Take Dallas for a Spin
By Eileen Patskin
October 31, 2017
Did you know that the City of Dallas has 188.6 miles of lanes for biking, with more on the way? From shared road lanes to regular and buffered bike lanes, not to mention multi-use trails, there are biking options available citywide. For example, Dallas currently has 150 miles of trails, with another 50 miles in development. Some of the more popular trails are the Katy Trail, Santa Fe Trail, Kiest Park Trail, and White Rock Lake Trail. A heavily anticipated addition is the Mockingbird extension, which is currently being built and will connect the Katy and White Rock Lake trails. There are 15 miles of dedicated bike lanes and 45 miles of neighborhood bike routes complete, with almost 20 additional miles of dedicated bike lanes in development. These multi-use trails and on-street bike routes provide access to DART stations, the Trinity River, and entertainment areas such as Bishop Arts, Deep Ellum, Victory Park, White Rock Lake, Downtown Dallas, and more. If you prefer a more natural setting, the Cedar Ridge Preserve in the Mountain Creek area of Dallas has about nine miles of trails through cedar forests. With quite a bit of topography, we like to think of it as a small taste of the Hill Country without having to drive there. With so many options, how do you not bike?
As an avid bicyclist, I’ve used many of these lanes and trails, as biking is my main way of getting around Dallas. When I moved to the city four years ago, I arrived without a car, and I still don’t own one. I prefer to get around town via bike, public transport, or foot, with the occasional car rental thrown in for good measure.
Want to check out that new art gallery in Bishop Arts but live in East Dallas? Bike through downtown and then go over the Ronald Kirk Bridge. As an added bonus you’ll get a great view of the Dallas skyline as you ride over the bridge, which is open only to pedestrians and bicyclists. If you feel like hanging around, check out the lounge chairs and play areas along it. If you find yourself getting hungry before you get to your final destination, make a pit stop. Ronald Kirk Bridge exits pretty much right into Trinity Groves, home to many dining options.
Don’t own a bike? Don’t despair; you can always rent one. Companies such as VBikes, Limebike, and Spin have set up bike rental operations in Dallas; you’ve likely seen LimeBike’s lemon yellow and lime green ones docked around town. Many local bike shops also rent bikes by the hour and day.
Having said that, I understand that you may not want, or be able to, completely abandon your car. What you might want to do, however, is reduce the amount of time you spend driving to and from work. Give biking a try, either on its own or in combination with DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit), Dallas’ public transportation system. DART has created a bike-friendly light rail and bus operation. All light rail trains have dedicated bike areas where you can put your bike. Buses have bike racks on the front of them (except for Paratransit, DART On-Call and FLEX vehicles). If you prefer to bike to the station but not bring it with you on the train, you can leave it at the station. Most DART rail stations and transit centers have bike racks. They are free of charge and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Some stations even have bike lids to protect your bike from the elements. Just remember to bring your bike lock!
Given Dallas’ generally mild weather, biking can be a year-round activity. So if commuting via bike isn’t an option, you can combine a leisurely weekend trip with those not-quite-close-enough errands and/or appointments. Instead of driving three or four miles to that restaurant you’ve been dying to try, bike it instead. Many retail areas now have bike stands where you can lock your bike.
So, I’ve piqued your interest – need to know more? Your first stop should be the City of Dallas’ Mobility & Streets Services Department website, which can be found here. If you’re new to Dallas or new to biking in our city, I recommend starting with the FAQs page, which can be selected from the menu on the left. For information on how to commute with your bike on DART, check out DART’s “Bike and Ride” resources, located here. Let’s get biking!