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#26 2011-05-02 12:31:07

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,342
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

bizikletari, I donated $800 to LOBV last year.  How much more do you think I should have donated so they would have the resources to add 2-3 sentences of description and a link to the appropriate page on the City's website?

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#27 2011-05-02 13:44:23

bizikletari
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Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

I apologize, MBJ, if I sounded as if I was giving you a guilty trip. I was just reflecting on Tom's message.
That's a lot more than what me and a few friends combined could donate to them.

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#28 2011-05-05 12:43:21

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

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

As far as Shade and Tovo go, again, the best ally for cycling is density - and Tovo is an ANC rubber stamp that will oppose density in the core which, inevitably, means more sprawl (than we would otherwise have; we'll never get zero of course) - meaning worse air, worse water, and more people living in areas they can't ever bike to, from, or in.

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#29 2011-05-05 15:06:08

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Tovo's supposed anti-density position seems more like an assumption than a given.  Perhaps a reasonable assumption, but still an assumption.

Given the importance of density for so many reasons, maybe LOBV could ask about it in future candidate questionnaires.  It might be more illuminating than some of the more nebulous questions.

If there's a run-off then maybe we'll have a chance to scrutinize the candidates more closely on these issues.

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#30 2011-05-09 08:57:41

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

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Well, Tovo won't answer questions with anything but the vaguest of platitudes, so her past record is all we have to go on - and it's a record of opposing density.

Compare/contrast the Austinist Q&A sessions for both:

Tovo: http://austinist.com/2011/04/18/city_co … ns_kat.php

Shade: http://austinist.com/2011/04/14/city_co … ns_ran.php

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#31 2011-05-09 20:29:58

ggw
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 35
Website

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Sorry to chime in so late, but how much density is too much?

I'm a home owner now with my 50x150 lot in the "middle-of-town" and quite contented. There are condos at a diagonal property which is high density by my view, but it causes me only a little bit of pain when their parking of vehicles (a U-Haul truck) on the street becomes consistent.

I commute by bike to N.Austin and really only have crossing of 45th to worry about. I'd have no problem there if traffic was 30mph, but its usually higher, raising wreck probabilities. Higher density might cause the average speed to go down, but higher density might also increase the number of cars forcing me to a worst case of sitting, seemingly forever, at the 45th & Speedway light.

I suspect that MORE DENSITY would put property tax pressure on the likes of me compared to now, and not because of increased cost of service derived from the various taxing entities.

ggw

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#32 2011-05-09 22:27:54

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
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Posts: 1,342
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Thanks, mi1ek.  I'd already ready Tovo's responses to the Austinist but I hadn't read Shade's because I'd already mostly ruled her out because of WTP4.  However, after reading Shade's answers just now that you posted, I agree that she's refreshingly straightforward, in exactly the way that Tovo isn't.  Tovo's "Issues" section on her website is almost comical in its ambiguity.

This is turning out to be a tough decision for me.  I'm hoping it goes into a Shade/Tovo runoff where we'll have another opportunity to query the candidates and scrutinize their answers.

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#33 2011-05-11 11:38:26

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

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

ggw, more density would lower your tax burden, all else being equal, and would likely lead to more destinations within biking distance (more potential employers, more potential errand destinations, etc). It also helps existing cyclists by producing a lot of new cyclists, who then benefit you with the "safety in numbers" effect.

If you go with business as usual (like the HPNA and ANC want to run things), you will get priced out of central Austin much more quickly - it will continue its long-term transition into a gated community for the wealthy.

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#34 2011-05-15 11:48:29

bizikletari
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Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

I guess your wishes have been (partially) fulfilled, MBJ.
http://www.statesman.com/news/elections … 75806.html
Let's hope to see that questionnaire redone now.

Last edited by bizikletari (2011-05-15 12:02:16)

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#35 2011-05-16 20:57:20

stuwerb
Member
Registered: 2010-04-08
Posts: 15

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Can't believe y'all [LOBV] endorsed Randi Shade for council against an established neighborhood activist. Ain't it common sense that a neighborhood activist is gonna be more friendly on bike and ped issues? You know, that whole quality of life thing?

