New plan to connect all bike paths and trails in downtown Austin


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist DATHAN HULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @KrisB_KVUE

Posted on October 25, 2013 at 10:23 PM

Updated Sunday, Oct 27 at 5:39 PM

AUSTIN -- It's good exercise, better for the environment and cuts down on traffic but cycling can also be dangerous and that’s where a new plan called “Your Path to Austin” comes in.

It’s a plan developed by Austin’s Public Works Department to connect trails and on-street bikeways all over central Austin with lanes that are protected by cars through barriers.

“It’s giving bicycles their own facilities, out of the way of vehicles, and it's also providing more room on the roadway for other vehicles," said Chad Crager with Austin's Public Works Department.

Crager said it started with the Bicycle Master Plan approved by city council in 2009.

“We're planning for people like my wife or my mom or people like that to ride a bicycle because while a painted line is great, we need to do more than that to get people out riding a bicycle," Crager said.

That’s why the latest plan, called “Your Path to Austin,” includes the addition of “cycle tracks.”

Cycle tracks are white posts along a bike path that physically separate bicyclists from cars going by, as seen most recently along Guadalupe near UT’s campus.

Tom Wald with Bike Austin says if the city builds the new connected cycle tracks, “I can see Austin becoming one of the best biking cities in the country."

Crager says the project will extend outside of downtown.

“Let’s use an example of Avery Ranch: what if they could ride a bike on a trail to the redline station, get on a redline and come downtown?” said Crager.

The plan is so new the city is still working on a final draft. However, before they finish they want to hear from people who already use the bike paths they want to hear from the people who would if they felt safer.

If you would like to attend a public input meeting, click here for the details.

You may also give your input online by clicking here.

The project could be finished downtown within the next five years. The city is still working to determine a cost estimate.

Once the draft is complete, the city council will have to approve it in spring of 2014.