Green Source Conversation: Talking Cyclovia de Dallas and Bicycle Infrastructure in Dallas
(Photo: A shot of Dallas City Council Member Delia Jasso and other locals biking in Seville, Spain)
By Jada Brazell
Though great strides are being made in the Dallas/Ft. Worth region in efforts to promote green living and more sustainable urban practices, anyone who's spent even a small amount of time biking local streets would be forced to admit that Dallas is not the most bicycle friendly city in the world. Yet things are changing. Through the efforts of groups like Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and Dallas City Council members like Delia Jasso and Scott Griggs, Dallas is making strides towards changing the streetscape of Dallas, making way for alternative (and greener) modes of transportation like the bicycle. Their efforts have produced an initiative for hundreds of miles of bike lanes, and events like this weekend's upcoming Cyclovia de Dallas (see our coverage of the event for details.) Green Source corresponded with Council Member Jasso about her time at the 2011 Velo City Conference in Spain which acted as inspiration for her support for bicycle culture in Dallas, and what a more bike friendly DFW streetscape means for all of us going foward.
What was your reaction when you received the scholarship from Bike Texas to attend the 2011 Velo City Conference in Spain?
I was both amazed and grateful for having this great opportunity. We want Dallas to have the best bike plan possible, and to do so, it requires visiting other cities around the world that have good and effective plans. One can view images online but it takes being there and experiencing it to really understand how the systems work.
What did you learn both at the conference and in your practical cycling experiences while there?
I learned how cycling can improve health, air quality and safety, but most importantly, I learned how Seville uses public spaces in a calming, controlled way.
What was the result of your trip? Any new laws, for example? New plans? Is this how the 2011 plan came about?
The main result of the trip was the development of new plan for Ciclovia de Dallas (occurring next week), and the visit reinforced the 2011 Bike Plan for Dallas.
What are you hoping that Ciclovia de Dallas will accomplish?
Ciclovia de Dallas will help us to move forward in showing Dallasites how we can implement a monthly event to promote less car use and healthy ways of enjoying our beautiful city!
What does a bike friendly Dallas look like?
A “bike-friendly” Dallas would include more bike plan infrastructure, more cyclists and enthusiasts, and continued partnerships between the City of Dallas and the private sector.
How will a bicycle friendly Dallas improve conditions in the city?
I definitely think that a bicycle-friendly Dallas will have a positive impact on our city. For one, there will be fewer people driving cars, thus improving our air quality. Secondly, riding a bicycle is a very healthy practice, not to mention enjoyable. We have no doubt that as our plan goes into effect and awareness spreads, thousands of others who would not normally ride a bicycle will begin to do so – for enjoyment, cost savings and a healthier lifestyle.
Jada Brazell is a freelance writer who also consults for fashion- and art-based businesses on branding. She has written for the Odessa American, edited for the Texas Senate and RadioShack, and contributed to several magazines and newspapers in Central and South Texas.