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#36 2011-05-16 23:15:13

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
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Posts: 1,342
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

stuwerb, I moved your post here from the new topic you started, because there's already an existing discussion going on about it.  Also, your question is answered here:  m1ek made a plausible case that Tovo will be weaker on increasing density than Shade, and increasing density is high on the list of how to improve transportation issues.  Finally, LOBV endorsed Shade, not Bicycle Austin, and if you are trying to address LOBV directly, this might not be the best place to do it.

Anyway, let's all now move our energies towards coming up with an awesome set of questions to ask our runoff candidates.  Maybe LOBV will use some of what we come up with, and if not, maybe I'll just query and endorse candidates under the Bicycle Austin banner, like I did in the old days.

Here are the questions I used the last time I polled Council candidates.  I couldn't find LOBV's questions on their website, but I found them on Kathie Tovo's website.  I'll list them both below for convenience.

Bicycle Austin questions, 2006

(1) Peak Oil. Experts say that world production of oil is at or near its peak, meaning that the price of gas will continue to grow faster than the rate of inflation, among other serious effects. The city of San Francisco recently decided to develop a comprehensive plan to prepare for the coming global energy crunch. Do you think Austin should develop a similar plan?  (Yes / No / Other)

(2) Bicycle Program staffing.  Do you think the staffing for the City's Bicycle Program should be increased, decreased, or remain the same? (Increase / Decrease / Same / Other)

(3) Increasing bike commuting.  What specifically would you do to encourage more transportation bicycling and bicycle commuting? (comment box)

(4) Parking in bike lanes.  It is perfectly legal for cars to park in most bike lanes in Austin, rendering them useless for their intended purpose. One supposes that in the rest of the civilized world outside of Austin, people understand that bike lanes are actually supposed to be for bikes, not cars. Would you vote to prohibit cars from parking in bike lanes? (Yes / No / Other)

    In those few bike lanes where it's illegal for cars to park, enforcement is spotty at best. Many times we've seen a police cruiser pass one or more cars parked in a bike lane, paying no notice. By contrast we know cyclists who have been arrested and gone to jail for minor traffic infractions such as bicycling on the sidewalk, running a red light, or biking without a helmet. How would you improve enforcement of the no-parking in bike lanes rule where it exists? (comment box)

(5) Shoal Creek Blvd.  Council recently affirmed that it's perfectly fine for cars to park in the bike lanes on Shoal Creek Blvd., ignoring national safety guidelines and the advice of its own staff. Staff and cyclists favor the common-sense plan of having parking on just one side of the street, freeing up enough room for a car-free bike lane on each side of the road. Here's a 6-minute movie of the presentation we gave to council on this issue, as well as more background information.  Would you support staff's plan for Shoal Creek to have parking on one side of the road and car-free bike lanes in both directions?  (Yes / No)

     If you think Shoal Creek [as it currently stands] represents a "compromise", then what exactly do you think motorists gave up, and what exactly did cyclists gain? (comment box)

     Feel free to share any other comments or thoughts on the Shoal Creek Blvd. issue. (comment box)

(6) Helmet ordinance. Many people have reservations about the helmet ordinance because the last time anyone checked, over 90% of the no-helmet tickets given to kids were given to black and Hispanic kids, and because many believe that getting kids to wear helmets should be the responsibility of parents, not the police. There's also talk of reviving the local helmet law for adults, although the original in 1996 was so unpopular that the Council was forced to do away with it just a year later. Helmet laws have also been shown to reduce the number of cyclists, making cycling more dangerous for those who continue to ride. (More on helmets and helmet laws from BicycleSafe.com.)  Do you support a local helmet law for... (Kids / Adults / Both / Neither / Other)

(7) Bus system.  How can the bus system best be improved? What role would you take in that? (comment box)

