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#26 2013-08-13 13:18:33

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Well, since Bike Austin continues to represent the insiders instead of their constituents, I could sure use some reinforcements here: https://www.facebook.com/bikeaustin/pos … 2739884862

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#27 2013-08-13 13:26:45

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

tomwald wrote:

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.

No, I don't think it's "the best possible" without caveats.  Above is what I wrote.  I'm looking forward to the discussion next Tuesday at the BAC.  Everyone is welcome to attend and participate.

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#28 2013-08-13 13:32:21

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Tom, more helpful would be if you would participate in this forum AND at the BAC, knowing that many of us can't or won't be at your meeting. I believe discussions like this, held in public, with the widest possible audience, are far superior to the meetingocracy.

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#29 2013-08-13 15:08:05

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Expect more of this kind of thing:  http://greenlaneproject.org/blog/view/a … bike-lanes

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#30 2013-08-13 17:43:21

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

I am curious to know what are those constraints. They must be impossibly huge to come out with such a "solution".

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#31 2013-08-13 20:45:35

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Jack wrote:

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

It's not.  It's not meant to be.

It's purpose isn't to make the asphalt more skid-resistant.  It's purpose is to make the asphalt green and make it clear that it is somehow special.  It's skid-resistant because the paint doesn't make it slippery like paint often does.

It's up in several places around town.  The effectiveness of the green I won't comment on, but the paint doesn't seem slippery compared to bare asphalt -- so on that level it seems to work perfectly.

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#32 2013-08-14 09:33:06

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Heck, even the City of Waco has green painted bike boxes & lanes. It's high time we get with the program here in Austin.

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#33 2013-08-14 11:03:55

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

cycling74 wrote:

Heck, even the City of Waco has green painted bike boxes & lanes. It's high time we get with the program here in Austin.

Get with the program to make cycling less convenient and less safe than it is right now! 

Please consider:    http://janheine.wordpress.com/2013/08/1 … -cyclists/   

These kinds of facilities are set up by non-cyclists to please non-cyclists despite the proven problems.  Facilities engineers have a hammer (design facilities!) and every place to ride is a nail.  Riding Guadalupe was vastly improved only recently by removing the "protected" bike lane it had since the 1980s and now the idea is to move back?

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#34 2013-08-14 11:09:40

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

dougmc wrote:
Jack wrote:

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

It's not.  It's not meant to be.

It's purpose isn't to make the asphalt more skid-resistant.  It's purpose is to make the asphalt green and make it clear that it is somehow special.  It's skid-resistant because the paint doesn't make it slippery like paint often does.

It's up in several places around town.  The effectiveness of the green I won't comment on, but the paint doesn't seem slippery compared to bare asphalt -- so on that level it seems to work perfectly.

As to what it's meant to be, In a PDOT report on the efficacy of the "blue" lanes in Portland, it was found that the number of bicyclists that turned their head to look for motor vehicles where there would be conflicts decreased (from 43% to 26%) after the new markings were installed. Is green paint better?

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#35 2013-08-14 14:30:09

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Jack wrote:

As to what it's meant to be, In a PDOT report on the efficacy of the "blue" lanes in Portland, it was found that the number of bicyclists that turned their head to look for motor vehicles where there would be conflicts decreased (from 43% to 26%) after the new markings were installed. Is green paint better?

I don't know anything about this specific study you're referring to, but unless the study looked *only* at the percentage of cyclists who turned their head (which seems unlikely) then picking this one statistic and using it to describe the efficacy of the colored lanes and the results of the study is iffy at best.

Presumably if the cyclists felt safer then they'd turn their heads less -- that seems pretty clear -- but the real intent of these colored lanes is to tell *drivers* that they need to be aware.  If the paint makes drivers drive more carefully (as it's supposed to), then the net effect may very well be quite positive even if cyclists do turn their heads less.

That said -- I don't know how effective this paint is, as I haven't done any studies on it and haven't read any either.  (Though I imagine it depends a lot on the specific situation.)  My comment a few posts back was simply to state that it's not slippery, when paint often is, so "skid resistant" is accurate.

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#36 2013-08-14 14:54:31

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

dougmc wrote:
Jack wrote:

As to what it's meant to be, In a PDOT report on the efficacy of the "blue" lanes in Portland, it was found that the number of bicyclists that turned their head to look for motor vehicles where there would be conflicts decreased (from 43% to 26%) after the new markings were installed. Is green paint better?

