The Regional Transportation Council recently approved $23.5 million in federal funding for active transportation projects in North Texas, including a $2.3 million project in Fort Worth to construct separated bike lanes, bicycle traffic signals and bike-pedestrian counters along East Fourth Street/East First Street.
Data shows that during the coronavirus pandemic, as people have shifted from the office to working from home, trails across the Dallas-Fort Worth area have seen a significant increase in use, the City of Fort Worth said in a news release.
With school underway across the region and in-person instruction an option many families have chosen, the increased emphasis on bicycling and walking could also extend to students.
The East Fourth Street/East First Street corridor from downtown Fort Worth to Gateway Park is an existing signed bike route, installed in 2006 as part of a citywide bike route plan. A request was made to review the road design after a fatality on East First Street in 2017 to include safe facilities for people walking and bicycling into downtown from the east.
The goals of this project are to provide a safer user experience for all travelers along the corridor, whether by foot, bicycle or vehicle and provide a comfortable user experience for those traveling by foot or bicycle.
Improvements will include intersection improvements, pavement markings and buffers for bicycle lanes from downtown to Haltom Road, where a pedestrian hybrid beacon will be installed to connect to an off-street project. The intersection improvements include a protected intersection and bicycle traffic signals and detection.
Proposed buffered bike lanes will allow both eastbound and westbound movement from Sylvania Avenue to Haltom Road and be physically separated with a barrier from vehicular traffic where appropriate to enhance safety.
This project will serve as a regional example of innovative developments in bicycle infrastructure including bike signals, bike boxes, separated bicycle lanes, protected intersection, facility transitions through pedestrian hybrid beacons and permanent on-street and off-street counters, the city said.
The project will connect into a city-funded off-street project, expanding the reach of the regional Veloweb, and will serve as an example of funding partnerships through the city and the North Central Texas Council of Governments.