A couple of weeks back, we stumbled upon the city's campaign to educate drivers about its new cyclist-protection ordinance. It consisted of a single, poorly designed brochure posted to the Dallas Police Department's website that was more concerned with admonishing cyclists to behave than anything else. It was quickly taken down, at least in part because Dallas has nowhere near the 90 miles of bike lanes the brochure claimed.
A more comprehensive PR campaign could soon be on its way. The City Council voted during its briefing this morning to apply for a $599,840 grant from TxDOT (the city would chip in $149.960) to "develop an education program for both bicyclists and motorist to improve the safety and shared use of the City's roadways" through billboards, direct mail and TV and radio ads, according to this morning's agenda.
The reference to a singular "motorist" is the city's typo. At least we hope it's a typo.
Scott Griggs is one of the council members who has encouraged the city to apply for the funding.
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"What we've seen is a lot of people don't realize the ordinance [is in place]," he said. "We want to spread awareness about that and offer general education about where you share the road and how to share the road."
Speaking with the Morning News today, Councilwoman Angela Hunt, a vocal cycling advocate, cautioned against "throw[ing] something at the wall because it looks good," suggesting that it'd be wise to invest in "separate cycling facilities," e.g. buffered bike lanes.
Griggs is on board with that, but he points out that the other part of the TxDOT grant application is a request for $6.4 million, to be matched by $3.2 million from the city, to extend the Coombs Creek Trail to connect with the bike and pedestrian elements over the soon-to-be-built Margaret McDermott Bridge.
There's no guarantee the city will get the grant, but Griggs sees the willingness to put some skin in the game as a positive sign.