I don't know anything about this specific study you're referring to, but unless the study looked *only* at the percentage of cyclists who turned their head (which seems unlikely) then picking this one statistic and using it to describe the efficacy of the colored lanes and the results of the study is iffy at best.

Presumably if the cyclists felt safer then they'd turn their heads less -- that seems pretty clear -- but the real intent of these colored lanes is to tell *drivers* that they need to be aware.  If the paint makes drivers drive more carefully (as it's supposed to), then the net effect may very well be quite positive even if cyclists do turn their heads less.

That said -- I don't know how effective this paint is, as I haven't done any studies on it and haven't read any either.  (Though I imagine it depends a lot on the specific situation.)  My comment a few posts back was simply to state that it's not slippery, when paint often is, so "skid resistant" is accurate.

+1 to all of this.
As usual, dougmc's comments make a lot of sense to me.......

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#37 2013-08-14 20:40:53

Bevo
Member
From: Norman, OK
Registered: 2013-03-30
Posts: 2

Re: Red alert on the Drag

I work in West Campus, so I walk past this spot quite a bit. I think this is a dumb idea and should be replaced with a sharrow in the right lane of Guadalupe.

One thing I'd like to point out is that there is a very long row of bike racks that separates the sidewalk proper from the protected bike gutter. I'm guessing that the advocates for this project will say that this row of racks will discourage pedestrians from walking into the gutter, erm, bike lane. What I've noticed in practice, however, is that pedestrians do avoid the bike racks when going to the bus bulb-out, but they do it by walking into the gutter, down the whole length of the bulb-out, and then onto the bulb-out. The fence and bike racks seem to encourage more pedestrians in the bike lane/gutter than if they were just crossing straight across.

I also want to add that I think that this is a terrible project and should be opposed, but the real problem here is that there was no public input process about a change to a bike facility, particularly one as important as this one.

Last edited by Bevo (2013-08-14 20:41:34)

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#38 2013-08-15 11:56:22

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

dougmc wrote:

Presumably if the cyclists felt safer then they'd turn their heads less -- that seems pretty clear -- but the real intent of these colored lanes is to tell *drivers* that they need to be aware.  If the paint makes drivers drive more carefully (as it's supposed to), then the net effect may very well be quite positive even if cyclists do turn their heads less.

That said -- I don't know how effective this paint is, as I haven't done any studies on it and haven't read any either.  (Though I imagine it depends a lot on the specific situation.)  My comment a few posts back was simply to state that it's not slippery, when paint often is, so "skid resistant" is accurate.

Right, the idea of the paint is to make cycling safer by brightly indicating a 'safe' space for riders and to warn drivers that is where the cyclist might be.  It is self-defeating.  As the study itself noted:  "However, coupled with and perhaps resulting from the perception of increased safety appears to be declining cyclist caution (fewer cyclists turning their heads and signaling)." The effect was similar for drivers in that drivers tended to signal less.  What's more, the 'reason' the paint would be needed in this design is that the cyclist is put off to the right so far as to not be apparent to turning drivers.  The paint is a partial mitigation of a problem the design creates in the first place.  Comments on the Portland Study of blue lanes with a link to links on the study itself and other analysis of the study:  http://www.bikexprt.com/bikepol/facil/lanes/amiblue.htm   

The point of my original rhetorical question comes from my experience that the 'non-skid paint' though less slippery than other paint still is more slippery when wet than the asphalt it's painted on.  "Non-skid" is a partial mitigation of a downside to painting something on the street, but ignores the other downside--that the paint doesn't work well to accomplish what it was intended for in the first place.

Perception of safety vs. actual safety is the issue with the _entire_ design.  Why increase riders' perception of safety by means that are readily foreseeable to, and have been shown to, actually decrease rider safety?

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#39 2013-08-15 12:37:46

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Jack wrote:

Right, the idea of the paint is to make cycling safer by brightly indicating a 'safe' space for riders and to warn drivers that is where the cyclist might be.  It is self-defeating.

Odd.  The study your link links to "sang high praise of blue lanes which had been installed there [Portland]" according to your link, and yes, there's a chart, with some possibly negative things (how often cyclists looked back, how often they yielded, how often everybody signalled, etc.) -- and some quite positive things (how often motorists yielded, slowed and stopped.)  (this link, search for "The Portland study".)

You seem to be concentrating on the negative things, and ignoring the positive things that are right there in your citation.  Is there a reason for this apparent bias?

