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.
But 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.
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.