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#1 Re: Equipment (Discussion, For sale) » Pawn shops pretending that stolen bikes aren't? » 2022-03-22 13:14:05

Thanks Michael and Doug. This is a good time to remind everyone to WRITE DOWN THE SERIAL NUMBER from your bike! Do it right NOW! I just happened to have mine in my wallet a few years ago when my bike was stolen from HEB Hancock (stupidly, I left the bike unlocked at the bike rack to run in very briefly but, jeez, it was 7 am! Who cases a bike rack at 7 am? A meth-head named Armando Hanft, apparently.). In less than 2 hours, APD found my bike (already stripped of all other identifying bells, racks, etc.), we flipped it over and checked the number, it matched, and they gave it back to me right there. Huge relief! It is a bit tricky to read the serial number; mine is crusted with grime and I had to double and triple check that I read it correctly. So, I wouldn’t be too quick to point fingers, but since I wasn’t there at the pawn shop, I don’t really have a useful opinion on it.
~dave.westenbarger~

#2 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Drivers never yield at bike and ped crossings » 2019-10-11 12:44:10

FYI: btrettel is presenting findings from the Dean Keeton/I-35 study:
---------------------------------
Bicycle Advisory Council
Tues, Oct 15 @ 6 p.m.
City Hall, Boards & Commissions Room (Rm 1101)
---------------------------------
Dean Keeton Street and I-35
Requestor: Koonz, BAC member
Presenter: [btrettel] • 

The purpose of this item is for [btrettel], Austin resident and student at UT, to present his study on how cars and cyclists interact at the Dean Keaton/I35 intersection.  (see Bike Austin Info forum discussion for context)

10-15 mins

Other: Given the changes being made to traffic patterns in the area around UT, this presentation could provide some useful insights and data about how cars and bikes interact in this area.

#3 Re: Equipment (Discussion, For sale) » Amazing pictures of thousands of abandoned bicycles » 2018-04-04 14:08:07

Slate's tongue-in-cheek response to the new "crisis" of dockless bikes littering cities (spoiler: photos are of motor vehicle parking lots and dumps):

https://slate.com/business/2018/04/asto … ities.html

#4 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Help create a bike-friendly map of Austin with the Ride Report app » 2018-01-16 09:38:36

I use both Strava and Ride Report. With RR, a user can rate a route: ‘Stressful’, ‘Mixed’ or ‘Chill’. But that is for the entire route. It used to be just two categories: basically good or bad, no ‘Mixed’ option. I have not found a way to rate short segments of a route. Say I pedal 10 miles to work. When I stop, I can rate the entire route. But while most of those 10 miles are very ‘Chill’, there are a few brief segments that are definitely not ‘Chill’. So, how should the route be rated? For several dozen rides, I rated the route as whatever the green category was called, back before they offered three options. I stopped rating routes because I wasn’t sure my rating was helping. Maybe I’ll re-start rating using the ‘Mixed’ option. That still doesn’t help for the short segment problem, though.
~davew~

#5 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Planned locations for speed bump installation » 2017-11-17 12:24:05

A colleague and fellow pedaler wrote the city about Georgian and got this response. Looks like Georgian will be getting “channelizers” like St Elmo:

“We have not yet completed the Georgian Drive project.  In order to discourage vehicles from entering the bike lanes, we will be installing channelizers (plastic curb) with delineators (vertical plastic posts) to physically prohibit vehicles from bypassing the cushions.  The configuration will look like the devices on St. Elmo Street Between S. 1st and Congress which has been very successful.  Unfortunately, our supply of devices ran out before we could install them on Georgian and I do apologize for the delay in completing the project.  Our markings crew is working on securing more devices so that we may complete the project.”

#6 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Planned locations for speed bump installation » 2017-11-16 11:36:41

Thanks for the info. I’m not a great fan of speed humps. But they’re sometimes a necessary evil.

Recently, humps were installed on Georgian which also has bike lanes/parking lanes. So now all the people in cars swerve into the bike lane to avoid the humps. Sometimes a resident will park adjacent to the hump, in the bike lane, on purpose to stop the avoidance behavior. This blocks the bike lane so a person on a bike now has to go out into the lane to go around the parked car. Not ideal but probably better than the hump avoidance behavior.

