This morning on my ride to work, I couldn't help but notice that a portion of the new bike lane on Main Street is now green. This caught my attention both because of the hue -- a loud, glowsticky neon -- and the fact that this wasn't the case when I passed by on Friday morning.
I wondered at first whether this was another manifestation of guerilla urbanism, a statement that the city is still moving too slowly to embrace bikes. But the neatness of the paint job and the fact that it stretches maybe a dozen feet along Main as it turns onto Hill Avenue, near the western terminus of the Santa Fe Trail, suggested this was a city operation.
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Keith Manoy, a transportation planner with the city, confirmed this morning that it was.
"We're definitely putting some down in some places strategic places," he said. There's another green stretch in Victory Park near the Katy Trail, plus a couple of more downtown. "They're not going to be in all crossings at this point. It's been used in other places around the country, so we're going to give a try to see if it makes any bit of difference."
And by "difference" he means a reduction in the number of drivers who aren't aware of the bike lanes or choose to ignore them. Manoy points out that biking culture hasn't developed in Dallas to the point at which drivers have become accustomed to sharing the road.
The few dollops of neon paint the city has put down so far are more of an experiment than anything else. Colored bike lanes cost more to paint and more to maintain than those with two white lines and a bicycle icon, but if they are shown to minimize conflict between drivers and cyclists, they might become more prevalent -- if, of course, City Hall decides to pay for them.