Last night, Denton’s P&Z board voted 7-0 to approve the Bike Plan after spoken support from 7 year old Zarian (pictured above) and Amber Briggle, and supportive comment cards. Nobody opposed the plan.
The next and final stop for the Bike Plan is at city council in February, and that is the public’s last opportunity to give input and show support.
The turnout (for the Bike Plan agenda item) at last night’s meeting was low, but that’s unsurprising given the number of public Bike Plan meetings held since the effort started in 2009. It just seems easier to get turnout for something people are fighting against rather than fighting for. Also, a general lack of controversy might convey an impression that the Bike Plan has enough momentum to carry itself all the way through to fruition. Regardless, the final passage will have a celebratory element and I’d wager that turnout + passage = party.
Strangely, the P&Z chair (Jay Thomas) somehow neglected to read the citizen comment cards aloud, ignoring a standard public hearing protocol. The agenda discussion was also halted abruptly and put to a vote, while it was obvious some commissioners wanted to continue discussion. While the resulting vote was positive, the process was stunted.
Commissioner Devin Taylor pressed engineering staff to ask how the public would continue to give input on the plan (for route preferences, etc), and the staff replied that citizens can continue to email in suggestions. That’s a bit guarded, and I think resurrecting the Bike Plan Advisory Committee is more openly engaging of the public. An official 311 system for reporting street issues (amongst others) could also be of huge value to Denton. Austin has it, Dallas has it, Plano has it, and we could use it.