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#1 2011-05-23 14:45:36

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

Meeting of the season: MoPac Open House this Thu. 5/26 4-8pm

This is it, folks.  This is one of the most important meetings of the year. The bicycling community's presence at this open house will help shape the future of bike and pedestrian accommodations in all Austin highway building.  There are literally hundreds of gaps in the Austin bike network that can be closed.  The level of support from the bicycling community at the open house this Thursday will set that future.

So far, over three hundred bicycling proponents expressed interest via email for better biking and walking accommodations as part of the MoPac Improvement Project. The project scope is MoPac from Cesar Chavez St. to Parmer Lane.
Dec. 2010 LOBV Action Alert: http://lobv.org/2010/12/action-alert-mo … ped-paths/

Now is the next step... "The world is run by those who show up."

Attend the May 26th open house, and tell your friends who want to see an Austin that is more friendly to people biking and walking to attend too. Right now, a bicyclist's and pedestrian's choice is to use the frontage road or the shoulders of our highways. Show our transportation officials and engineers that you want more than that.

***** What is needed this Thursday? *****
1) Make an appearance at the Open House for at least a few minutes. Bike, walk, drive, take the bus -- just show up.
2) Sign in.
3) Leave a written comment that you want bike accommodations all along the MoPac corridor. Include as little or as much detail as you'd like. See the email campaign link, if you want to add more.

That's it.

We expect to have at least one ride lead to the open house. Stay tuned for more details.

***** Open House Info *****
WHEN: Thursday, May 26, 2011 from 4pm – 8pm
WHERE: Gullett Elementary School, Cafeteria, 6310 Treadwell Blvd., Austin, TX 78757
HOW: Open House format, come and go as you please

For more information about the MoPac Improvement Project, visit http://www.MoPacExpress.com/
Open House info at LOBV website: http://lobv.org/2011/05/mopac-improveme … 26th-2011/
Email Campaign: http://lobv.org/2010/12/action-alert-mo … ped-paths/
Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=210882682277943


==========================================================

The 200+ paid members of the LOBV have already supported the bike and ped accommodations that we have achieved as a result of the MoPac campaign.  Very simply put, this campaign would not have happened before we had paid members.  And no one else is doing this work.  Yet we still we miss many opportunities because we don't yet have sustainable support from the Austin community.  Will you become a member now, or will you wait another year?  How long will you wait for Austin's bike network gaps to be filled?  How soon will it be that LOBV has to close up shop due to inadequate support?  Become a supporter now and you'll have a direct impact on how many gaps in Austin's bicycling network are filled.  http://lobv.org/join

==========================================================

Tom Wald
Executive Director
League of Bicycling Voters
http://lobv.org
tom \at\ lobv.org
512-203-7626

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#2 2011-05-27 16:08:09

rickb
Member
Registered: 2008-09-09
Posts: 23

Re: Meeting of the season: MoPac Open House this Thu. 5/26 4-8pm

Did anyone attend this open house?

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#3 2011-05-27 16:18:00

MichaelBluejay
Webmaster
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,207
Website

Re: Meeting of the season: MoPac Open House this Thu. 5/26 4-8pm

I meant to, but I forgot.  Too busy to keep anything in my head for more than five minutes.

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#4 2011-05-27 16:19:56

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

Re: Meeting of the season: MoPac Open House this Thu. 5/26 4-8pm

Based on estimates of LOBV volunteers, we think that about 50-70 self-identified bicyclists attended the meeting.  Bicyclists were probably the largest interest group represented at yesterday's meeting.  The bicycle community turn-out was a great benefit to the effort to get a bike path along the corridor and to improve the highway crossings.  Thanks to all who turned out on short notice -- you made a difference.

There was strong media coverage last night about bike and ped accommodations in the MoPac Improvement Project.  In fact, even though the open house last night was primarily about aesthetics and sound walls (which will need to be built properly in order to accommodate bike/ped mobility), the media focused heavily on the bike/ped issues anyway.  Also, the CTRMA staff are continuing to speak about improving bike and ped accommodations.

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/mopa … and-bikers
http://www.kvue.com/news/Open-House-Mee … 99444.html
http://www.590klbj.com/News/Story.aspx?ID=1424679
http://weareaustin.com/fulltext?nxd_id=149206

We expect a bike/ped facility -specific open house in August or so.  If you get a moment, please ask for just that: a MoPac Improvement Project Open House just for the bike and pedestrian facilities.  Contact CTRMA at: info AT ctrma.org
I'm hoping that we can give a month notice for the bike/ped open house.

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#5 2011-05-27 17:33:04

chavela
Member
Registered: 2008-06-03
Posts: 41

Re: Meeting of the season: MoPac Open House this Thu. 5/26 4-8pm

I attended--after wandering around lost in that subdivision--it sure would help if they would pick better known, more accessible places for these Open Houses. 

After looking at the various charts and maps,  I didn't see anything bike-specific, so I asked if there was a place I could register my support for the pedestrian and bike elements of the plan.  One of the women handling sign in told me "this open house is focused on sound barriers.  There will be another open house for biking.  There are too many different elements to the plan for us to include everything today."  Well that was pretty deflating.

