You are not logged in.

#1 2008-12-03 14:58:14

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

LOBV posts new Downtown Austin Plan documents

I haven't read all 174 pages, but I did manage to break the document down to more readable chunks, including the "San Francisco's Shared Lane Pavement Markings: Improving Bicycle Safety" study.

See: http://www.lobv.org/downtown/index.html

What sticks out? The Nueces Boulevard bikeway recommendation, along with what appears to be some nice 3' buffers between cars and bike lanes (although the parking lanes are only 7') I'll let you wonks look at it in detail.

Also be sure and check out the LOBV site, with a new "10 Great Reasons to Join LOBV Today!" and of course, a link to the blog at http://bicycleaustin.info/blog where I'm posting tidbits regularly.

Offline

#2 2008-12-05 12:47:18

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

Re: LOBV posts new Downtown Austin Plan documents

There is a nice implicit buffer between bikes and parked cars in the new striping on Exposition (the bike lane is a bit larger on the parking side, and the arrow and bike symbol are aligned farther left than the typical down-the-middle position). Well done, everyone. This is what we should have had 5 years ago on Shoal Creek Boulevard.

Offline

#3 2008-12-16 23:00:16

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

Re: LOBV posts new Downtown Austin Plan documents

I originally posted the following as a Bicycle Austin blog comment:

tomwald wrote:

So, Trinity St. remains a bicycle priority street while the less hilly alternatives, Red River St. and Congress Ave. are left out. My assessment is that despite the bike lanes and designation of Trinity St. as a "bike route", it remains an undesirable route for bicyclists in practice.

The big hill on Trinity between 6th and 15th Sts. doesn't go anywhere. The Congress Ave. hill (going north) goes up and stays up, to meet with Speedway at MLK. Red River St. (northbound) doesn't go up considerably until 15th St., when the street leaves the Waller Creek valley. Trinity goes up to the elevation of the capitol hill then right back down to the Waller Creek valley. It's no wonder that bicyclists usually avoid it after checking it out a few times.

I wouldn't say that Trinity is a completely worthless route, but its primary benefit is it's low level of motorized traffic. The only other benefits I can think of are 1) on its northern end at MLK, it leads directly to San Jacinto through the UT campus, 2) it provide a complementary route to San Jacinto south of MLK (even though San Jacinto is then oddly absent as a bicycle priority street), 3) it has a painted bike lane and easily enough room for one as well, and 4) it is designated as a bike route.

Why not designate Red River St. as a bike route instead of San Jacinto? The major obstacle seems to be Red River's current use as a primary private motor traffic route or, as this downtown plan calls it, an automobile priority street. It's arguable that Red River St. between 6th and 10th Sts. is a horrible route for automobiles. There is only one through lane each way, usually only one lane each way at all, such that car traffic gets stacked several cars deep when one car wants to turn across pedestrian traffic. (If it really is such a priority route, then the current traffic light timing certainly doesn't reflect this either.)

Why does Red River St. need to be designated an automobile priority route? Where are these people driving from and to? From what I can tell from my many trips down this street, most automobile people are using Red River St. not for trips to or from Red River St., but rather as a way to _avoid_ I-35 and to _avoid_ the I-35 Frontage Road. Even the plan show the automobile priority route for Red River St. ending at MLK. Why couldn't motorists use the I-35 Frontage Road instead of Red River St.? Those two roads are separated by a couple of blocks with no traffic lights inbetween, aside from the frontage road light that northbound traffic would have to traverse.

What is Red River St. to most automobile users other than a way to avoid I-35? Furthermore, do automobile users actually save considerable time, if any, by using Red River St. instead of I-35 or its frontage road? My experience when driving the two routes north of MLK is that the frontage road would be faster, but that traffic light timing would need to be adjusted on the frontage road.

Bicyclists would benefit a great deal from a redesign of Red River St. prompted by a recognition that it is in fact already a bicycle route in practice. Red River should be designated a bicycle priority route officially. The designation in this plan of Red River St. as an automobile priority route should be removed. Arguably, automobiles could be given Trinity St. and San Jacinto Blvd. without any considerable loss to bicyclists.

