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NCTCOG, City Have Tapped Maryland Firm to Revamp Dallas Bike Plan

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Speaking of the North Central Texas Council of Governments ...

We've been waiting on this announcement since late November, when the NCTCOG and the city of Dallas put out the call for bidders interested in coming up with a new Dallas bike plan. And, lo and behold, there it is on the Bike Friendly Oak Cliff site: Toole Design Group out of Baltimore, Maryland, has landed the job.

Of course, nothing's official yet: Contracts are being finalized at this very moment; and the city council has yet to sign off on the deal. Roswell "RJ" Eldridge, director of planning at Toole, tells Unfair Park today he doesn't want to talk specifics about the future of biking in Dallas till the ink is dry -- he says he's been told the council will most likely give the formal go-ahead at its March 10 meeting. And, as a matter of fact, it's on the council's agenda for next week's meeting, though it does not specify to whom the $375,000 contract -- $300,000 from NCTCOG; $75,000 from 2003 bond money -- will go. (Expect that to be revised when the addendum is posted on Friday; the council's Transportation and Environment Committee will also be briefed on this Monday.) From Page 359 of the agenda:

The primary objective of the plan will be to enable through its implementation, a safe and robust bicycle infrastructure network with connections to transit, major employers, and other desired destinations, responding to a long-standing demand for seamless transportation alternatives and a need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. The bikeway system will represent a major component of the overall transportation plan for Dallas. The Plan will identify key routes and facilities, prioritize project implementation areas for future funding, and provide consistent design of bicycle infrastructure throughout the City. It will include a detailed map of the bikeway system network, a range of generic and specific facility types and designs, and an implementation strategy.

But Eldridge can offer this much: "We're absolutely excited. This is a great opportunity for the city of Dallas as its moves forward in the field of providing transportation options for everyone."

According to Toole's Web site, it's developed bicycle master plans for 16 cities, chief among them Philadelphia, the District of Columbia, Baltimore (natch) and Seattle, where Toole also has an office. And according to the League of American Bicyclists, it's a real bike-friendly business itself:

On the wall hangs a highly visible "commute calendar" on which employees sign for each day they bike, walk or use mass transit. Every six months, Toole Design Group recognizes their bicycle commuters with gift cards holding a dollar amount determined by the number of biking commutes.

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