(8) Cashing in parking spaces.  Would you support financial incentives to City employees who bike, walk, bus, train, or carpool to work? (Yes / No / Other)

(9) CAMPO Reform.  Are you willing to oppose the current representation of the federally-sanctioned CAMPO body, with its overwhelming share of officials representing areas and districts lying outside Austin, even though Austin has most of the area's population? (Yes / No / Other)

(10) Open Government.  Transportation expert Roger Baker relates that when he recently called to check on whether Austin was funding the bike and ped projects promised by the $150 million bond election in 2000, the city told him he would have to file a formal open records request to get that information. Do you support the proposed charter amendment that would require such city records to be made freely available online? (Yes / No / Other)

(11) Political Pedal Ride.  Would you participate in the annual Political Pedal ride? (Yes / No / Other)

LOBV's questions

(1) Complete Streets.  Do you support the City's Complete Streets policy? What improvements would you recommend to it?

(2) Safety.  What does bicycle safety mean to you? Can you suggest aspects of bicycle safety that are more important than helmets?

(3) Relative importance of transpo modes.  Among the various modes of transportation, how important are bicycling and walking? What percentage of city transportation spending should go to each mode?

(4) Optional use of lanes & paths.  Do you support a cyclist's freedom not to use a bike lane or bike path, even when one is available?

(5) Personal cycling use.  How often do you ride a bicycle on Austin's public roadways?

(6) Promotion of cycling.  What steps would you take to make Austin's streets less intimidating and more accessible for bicyclists?

(7) Bicycle Plan.  Do you support the recommendations mandated in Austin's 2009 bicycle plan? By what year should they be completed?

(8) Helmet law.  What is your position on mandatory bicycle helmet laws? Would you support a sunset review of Austin's current under-18 bicycle helmet law?

------

What's good and bad about both sets of questions?  What questions are missing that we should ask?  Since density is an issue, m1ek, could you suggest ideal wording for a density-related question?

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#37 2011-05-17 11:36:00

bizikletari
Member
Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Here I added a couple of questions that it may be good to ask/promote.

1. Parking space requirements for businesses work against density goals and it is an important obstacle for small businesses in the central Austin area. Considering that in the space used to park a single car it is possible to park easily (Choose your number, I say 15) regular bicycles, would you modify the current parking space requirements to favor bicycling parking instead of the car-centric position of today's regulations.

2. Do you think that the CoA should attempt to diminish the amount of space used for car parking in public shools in Austin?

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#38 2011-05-17 19:38:38

stuwerb
Member
Registered: 2010-04-08
Posts: 15

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

I just want to point out that my posting that MBJ moved into this thread (without my consent, of course) had as the original subject header: "LOBV Sportin Tin Ears Once Again".

Sorry if either of my recent posts causes any diaper rash amongst the more vocal members of the cycling community, but it is genuinely what I believe.

I believe either Tovo or Shade would do fine for bike/ped issues. And, with Tovo, you get the added bonus of not having to shell out as much $$ for water rate increases, as she is opposed to WTP4, which we still don't need at least for another decade. And, BTW, it is still not completely paid for yet, so there is an opportunity still to suspend further work on it.

I just hope we haven't pissed Tovo off to the point where she doesn't cooperate with the cycling community just because of a few members with egos bigger than their political sense, as it is looking increasingly likely she will win the seat.

In general, I believe LOBV ought to stick to issues, and stay out of the business of picking candidates. Educate people on the candidates' stands on the relevant issues, and let cyclists (along with anyone else) do the choosin. We're not like the NRA -- we don't currently have the ability to intimidate elected officials, practice fearmongering amongst uneducated voters, and swing elections.

Sincerely.

Last edited by stuwerb (2011-05-17 19:45:05)

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#39 2011-05-17 20:00:46

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,342
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Since when do I need anyone's consent to move a post that's made in the wrong place?  Good lord.  Did you ask for my consent before you started a brand-new thread about a topic already under discussion?

stuwerb, from the question you made in your post, it wasn't even clear that you'd seen this thread, since this thread certainly contained an answer to the question you posed.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother.

