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Bicycle Routes for North Austin
or go to Maps & Routes for the rest of Austin

Note: Mike Dahmus has some photos of N. Austin roadways.

Contents:

Northbound
* Central Austin to IBM
* Central Austin to Pflugerville
* Going north on 183 past the Arboretum

Southbound
* Arboretum to Downtown
* 620/Parmer to LCRA on Lake Austin Blvd.

North > North
* Burnet to Metric, north of 183
* Pflugerville to IBM (Burnet/Braker)
* Avery Island (McNeil/Parmer) to Duval/Mopac
* Wells Branch to Dell
* Wells Branch to Rutland / Burnet

 

 Northbound


Central Austin to IBM (by Mike Dahmus)

  • Shoal Creek to Cross Creek (north of Steck)
  • Cut through this neighborhood:
    • Left on Winding Walk
    • Right on Donna Gail
    • Right on Thrushwood
    • Right on McCann, which takes you a block up to the 183 frontage road).
  • Walk along the side of the frontage road for the 500 feet or so to the Burnet/183 intersection.
  • Cross there as a pedestrian to the NE corner of the intersection.
  • Go east along the westbound frontage road (I used the sidewalk-like thing under the overpass and then crossed at the railroad tracks).
  • Pick up Metric Blvd. close to Goodwill.
  • Go Metric all the way north to Gracy Farms (about 3-4 miles). Although it has truck traffic, it's a lot safer than Burnet Rd. Gracy Farms takes you right into the north side of the 900 building complex (pink buildings on the east side of Burnet).

  • Another option: take Shoal Creek only to Steck and then cut over to Burnet, and using Burnet all the way up. This is highly dangerous as far as bike routes go, and not for the faint of heart.

  • Another route: Kevin Corry has an alternate route for IBM to downtown.

Routes: Contents | Central * North * South * West | Bike Maps


Central Austin to Pflugerville (by austinbiker2005 {at} yahoo.com, July 2005)

  • Bike Route 47 to Metric Blvd. past Parmer Lane (Guadalupe, Crestland, Northcrest, Georgian, Elliot, Fairfield, Parkfield, Bittern Hollow, Metric)
  • Cross W. Howard Ln. where it becomes Thermal Drive
  • Go east on Wells Branch Parkway West
  • Cross I-35 where it becomes 1835 into Plugerville

This route was decent at 7:30-8 am on a Saturday morning. There was a bit of a tight squeeze near I-35.

Routes: Contents | Central * North * South * West | Bike Maps


Going North on 183 past the Arboretum (by Mike Dahmus)

  • Shoal Creek to Steck
  • Steck to Mesa
  • Mesa to Loop 360
  • Loop 360 to Arboretum Blvd.
  • Arboretum Blvd to Jollyville

Arboretum Blvd. has a big hill, but your alternative (Great Hills Trail) has an even bigger hill and more traffic. A third option, to skip both hills, is to go the wrong way on the 183 frontage as a pedestrian, carrying your bike and being very careful.

You might be tempted to take the long version of the hill to the right by the duck pond but I found that the short hill straight ahead is better. Arboretum Blvd. eventually goes to a 4-way stop with Jollyville right in front of the Renaissance Hotel. Turn left here and then you're set to go straight on the green light across Great Hills.

Routes: Contents | Central * North * South * West | Bike Maps

 

Southbound


Arboretum to Downtown
(thanks to Phil Hallmark & Bill Canfield for help with this one)

Remember that all city buses are equipped with bike racks, and the #34 bus goes between the Arboretum and Northcross Mall (Burnet & Anderson).
 
If you're not knocking out the hard part of the trip by taking the bus, then the first thing you want to do is get from the Arboretum to Mesa, which isn't particularly fun. You have two choices:
  1. You can take Jollyville, which is a straight shot, but the road lanes are narrow and the traffic is fast. You can get to Jollyville by first going south on the 183 frontage road, crossing 360, then hanging a right about 200 yards after 360. If you're wary of staying on the frontage road after crossing 360, then here's a map with a red line showing where you can walk your bike.
  2. You can weave through the neighborhood between 360 & Mesa but the route can be confusing, and the hills there are BAD. Here's the map. In words: (A) Go south on 360, pick up Mountain Ridge Drive. (B) After half a mile, left on Hyridge. (C) After a quarter mile, left onto Mesa.
However you do it, once you get to Mesa, it's much less difficult. Here are two options:
 
