You are not logged in.

#1 2013-07-29 10:26:34

m1ek
Member
Registered: 2008-06-02
Posts: 153

Red alert on the Drag

Guys, the bike lane on southbound Guadalupe is about to get routed between the new MetroRapid bus stop and the sidewalk. And the people on twitter I'm discussing this with think this is *better* than what's there currently. See discussion this morning on twitter between me (@mdahmus) and UTC bike/ped member @alisonkaplan and other semi-cyclists like @juliemontgomery and @jacedeloney

As a no-longer-current cyclist, I'm getting the dismissive brush-off on how bad it will be to route fast-moving cyclist traffic through a place where peds will be stepping off the sidewalk into the bike facility with no-lead time, no signalization, and in high volumes all day long. Yes, UT peds are known for stupid moves even today, but right now the southbound bike lane is separated from the sidewalk by a row of parked cars and visibility is thus pretty good - so you can still go pretty fast. That's going to come to an end (or there's going to be a lot of collisions).

Consider this a call for reinforcements. I can't spend much more time on this. Please help; it will affect you guys a lot more than me!

Offline

#2 2013-07-29 16:12:46

cycling74
Member
Registered: 2008-09-28
Posts: 61

Re: Red alert on the Drag

That bottleneck looks dangerous. Remove the entire bike lane and make the right traffic lane a Sharrow instead, since we'll be riding in the car lane anyway.

Offline

#3 2013-07-29 18:00:57

tstarry
Member
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2010-02-22
Posts: 20

Re: Red alert on the Drag

m1ek,

I saw that Saturday as I rode downtown early in the morning.  Was thinking about writing a blog post about it and I have the same concerns. The cement island is placed exactly in the bike lane. When I encountered it I didn't have any trouble as there was no traffic and I could just take the lane adjacent to the bus stop.

But on a busy day we're now asking cyclists to do something that we've asked them not to do:  pass the bus on the right.  Not only that but we have now put them in conflict with people exiting and entering  the bus.  This is asking for trouble.  The cyclists choice is this case is to try to merge into traffic to pass on the left, wait for the bus breathing nice fumes or slalom between peds.

Tim

Offline

#4 2013-07-30 02:12:59

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 563

Re: Red alert on the Drag

In case somebody is wondering what this looks like -- here's a picture.

(The path the bike lane will take is blocked in this picture.)

Offline

#5 2013-07-30 09:46:37

MichaelBluejay
Webmaster
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,240
Website

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Did Bike Austin know about this, and have any input about it, and of so, what was their position?  As usual, there's nothing on their website -- at least not that I can find.

Offline

#6 2013-07-30 18:45:03

AusTexMurf
Member
From: South Austin
Registered: 2008-11-21
Posts: 439

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Thank you for the link, Doug.
Great quality pictures.
Worth a thousand words to describe the scene.
One good idea, indeed, would seem to be take away the entire bike lane.
Run sharrows and signs, bikes and busses have lane priority.
I would be happy in the right lane on guadalupe.
Other idea is that the bike lane to the right of the bus stop is really not that big of a deal.
Look at the cycle track downtown in front of the convention center.
Pedestrians leaving the train stop cross right in front of all of that bicycle traffic......
I am used to yielding there, as well......

Offline

#7 2013-07-30 20:09:02

Augenwinkel
Member
Registered: 2010-02-05
Posts: 16

Re: Red alert on the Drag

The BAC did not get wind of either the new design or the interim arrangement. As far as I'm aware, the UTC did not either. Seems to me that Capital Metro needs feedback on their public input/planning process.

Last edited by Augenwinkel (2013-07-30 20:10:11)

Offline

#8 2013-07-31 08:56:00

Novacek
Newbie
Registered: 2013-07-30
Posts: 1

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Seems like basically a wash to me.  Possibly more pedestrian conflict, but less time riding in the dooring zone.

>>but right now the southbound bike lane is separated from the sidewalk by a row of parked cars and visibility is thus pretty good
Unless the parked cars are actually a bunch of huge trucks/SUVs, in which case there is no visiblity between pedestrians and bikes.

