The city warns, via its Hike & Bike Trail Facebook page, that it's "preparing to collect data on cyclists' speeds on Dallas trails." And ... that's about that. So I called Park and Rec's second-in-command, Willis Winters, for further information -- such as, for starters, what does the city intend to do with the data?
Winters says, well, Park and Rec just got a new radar gun -- a nice one too -- and was out at White Rock Lake on Friday testing it out. The average speed, he noted, was around 16 miles per hour -- though some cyclists got up to 23.
"What we want to do is start taking it around to all the trails around the city just to see what the speed is," he says.
"And keep in mind," he says. "The speed at one time of the day may be totally appropriate, while at high-peek usage, it may not be appropriate at all. It's all perception. Sixteen was probably a little too fast, but 14, 15 miles per hour felt pretty reasonable -- then again, that was when there were few, if any, walkers on the trail. And curbs, hills impact the speeds too."
I asked: Will the city take the data and then, oh, I dunno, start posting speed limits along the trails? Doubtful, says Winters. Very doubtful.
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"Very few cities have posted speed limits, and if they do, they're not based on any research we've been able to find," he says. "Redmond, Washington, has posted 10 mph. You can do that at White Rock Lake or the Greenbelt Trail, but that's totally inappropriate. Our intent is to take this gun around and do an analysis and test speeds at various times of the day. That's all we can do -- gather data."