Safer & less hilly, but circuitous
-----------------------------------------------
(1) South on Mesa. Mesa has a bike lane, if I remember right.
(2) 1.5 mi., then Left (east) on Spicewood Springs.
(3) 2 mi., then Right (south) on Shoal Creek.
(4) 4 mi., then Left (east) on 46th St.
(5) 4 blocks, then Right (south) on Rosedale.
(6) 5 blocks, then Left (east) on 40th.
(7) 3 blocks, then Right (south) on Medical Parkway.
(8) 4 blocks, then Left (east) on 37th St. (immediately after big 38th intersection)
(9) Note that 37th is discontiguous at Lamar. You go catty-corner when crossing.
(10) Where 37th ends after another block, continue straight through the medical parking lot.
(11) Right (south) on King St. when you exit the parking lot.
(12) Right (west) on 31st, then immediate left (south) onto Washington Square.
(13) As you cross 29th, you'll have to go caty-corner to the left to get on Salado.
(14) Left (east) onto 28th St.
(15) 3 blocks, then Right (south) onto Nueces.
(16) 2 MILES, then left (east) on 5th St.
(17) Continue on 5th St. a few blocks into downtown
 
Simpler, but more traffic and more hilly
------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) South on Mesa. Mesa has a bike lane, if I remember right.
(2) 1.5 mi., then Left (east) on Spicewood Springs.
(3) 2 mi., then Right (south) on Shoal Creek.
(4) 5 mi., then Left (east) on 38th St.
(5) 1 mi., then Right (south) on Guadalupe
(6) 1 mi., then take the fork on the right (Nueces), right across the street from Mango's.
(7) 2 miles, then left (east) on 7th St.
(8) Another half mile on 7th. and you're in the heart of downtown.
 
To go the opposite direction, take Rio Grande between MLK & 28th instead of Nueces.
 

Bill Canfield offered this modification, a way to avoid going through the busy intersection at Anderson & Shoal Creek.
 
I'm excited about a detour I just found that lets you avoid any contact at all with Anderson/Spicewood, by going under Anderson. Cross Mopac at Steck, and go south on Shoal Creek. Take the last right before Anderson, heading toward the grape-cluster sign for Grapevine Market. Just stay on that street as it curves south. It dead-ends, but there is a usable path under the overpass, which puts you into the parking lot of the office buildings at Shoal Creek and Foster. Stick to the outer perimeter of the parking lot, and you'll be back on SC after having avoided the traffic crunch south of Anderson.
 
Caveats:
 
1. There are car tracks on the shortcut. I haven't seen any cars there, but keep your eyes open.
 
2. Watch out for highwaymen and trolls under the bridge at night.
 
3. Doesn't work as well in the other direction (I hate going up the hill on Steck). I prefer taking Spicewood Springs to Mesa, though others like Far West.

Routes: Contents | Central * North * South * West | Bike Maps


620/Parmer to LCRA on Lake Austin Blvd. May 11, 2005

Monica Beard writes: I want to bike to work, but I'm finding it difficult to find a safe route from 620 / Parmer to LCRA on Lake Austin Blvd. Some of the routes that are marked on the city bike route map, have no bike lanes or the lanes end when there are hills, etc.. Just trying to get to work in one piece and would appreciate any help.

Joel Sumner replies:

That's a pretty long way but I can give you help on part of the route.

(1) Do you feel comfortable riding on Parmer? If so, I'd:

  • Take Parmer all the way to Amherst (just before MoPac).
  • Take a right on Amherst. (map)
  • Then take a left on Adelphi
  • Then a right on Waters Park (no shoulder but I never see much traffic on it). It turns into Park Bend Dr when it goes under MoPac.
  • Take a right on Metric and take Metric south.
  • Make a left on Rutland.
  • Wind through the neighborhoods to get to Peyton Gin (map)
  • Head south on Ohlen Rd. You can either cut over to Shoal Creek from there or head down Woodrow.

(2) If you don't like Parmer, then

  • Take Parmer just to Anderson Mill Road.
  • Head West on AM Road until you hit 183.
  • At this point AM Road gets gnarly so head south on the US 183 access road for about 5 feet, duck into the gas station and head south through that strip mall parking lot until you hit Balcones Club Drive. (map)
  • Then follow this route to Jollyville which can take you to loop 360

Kristin Theiler adds:

