That Dallas-To-Fort Worth Bike Trail Is One Step Closer To Fruition.
One of our favorite artifacts at Dallas’ Old Red Museum is the highwheeler bike from the late 1800s that was once owned by early Dallas cycling advocate Tom Monagan.
Admittedly, our initial interest in Monagan was tied mostly to the large portrait near the bike. Something about his handlebar mustache and jorts combo made him look like a 19th century forerunner to so many folks we still see biking down Lower Greenville to this day.
But then we learned that this proto-hipster badass used to ride that penny-farthing from Dallas to Fort Worth and back — and during a period when there wasn’t much paved infrastructure to aid in his trek.
Pretty mind-blowing stuff.
And, if the North Central Texas Council of Governments has its way, current-day North Texans will soon be able to follow in Monagan’s footsteps — and on completely traffic-free, paved bike paths, no less.
Back in December, Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price started the ball rolling on an idea to connect 30 miles of existing bike trails in Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Arlington, Irving and Dallas with a proposed 34 miles of additional trails so as to fully connect Dallas, Fort Worth and the many cities in between on a single, unbroken bike trail. And on Thursday, October 9, that dream received a major boost when the Regional Transportation Council awarded funds to Fort Worth, Dallas, Arlington and Irving to add about 10 more miles of trails to the planned 64-mile inter-city bike route.
As shown on the NCTCOG’s Fort Worth to Dallas Trail Connection map, the trail would closely follow the path of the Trinity River, with a 13-mile loop circling Irving and Grand Prairie. Riders wanting to bike from one end of the trail to the other, then, would have two paths to choose from.
According to NCTCOG program manager Karla Weaver, the remaining 24 miles of trails could be funded sooner than later. In early 2015, she says, those same cities will apply for funding from the state, which she hopes will fund an additional 10 miles. Per the NCTCOG’s projections, the group hopes to have all the money in place to fund the entirety of the trail system by the end of 2015, to proceed to the design phase of the project in 2016 and to begin construction by early 2017.
“We’re hoping,” Weaver says, “that, by the end of 2017, everything is underway or open.”
At this point, the words “should” and “hopefully” are sure being thrown around a lot. But, for the most part, people seem cautiously optimistic that we’re only a couple years from being able to bike from Dallas to Fort Worth completely on dedicated bike paths.
And make no mistake: When that day comes, it will certainly be a landmark occasion for a region perennially known as one of the least bike-friendly places in the country.