There’s a hump in front of the house next door to ours on 38.5. Trucks with trailers make a huge crash noise when they hit that sucker even at moderate speeds. It’s a bit unsettling. I’m glad our bedroom is not at the front of our house because these guys zip up and down our street at all hours. Ah, city life. Makes one pine for a quiet cul de sac or at least understand those who do.

There are other ways to slow traffic: pinch points, curves, street trees, narrow streets, ENFORCEMENT, among many others. But none as cheap as humps. So we get humps.

~davew~

#7 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Hit & run speeding driver kills 77 year-old ped on Parkfield 10/10/17 » 2017-10-25 09:08:01

Red:

You read my mind! That's been exactly my experience regarding drivers waving me through intersections out of turn. I hate it and often refuse to go. I look away and ignore them until they go. Just like you, I also sometimes don't signal a left turn when a motor vehicle is approaching and for the exact same reason: I don't want to be put in danger by them stopping (where there is no traffic control device) in order to "let" me turn. No thanks. Please, mister or miss driver, just follow the patterns we're all expecting. It's safer for everyone that way.

Several months ago, I was waiting my turn at a stop sign to turn left (north) from Prairie Dell onto Northcrest and a southbound driver stopped mid-block to wave me through, across her path. There's no stop sign on Northcrest in either direction. I refused to go. She continued to wave me to go. I continued to refuse. Finally, a motor vehicle behind her that could not see me or what was going on and which I could not see, either, sped around her. I could have been crushed if I had gone out of turn. The original driver then rolled down her window and cursed at me as she too passed me just minding my own business and waiting my turn. Too bad, lady! Thanks, but *I* will be the one who decides what dangerous situations I put myself into, not you! So yes, Red, it's very likely another driver will try to pass the stopped motor vehicle and put you in a very bad situation. Don't do it!

The safest thing for everyone on the road, car, bike, or ped, is to be predictable. Courtesy is nice but predictability is crucial. I no longer blow through stop signs or red lights and I encourage all people on bikes to at least stop if they intend to continue through out of turn. I use hand gestures (nice ones, never the one finger salute) to let others know my plans. I do a lot of gesturing: your turn, now your turn, now my turn, thanks, feel free to turn right either in front of me or behind me when I'm stopped at a light and you're signaling your intent to turn (that's why I left so much room; if you don't signal, tough luck for you, I think you're going straight), etc. I have almost zero problems with drivers but I'm mostly pedaling in the city, not suburbia.

~davew~

#8 Re: Train, Bus, Transit » CP Clarkson » 2017-09-15 14:33:18

Hey Red:

I don't know the answer to your question but I also see that station on Google maps and capmetro's Connections 2025 plan. From what I've heard, the long term plan is to add a station in that area (Clarkson & 52nd) to serve the Travis County building (near Quality Seafood) and other development expected in the future. I prefer a stop closer to Hancock Center myself, which would conveniently be closer to me. I've also heard the Highland ACC station might be moved. But why has Google already moved into production a database with that CP Clarkson station included? That I don't know. They had to get it from CapMetro, right? Or maybe Google's working on time travel?

Also, you might already be aware there is currently a huge hole in the ground on Middle Fiskville (behind Burger Tex). It's so deep, the tops of the digging equipment do not reach above ground level. And they're still digging. So something is afoot there. Go take a look.

~davew~

#9 Re: Organizations » Bike Texas endorsement controversy, and 11/16 elections » 2016-11-09 22:05:29

