Opinion: Bike Lane Funding in Dallas on the Line
Robert Wilonsky reports on the Dallas City Council’s upcoming vote on a $1.35-billion general fund budget. This is an opportunity, says Wilonsky, to push forward what was outlined in the 2011 Dallas Bike Plan:
Right now, the city of Dallas spends just $500,000 every year on bike lanes, which does not stretch very far. City Manager T.C. Broadnax's budget proposes to double that in the coming fiscal year to a just-barely-less-lousy $1 million, and then to double that in two years so that, finally, we might inch closer to the 840-mile-long finish line promised by the bike plan.
Unfortunately, it looks like the council is more inclined to vote to eliminate funding for bike lanes, along with outside offices and additional staff support for council members. This is part of a plan to redirect funds to raises to keep police, firefighters, and paramedics from leaving for higher salaries in other counties.
Wilonsky laments this move because he says bike lane cuts will be minimal to the overall budget. In addition, he argues that the focus on public safety is not a new one and rather a means to chip away at other parts of the budget. “But these bike lanes are not some needless expense — like those council offices. They're not superfluous. They, too, are about public safety. Even if a majority of the council doesn't see it,” says Wilonsky.