Does anyone purposely and regularly use Trinity St. between 7th and 15th Sts.?

Offline

#4 2008-12-17 14:05:32

McChris
Member
From: Blackland
Registered: 2008-10-31
Posts: 36
Website

Re: LOBV posts new Downtown Austin Plan documents

tomwald wrote:

Does anyone purposely and regularly use Trinity St. between 7th and 15th Sts.?

When I do ride downtown, I take the San Jac/Trinity pair. I live on Manor, so I like to ride through campus when I'm connecting with downtown. I agree with you on the hill, though. It's not a beast by any means, but it's a strange choice of route. Other factors I would add are that cars frequently use the bike lane for double parking and just regular driving. The surface of the street is not great for cycling, and I don't feel very visible at night. Also, because of the light traffic, it seems like there are a lot of fast, inattentive motorists at night.

I don't use Red River because of the on-street parking south of 15th Street, and, as you said, the motor traffic near Sixth Street is awful.

Offline

#5 2008-12-21 19:50:25

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

Re: LOBV posts new Downtown Austin Plan documents

tomwald wrote:

Does anyone purposely and regularly use Trinity St. between 7th and 15th Sts.?

John wrote:

I usually do when I ride my bike to the farmer's market downtown.  Not that I do that every week like I should...

McChris wrote:

When I do ride downtown, I take the San Jac/Trinity pair....

John wrote:

My usual choice.  Going up through UT is convenient for me going home.  As everybody probably knows, Congress/Speedway is messed up by the Blanton museum being put in the way.  There is room for a bike lane, but there is none, and sidewalk riding is against the rules at UT.  Is there a better route?

McChris wrote:

I don't use Red River because of the on-street parking south of 15th Street,

John wrote:

I don't use Red River because I hate trying to sprint up Red River north of UT trying not to back up traffic too much.  For a bike route, that road is not that friendly at rush hour.  Too many people trying to use it as an I-35 bypass, I suspect.  I wonder if making it one bike lane and one regular lane each direction, with a left turn lane, would work - discouraging I-35 bypass traffic and encouraging bikes.  That would be nice for Cameron road, too.

John

Offline

#6 2008-12-21 19:55:41

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

Re: LOBV posts new Downtown Austin Plan documents

Well, cool.  So far the feedback could be summarized as:

1) "I" use Trinity (northbound) because:
    a) Red River is currently designed as a car priority route and that is why "I" do not usually bike it, but Red River could be changed to be bike friendly.
    b) UT cut off the Speedway access at the MLK Jr. Blvd, so "I" avoid that route.

(... where "I" refers to those writing above)

Offline

#7 2008-12-22 00:54:25

brickjones
Member
Registered: 2008-08-22
Posts: 2

Re: LOBV posts new Downtown Austin Plan documents

I don't ride this route daily, but in this corridor I tend to use Red River south of 12th, and San Jacinto/Trinity north of 15th.  I usually cut through Waterloo Park to transition between the two.  This avoids climbing the extra hill either southbound or northbound, by staying closer to the creek bottom.

I don't like to ride Red River north of downtown, but it's great south of 12th since the auto traffic is so constrained.

Offline

#8 2008-12-22 11:15:29

Jeb
Member
Registered: 2008-12-22
Posts: 2

Re: LOBV posts new Downtown Austin Plan documents

I've recommended to staff that they add traffic controls on 17th Street, particularly at Guadalupe and Lavaca.  This would make 17th Street at safe and convenient east-west route from Trinity to West Avenue.  The traffic controls will also improve pedestrian safety.

For some reason, the plan identifies 15th Street as an east-west route for cyclists.  But, the volume and speed of traffic on 15th, plus the hills, do not make this a preferred route.  I think that I can count on one hand the number of cyclists that I've seen on 15th (not counting bike messengers).