In any event, I'm not aware of any colored bike lanes around this Capital Metro island they put up on Guadalupe.  Maybe there's some coming?

If you want to get the city to stop using colored pant to designate "special" parts of bike lanes, the ideal place to bring this up would be the BAC meeting.  The next one is next Tuesday.

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#40 2013-08-15 14:54:26

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Yes; for the time being I am focusing on the downsides rather than the upsides and in a broader context than the Portland study alone.  The study linked to is not the full picture.  In my opinion, the downsides outweigh the upsides, even in the case of the Portland blue lanes, which are quite different than--and not as bad as--what is proposed to be done on Guad.  On Guadalupe, cyclists, even novice cyclists, would be better off without the protected lane being built, green paint or none.  The study did 'sing praises,' but:

"The reduction in caution of cyclists as shown in the first four rows in the table above is not merely an issue of efficiency; it is one of safety. So is the reduction in motorist use of turn signals: In every one of the Portland blue lane locations the motorist is required by law to use a turn signal. Increase in yielding by motorists reflects a reduced hazard to cyclists who do not yield, but also reflects increased delay when it would have been more efficient for the bicyclists to yield. That motorists slowed more is an indication of reduced efficiency, if the bicyclists' yielding would have resulted in less overall delay. However, note that the motorist and bicyclist percentages of yielding add up to 100% both before and after the blue paint was added. The counting procedure which produced this result requires some further explanation, as both the motorist and bicyclist may attempt to yield (the "Alphonse and Gaston" situation), neither may yield, or there may be nobody to whom to yield.

"According to Oregon law, a motorist must always yield to a bicyclist in a bike lane. This unusual law gives bike lanes the status of crosswalks, allowing them to overturn the normal vehicular rules of the road, in spite of the sight line problems described above. Oregon law also requires bicyclists to use bike lanes where they exist. In several of the Portland blue lane installations, these laws prohibit bicyclists from following a normal vehicular route, requiring them instead to swerve across motor traffic without the opportunity to merge.

"The Portland study compared existing bike lane installations before and after blue paint and additional signage were added. There was no comparison with the situation before the bike lanes were installed. Most of the Portland installations involve situations in which standard traffic law would require the cyclist to yield. Some of the installations crossed entrance and exit ramps, following a course where only a crosswalk could normally be installed. A normal vehicular movement would not be possible while following these blue lanes.

The Portland study contains only anecdotal information about crash rates at the Portland installations. Instead, it refers to a European study which claims reductions of crashes in blue lane installations -- but those are not comparable with the Portland installations. Most of the European installations are at entrances of cross streets along urban streets with low-speed traffic, and some are along sidepaths that conflict with all turning traffic. Some sidepaths also feature a raised road surface as in a speed table, forcing motorists to slow. Another problem in making comparisons with this European study is that the car-bike crash rate for sidepaths is very high compared with travel on the roadway (see pages about sidepaths), and so the baseline data are not comparable."

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#41 2013-08-15 20:04:58

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

dougmc wrote:

If you want to get the city to stop using colored pant to designate "special" parts of bike lanes, the ideal place to bring this up would be the BAC meeting.  The next one is next Tuesday.

Having to go to the BAC to get a logical argument heard, if that even works, is not the solution. It's the problem.

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#42 2013-08-15 21:00:28

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

m1ek wrote:

Having to go to the BAC to get a logical argument heard, if that even works, is not the solution. It's the problem.

Yeah, I see you making the same point on Facebook to Elliott.

Still doesn't detract from the truth of my statement, however.  You can call it a meetingocracy if you wish (and that *is* a clever bit of wordplay) -- but it's reality.  Policy and laws and such are made by those who show up (or who can get those with the same view to show up, of course.)  We can argue about it on the Internet all we want, but it's not likely to change anything -- the real change happens in person, downtown.

There are exceptions, where arguing about it on the Internet does lead to change -- but most of the time, if it leads to change it does so by convincing people to show up at the meetings downtown, to run for and win political offices (or to actively campaign for others who are running for political office), etc.

And the reality is ... even that's iffy.  Convincing the members of the BAC of something often isn't easy, and even if you succeed -- the city council may very well ignore their suggestion.  Really, if you want to make a change, the ideal place will be city council or mayor -- which of course is a much more difficult proposition.   One can bring their point to the city council itself, but the BAC is probably an easier place to start.

I'm not arguing that it's fair or right, just pointing out that it's reality.  And of course you must know all this, as you have indeed put in your time.

