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Old 03-25-13, 11:56 AM   #1
tcs
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Dallas across the Trinity

So they built the ‘signature’ Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge with no pedestrian or cycle utilization features or access. You’d think they could throw down some sharrows and a couple of ‘May Use Full Lane’ signs on the crumbing Continental Viaduct that runs along beside the MHH.

The current approved design for the planned Margaret McDermott Bridge (I30) calls for a pretty standard TxDOT simple beam bridge flanked and disguised with Calatrava arches carrying the pedestrian and cycle lanes. As a stand alone component, this might be the most expensive cycle bridge in the USA, which would be kinda cool except (as I understand the public discussion, drawings and models) this is a recreational facility rather than an all-weather transportation bridge for cyclists. The cycle/pedestrian portion will only run from the future paths inside the levees. In addition, I read that function has been sacrificed for style, with narrow choke points at the arches.

Which gets us to the big news: the Houston Street Viaduct has been closed for installation of a trolley system from downtown Dallas Union Station to Oak Cliff (Colorado & Beckley). The companion Jefferson Blvd./Market Street Bridge has been converted to two-way traffic for the interim, with…(sit down)…a dedicated two-way cycle lane.

So now on this bridge (and the Santa Fe Trestle Trail) you can ride a bicycle across the Trinity from downtown to Oak Cliff without the fear of being run down from behind. I certainly never thought I’d see pavement actually taken away from motor vehicle use and cordoned off for bicycles in Dallas.

It’s hard to determine from post-project forensics exactly what was intended by the Jefferson Bridge cycle lane effort. As nearly always with this sort of thing, the devil is in the intersections. It is a separated facility, but, and it’s a big but, the downtown end ends at a sidewalk a short walk from the intersection of two one way streets running away from the foot of the bridge (I’m not making this up). This is a couple blocks from the new sharrowed routes along Main and Lamar streets. The Oak Cliff end ends at the intersection of Zang and Colorado, two major streets with no special cycling provisions, although there's at least some scope for accessing the bike lanes from minor E. Oakenwald Street.

So ‘officially’, the downtown end is accessible by dismounted cyclists acting as pedestrians and the Oak Cliff end is accessible by reasonably confident vehicular cyclists. Regular transportation cyclists should have no trouble making the intersection on either end work for themselves in perhaps unofficial ways, although dodging wrong way '8-to-80' cyclists in the bike lane is another matter.

Last edited by tcs; 03-27-13 at 07:10 AM.
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Old 03-25-13, 04:23 PM   #2
stdlrf11
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The ends of the Jefferson Street bridge are strange indeed. One option is to ride the ramps down the abandoned Reunion Parking structure to the secluded streets below.

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Old 03-25-13, 06:00 PM   #3
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Say what you like about the City of Dallas, but they never fail to deliver on the dysfunction.
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Old 03-25-13, 06:01 PM   #4
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...idly wondering if any designer at all involved with this project has ever pedaled a bicycle further than around the block...
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Old 03-29-13, 04:30 AM   #5
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say what you like about the city of dallas, but they never fail to deliver on the dysfunction.
lol
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Old 04-14-13, 10:12 AM   #6
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Thanks for the heads up. Yeah it is mixed good news but at least something.
If anything will give us something to point to to offer ideas of improving on it.
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