Offline

#9 2013-07-31 12:49:36

tomwald
Moderator
From: 78722
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 288

Re: Red alert on the Drag

This subject will be on the agenda for the August 20th Austin Bicycle Advisory Council (BAC). It will be in City Hall from 6-8pm.  More information on the BAC is available on the City of Austin website:  http://austintexas.gov/department/bicyc … ry-council

The discussion at the BAC on this matter will be an important one, since it will be one of the few defining discussions on the matter. The BAC welcomes new participants and voices, and is quite inclusive.  Decisions are made by a modified-consensus process to help ensure that the body includes a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds in its decisions.

I strongly recommend that all of you attend the August 20th BAC meeting.  If you are unable to attend, then please do find someone who shares your concerns and perspective and can express those at the BAC in person.

------

Bike Austin supports the City of Austin's efforts to bring more people to bicycling.  We also think it's important to accommodate those who already bike and those who have done so before bike lanes were ubiquitous.  Because of this, there must be a balance of needs and the ideal for each group cannot always be met.

I hear and share the concerns expressed here and elsewhere that I've seen (some on Twitter and Facebook).  However, there is a balance of needs, and given the constraints, the pending bike facility seems (based on my current knowledge) to be the best possible.  The August 20th BAC discussion will bring more detail to how this bikeway arrangement was decided upon.  So, Bike Austin supports the planned facility at this point, but will be further informed by discussion among citizens and staff at the BAC on August 20th.

------

I have been discussing this facility with City of Austin Bike Program staff over the last few days.  I have recommended that further fencing be considered on the sidewalk edge (similar to that on 4th St. at the Downtown MetroRail Station), in order to create a more predictable pedestrian flow.  I have expressed my concern about the immediate situation where the painted bike lane ends without warning. And I shared my concern - as Augenwinkel remarked on above - that the BAC did not see this design ahead of time.  These thoughts have been expressed to the CoA Bike Program by others as well, and the Bike Program is responding to these concerns with action.

I waited to respond here in order to confirm a few facts first.  That being said, for an emerging subject such as this one, Bike Austin will sometimes first post to Twitter (and Facebook).  Our Twitter post on this subject can be found in our Twitter feed on the front page of our website at http://bikeaustin.org/ , on our Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/bikeaustin , or at this direct link:
https://twitter.com/bikeaustin/status/3 … 6490000385

------

I look forward to seeing you on August 20th at the BAC.

Offline

#10 2013-07-31 14:13:03

m1ek
Member
Registered: 2008-06-02
Posts: 153

Re: Red alert on the Drag

1. The Convention Center is a bad example - the LAB is a low-speed facility (stop signs on either end of that block!) and the transit stop has pedestrians in large numbers only twice an hour or so. Guadalupe is a high-speed bike facility (you can ride the bike lane quite fast), and the transit stop there will be served by local and express buses on a regular enough basis that you will either have to slow to a crawl or risk hitting peds on a regular basis.

2. Not every facility needs to cater to the same users. We just spent a ton of money on a 'novice user' facility over on Rio Grande. Why do the same on Guadalupe? (Or why do both as novice user tracks - if Guadalupe is going to devolve into a walking-speed-oops-peds-all-over-the-place facility, then shouldn't Rio Grande be re-engineered into a higher speed bike boulevard?)

I raised this alarm for your sake - I never would have tolerated this design when I could ride; and I anticipate it being a source of inevitable conflict - as cyclists who want to go fast take the lane, and are then harassed by motorists who expected them to be in the bike facility. Facilities which encourage conflicts like this are inherently a bad idea - not a compromise so much as an attractive nuisance.

Offline

#11 2013-07-31 14:33:07

m1ek
Member
Registered: 2008-06-02
Posts: 153

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Also, on the shameful current state of affairs; Jace Deloney took some video and encouraged me to share here. These are vines - 6 second videos posted via twitter.

http://vine.co/v/hA3dQIxU77x
http://vine.co/v/hA3pYnMiHzx
http://vine.co/v/hA3Ug39HMI5
http://vine.co/v/hA3PVw1TMIl

Offline

#12 2013-07-31 18:05:00

tstarry
Member
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2010-02-22
Posts: 20

Re: Red alert on the Drag

tomwald wrote:

This subject will be on the agenda for the August 20th Austin Bicycle Advisory Council (BAC). It will be in City Hall from 6-8pm.  More information on the BAC is available on the City of Austin website:  http://austintexas.gov/department/bicyc … ry-council

so I'm curious Tom, what is it the BAC thinks it can do...construction is done...fait accompli

Offline

#13 2013-07-31 19:29:04

tstarry
Member
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2010-02-22
Posts: 20

Re: Red alert on the Drag

In all fairness what options were available?  Once CapMetro decided to route (cram down our throats) MetroRapid (oxymoron) on Guadalupe this kind of design was inevitable.  And is it so much more crappy infrastructure than the Red Line terminus station downtown? 