And I'm *not* saying it can't or shouldn't be discussed here.  (Well, personally, I think it deserves its own thread rather than getting lumped in with the Capital Metro bus stop on Guadalupe if there's much of a discussion on it, but that's not a point I'd care to belabor.)

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#43 2013-08-15 23:32:22

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

dougmc, I assume your question to Jack about bias was rhetorical, and that you already know the answer.  Effective Cycling is like a religion to its proponents, and they've never seen an accommodation for bicyclists they wouldn't criticize.  They're so agenda-driven and inflexible that I find it useless to listen to them at all, because for whatever good points they might actually have, it's hard to take any of it seriously when we know their bias is so thick.

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#44 2013-08-16 09:03:35

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Doug, I'm saying that BikeTexas should be listening to this input and then act as the representative of the cycling community, whatever that ends up being based on the debate here and elsewhere. Instead, they are acting as a de-facto member of the city staff, uncritically endorsing this project and suggesting that anybody with anything else to say needs to show up at the BAC.

A nobody named Jane Jacobs once wrote:

"But, you know, I'm like most people in this. I have other things to do. I don't like getting in these fights. I hate the government making my life absurd. I don't want the government to set an agenda for what I have to be doing by it being so stupid that I have to devote myself to that. I have other things to do. And this is true of most people. It is really an outrage when you come to think of it. Here are all these people who get paid for government jobs, and we the taxpayers are paying them. And how are they spending their time? Making life miserable for us so we can hardly earn the money to pay their wages because we are so busy fighting them. That's what I mean by making our lives absurd."

Last edited by m1ek (2013-08-16 09:30:24)

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#45 2013-08-16 09:38:38

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

I am looking at the street layout here: http://austintexas.gov/sites/default/fi … 3__Web.pdf

There is no way SB cars will yield to SB cyclists approaching MLK, as they cross the green bike lane to go west on MLK. If you ride Dean Keaton at 35 you know how most cars are oblivious to the green paint and signs. I've mentioned this numerous times to staff, and routinely watch cyclists nearly get creamed, or I personally have to swerve to change my line so I don't get run over.

The problem is that you have the auto traffic driving on a nice steady curve. This gives them the idea that they have the right away. But what do I know, I don't have an engineering degree, just 15 years of cycling experience.

I also think it's overly optimistic you will have the typical UT area cyclist yield or stop at 23rd st, since there is no cross traffic, just peds.


This will be more of a family friendly cycling facility, but it will also require that cyclists be on even higher awareness at all times.  It should be good for lower speeds. Those who want to go 25mph will probably find that they need to take the main travel lanes and fight autos who want to go 30, 35mph.

You certainly can't please everyone, something has to give when space is so limited.

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#46 2013-08-16 10:24:11

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

The problem with saying that somebody else should be doing something is ... they might not.

If you want to get to decide what BikeTexas does, you can try and convince them with a discussion online, but far more effective would be to join the organization.  And I don't mean just fill out an an application and send them some money each year, but instead join them and get on their board of directors or its equivalent.   Or at least regularly attend their meetings.

A nobody named Plato once wrote: "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."   Well, arguing about it on the Internet *is* being involved in politics, but it's not particularly effective.

Not by itself, anyways -- arguing on the Internet certainly can expose you to ideas you didn't think of (though most people aren't particularly open to competing ideas once they've made up their mind) and can give you experience with the debate in general -- things that can be quite useful in a face to face meeting.  But by itself it doesn't usually cause real change.

Maybe in 2030 things will be different, but in 2013 politics still mostly happens in meetings, not in forums.  There may be some mailing lists involved, but the opinions that really matter will be those that attend the face to face meetings.  (And ideally, they'll be in an official role of some sort, but citizens can have input too.  They can have input if they don't attend the meetings too, of course, but they tend to have far less influence than if they did.)

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#47 2013-08-16 11:07:31

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Having these discussions IS a form of participating in politics.

This is really about the difference between a direct democracy and a republic - except this meetingocracy is even worse than a direct democracy, IMO. It's rule by those with the most time on their hands. Of course the people with the most time on their hands pretend that they're making a noble sacrifice, but I call bullshit; having done both forms, spending all night in meetings is no more noble than raising your kids or paying your taxes - arguably less.

I'm saying Bike Texas, as a sort-of representative of the cycling community, should be presenting the views of the cycling community rather than just going along with whatever the city does. That's it, and it shouldn't be that controversial.