Also, keep in mind that the Waller Creek Commission, which I sit on as the Parks representative, will be looking at the Red River corridor as part of its oversight for the redevelopment of Waller Creek that will result from the stormwater tunnel.  The Downtown Plan is scheduled to be further developed through the drafting of district plans, and it is anticipated that the Waller Creek Commission will oversee the development of the district plan for the east side of Downtown.  Our scope of work includes not just potential bicycle and pedestrian improvements along the creek but also improvements along adjacent streets, such as Red River.  The Committee's next meeting will be on Thu 1/8 at 6 p.m. in the Boards and Commissions room in City Hall.  The Downtown Plan is a standing item on our agenda.

Offline

#9 2008-12-22 11:32:54

mariposa
Member
Registered: 2008-12-22
Posts: 8

Re: LOBV posts new Downtown Austin Plan documents

I do purposely ride Trinity between 7th and 15th streets, all the time.  While Red River is less hilly (south of 15th), the traffic lights are timed such that I tend to hit every single one red.  Which is much more of a bother for me than a hill to climb.  Plus, the nice condition of the road makes for a nice ride on Trinity.  Or maybe I just like the limited traffic and the feeling of having the whole road to myself.  Or maybe I just want to ride those nice new bike lanes.

This discussion has also brought up funny reasons for riding or not riding certain routes, because while I don't mind the hill on Trinity, I do mind the hills on Red River north of 15th, and typically avoid that section of the road.  Also, riding southbound on San Jacinto, I tend to turn east at 15th street and head south on Red River in order to avoid the very hill that doesn't bother me northbound on Trinity.  I think this is just the result of habits I've formed over many years of riding, on different bikes, with different fitness levels and different levels of comfort riding in traffic. 

My two cents - Jennifer

Offline

#10 2008-12-22 13:38:39

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

Re: LOBV posts new Downtown Austin Plan documents

So it sounds like it would benefit bicyclists a good deal if there were a good transportation route for bicyclists connecting Red River to San Jacinto along Waller Creek from 12th or 15th to across MLK .  In other words, the off-street facility for bicyclists should be improved from 12th & Red River to MLK & San Jacinto.

Jennifer, I guess that my thought with the Red River hill is that I use Red River to get to Manor Rd and my neighborhood (78722).  The hill between downtown and 78722 is unavoidable -- I just have a choice of which hill to take and whether my route goes up and down and up again as I go toward 78722.  Red River has less of the up and down since it stays fairly near Waller Creek until 15th, at which it makes a pronounced climb out of the creek valley... but it doesn't go back down (partially) into the creek valley again until after Manor Rd.

The traffic lights on Red River, notably the ones at 10th and 12th Sts. seems almost worthless.  I say almost because my observation is that during every evening rush hour for a _short_ period of time, 12th St. gets crowded with cars wanting to cross east across Red River.  They are likely departing the state garages.  Those cars could fairly easily be re-routed to 11th St. for access to I-35.  Why are there traffic lights on Red River at 10th and 12th Sts?  Perhaps their utility could be revisited.

Offline

#11 2008-12-28 16:55:02

JW
Member
Registered: 2008-10-07
Posts: 15

Re: LOBV posts new Downtown Austin Plan documents

My preferred route from 4th st. @ I-35 (crossing under I-35 on the LABW/hobo urinal) to UT: 4th to Red River, then Red River to 15th. 15th to Trinity, Trinity north to 18th, 18th to Brazos, then Brazos north onto UT campus, turning left before Jester dorm to access Speedway north.
   Southbound: Brazos at MLK, left to San Jacinto. San Jac. south to 15th, then left to Red River. Red River to 5th, then left to I-35 frontage road. From southbound I-35 frontage road, one can either duck under first left to 5th street on the east side of I-35, or stay in left lane to the LABW/hobo urinal, hope no one kills you as you slow down to go under 35 on the LABW/crushed glass repository. 
   
    My suggestion to the city: calm the traffic along this and other routes through downtown, lose the onstreet parking (it's about enough to accomodate all the Stubbs' patrons the night Liberace appears for a happy hour show) install bike boxes at the intersections and make the cops watch them for 60 days, writing everyone a ticket who asks what they're for.

Offline

Board footer