Jefferson viaduct bike lanes receive $135,000 makeover

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The Jefferson Viaduct received the first veloway in Dallas three years ago. That was the first time the city had made any attempt to create a safe crossing over the Trinity River for bicycles.

It was a temporary fix while the Houston Street Viaduct was under construction for the streetcar, and we didn’t really complain, even though the bikeway had a lot of problems. Among them: A scrap piece of board served as the exit ramp to Zang for many months. The ingress and egress from Zang changed frequently, always without consideration for how it would affect the safety of cyclists. The bikeway usually was dirty, with sand and broken glass ready to cause an accident or a flat tire. And the flimsy yellow pylons for the “protected” bike lane frequently would be plowed over by drivers. That was so unsettling that many cyclists took to riding the newly widened sidewalk over the Houston Street Viaduct instead.

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photo 2-1But the city recently invested $135,000 to improve the Jefferson bikeway and create bike lanes between Colorado and the bridges. The money came from general funds set aside for bicycle lanes and bond funding for the Houston Street Viaduct rehab project.

And the bridge is much, much better for cyclists.

The city replaced those flimsy yellow pylons with sturdier ones, trade name Tuff Post Flexible Posts, which can withstand an impact of about 45 miles per hour.

The median on Zang now has a wide curb cut so bikes can exit their lane and cross into the bike lane on Zang.

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Also, bike lanes on Zang!

It’s still not perfect. There’s no money in the budget for maintenance, so Bike Friendly Oak Cliff has to ask another nonprofit, Downtown Dallas Inc., to use the street sweeper it owns to clean the bike lanes on the bridge occasionally. But in general it should set a standard for bike facilities in Dallas.

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  • Conservative Values

    Visited Dallas today and rode the viaduct, as well as some of the protected lanes downtown. Very impressed. Well done, Dallas!

  • Pingback: Who will use the Sylvan bridge bike lanes? | Oak Cliff()

  • kduble

    This isn’t about who has used the lane but about future potential.

  • Andrew Hudson

    If I have not communicated that I am confused then I have failed! Lol I indeed am confused (and bewildered)! Thank you for correcting me!

  • dallasmay

    I think you are confusing the Jefferson and the Houston Viaducts. They are different bridges.

    https://www.google.com/maps/@32.7656354,-96.8109965,18z

    The Houston Viaduct is the historic bridge with the trolley. They Jefferson Viaduct is the taller metal bridge with the bike lanes.

  • Andrew Hudson

    While I’m not doubting you, I really wonder how long a bad idea has to languish before it can be abandoned? There is so much mud slinging and misinformation circulating that I’m beginning to think no one really knows what is going on in our city! Our leadership truly lacks any sort of comprehensive vision. If the Houston Street Viaduct is sacrificed on this altar of political egos, then there goes the 55 million dollar “trolley”? And now all the BS spewed forth about “protecting the historical integrity” of that bridge is exposed as well! If the bridge comes down, then I suppose the leftover adjacent Reunion Arena parking will go as well. (Does anybody know if we finished paying for that debacle yet?)

    There is so much disturbing about city processes that lead me to believe we need dramatic change. The systems used to run our city are outdated and antiquated and designed to keep the electorate confused and diverted so that self serving interests can be facilitated.

    The bicycle community is a great example. They are being lulled into complacency with token bike lanes that lead to no where and are destined to be littered with dangerous debris brushed aside by motor vehicle traffic. After traversing the viaduct, I am astounded at the haphazard and absurd placement of the tracks and the bike lane. Less experienced bicyclists choosing to continuing on Zang have to really pay attention when crossing trolley tracks or they’re headed for the pavement! And now, I understand the police escort… this situation is headed for disaster! The tracks swing over into a left turn lane in order to make a right turn crossing every southbound lane of traffic (bicyclists included)!! Who designed this thing? This is the proverbial accident waiting to happen… what is it that designers do not understand about the correlation between complexity and accidents? Or is the political pressure just so great that designers are forced to specify solutions that they know are indeed dangerous?

    To Scott Griggs credit, he insisted that there be more transparency involved in city planning processes only for city manager Gonzales to limit the transparecy to Griggs’ district 1… what kind of nonsense is that?

  • roadweary

    What a great investment. That’s about $13,500 per bicycle that has used the lane.

  • dallasmay

    Too bad NCTCOG and the Mayor are planning to demo the bridge to make room for the I-35 to Trinity Tollway Interchange.