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#40 2011-05-18 09:37:10

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

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

" believe either Tovo or Shade would do fine for bike/ped issues. "

Well, we'll have to agree to disagree. Tovo is a neighborhood association tool just like Morrison; neither one of them would dare, say, get rid of parking on one side of a street so a bike lane was actually, you know, a bike lane.

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#41 2011-05-18 15:17:40

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,342
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

m1ek, what questions would you ask our runoff candidates to try to shed light on these issues?  I did ask specifically about the Shoal Creek bike lane parking situation in my last survey.  One new one I thought of might be something like, "Can you name an instance in which you opposed or disagreed with a neighborhood association on an issue?"

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#42 2011-05-19 00:39:47

bizikletari
Member
Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

That's funny. A good friend suggested today the very same question. I think we should ask precisely that: "Can you name an instance in which you opposed or disagreed with a neighborhood association on an issue?" or "What are the instances when you would oppose or disagree with a neighborhood association on an issue?" Bike lanes and restricting parking seems to be the most obvious one.

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#43 2011-05-19 14:27:24

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

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

That's a good question - but Shade has already answered it in detail on multiple occasions (she uses the Park PUD example frequently - as recently as today). I can't think of another angle - she's already basically fulfilled her obligation on that one.

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#44 2011-05-19 15:19:00

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
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Posts: 1,342
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

m1ek, I'm sure you can come up with a good density-specific question for us, since you were the one who brought up the density angle.  Exactly what should we ask the candidates regarding density?

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#45 2011-05-19 16:57:44

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

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

I would say - when a neighborhood plan conflicts with the will of the community as a whole (or the ECT plan) on density, explain some conditions that might make you decide one way or the other; but that could easily again just lead her back to the Park PUD answer (which is a correct one, but presumably you'd like more than that one). Possibly ask something about supporting VMU over neighborhoods that tried to opt out of it completely?

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#46 2011-05-20 02:33:30

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,342
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

m1ek, please be more specific.  You came here warning that Tovo would be a disaster on density issues, so here's your chance.  EXACTLY what would you ask her in order to shed light on this issue?  Exactly how would you word the question(s)?  If you leave the questions and the wording in my hands, then later you could complain that I didn't ask properly, and we'll be no closer to getting any clarity about your concerns about Tovo.

Here's how I'm *not* going to word a question.

(5) Something about supporting VMU over neighborhoods that tried to opt out of it completely?

Keep in mind that it's possible to ask different questions of the candidates.  We could have a set of questions that are the same for both, then have one to a few that are candidate-specific.  For example, we could ask Tovo about density, and ask Shade why environmentalists should trust her given her remarks about them that came to light a while back.

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#47 2011-05-20 12:46:00

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

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

I think you read something into my note that wasn't there. I think the questions you've come up with in the past are just fine -- I was trying to point out that Shade has already answered the key question about density, while Tovo has just tap danced around it.

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#48 2011-05-20 16:52:39

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,342
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Okay then, the rest of you, who can suggest exact wording of density-related question(s) to ask Tovo (and maybe Shade)?

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#49 2011-05-24 03:47:41

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Okay, here are my proposed questions for the runoff candidates.  Comments, please!  I'd like to get these to the candidates in the next couple of days.  Speak now or forever hold your peace.


Proposed Candidate Questions

(1) Bicycling infrastructure.  How do you think you differ from your opponent on improvements to Austin's bicycle infrastructure?

(2) Density vs. opponent.  How do you think you differ from your opponent on building/population density issues?

(3) Neighborhood Associations, past.  Please name as many examples as you can of instances in which you disagreed with the position of a neighborhood association, and why.

(4) Neighborhood Associations, future.  Under what circumstances would you oppose the position of a neighborhood association? (What is your criteria?)

