Austin opens new bike lane on Guadalupe


by JESSICA VESS / KVUE News & Photojournalist ERIN COKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @JessicaV_KVUE

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 6:01 PM

AUSTIN --  A new barrier is up along a busy stretch of Guadalupe Street in Central Austin.

"It's a very vulnerable environment," said cyclist Noah Villalobos. “Things can go wrong all the time.”

Thursday morning Villalobos and other cyclists got a break from the chaos of The Drag.

"You never knew when a car was going to be veering into your traffic lane," said cyclist Michael Hernandez.

The newest city bike lane is now open. It runs from 24th Street to MLK Jr. Blvd.

"I think it shows a commitment from the City to bikers, especially in the student area," said Villalobos.

The bike lane is specifically designed to catch the eyes of drivers. Some parts are painted bright green. Other parts are entirely separated.

For cyclists heading southbound on Guadalupe, there's a combination of parking spaces, bus stop platforms and pedestrian islands to separate bike from car. Those who are riding northbound have a wider lane and painted buffers. Cyclists say it takes one distraction off the table.

"Having to deal with automobile traffic and bike traffic, just bodies walking in front of you here on campus, there's a lot you have to be aware of," explained Hernandez.

Volunteers set up along the road on Thursday to hand out and install free bike bells and help cyclists and drivers make the transition.

The lane is not an entirely new concept. There are seven others stretched out across some of the busiest areas: Rio Grande Street in West Campus, 4th Street next to the Austin Convention Center, 3rd Street in downtown Austin, Bluebonnet Lane, Barton Springs Road, Pedernales Street, and Berkman Drive.

Guadalupe's lane is the latest step to open new transit options in Austin.