Whether it be garbage cans, parked cars, delivery trucks, miscellaneous cars parts and junk, au pairs and strollers...whatever obstruction you find...bike lanes in this town are revealed as so much useless paint.

Offline

#14 2013-08-01 09:08:10

Augenwinkel
Member
Registered: 2010-02-05
Posts: 16

Re: Red alert on the Drag

tstarry wrote:

so I'm curious Tom, what is it the BAC thinks it can do...construction is done...fait accompli

1. Capital Metro needs to know that their new facilities require more public involvement with the BAC as stakeholders. So, we can give them feedback that they need to share their designs with the BAC before going to construction in the future. We can also ask them about their decision criteria, coordination with the City, and any other questions we or citizens decide to ask. Ask questions and give feedback - that is what the BAC can do.

2. This facility is a cycle track, not a painted lane. http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/faqs/answer.cfm?id=3962

Last edited by Augenwinkel (2013-08-01 09:08:53)

Offline

#15 2013-08-01 11:16:16

tomwald
Moderator
From: 78722
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 288

Re: Red alert on the Drag

tstarry wrote:

so I'm curious Tom, what is it the BAC thinks it can do...construction is done...fait accompli

Tim,

Allison covered much of the answer.  I almost mentioned in my last post what you said: that this is a "fait accompli", at least for this MetroRapid station.  That's pretty clear, but I'm glad you highlighted it, because I wasn't meaning to suggest that CapMetro is likely to dig up what's been built there anytime soon.  There are, however, more MetroRapid stations and cycle tracks being built, and the BAC can give input that applies for those future configurations.  There are also mitigating solutions that can be applied to this station that is the subject of this thread.

I was offering the BAC as a forum where discussion would be more able to have an impact - on whatever the original poster and other participants here were looking to accomplish.  (Have a look at m1ek's original post to see what he is looking to accomplish.)  So, I mentioned the BAC forum as a response (as a tool) to help those speaking here accomplish whatever it is that they want to accomplish.  If m1ek had a specific thing that he wanted to see accomplished, either by himself or by "reinforcements" found on this forum, then participation at the BAC is a critical step in getting those things accomplished.  (Bike Austin is also taking further action based on this discussion.)

Offline

#16 2013-08-01 12:32:50

m1ek
Member
Registered: 2008-06-02
Posts: 153

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Tom, I'm really not enjoying the tone in that last message. I raised this as an issue so those who still use this road to commute can argue for their own interests.

I'm getting the feeling that BikeAustin has sold out, big-time, to the city and Capital Metro on this.

And as for what could have been done here - the bus stop could have been built off the sidewalk, with the bike lane on the 'street side' of it, similar to what's on the other side of the street. It may be that the city has decided to convert the west side of Guadalupe to a cycletrack, but it's curious that nobody just comes out and says so here.

As for showing up to the BAC to work on this in person - you have got to be kidding me. I used my once every few months family card last night for the AURA meeting, thanks. Anybody reading this should be aware that those who pull out this argument typically do so because they either believe the people they're throwing it at wouldn't make the same arguments in person, or know their own arguments won't stand up in the light of public view. I served my five years on the UTC already, thanks. I would expect something more than "show up in person and waste a few hours if you want to be heard".

Offline

#17 2013-08-01 12:36:16

tomwald
Moderator
From: 78722
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 288

Re: Red alert on the Drag

m1ek:  No ill intent meant here.  And I can understand that you won't be able to make it the BAC, but I am optimistic that the concerns you share will be expressed by someone at the BAC.

Offline

#18 2013-08-01 21:10:49

tstarry
Member
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2010-02-22
Posts: 20

Re: Red alert on the Drag

To their credit they did install significant number of bike racks adjacent the obstruction...I mean bus stop.  Perhaps CapMetro thinks this should be a terminus for southbound bicycles.

