Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bishop Ave Complete Street Meeting

The City is unveiling a complete street design for Bishop Ave tonight. I was asked about it in the comments and decided it would be best to pull them out for a post of their own. Warning: Some may not like hearing the truth:
The diplomatic answer would be converting any street to a complete street is a step in the right direction.

The real answer is that Bishop is .75 miles from end to end. Who is going to ride on it? Cyclists need places to go and we need to have the courage to implement complete streets on real streets that matter.

Is a Bishop complete street going to help a commuter get to their job downtown? Or to the eventual improvements on the Trinity? It needs to happen on Davis. That is the spine of Oak Cliff.

Why not stick with Tyler and the Better Block?????

That made real, fundamental change to how the street behaved. If I can Jaywalk across Bishop or Main any time of day, those are streets that aren't in need of "diets" or urgent need for improvement.

To me this is kind of like trying to improve Main Street. A street that is already working, taking a +1 street to a +2 street isn't as impactful as taking a -1 street to a +1 street if you follow me. This is why downtown shouldn't put money into Main (the cherry on top) until it focuses on the problematic streets (Elm, Commerce, Griffin, etc.).

The idea of convergence is to not segregate modes of travel in order to establish hierarchy of places, spaces, streets, density, and use.

Our streets are public places. They have to be designed to attract people not repel them. We can't be afraid to "complete" our actual arterials so our city is no longer "inside out" where density and vitality is away from the actual movement of the city, the traffic (ped, bike, car, bus, etc).

I fear that implementation on Bishop might lead us down a path where bike lanes and complete streets only occur on minor streets. If that is the case then this is a waste of time and we won't impact the city's form, shape, and dynamics in any meaningful way and we're just playing in the sandbox.

Now, if the Bishop plan is considered the phase 1 for eventually expanding to Davis and Jefferson, then ok but I would rather see it on a street that goes somewhere and it can be phased to extend over time for a greater segment of the same street and draw from a larger area.