Grab a date, get on your bicycles, and go support better cycling infrastructure in Austin this Valentines Day.
The Lance Armstrong Bikeway is slowly marching toward completion, more than 15 years after its initial introduction. The path along Cesar Chavez out west has been complete for several years now, and the new connection by the library is coming (any year now), and the separated bike lanes along Third Street are finally finished, with signals being installed as we speak. Even the connection underneath I35 has been fixed in recent years to give a little room to pedestrians and bikes alike.
East of I35, however, is a different story so far. Fourth street is generally filled with shards of metal by the scrap yards and fifth street remains a generally not-so-awesome, pothole strewn part of the so-called bikeway on the east side. This week, the city is soliciting public input on a section of 5th Street from San Saba to Shady Lane and, as usual, resistance from the general car-reliant population of Austin is expected.
Before we go into further details, here’s the quick need-to-know from Bike Austin on the meeting and what you can do:
On Tuesday, February 14th, the City of Austin will present plans to convert the bike lanes on E 5th Street into buffered bike lanes, a key step towards constructing a fully protected bike facility along the street. We need as many people as possible to attend and speak up in favor of this critical safety improvement, so please RSVP today by filling out the below form. The meeting is drop-in style, so you can come for 5 or 10 minutes between 6:00 and 7:00 PM.
WHAT: 5th Street Bike Lane Open House
WHEN: Tuesday, February 14th, 6:00-7:00
WHERE: Cepeda Branch Library, 651 N Pleasant Valley Rd
While this section of road isn’t my main concern (actually, from Chicon all the way to Pleasant Valley seems to be most in need of a revamp), it certainly can use the proposed treatment. Here’s how the bike lanes there look right now:
No, there’s not construction and giant trucks there all the time, but as you can see, both sides of the streets are full of parked cars, and this is the norm. That is to say, the current setup creates two dangerous door-zones rather than two usable bike lanes. Currently, the city has proposed removing parking entirely on the southern / eastbound side of this stretch of road and retaining it on the northern side, as well as adding a buffer between car and bike traffic lanes.
Now, I know some of y’all aren’t the biggest “paint on the road to protect cyclists” folks, but I’ll take a little more space out of the door zone where I can get it. This affords that, at least.
Here’s the full stakeholder email from the city for your perusal: