Denton is hiring a bicycle consultant. But it’s a secret, mostly.
Even if you don’t read this post, please consider taking the 30 seconds to send an email to city council and manager to express your opinions and urge that they hire a reputable bicycle consultant. Scroll down for the council and manager email addresses.
Buried Deep in last month’s Traffic Safety Commission agenda, we can see that Denton staff engineer, Frank Payne, mentions that staff is attempting to hire a consultant to advise on bicycle connectivity:
We are currently looking at overall bicycle connectivity issues with a consultant that we are attempting to put under contract for this very purpose.
Frank made this statement in his response to Sarah Richey’s recent request for bike lanes on Pennsylvania Drive in Southridge. You can read more about that in the agenda PDF, and in short, the city traffic engineers pledge to provide options to the neighborhood.
Hiring a quality bicycle consultant would be a major step in the right direction for the stagnant, dying bike infrastructure in Denton. Remember, the city staff have been removing bike lanes lately, not adding them.
We hope that city staff isn’t hiring a consultant to provide only the answers that staff wants to hear. If the consultant reaches out to cyclists and city neighborhoods, then you’ll know that it was an open, fair process. If you don’t hear a peep, and silent recommendations are provided directly to city staff, then that could indicate a closed, unfair process. This announcement was very under the radar, so our curiosity is so high it’s off the charts.
We haven’t seen the bid proposal come up on a city council agenda (perhaps in the consent items), so it’s unlikely that the bids have been formally made. In BikeDenton’s opinion, there are hundreds of consulting choices out there, but very few shining stars of bicycle planning (in America). Since this consulting announcement was buried 37 pages deep in the Traffic Safety Commission agenda, it’s unlikely that the city politicians know about this hiring intent.
We, the taxpayers, are footing the bill for this bicycle consultant. We urge you to contact city council and manager ASAP and tell them you know about the bicycle consultant bid, and that you want them to hire a well-respected, highly experienced bicycle infrastructure planner. If we don’t say anything about this, then city staff can hire whoever they want, and staff can get the answers they want to hear. Obviously, BikeDenton is partial to certain esteemed planners, like Mia Birk, the Dallas native who transformed Portland into a Platinum-rated bicycling utopia. It is your honest opinion that city council needs to hear.
George.Campbell@cityofdenton.com (city manager)