I don't speak for Jeff Travillion. But when he knocked on my door earlier this year (nice guy), we talked about just that issue (toll roads). We talked about dropping tolls on Tx130 but adding them on I-35. A swap. I'm in favor of this even though I use I-35 regularly and would have to pay tolls. I don't even have a toll tag. I-35 would generate more revenue than Tx130 and tolls would reduce the through trucks which is a win for us center city folks. Jeff is responding to his neighbors in Pflugerville who want more "free" roads. Let them have them. Those lanes will fill up faster than Boggy Creek during a gully washer. Those folks can have the blight that is I-35 in their back yards instead of ours, always worrying when TxDOT will come in and widen it. Oops, they already are. I don't support just making tolled lanes free, but I'd swap for toll lanes, HOV/bus lanes, and rail down I-35 any day. Also there's some requirement that interstates be "free" (to drivers) so Tx130 would be renumbered I-35 and I-35 could be renamed, oh, I don't know, let's say East Avenue. I'm too tired to research that interstate requirement right now, so I'll just state it sans citation and hope I'm right.
~davew~

#10 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Homicidal/idiot driver vs. cyclist (silver Honda #843 YTZ, 7/29/14) » 2014-07-31 09:20:10

Hey Michael:

Thanks for saying something to the driver. It's probably too late to get the cyclist to file a police report, but maybe you could do so? That's my neighborhood and we need all the help we can get to get attention for cyclist safety. Police reports help us build evidence that safety is a continuing concern. Also, if the driver of that vehicle is observed later driving recklessly or making other threats, it would be nice to have a record of his misbehavior to document a pattern. Or there could be a warrant out for him.

Everybody: ALWAYS file a police report. People in the neighborhoods we pedal through need that evidence to support neighborhood plans and Safe Routes to School and other programs that ask for funds for bike/ped improvements. If there's no evidence of a problem, it's easier to ignore the requests.

btw, the owner of that car is a woman.

~dave.westenbarger~

#11 Re: Traffic Laws » Bikers running the intersection » 2013-11-02 12:32:56

I used to blow lights and stop signs on my bike. Then I grew up. I don't confront other cyclists. Each person has to make his or her own choices. I do support ticketing these folks, though. Many years ago, a cyclist confronted me one time by hollering at me. I deserved it, but I wanted to ask him if hollering at people ever persuaded them to his side? I'm doubtful. Calm discussion might be better, but no one likes to be told off, especially by someone not in authority.

Now, I just follow the laws, stop at stop signs and red lights, and let my actions speak for me.

~dave.westenbarger~

#12 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » CapMetro to start on 0.8-mile bike/ped trail next to the Red Line » 2013-01-03 00:46:00

Hey Michael:

Yes, this is good news, and yes, it would be nice if we could have a multi-use trail along the entire length of the CapMetro tracks. Twelve or so years ago I worked on a proposal with Linda Dupriest (former COA bike coordinator) for TxDOT "enhancement" funds for a short segment of trail along or near the right-of-way. At the time, we dubbed it the "Upper Boggy Creek Trail" since it would have followed Boggy Creek for part of its length. It is enshrined in the 2002 Upper Boggy Creek Neighborhood Plan (linked below). We didn't receive the funds and I haven't seen announcements of similar programs since then. But little by little, segments of the trail are being constructed when funds and right-of-way are available. For example, the Boggy Creek Greenbelt Trail is being extended from 12th Street to the MLK Station.

The trail hasn't happened as quickly as I would like, but it was studied by Mia Burke (Alta Planning, see report linked below) and is listed as a "super route" in the 2009 City Bike Plan (see pages 116 and 120, also linked below) so it has gotten some attention. I'm not sure I like some of the proposed routing, but it's just lines on paper at this point, so it can be fixed. I believe the City made the right decision to first expend its limited bike funds on a more robust system of bike lanes; trails eat up a lot of money very quickly. Of course, I'd prefer the City spend more funds for all sorts of bike facilities, but I live in the real world and realize this will not happen unless and until there is more political support for more bike facilities. Supporting BikeAustin (bikeaustin.org) and BikeTexas (biketexas.org) would help there. I know you do, and so do I. Thank you for that.

