linda Koop.
Said Delia Jasso, "Option 2 would certainly give us optimal use of all of the money and still satisfy the six-lane requirement that RTR has put on us," she said. "I would not want to give back those funds to be used elsewhere in the region. Option 2 is a more reasonable use of funds."
But that option was tweaked thanks to Angela Hunt and Scott Griggs.
The two council members do not like one danged bit the bike lanes that were originally proposed to accompany Option 2. Instead, they prefer the cycle tracks that originally went with the original eight-lane option -- lanes separated from vehicular traffic by, oh, trees or curbs.
"Cycle tracks are much safer and much more utilized," said Hunt. "They don't just have a strip of paint between the cyclists. You'll see a lot more women and children comfortable riding their bikes, as opposed to what's essentially a shoulder." Griggs, an early critic of the entire proposal, concurred with Hunt. Because, he said, trying to ride a bike on Riverfront right now is "not a pleasant experience" when you're separated from cars by nothing more than a line of paint.
Their colleagues agreed. And so the cycle track option will be included in the final version that will go to the full council.
Surprisingly, neither Hunt nor Griggs brought up the fact the city's using the COG's 2030 transportation projections to support the Riverfront redo, since that future-looking doc assumes not only that the Trinity Parkway's a done deal but has been expanded from four to six lanes.
Said Hendrix: "One thing's for sure: The region's not getting any smaller, and there's just a lot of traffic to go around. Even if we did nothing there will be additional traffic growth in the area, which will lead to more congestion and more delays." And everyone knows: The only way to alleviate congestion is to build more roads. Pardon, what's that you say?