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#1 2012-03-06 18:59:31

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,202
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City plans to remove Nueces bike lane?

A friend just sent me this:

Do you know off the top of your head if dedicated bike lanes improve bike safety over sharrows? I ask because the city wants to put in a 2-way bike lane on Rio Grande from mlk to 29th and remove the bike lane from Nueces. The bike lane on Nueces will turn into car parking. I've insisted on sharrows (which they will do), but I've also asked many people to provide information on the safety impact: I don't care about a 2-way Rio Grande bike lane if it means that cyclists on Nueces are in more danger. Maybe it's a wash in terms of safety. It does seem like cars will drive more slowly on Nueces with parking on both sides, but then it also seems a lot more likely for a cyclist to get doored.

As I told him, about bike lanes vs. sharrows, I don't know of any research specifically comparing the two to each other.  I'm not saying there isn't any, but if there is I'm not aware of it.  I have some research about bike lanes by themselves (not compared to sharrows) on my other site here:  http://bicycleuniverse.info/transpo/bikelanes.html

And there's some research about sharrows available (Google "sharrows research"), but it doesn't contrast specifically to bike lanes.

It's not too surprising that we can't find head-to-head comparisons, because each method is used for different situations, usually.  If there's room for a bike lane, you put in a bike lane.  If there isn't room, you put in sharrows.

As for reconfiguring Nueces and Rio Grande, I'm not sure a two-way bike lane on a one-way street is a good idea.  (Some of you might remember when we used to have such an animal on Guadalupe between 21st & 24th.)  And while I'm not sure the bike lane on Nueces is really essential, I don't like the idea of adding more car parking, which, as my friend says, increases the chances of getting doored.

I'm gonna guess that this is an issue that's gonna be hard to get consensus on within our community.  But let's see.  Thoughts?

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#2 2012-03-07 13:27:48

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

Re: City plans to remove Nueces bike lane?

Too late on whether the two-way facility is a good idea, since it's already in the works.  Although I find it impossible to find anything on the new COA Web site on the status of these projects, and since I've been out of the loop, I never even heard the final decision on Nueces.

My flimsy opinion is that I'm willing to wait and see on the Rio Grande two-way. I was told I'll love it. I'm still skeptical. Bike boxes for turning functionality may or may not work so well in some instances.

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#3 2012-03-07 14:48:55

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

Re: City plans to remove Nueces bike lane?

MichaelBluejay wrote:

I'm gonna guess that this is an issue that's gonna be hard to get consensus on within our community.  But let's see.

Consensus no, but the majority at the BAC meeting when they informed us about it, actually approved.
I remember being the only one expressing an opinion against it; there were a couple of others with doubts, but not with a solid opposition.
A two way bike lane on a single way street did not look right to me at the time and it still does not.
I also said that saving space for parking on Nueces went against making Austin a bike friendly city. By the way, I am pretty sure that any opinion contrary to the proposal was too late from the day it was brought to the BAC.

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#4 2012-03-07 16:33:14

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

Re: City plans to remove Nueces bike lane?

Regarding the Rio Grande facility in West Campus, this is what I've got from the BAC meeting minutes of January 20th, 2011:

Rio Grande Separated Facility –Ms. Kaplan reads the resolution. Mr. Sanford states that BikeTexas is working to get these facilities in more cities in Texas because they have seen worldwide that these facilities work to increase cycling rates.  Discussion ensues, and the following resolution is on the table:

"Recognizing that the primary purpose of separated bicycle facilities is to encourage and protect less experienced cyclists, the BAC supports the implementation of two-way separated bicycle facilities on streets that permit motor vehicle traffic in only one direction.

Before implementation, the City of Austin should present proposed designs to the BAC for further review. Intersections and traffic lights should be designed to accommodate both vehicular and protected ("boxed") turning movements to and from the two-way separated facility; and there should be protected entrances to, and exits from, the two-way separated facility. In addition, signage and pavement markings should clearly show the two-directional movement of cyclists.

As part of this resolution, the BAC has already reviewed and explicitly supports for example, the following street cross-section, from curb to curb: car parking lane in direction A, main travel lane in direction A, buffer, bike lane in direction A, center line, bike lane in direction B."

Mr. Abels moves to approve, Mr. de Araya seconds.  Mr. Eden expresses some concern regarding cyclists traveling in the opposite direction of traffic.  Ms. Kaplan asks others who are interested in participating in the Technical Subcommittee to e-mail Mr. Wald.

It looks like a consensus decision to me, but it is clear that the BAC decision was not a carte blanche decision to concur with whatever the city wanted to do without further review.  The decision does not mention Nueces St. (West Campus).

There were approximately 26 non-staff citizens in attendance.

If I remember correctly, the resolution text came out of a consensus of a previous lengthy BAC Technical Subcommittee meeting that included Tommy Eden, myself, and several others.

The full 1/10/11 BAC meeting minutes:
http://www.lobv.org/wp-content/uploads/ … final_.pdf
... which incorrectly state the year as 2010.

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#5 2012-03-08 10:59:04

bthogersen
Member
Registered: 2012-03-08
Posts: 1

Re: City plans to remove Nueces bike lane?

The first time I heard about removing the bike lane on Nueces to add street parking (to make up for lost parking on Rio Grande) was from Annick Beaudet. She was trying to "sell" the Rio Grande project to the neighborhood by offering up the Nueces bike lane. This happened repeatedly. As far as I know, the university neighborhood group never demanded (or even asked) that the Nueces bike lane disappear, but the "we'll replace the lost parking on Rio Grande" statement was repeated so often by city staff that now it seems inevitable.

If there is evidence that replacing the bike lane with parking and having bikes ride in "sharrowed" lanes will make biking more dangerous, that would be good to know now. The current plan is to leave the Nueces bike lane intact until the Rio Grande facility is completed (probably in late 2013), so there is time to change the fate of the Nueces bike lane if any feels strongly about it.

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#6 2012-03-08 11:26:42

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,202
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Re: City plans to remove Nueces bike lane?

Thanks, tomwald, for posting the BAC minutes, which definitely shed some light on the process.  I didn't know this had already been through the BAC.  Is it possible for one of the BAC members to post to this forum about planned facilities changes like this?

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