(5) Parking in bike lanes.  Incredibly, it is legal for cars to park in many bike lanes in Austin, rendering them useless for their intended purpose. One supposes that in more enlightened communities, it's the actual bicycles that get first dibs on bike lanes, not cars. Would you vote to prohibit cars from parking in bike lanes? (Yes / No / Other)

    In the bike lanes where it's illegal for cars to park, enforcement is spotty at best. Many times we've seen a police cruiser pass one or more cars parked in a bike lane, taking no action. By contrast we know cyclists who have been arrested and gone to jail for minor traffic infractions such as bicycling on the sidewalk, running a red light, or biking without a helmet. How would you improve enforcement of the no-parking in bike lanes rule where it exists?

(6) Shoal Creek Blvd.  Council affirmed that it's perfectly fine for cars to park in the bike lanes on Shoal Creek Blvd., ignoring national safety guidelines and the advice of its own staff. Staff and cyclists favored the common-sense plan of having parking on just one side of the street, freeing up enough room for a car-free bike lane on each side of the road. Here's a 6-minute movie of the presentation we gave to council on this issue, as well as more background information.  Would you support staff's plan for Shoal Creek to have parking on one side of the road and car-free bike lanes in both directions?  (Yes / No)

     If you think Shoal Creek [as it currently stands] represents a "compromise", then what exactly do you think motorists gave up, and what exactly did cyclists gain? (comment box)

     Feel free to share any other comments or thoughts on the Shoal Creek Blvd. issue. (comment box)

(7) Helmet ordinance. Many people have reservations about the helmet ordinance because the last time anyone checked, over 90% of the no-helmet tickets given to kids were given to black and Hispanic kids, and because many believe that getting kids to wear helmets should be the responsibility of parents, not the police. Helmet laws have also been shown to reduce the number of cyclists, making cycling more dangerous for those who continue to ride, and some research has suggested that cyclists who wear helmets are more likely to get hit by cars, which could partially explain why as helmet use went up in the 1990s, head injuries among cyclists skyrocketed. (More on helmets and helmet laws from BicycleSafe.com.)  Do you support a local helmet law for... (Kids / Adults / Both / Neither / Other | Comments)

(8) Bus system.  How can the bus system best be improved? What role would you take in that? (comment box)

(9) Urban Rail.  Please answer as specifically as possible whether you support trains running inside urban core, and if so, what role you would take in making that happen.

(10) CAMPO Reform.  Are you willing to oppose the current representation of the federally-sanctioned CAMPO body, with its overwhelming share of officials representing areas and districts lying outside Austin, even though Austin has most of the area's population? (Yes / No / Other | Comments)

(11) Personal bicycling use.  How often do you ride a bicycle?

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#50 2011-05-24 09:24:07

timdiller
Member
Registered: 2008-09-28
Posts: 14

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

(6) Shoal Creek Blvd.  Council affirmed that it's perfectly fine for cars to park in the bike lanes on Shoal Creek Blvd., ignoring national safety guidelines and the advice of its own staff.

Perhaps this needs rewording. Aren't the "bike lanes" on SCB actually called something different, like "improved shoulders," where technically speaking biking and parking are allowed together?

Personally, SCB doesn't bother me that much because the lanes are so wide, and cars are used to bikes there. Plus, the regulations, striping, curb islands, etc. have changed frequently there, and someone is always unhappy about it. I would prefer to see more emphasis on the honest-to-goodness bike lines where parking is a problem. I'm thinking of Medical Pkwy near 45th which, due to parking for Taco Shack, constitutes a dangerous door zone. Another bad spot for parking in legitimate bike lanes is Guadalupe, behind the DPS complex. Fortunately, traffic is not too heavy along that stretch, but those lanes are about useless due to the number of cars parked on-street there. No doubt we could collectively come up with a long list of problem spots.

In summary, I would prefer to see more emphasis on parking in bike lanes in general, and less on the specific issue of SCB.

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