I live in Cherrywood, which is one of the more difficult segments to route the trail through. Because the railroad ROW is only 50 feet wide south of the Denson/Airport area (Highland Mall), it isn't feasible to construct a trail within the ROW with the recommended (required) set-back from the tracks. This limitation requires that substantial lengths of the trail near downtown be constructed on surface streets, on City-owned street ROW, park land, or other available land, including possibly private easement donations. Consider: if the tracks run down the middle of the ROW, which they do, mostly, that leaves less than 23 feet on either side for a 10 foot wide trail (not even counting ballast/rocks or possible double tracking). If I recall correctly from USDOT/FRA engineering standards (linked below), minimum set-back is at least 10 feet. So the trail could never be more than 3 feet from the edge of a 50 foot ROW, which is not feasible with crossing arms, signal boxes, etc. in the way. And that is with the minimum set-back ever observed anywhere, which might not be considered safe or reasonable in our situation. No competent engineer would stamp designs that violated the set-back requirement or imposed a safety hazard. Of course, I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but others reading this might not know it.

Clarkson west of IH-35 is a great place for a trail, because it parallels and is adjacent to the tracks, which also parallel and are adjacent to Airport Blvd. So there is ample ROW all adjacent, plus Clarkson has little motorized traffic. A cycle track there would probably work well. Designs for future Airport Blvd upgrades have bike lanes on either side, but we should still pursue a multi-use trail/cycletrack along Clarkson and Middle Fiskville because Airport Blvd. bike lanes would be one-way and what if I want to turn around? I'd have to cross Airport Blvd. at an intersection or do a U-turn across 5 lanes to get to the bike lane going the other direction. The asphalt is already there on Clarkson, let's use it.

See the following for more information on rails-with-trails and the Boggy Creek Bikeway:

(1)
Capital Metro RwT Feasibility Study (2007)
http://allsystemsgo.capmetro.org/downlo … _FINAL.pdf

(2)
City of Austin 2009 Bicycle Plan Update
http://austintexas.gov/sites/default/fi … erplan.pdf

(3)
USDOT/FRA Rails-with-Trails: Lessons Learned (2002)
http://transit-safety.volpe.dot.gov/pub … Trails.htm

(4)
Upper Boggy Creek Neighborhood Plan (2002)
ftp://ftp.ci.austin.tx.us/npzd/website/ … _creek.htm

I hope everyone pedals happily and safely in 2013!

~Dave.Westenbarger~

#13 Re: Equipment (Discussion, For sale) » Suggestions for carrying picture frames » 2012-03-07 22:30:18

The only thing I can offer is, I have learned the hard way to try to carry breakables as close to my person as possible, usually in a back pack.  My bike is not nearly as cushioned as my body.  Personally, I would try to tie up the frames in a towel or blanket then lash that to my back somehow (bungee cords or a used inner tube with a clip, slung around your shoulders?).  I'm assuming there's glass and maybe I shouldn't be assuming that.
~davew~

#14 Re: Rides and Events » Where's the list of the Social Rides? » 2011-11-02 13:15:22

Regarding a schedule, maybe there's no schedule posted because there's not really a need.  It's just understood that every Thursday night, anyone who's interested in the Social Ride meets at the park under I-35 at Town Lake between 7 and 8pm.  Then they ride wherever.  Whatever "organizers" there are take a very hands-off approach.  Kids!  What're ya gonna do? 

I don't think anyone needs to join facebook to figure out the schedule.  If someone wanted to add to the current methods of communication by posting a schedule somewhere, it'd be very simple:  meet at the park every Thursday at 7, leaving at 8.  I'm impressed that somehow they get hundreds of participants through word of mouth, facebook, twitter, etc.  This is the new networking model of communication.  Another medium wouldn't hurt, but maybe they're not concerned about attracting us old fogeys?  Just speaking for myself, of course.

Dave Westenbarger

#15 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Chrerrywod meeting » 2011-09-14 15:38:39

Tom: 

re: transition counts.  In the original proposal, SB there is one where the sharrow changes to BL at about Clarkson.  NB there are 2, one at E32 (BL to sharrow) and another at about E34 or maybe Clarkson (sh->BL).  That's where I get 3.  The revised plan has 5:  NB south of E32 (BL->sh) and north of E34 (sh->BL) , SB at about Clarkson (sh->BL), at Edgewood (BL->sh), and south of E32 (sh->BL).  That's the best I could figure out from the City presentation and a follow-up telephone conversation, rather than an actual map, which I would've preferred.