Offline

#19 2013-08-09 14:39:03

rich00
Member
Registered: 2010-01-18
Posts: 166

Re: Red alert on the Drag

They should do a combination tunnel/bridge to remove the at-grade crossing. Well, that's not a serious suggestion at this time, but if ped and bicycle volumes became high enough, perhaps.

This brings up a good reason to get a nice loud bike horn.

Offline

#20 2013-08-09 21:11:06

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 563

Re: Red alert on the Drag

1014195_10151622789459862_1992819942_n.jpg

Looks like our concerns have been heard, and they have fixed it!

</sarcasm>

Context, if you're on Facebook.

Offline

#21 2013-08-12 23:47:14

damicoaustin
Member
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 143
Website

Re: Red alert on the Drag

I went on vacation on July 26 and intentionally didn't check email. Seeing this now, I almost feel like laughing....almost. How could no one know about this?

This seems pretty fishy to me. Am I missing something here on lengthy threads and discussion? It would be impossible for someone to design this without someone at some point saying, "I wonder what cyclists think about this." This looks like willful exclusion to me.

As for the "facility" itself, I share a lot of Mike's concerns. I'm not saying this is totally unworkable--yet--but CMTA and COA seem to have some explaining to do.

Offline

#22 2013-08-13 10:08:50

cycling74
Member
Registered: 2008-09-28
Posts: 61

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Looks like this was part of the plan for a protected bike lane on southbound Guadalupe from 24th to MLK. "At this time, southbound bicycle lanes with green skid-resistant paint will be installed to clearly convey that on-street parking is to park away from the curb. Pedestrian areas and planters will also be installed at this time." Be sure to view the PDF to see where the PAINTED GREEN bike lane will look like. Read Phase III.
http://austintexas.gov/article/guadalup … nt-project

Link directly to PDF:
http://austintexas.gov/sites/default/fi … 3__Web.pdf

Last edited by cycling74 (2013-08-13 10:09:23)

Offline

#23 2013-08-13 11:12:10

m1ek
Member
Registered: 2008-06-02
Posts: 153

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Yes, it's going to be a protected bike lane from 24th to MLK - with pedestrians having to cross it to get to a couple of the most heavily used bus stops in the city. And, of course, pedestrians almost guaranteed to use it as a place to stand while they wait for a walk signal on a couple of the most heavily used crossings in the city too.

No, the UTC was not informed about this.

Folks, go out there on a day when the students are back in town and see how many times a pedestrian is going to cross the bike lane to get to or from a bus stop. This is definitely going to be unworkable - this protected bike lane will be a de-facto sidewalk-riding experience.

Offline

#24 2013-08-13 11:53:24

MichaelBluejay
Webmaster
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,240
Website

Re: Red alert on the Drag

m1ek, I agree with you.  But then we have the director of Bike Austin saying that the proposed facility is "the best possible".  If that's true, then we've set the bar really low.

Offline

#25 2013-08-13 13:11:48

Jack
Member
Registered: 2013-03-27
Posts: 282

Re: Red alert on the Drag

I am amazed at BikeAustin's take on this plan--fait accompli or not.  Ignore for the moment that this will be a facility that imposes a great risk of conflicts with pedestrians--as it will, no doubt.  It has far too many intersections to work safely for cyclists without separate signals for to prevent conflicts with turning motor traffic as well.  Tom is wrong about it from every point of view.  The novice cyclist is the one who is most likely to be caught unaware of the dangers the lousy plan places in his/her "path."  This is the very sort of thing that Bike Austin--if it were truly an advocacy organization for cycling and cyclists--would be working very hard to prevent and to get dismantled.  The truth instead seems to be that this is the sort of thing that Bike Austin supports and promotes.  "The best possible" defies all we know about how cycle paths can be employed for cyclists--they are fine without intersections and pedestrian mixing and worse with either of the two.  "The best possible" is far worse than what the street looked like a year ago.  How is "the best possible" an improvement at all over that?

And one more thing--"skid resistant green paint"; what?  Is the paint more skid resistant that plain asphalt?  Absurd.

Offline

Board footer