BTW, maybe you can add two to your count: I came with partner, we were both in work clothes, not wearing any bike identifiers, and we didn't have time to talk with the LOBV person.

Elizabeth Gray

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#6 2011-05-27 17:55:17

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

Re: Meeting of the season: MoPac Open House this Thu. 5/26 4-8pm

The project people are still working on the bike and ped elements for the conceptual presentation stage.  They had originally planned for these elements to be presented at this open house.  (So the comment that they couldn't fit it all in wasn't actually true.)  While attendance at this open house was not precisely for the bike and ped elements, this sort of public participation from the bicycling is part of what will motivate and educate the project engineers and other project staff.

Also, I will note that the decisions about the sound walls will have a profound effect on whether or not a bike facility along the corridor is possible.  In much of the corridor, a bikeway would be adjacent to the sound wall, if the bikeway is to be included at all.

Elizabeth, you weren't the only one:  At least a couple other bicycling attendees were a disappointed when they were told by event organizers that bike and ped elements were not part of last night's open house.  Again, while the primary focus was not on the bike/ped elements, the bike/ped elements were certainly a part of what was at the open house last night, regardless of what those individuals said.  Note too, that there are dozens of people who are working on the project, and though some may not have seen the context or value of bicycling-interested people attending last night, I guarantee that there are key project people last night who were impressed by the showing from the bicycling community.  I would not have announced the open house as an important meeting if I was not assured that the bicycling community's presence was important for last night.

At this rate, it looks like there will be one of these important MoPac open houses and/or meetings about every three months.  Hence why I described it as the "meeting of the season".  I'm hoping that we can afford at least one important showing of the bicycling community at a meeting every three months.  Let's focus on what we can accomplish, and stay persistent.  The LOBV ride out there was intended to make the overall event a bit more entertaining, and I welcome assistance from others to help make the bitter pill of meetings a little sweeter through adding fun.

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#7 2011-05-27 20:11:18

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

Re: Meeting of the season: MoPac Open House this Thu. 5/26 4-8pm

I have heard the same. There were not bike-related agenda items on the meeting.

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#8 2011-05-27 20:57:39

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

Re: Meeting of the season: MoPac Open House this Thu. 5/26 4-8pm

bizikletari wrote:

I have heard the same. There were not bike-related agenda items on the meeting.

I already covered that in my previous post:

tomwald wrote:

... even though the open house last night was primarily about aesthetics and sound walls (which will need to be built properly in order to accommodate bike/ped mobility)

That also states one of the reasons it was important to have bicycling advocates come out last night.

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#9 2011-05-29 18:11:58

savanni
Member
From: Austin
Registered: 2011-04-30
Posts: 82
Website

Re: Meeting of the season: MoPac Open House this Thu. 5/26 4-8pm

So, no, bicycles and bike paths were not on the official agenda.

I didn't walk in with my helmet on, but people guessed pretty quickly that I was a cyclist.  I had one of the planners talking to me and another person pretty extensively about what they're trying to do with the bike paths.  I'm a little disappointed that a lot of it looks like just restripping the access roads, but just about anything helps out.

I also left a very long comment about how good bike access along the corridor would connect a lot of currently disconnected neighborhoods and how I want to see this be really successful so we learn something for doing the same kind of work in south Austin, which is where I will be in six months.

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#10 2011-05-29 19:36:48

john the blasphemer
Member
Registered: 2010-07-06
Posts: 30

Re: Meeting of the season: MoPac Open House this Thu. 5/26 4-8pm

I wasn't wearing my cycling stuff either since I had to take the bus.  I was disappointing by the lack of cycling/pedestrian information, but had a good conversation with one of the presenters.  I can't remember his name, but he seemed genuinely interested in my concerns about cycling.  He told me to be sure to fill out the survey and list my concerns on the back, which I did.  I explained that since I got rid of my car I rely heavily on my bike to get places.  I am especially concerned about the huge barrier that is the Mopac 183 spaghetti bowl of concrete.  I live north, so everything to the south of this might as well be in Argentina.

The most interesting thing the guy said to me is that they are now consciously working to fix the messy situation they built 20 years ago when they put in roads without any regard for non-motorized travel.  If this is true, there is some hope.  He even talked to me about some ideas he has for changing the retaining walls to accommodate cycling lanes and/or shoulders.

I told him that I think putting in a cycling path along mopac would do more good for cycling in Austin than any other single project.   Aside from the immediate and obvious benefit for commuter cyclists, I think it would have a psychological benefit too.   I think it would go a long way toward changing the image, in many peoples minds, of cycling as a purely recreational activity to include a utilitarian purpose. 

Imagine 5,000 people stuck going 5mph driving at rush hour along Slowpac.  They look over and notice scores of other people, obviously commuting to work, cycling along a concrete trail at 12-15mph.  Many people might come to see the bicycle as a legitimate form of transportation.  The number of cycle commuters might start to go up, maybe not everyday, but on many days. And the more people ride, the more respect might be given to cyclists of all types.

That's what I'm hoping for.

I think it is great that a meeting that wasn't even supposed to be about cycling had a ton of cyclist show up!  We need to keep up the pressure and have even more show up when the open house IS about cycling.

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