#16 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Chrerrywod meeting » 2011-09-14 14:18:20

By the way, I'm a dues paying member of LoBV and support Tom and all the hard work he puts in, often uncompensated, on behalf of all of us.  I strongly encourage all of you to support LoBV (lobv.org).  We just happen to have slightly different views on this issue, though I think we share the same concerns, that is, how to make Austin the best it can be for cyclists.

I think BAC will be a very useful conversation and I look forward to hearing their views.  Y'all come now, hear?  How does one get on their list for announcements?

DaveW

#17 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Chrerrywod meeting » 2011-09-14 13:56:22

I wrote the part of the Upper Boggy Creek plan that mentions bike lanes on Cherrywood Rd.  That was in 2002.  I'm not a transportation planner or engineer, but at the time, thought that bike lanes are the solution to bicycle safety in all situations.

They're not.

Not all bike lanes are created equal.  I guess I expected a professional would look at the request and modify it based on conditions, which is sort of what we're getting now, which is a good thing.  If either proposal was for bike lanes and no parking along the entire segment, then yes, that would be the safest solution for cyclists, though it would change the character.  But that's not what's being proposed.  The proposed bike lanes for Cherrywood Rd., in both plans, include a substantial amount of "door zone" next to parked cars, and lots of transitions from bike lanes to sharrows or back.  I suggest, at the very least, the uphill portions be placed abuting the curbs, which is where cyclists of A/B/C abilities all ride now anyway, due to the lack of parked cars at most hours.  It's safest for all of us.

There are certain segments of Cherrywood Rd., such as south-bound south of E 32nd St., where a bike lane (next to parked cars, thus door zones) just doesn't make sense.  I pedal a lot on streets that have a parking lane next to bike lanes.  Georgian/ Northcrest, for example.  There are almost never any vehicles parked in the parking lane.  I ride in the bike lane, because I know that's where I'm supposed to be and it signals to the few motorists that it's my space.  But I often see B/C riders who hug the curb, in the parking lane, rather than get out in the bike lane.  They just won't do it.  Currently, Cherrywood Rd. has very low use of available parking, especially on that segment.  If a bike lane is striped next to a parking lane, B/C riders will not use it.  They'll hug the curb.  Last night, I watched a man and a young girl, pedaling together  in the dark, do exactly this.  No parked cars and no motor vehicles in sight.  They had lights and helmets, they were unperterbed, so everything was good.  Why stir up a lot of bad feelings, give cyclists (another) black eye, when it's unnecessary?  Is it really helping B/C cyclists?  Of course not, if they won't use it.  And they won't.

Cherrywood Rd. has a 6% mode share for bicycles already, with NO cycling facilities at all.  Wow!  That's really good!  No bike lanes, no sharrows, nothing.  It says a lot about the character of that street that cyclists feel so comfortable already.  Let's be careful before we go putting cyclists in door zones, removing parking to stripe bike lanes that won't be used, and stirring up animosity towards all cyclists when we all have the same goal:  to preserve both the calm, safe cycling environment and the residential character of the street.  That's all I'm saying. 

We've had a number of "meetings" but not much actual discussion has taken place because of some acrimony, poor visual materials (maps), little to no supporting data, a poor description of the problem and goals, and no comparisons of possible solutions.  That's my main beef with the process, that the supposed meetings did not accomplish much and produced plans that are dangerous to beginner cyclists, in my opinion.  So just saying we've had meetings ignores the quality of those meetings.  And just saying a plan has bike lanes is not the same thing as actually improving cyclist safety.

Thanks to everyone for offering their perspectives.  We'll see what happens tonight at CNA and tomorrow at BAC and eventually at UTC.

#18 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Chrerrywod meeting » 2011-09-13 09:13:02

I want to make clear, since it wasn't before, that making a case for bike lanes is not the first step in the process. The (very brief outline of) steps I envision in a successful process would be something along these lines:

Step 1.  Identify the problem.
Step 2.  Describe the goals and how success in meeting them will be determined.
Step 3.  Identify options for solving the problem while meeting the goals.
Step 4.  Compare and contrast options (costs and benefits).  This is the point at which, if bike lanes are identified
             as the appropriate solution, it's because they are the option with the greatest benefits-to-costs as found
             in the previous steps.
Step 5.  Select and implement an option.
Step 6.  Measure progress toward achieving the goals and solving the problem.
Step 7.  Report results.

