North Texas Daily

Proposal means narrower bike lanes on new roads

Proposal means narrower bike lanes on new roads

Proposal means narrower bike lanes on new roads
August 30
07:34 2013

Joshua Knopp / Senior Staff Writer

Last July, the city of Denton suggested changes to its road construction standards that may reduce the size of bike lanes on new roads, making bike and pedestrian traffic less manageable.

While Denton’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Plan was adopted in February 2012 that approved more than 60 miles of physical improvements for bikers and walkers to existing roads, Christopher Walker with Bike Denton said the city might not spread these amenities to new roads.

Instead of six- to eight-foot bike lanes, the engineering department is discussing using four-foot urban shoulders on new roads, Walker said.

“These facilities are usually installed when it is absolutely impossible to modify the road for bike accommodations otherwise, not as the go-to standard,” Walker said. “Simply put, the shoulders are a four-foot feature that are incorrectly replacing the proper six- to eight-foot features of paved lanes that, by the way, are mandated by earlier Denton ordinances and the Downtown Implementation Plan.”

Fellow Bike Denton writer and Planning and Zoning Commission member Devin Taylor said the proposed changes will also have consequences for bikers and walkers beyond bike lanes. The proposal will increase the minimum turning radius for newly constructed Denton streets, making roads straighter.

Taylor said this will give planners fewer options for navigating obstacles and make traffic faster because cars tend to go as fast as they can. Longer block lengths are also proposed, which will also increase car speed.

Taylor said the plan is based on the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials standards, which aren’t meant for communities with heavy pedestrian traffic.

Photo by Aidan Barrett / Senior Staff Photographer

“In short, we are using the most speed-focused and car-oriented national standard to design our neighborhoods, and we are moving farther and farther away from walkable design and complete streets,” he said. “There are places the highway design standard should be used but not in neighborhoods.”

Comments for the proposed plan closed Aug. 26. P.S. Arora, who presented the proposed changes and received all public comments, said he and his teammates are preparing to address concerns in September.

“Pretty much all the comments are only on the bikes,” Arora said.

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