I'm sure someone else probably has a route with fewer roads, but here's one continuing from Jollyville. I highly suggest driving a new route first at the time of morning you anticipate riding to ensure the traffic seems safe enough for you. You won't be able to get to Jollyville/Mesa going this way, but you can take a right onto 360 and do a uturn to get there.
  • Take Jollyville until it ends in the Arboretum
  • Right on Arboretum Blvd
  • Cross 360 and go left/east
  • Right on Jollyville
  • Right on Mesa
  • Follow city bike route from Mesa onto Sierra, etc to get yourself to Balcones
  • Balcones south all the way to 35th (never ridden Balcones in the a.m. so unsure on traffic)
  • Jog Left on 35th, then Right on Pecos
  • Right on Scenic (when I rode this route a couple weeks ago the Scenic sign was missing or hidden so look on the map - it's right as you're part way up the 1st hill)
  • You'll take another Right to stay on Scenic by Matthews
  • Left on Stevenson
  • Right on Rockmoor
  • Right on Cherry Lane which turns into Lake Austin Blvd and you're right by LCRA

 

Routes: Contents | Central * North * South * West | Bike Maps

 

North > North


Burnet to Metric, north of 183 (by Ken Marsh)

From Burnet you can take a shortcut through my industrial park to get to Metric. Just north of 183, take the small road that veers off to the right (north-northeast). Continue straight when this road curves left, and enter a huge area of one-story modern warehouse/offices. Follow the parking lot in front of the first warehouse and you will see Rundberg Lane. Take that east across the railroad tracks then make your way north and east through warehouse parking lots -- you will eventually get to Rutland and Metric. Continue north on Metric.

Routes: Contents | Central * North * South * West | Bike Maps


Pflugerville to IBM (Burnet/Braker) (by Brian Horton)

I live in Pflugerville as well, and bike commute to the IBM site (Burnet/Braker) every day. From Pflugerville, my route is:
  • Back roads to 1825
  • Past the HEB onto Wells Branch
  • Stay on Wells Branch under 35 to Thermal
  • Left on Thermal, which becomes Metric when it crosses Howard Lane
  • Metric all of the way to Gracy Farms
  • Gracy Farms to the IBM bldgs
...and back to Pflugerville the same route (IBM to Gracy Farms, Left on Metric, Right on Wells Branch, Left on 1825 into Pflugerville). Total length from IBM to the HEB is about 7 miles.
 
Metric isn't all that friendly and not for the timid or meek -- not much of a shoulder in most spots. But it is 2 lanes each way which gives the cars a bit more room. Traffic isn't usually that fast, and in fact, on the afternoon rides its so backed up in spots, I usually pass the same cars at several of the lights.
 
Another option might be Dessau road, which they just finished widening up to Pflugerville. It starts up there East of town and comes down all of the way to 183. I've done that route home several times -- IBM to Braker to Dessau to Pecan Street into Pflugerville. Again, 2-3 lanes, little to no shoulder. And its higher speed than Metric. But do-able.
 
Not much else to suggest. I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else has any other routes! Oh, and if you leave Pflugerville around 7:15am, we might see each other!


Avery Island (McNeil/Parmer) to Duval/Mopac (by Allan)

John Benner writes: I am trying to find a reasonably safe bicycle route to take me from Avery Island (off McNeil Drive, near the intersection of Parmer and McNeil) to my workplace, near the east side of the intersection of Duval and Mopac.

Allan answers:

From your place, get on Riata Trace. Head toward 183. Just before 183, make a right turn at the last little intersection. Go forward 1/4 block to the 4 way intersection.
 
Make a left turn, and follow the winding road through what used to be TI, now I think its Solectron. Follow this 20mph road for 1/4 mi till the intersection. Make a left. This is Oak Knoll. Get in the right lane, and take the whole thing up. Cross under 183, cross Jollyville rd, then make uturn when safe. Get on Jollyville south bound, make left onto Duval. At intersection of 183, take whole lane. Head east on Duval, you will reach school zone 200 Yards east of 183. You will have 3 ft stripe until just before RR tracks. As you approach RR tracks, look back, if clear, move out past the stripe, and take up some space. If you skip this part, you will get to be a human slalom pole where Duval becomes 2 lanes.
 
Jump the RR tracks, and continue east til Amherst. At Amherst, you need to decide whether or not you will take the lane. I recommend you do. Watch out for the manhole covers!! There are 3 or 4 between Amherst and Mopac. They can put you in the air.
 
Depending on when you ride, Duval will be stopped up from Mopac almost to Amherst. Use your good judgement as to when to take the lane, if you even want to. As has been mentioned, Duval between Amherst and Mopac has a sidewalk on the east bound side.
 
I would strongly recommend you either use the sidewalk or take the whole lane between Amherst and over Mopac.
 
The way back is harder. Duval between Mopac, and Amherst at rush hour is unpleasant. Haul Ass, ride like you mean it, or get on the sidewalk. The sidewalk has a barrier a little past Time Warner. It's an auto crash barrier, but it will gradually squeeze the rider off the sidewalk onto Duval Rd. This happens just before Amherst.
 
