Bike lane plans working for Jefferson Viaduct

UPDATE: City Councilman Scott Griggs says he expects the two-lane bike way plus additional lighting on the bridge to cost about $85,000: “We’re looking under seat cushions in other places to see if we could come up with the money.”

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After a car struck and seriously injured a cyclist on the Jefferson Viaduct last month, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff sprang into action, calling on city hall to help make the bridge safer.

They garnered the attention of City Manager Mary Suhm, who has taken the lead.

So far, Suhm and BFOC are considering turning the left-hand lane of the Jefferson Viaduct into a two-way bike lane, for north and southbound bicycle traffic. Ideally, physical barriers would separate the bike lane from motor traffic.

The Jefferson bridge was one of a handful of “early implementation” projects outlined in the Dallas Bike Plan, but the plan has stalled because it is not included in the city’s annual budget.

Suhm and city staff are figuring what the best plan for Jefferson would be; how to get cyclists onto the bridge from Zang and how much the whole project would cost. Then they will work with community volunteers to figure out how to pay for it.

Bike Friendly Oak Cliff is planning to stage a cyclovía in honor of the Houston Street Viaduct’s 100th birthday this spring. Perhaps some bike-lane fundraising could take place there. A recent fundraiser for another injured cyclist reportedly raised $3,000 to help with her medical bills.

Marissa Torres, whose husband, Dallas, is the cyclist who was injured on the bridge, has an interesting suggestion for the city. A police report shows the unlicensed driver didn’t hit his brakes until after he hit Dallas, which means he couldn’t have been watching the road, and he might have been speeding. Marissa says Dallas Police ought to write speeding tickets on the bridges and donate all the revenues for a bike lane.

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  • I would be happy to see bike lanes on the bridge. We usually cycle over the Corinth Street bridge to get to the Santa Fe Trail, but on the return trip, use Houston Street to get back to Oak Cliff. On occasion, we have tried the northbound Jefferson Viaduct, but it is overly dangerous because of the drivers.

    Personally, if I have to use Jefferson Viaduct, I get on it from northbound Zang and remain in the LEFT lane. Since it is all one-way, that seems safer  than trying to cross all the lanes to get in the right.

    We always return on the Houston Street southbound bridge, which is marginally safer because the cars have to slow down at the wicked right angle by the convention center.

    Now that I use the bridges for both cycling and driving, I have become very aware of who is on the road alongside myself. I regard the speed limit and try to stay out the right lane.

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