Frisco should squeeze the brakes on cycling speed ramp

Reading about a proposal to install a 40-foot-tall bike tower in Frisco, we’re reminded of long-forgotten plans for whitewater rafting on the Trinity. Fun idea; should probably stay on the drawing board.

The idea is to build a giant spiral ramp at Northwest Community Park that would allow cyclists to descend at speed and shoot out onto various mountain bike trails. The Frisco Parks and Recreation Department is proposing a $ 24.5 million upgrade to the 164-acre park east of Teel Parkway, near the PGA Frisco headquarters. City officials can not say how much of that will be for the tower.

“It will become a facility where you, as a beginner – or a child as a beginner – could go out there and learn to bike, and then progressively continue to move throughout the park and throughout the system as you get better and better at it , ”Parks and recreation Director Shannon Coates told the Frisco City Council at a work session in October.

Maybe. But a lot of road rash and a few broken bones are probably in the works, too. Artist renderings of the tower, which are not final, Coates emphasized, portray a giant orange, twisting doom loop. If it were operated by a private company, waivers would be required.

That’s not enough reason to scrap the plan. After all, plenty of skate parks around North Texas have seen their share of bumps and bruises. And some of us are old enough to remember the gleaming metal slides that turned into backside grills in the summertime.

Our skepticism is more in the pizzaz, and whether this is the sort of expenditure Frisco taxpayers are looking for. This strikes us as the kind of project that could only get serious consideration in a city swimming in tax revenue that it has no place better to spend.

Renderings show the ramp enclosed by horizontal slats which, Mayor Jeff Cheney pointed out, could turn the tower into “Frisco’s biggest whistle” in high winds.

In an interview on Feb. 3, Cheney told us the proposal fits with the direction the council has given to its staff.

“We challenge city staff to think differently. Be creative. Be unique. Not be afraid to make suggestions that could be different than what other cities have done, “he said. They have certainly lived up to that mandate.

We give Frisco high marks for creativity. But this one strikes us as a little too much bell and whistle.

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