Of course, the real world often doesn't work this way, unfortunately.  But if we keep this sort of ideal in mind, maybe we can avoid some of the problems that will inevitably arise when the process doesn't follow this outline.  Here's my interpretation of what we got instead:

Step 1:  Here's your bike lanes.
Step 2:  Now, y'all go argue about it amongst yourselves.
Step 3:  Oh, you didn't like that?  Okay, here's another very similar plan.  Pick one.

Antagonism might be called for at some point, but I'm not sure it's best to start with it in every situation.

~davew~

#19 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Chrerrywod meeting » 2011-09-12 21:23:11

m1ek:  Thanks for your comments.  I appreciate you took time to write, with how busy you probably are, because I know you've been through a lot more of these bile-spilling sessions than I have.  Any bake sales coming up?  btw, I too was out on election day 2000 knocking on doors for light rail.  Ah, the old days.

I don't know if Cherrywood will end up exactly like Shoal Creek.  Maybe.  I hope not, though I pedal Shoal Creek and enjoy it, even now.  I've watched how cyclists ride on Cherrywood and talked to a few, and it's not terrible now.  Granted these may be "A" cyclists, but I also saw a dad and two little kids on bikes this weekend, and that was encouraging.  Several residents were in favor, if a little reluctant.  Some cyclists opposed.  So it's kind of strange.  Also, the parking is only sparingly used, except when there's a party.  So it's like SC in that regard.

On the City bike map, Cherrywood is marked light blue for "High-Comfort Roads," the highest category.  It definitely needs bike lanes on some stretches (the hills, especially).  I don't think it needs planters like Shoal Creek tried, though a roundabout at 32nd might be nice.  But that's more than just paint. 

I think if I were going to try to make the case for bike lanes to a neighborhood, or even to cyclists, I'd present studies that showed that bike lanes on similar streets had these outcomes.  I'd discuss what traffic engineers (AASHTO, FHWA) recommend for roads with the traffic volumes measured here.  I'd collect before and after data (bike and car traffic volumes, speeds, accident rates) on my own projects on streets people are familiar with, under various types of treatments (bike lanes, sharrows, nothing) on various types of roads and show people what, if anything, actually changes.  A lot of concern is the unknown, speculation about how things will be better or worse.  But not much of this type of information has been made available, so it's hard to really know what decision to make.

It'd be nice if just one European paradise were possible somewhere in Austin, but it ain't gonna be on Cherrywood.  The only Euro we're going to get is where they throw chairs at each other in Parliament.

#20 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Chrerrywod meeting » 2011-09-09 12:10:44

Good points, folks.  Thanks for the thoughtful responses. 

What I'd like to avoid at the CNA SC meeting Wednesday is a repeat of the public meeting last week.  If everyone goes in with the two goals in mind:  safer cycling and protect residential character, and avoids arguing about who pays what taxes, who has driveways, what the purpose of the street in front of your house is, etc., the things that divide us, and focus on what unites us, we can reach consensus.  We do not want this going on TV or to Council in a cage-match of death pitting cyclists against residents, when the real villain is the danger presented by motor vehicles.  That would be bad for everyone, and a real black eye for cyclists.

Abe:  I'm hoping you'll back me up on this and come to SC on Wednesday.  We need to gather Cherrywood cyclists who are also property owners, to show that there are residents here who pay taxes and are also cyclists.  A couple of cute young "props" on their bikes would be outstanding!  Let's talk offline.  You know where I live.