Last edited by m1ek (2013-08-16 11:08:33)

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#48 2013-08-16 12:19:32

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

MichaelBluejay wrote:

  Effective Cycling is like a religion to its proponents, and they've never seen an accommodation for bicyclists they wouldn't criticize.  They're so agenda-driven and inflexible that I find it useless to listen to them at all, because for whatever good points they might actually have, it's hard to take any of it seriously when we know their bias is so thick.

That is rich, especially on a thread that started with your agreement with m1ek on essentially the same points I think should be made here.

When discussing the relative merits of cycle tracks and the corresponding merits of installing them in given places, there are two essential approaches: there is the faith-based argument (maybe if we layed out the streets differently, cycling heaven will spontaneously come to be) and arguments from what is known from scientific examination of the matter.  The ones you describe as 'religious' try to look at the science of the matter--e.g., looking at  actual before-and-after studies of streets where cycle paths were built (like this one http://trafitec.dk/sites/default/files/ … 0lanes.pdf  ) that all show that bicycle accidents and injuries increased when cycle tracks were installed, because more accidents occur at intersections. (Yes, the studies account for increases in ridership that occurred with the new facilities.) So when experienced cyclists say that cycle tracks are not a good approach, the assertion actually is supported by good data.  If you find it hard to apply the lessons that come from well-designed studies because the lessons contradict your own hopefull biases, well . . . . 

Cycle tracks can and do serve a good function for cyclists--novice and experienced--under the right circumstances.  When a cycle track goes on for long stretches without intersections and is relatively free of pedestians, it makes for good riding.  When the track actually makes it more convenient to reach one's destination than roadway riding, that is a greater plus.  Effective Cycling endorses such (unless we are talking only about the straw man version of EC).  The plan for Guadalupe isn't that.  It's just the opposite.  It is a plan to move cyclists off the street where they are already plenty safe to a "protected" space where they are at greater risk from pedestian and motor traffic conflicts.

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#49 2013-08-16 12:47:44

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

rich00 wrote:

I am looking at the street layout here: http://austintexas.gov/sites/default/fi … 3__Web.pdf

This will be more of a family friendly cycling facility, but it will also require that cyclists be on even higher awareness at all times.  It should be good for lower speeds. Those who want to go 25mph will probably find that they need to take the main travel lanes and fight autos who want to go 30, 35mph.

You certainly can't please everyone, something has to give when space is so limited.


This.......

If I am pootling around with my kids, tag along, burley/chairot trailers, etc......I will use the bicycle facility here at safe speed.

If I am riding hard at 20+mph, will just take the lane, merging and dancing with traffic the way I always do.......
Although, if a cyclist is hammering along the whole time, why even use the bike lane ?
Just stay in the lane and then no need to merge at all.
Choices.

Last edited by AusTexMurf (2013-08-16 12:51:40)

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#50 2013-08-19 18:25:36

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

Re: Red alert on the Drag

Here you go, m1ek, posted today in rides and events sub forum.....

The Bicycle Advisory Council will meet tomorrow evening (August 20th) beginning at 6PM at City Hall in the Staff Bull Pen.  The BAC is open to the public.  We know better projects are built with more input.  The BAC meets monthly and is a great opportunity to hear directly from the bicycle community and to work towards the creation of a better bicycling network for Austin.  We hope you can attend, and/or consider following the discussion via live tweet (@COABikeProgram, #atxbac).  The agenda is posted on their website:  <<austintexas.gov/department/bicycle-advisory-council>>

For your convenience below are the items on the agenda and the staff person/BAC representative responsible for presenting:

Items from Staff – 6:10-7:00
•    Briefing – Seal Coat Season – David Magana.
•    Briefing and Possible Action  - City Council Action Regarding Pedestrian Advisory Council and BAC – Leah Bojo
•    Briefing and Possible Action  - Enhancements Proposals – Traffic Signals for bicycles – Nathan Wilkes
•    Briefing and Possible Action  - Transit Priority Lanes – Alan Hughes
Items from BAC – 7:00-7:50
•    Briefing and Possible Action  – Guadalupe Cycletracks + MetroRapid Schedule – Nathan Wilkes + Representative from CapMetro
•    Briefing and Possible Action   - Zach Scott Cycletracks (Mueller) – Nathan Wilkes
•    Briefing and Possible Action  - South Lamar as an all-ages Facility – Eileen Nehme
•    Briefing and Possible Action  - Reconnecting Austin, Letter of Support – Allison Kaplan

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