Zac Lytle competes in bicycle races, commutes by bike and occasionally straps on his helmet for a quick spin to the Bishop Arts District with his wife.
So, the urban planner was thrilled when the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce's alternative transportation committee decided to raise money to install bike racks at businesses throughout the northern part of the community.
The group raised more than $1,500 in a month-long drive that ended Nov. 1. Organizers said the funds will cover at least five racks. They plan to celebrate their success by hosting a festival in the Bishop Arts District on Sunday.
Oak Cliff Chamber president Bob Stimson said installing bike racks is just one piece of a much larger program Oak Cliff leaders are putting together to build a sustainable, pedestrian-friendly community.
"There is a lot of energy going on now in our area to re-create Oak Cliff," Mr. Stimson said. "We certainly are the hippest place in town, and we've got a lot of people here that are really starting to focus on the long-term and understand what it takes to make a sustainable community."
Besides installing bike racks, community leaders are encouraging residential recycling and working with the city to develop a pilot program for business recycling. Community leaders are also researching funding options to initiate a green business certification program as well as reviving the street car system.
"We're looking at what we can do to help economic redevelopment in our area and to create the walkability in our neighborhoods," said Jason Roberts, a senior IT consultant who leads the alternative transportation committee and spearheaded the pledge drive. "It's not that we want to lessen cars. I want people to be able to come to Oak Cliff and think this is very bicycle-friendly."
Mr. Roberts said the group considered seeking grant money to buy the bike racks but opted instead to take to the public radio airwaves and ask the community for support.
"We really wanted to show that the community wanted this," said Mr. Roberts, an Oak Cliff resident. "Within the first week, we had almost half our goal."
There's no timetable for when the bike racks will be installed, but Mr. Roberts said the committee hopes they can be fabricated in the Dallas area. "We're trying to keep it local to keep our carbon footprint low," he said.
Mr. Stimson said the chamber backs these activities because they're good for business.
"It makes it a more livable area," he said. "The more people that are attracted to an area, the more businesses there are and the more money they make. We want funky, organic, home-grown businesses to permeate the area just like they have in Bishop Arts."
Kristen Holland is a freelance writer in Richardson. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.