Dave Westenbarger

#21 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Chrerrywod meeting » 2011-09-08 23:43:47

Last night (Wed., 9/7/11), the Land Use and Transportation Committee of the Cherrywood Neighborhood Association (CNA) voted 16-5 to recommend that CNA Steering Committee (SC) notify the city that CNA preferred the Original city proposal for bike lanes on Cherrywood Rd.  I was one of the 16.  CNA SC meets monthly and acts on behalf of CNA between regular quarterly meetings of the full CNA.  SC next meets 9/14 at Cherrywood Coffeehouse in the side room and will be considering the bike lane proposal yet again.  SC does not have to follow LUT's recommendation.

Thanks to all the bike supporters who attended!  I was impressed by the turnout and surprised that the residents who attended the public meeting on 8/31 were not there.  Maybe they will show up at SC next week.  Maybe they don't believe they can influence CNA in this process.  Maybe they'll appeal directly to the City, via UTC or Council.  I don't know.

I agree with Nuthouse that the 8/31 public meeting was unpleasant.  I'm disappointed the meeting got a little out of hand and I'm disappointed the City has created a process that pits neighbors against cyclists (who are often other neighbors), instead of deciding on a policy and sticking to it.  The arguments have already been made, pro and con, City Council has decided on a policy, and either the plan needs to be implemented by staff or amended.  There's nothing to be gained by having cyclists and neighbors re-argue all the points each time the issue is discussed for each new re-striping project.  It just creates hard feelings, because it certainly doesn't change any minds.

But it appeared from the public meeting that some folks thought they could kill the whole plan if they got nasty enough.  And City staff in attendance, which included some high ranking people, said nothing to counter that.  So, given no assurance by the City that they won't fold under resident pressure, bike supporters had no choice but to put on a full court press to defend the City's own policy (as adopted in the Austin 2009 Bicycle Plan Update), because the City wasn't.  This then appears to residents as "those bike people" ramming something down their throats.  So we are the bad guys and scapegoats yet again.  It doesn't have to be this way and it shouldn't be this way.

So what's the problem we're attempting to solve with bike lanes?  The goal is to make the road safer for less confident cyclists and other users, thereby increasing their mode share, which has various beneficial effects (health, pollution, traffic, etc.).  Currently, there's a small but steady flow of bikes along Cherrywood all day.  City staff mentioned 6% of vehicles at the meeting, which is pretty good and indicates that the road is pretty safe already, at least for the mostly young adult cohort.

Cyclists are one of three groups of users who share that road.  The other two are (1) residents, and their guests, who sometimes park on the street, and (2) motorized vehicle users who traverse the neighborhood.  Which of those two is more of a threat to the safety of cyclists?  Neither of the proposed bike lane solutions requires concessions from motor vehicle users, only from residents.  But residents and cyclists share a common interest in preserving the road's fairly quiet, fairly low speed residential character.  Will that character change under the proposed solutions?  Are those changes good for cyclists?  Residents?  Are there ways to achieve the two goals of (1) improved cyclist safety and (2) preservation of residential character (which also happens to promote goal 1)?

These are the questions we should be asking, not do they have driveways (I asked that, and it was only antagonistic).  We should be thinking bigger.  We should be making Cherrywood Rd. a model bike-friendly street that draws cyclists, repels cut-through motor vehicles, provides access and convenience to residents, and is an absolute joy to be on because it's calm, safe, beautiful, and all users' legitimate needs are met. 

Traffic circles.  Tree-filled medians.  Raised or textured surfaces.  Ample and clear pavement demarcations.  Pinch points.  Chicaines.  Diverters.  Stop signs.  Even on-street parking.  All of these improve cyclist safety while preserving, even enhancing, residential character.  Is it still possible at this late hour to extricate ourselves from the dysfunctional City process and bring all parties together, put everything on the table, and work out a solution that achieves these goals?  We've shown we have the political clout to be recognized in the City's plan.  We can make this happen, too.

Now, do we choose to be the enemies of the folks whose houses we pass every day, or their best friends?

Respectfully submitted,
Dave Westenbarger

#22 Re: Other » Cherrywood Trigger Happies » 2010-01-08 12:37:28

That's frightening.  We live near that intersection.  Neighbors heard the shots and I found a spent shell casing at 38.5 & Sycamore the next day.  Called the police, who came quickly.  We're glad you're safe.  Thanks for posting here and for calling the police.
~~davew

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