Downtown Dallas Inc.'s plan for Bike Harwood. (Courtesy DDI)

Urban Design

Planned Protected Bike Lane Coming to Harwood Street to Link the Cedars with Downtown

Pedestrians rejoice—a major thoroughfare is getting safer.

A protected bike lane is coming to Harwood Street downtown, first connecting the Cedars just past the Farmers Market near Main Street Garden. It’s Downtown Dallas Inc.’s first step in providing pedestrian infrastructure that will get cyclists, walkers, and scooter-ers from Dallas Heritage Village to Klyde Warren Park without having to dodge vehicles. The first phase should be complete by the spring.

Harwood is one of Downtown Dallas Inc’s so-called “catalytic corridors,” providing a more-or-less direct shot from the Cedars to the Arts District. One day, you’ll find the forthcoming Harwood Park there. The new Pacific Plaza is also along the street. But Harwood is mostly one way. It forks confusingly at Pacific Avenue, making it tricky for pedestrians to cross. And it doesn’t provide adequate infrastructure for folks on bikes or scooters.

“[Harwood Street] is such an important district connector,” said Kourtny Garrett, president of Downtown Dallas Inc. “You start to see how the fabric knits together.”

The first phase will run along Harwood from Beaumont Street all the way to Main. The ingress and egress of the office towers north of Main will require a deeper design study before anything permanent goes in. Plus the lanes narrow. So they’re starting with paint and delineators, the city’s “first-ever protected micro-mobility facility,” as coined by Krista Nightengale, the managing director of the Oak Cliff nonprofit Better Block. Those delineators look like squat speed bumps. Others look like large standing planters.

Better Block is also handling the paint job.

“They saw interest in the project and we know they mobilize quickly,” Garrett says. “They’re looking for quick wins and pilot projects.”

And that’s very much what this is. The usage of the new lane will inform what the second phase looks like, as well as whatever permanent construction awaits in the future. Garrett wouldn’t say exactly what that would be, but it could include a bike lane separated with a curb, a grade differentiation, or a combination with a paver system. She’s also curious about how cyclists and scooters will get along; when the idea first came to DDI, in 2014, scooters weren’t part of the conversation.

A group of urbanists—Patrick Kennedy, 42 Real Estate’s Benton Payne, graphic designer Robbie Good—also identified Harwood as a potential pedestrian thoroughfare and took the idea to downtown stakeholders. They modeled their idea after the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: a wide, pedestrian-only lane that is grade-separated from vehicular traffic. It leads cyclists and walkers through downtown and to the front door of many of the city’s arts and entertainment options. Theirs was broader, incorporating the existing trails and connecting downtown with Deep Ellum and onto the Perot Museum.

But from that idea came Bike Harwood. DDI plans to pursue bond funding to pay for the permanent lane.

“The city’s transportation department has been very supportive,” Garrett says. “Our intent is to have another incremental implementation – while you’re waiting on big funding, you start with a delineator system and really look to those larger capital bond funds to get something permanent.”

Better Block is looking for volunteers to help paint on March 6. Head here for more details on that.

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