Past Amherst, no problem till Duval west bound and 183. At that point, watch your back, and take the lane. Cross under 183, right on Jollyville. Go North till Oak, Knoll, make another right, cross under 183 again, go into the technology park, make the first right, and find your way back to Riata Trace.
 
There are a series of roads you can ride on between Oak Knoll and Duval that parallel Jollyville. They are hard to describe. Look on a current map for the street called Woodcrest. When you can find those streets, you will like them better than Jollyville.
 
Another option: illegal/immoral/criminal, On Riata Trace, the buildings nearest 183. There is a cyclone fence gate that on the other side is west cow path. Many of those Riata office park buildings are now unoccupied. Nuf said.
 


Wells Branch to Dell Dec. 2004

Dennis Abbot writes:

Well, I started riding my route on Wednesday. I'm pretty close over in Wells Branch and I just shoot through Grand Ave Parkway(long light under i35) and then take the feeder as suggested to the Target parking lot. That parking lot is totally empty in the mornings. 4.5 miles one-way and I get there 5 minutes quicker than by car. Lots of cars to deal with but they are all going about 5 miles an hour. I don't see how these people can sit in a car that long. Return trip is a little scarier. Suprisingly Dell has no bike racks, showers cost you $14 a month, and there is no shuttle to campuses outside of the RR campus(I need to go to Parmer once a week at least). If there was a cap metro bus stop near any part of that RR campus I would live in central Austin in a second. There is a bus (495?) that hits the Parmer campus but then I would still need to get to RR and the Dell shuttle does not run to Parmer.


Wells Branch to Rutland/Burnet Mar. 2005

DLHughes001 asks:

I'm new in town, will be living in Wells Branch, working on Rutland right off Burnet Rd. Looking at Yahoo maps, I see that a possible bike route to work would be, from W.B. Pkwy, Thermal Dr. (which turns into Metric at Howard), all the way down to Rutland. The city's bike map declares this road to be for experienced urban cyclists only. I have some city-riding experience from Houston, so it can't be any worse. Any of you who ride that road, what's your take on it? Would it be a good way to get from Wells Branch to Rutland/Burnet Rd.? Is there a better way?

Joel Summer replies:

I find Metric ok between Parmer and Kramer. Metric from Kramer to Rutland is not much fun. Heading South is ok because it is downhill. North is uphill, the wide (or very wide) shoulder is not there, road is much bumpier. Instead, you might cut through the office park West of Metric (off of Boyer)

Rick Byrnes adds:

I take Thermal Drive, and Metric from Howard to Parmer, when I bike commute to work. Thermal Drive is decent to ride on. Goes by an elementary school with a speed zone. Metric Blvd recently got painted bike lines from Howard Lane down to Parmer. It's safe to ride. The Austin city bike map probably hasn't been updated for it yet. If you ride north through the Metric/Howard/Thermal intersection during the afternoon rush hours, northbound traffic often backs up at that intersection and you have to get into the center lane to go straight through. But I don't recall if Metric below Parmer got the stripes. That portion of Metric has a good number of commuter vehicles using it, so without bike lanes I would consider it a bit rough. You'll need to ride defensively.

 

Kevin Corry adds:

I ride along parts of Metric almost every day. Taking Thermal isn't bad - it's just two lanes and pretty wide, so you shouldn't get too crowded. Then when it turns into Metric, there are fairly new bike lanes all the way down to Cedar Bend, where they just randomly end. Unfortunately, to get where you're going, you'll really need to continue down Metric past Cedar Bend and across the bridge at the bottom of that hill. Metric is four lanes divided and not very wide, so you really need to take the lane down that hill. Once you get past the small bridge, if the traffic is too much for you, there's a sidewalk that goes up the next hill on either side of the street.

Then, instead of continuing down Metric all the way to Rutland, I'd suggest turning left across Metric (you may have to wait awhile for a decent gap in traffic) onto Bittern Hollow, which is next to the big church at the top of the hill. Then turn left onto Parkfield Dr, which is a few streets after Gracy Farms. Parkfield will cross Braker and Kramer. Once past Kramer, you can go all the way down to Rutland, or alternatively snake you're way through the neighborhoods in that area and come out on Rutland at Quail Valley or Golden Meadow (see maps.yahoo.com for all the details). Then you can head back west on Rutland until you get to your office. I haven't ridden on Rutland in a while, but I don't remember it being very bad. All of this might be a little bit out of your way, but it probably beats riding on Metric, especially since you'll be riding up hill all the way to Braker. Good luck!

 




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