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#1 2008-09-13 19:26:19

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

Mueller Redevelopment

I am seeking the bicycling and pedestrian communities' thoughts on the bicycle and pedestrian facilities at the Mueller Redevelopment.

I gave a presentation describing some of the issues with bike and ped facilities on August 7th to the Mueller Redevelopment Transportation Subcommittee.  A .pdf version of that presentation can be found here:
http://www.lobv.org/mueller/

I am aiming for late-October to present to Mueller again (probably via e-mail).

Some other helpful URLs:
http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/bicycle/mueller.htm
http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/mueller/mda.htm
http://www.muelleraustin.com/
http://www.muellercommunity.com/

Mueller Design book (2004 version) is available here:
http://www.muelleraustin.com/explore/index.php
Some adjustments were made in November 2007.

Tom Wald
League of Bicycling Voters
Bicycle Advisory Council, council member

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#2 2009-02-01 00:08:07

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

Re: Mueller Redevelopment

As a result of a Mueller Transportation Subcommittee meeting this last Thursday Jan. 29th, I am looking for feedback that I can send back to ROMA and the rest of the committee regarding how to accommodate bicycle use on Zach Scott St. and Tilley St.  ROMA has asked me to get suggestions from the bicycling community on this, so you're being asked.

Zach Scott St. and Tilley St. are set to be built in the same way, so your feedback would apply to both situations.  For simplicity, let's just refer to Zach Scott St. here.  Zach Scott St. is partially built, from Airport Blvd. eastward.  It will go east-west across the entire development to Manor Rd. when complete.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source= … 4376615613

The curb-to-curb width is 46'.  This cannot/will-not be changed on Zach Scott St., even on portions not yet paved.  Currently, Zach Scott is painted with door-zone bike lanes.  The measurements are approximately 13' for parallel parking plus bike lane in both directions.  Main travel lanes are approximately 10' wide each way.  Note that there are also bulb-outs at each intersection that narrow the street to the width of the main travel and bike lanes.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulb-out

The current configuration requires a bicyclist to ride outside of the bike lane to avoid the car-door zone.  Novice bicyclists will likely just put themselves in danger by riding in the bike lane and within the door zone.  The bike lanes were designed according to the AASHTO 1999 standards.

Here we are in 2009.  Some of Zach Scott St. is already built and some (all?) of the portion that isn't paved does have some components already in place such as utilities.  I had suggested that the curb-to-curb width either be slightly widened or slightly narrowed, but those are said to be precluded by what's already built on the ground.  I could try (probably in vain and unpaid) to push that point for unpaved sections, but let's see if we can come up with some ideas for a 46' curb-to-curb scenario.  Also, I am guessing that parallel parking will probably have to be preserved on both sides.

So what's left?  Sharrows?  No markings?  I'd like to hear your ideas.  So would the future of Austin bicycle planning love to hear your ideas.

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#3 2009-02-01 01:03:00

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

Re: Mueller Redevelopment

The other question coming out of Thursday's meeting regards the hike-n-bike trail material at Mueller.

The decomposed granite (DG) material at Mueller is said to be denser than the material along Lady Bird Lake downtown.  It is meant to be a compromise material between bicyclist, runner and other needs.  (However, this question does not cover the material recently installed along I-35 at Mueller.  This material was not installed correctly.)

What do bicyclists think of this material at Mueller?  Please send me your feedback (here, via e-mail, or via unambiguous telepathy) and I will pass on that information to ROMA and the Mueller Transportation Subcommittee.

Thank you for your help.

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#4 2009-02-02 09:47:01

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

Re: Mueller Redevelopment

Regarding the door-zone lanes.  Well if the residents park as poorly as these workers in the google shot, it's certain that riders will be in the door zone a good portion of the time.

Can you clarify, though. Is this a 4 or 5-foot bike lane?  Not that it matters in the end, because once again, there's no room left if you preserve parallel parking on both sides. Two more feet for this road would make all the difference in the world.

They could possibly use sharrows instead and use them more traditionally to let cars go over the line a tad and scoot by...

In these instances where it must have been so hard to plan with a blank slate, maybe we need to start thinking in inches instead of feet. What about:
7' parking lane
3'" to sharrow stencil
3" sharrow stencil
10' lane

This way you get a healthy clearance from the doors even if you're foolish enough to ride down the right side of the chevron stencil. (If big old SUVs can't fit in the 7 space, or someon parallel parks too far from the curb...oh well. Hopefully riders will recognize that they need to stay in the center of the chevron.

This configuration takes about 2 feet from cars, who then will have to ride the center line to pass, or farther over, depending on where the cyclists is.  I also note the google photos shows double yellow lines. hmmm.

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#5 2009-02-02 10:01:17

carmilla222
Member
Registered: 2008-07-02
Posts: 4

Re: Mueller Redevelopment

I've been biking at Mueller a few times already.  Right now, Zach Scott doesn't seem like it's going to have traffic as heavy as, say, Aldrich St. (which doesn't show up on google maps, but I think that's the street that goes around the north side of the pond and the playground.  Zach Scott looks more residential, even though I guess some people could use it as a shortcut, while Aldrich looks like it might get some commercial development.  I don't have any experience with sharrows, but I would vote for that or no markings on Zach Scott -- the bike lanes in the picture do look like an accident waiting to happen, especially for the kids and residents who might just be tooling around the neighborhood.  The parallel parking is going to be essential to the residents, I think, given the other parking options in that area, so I don't think you'd have much luck getting it taken out.

The trail material: I've gone both running and biking through the greenbelt area and the material seems to work just fine.  The stuff around I-35 gets very soggy when it's wet, which makes biking difficult, but I haven't noticed the same problem in the greenbelt.  It's not the best biking surface, though, and when a few more streets are put in I will probably shift to riding on the streets instead of through the park.

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#6 2009-02-03 17:36:57

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

Re: Mueller Redevelopment

I'll answer some questions and address some other things:

* The current configuration is:  center line / 10' main lane / 5' bike lane / 8' parking.

* The speed limit is probably 30mph, either posted or the city default.  (The only other possibility is that it is 25mph, but I really doubt that.)

* The parked cars shown in Google street view are from the construction workers.  However, current parked cars still spill into the bike lane.  Most are actually _in_ the bike lane while others just offer the door-zone threat.  Many vehicles will and do spill into the bike lane even though parked within a few inches of the curb.

* Rob, I like sharrow positioning suggestions, but in your suggestion, it seems to me that part of the sharrow will be in the door zone.  SUV's and poorly parked cars will have door zones extending to at least 11' from the curb from what I can tell.  Chicago's sharrows seem to be farther out than 10', but I'm not certain on this.

* Zach Scott Street's future traffic?  It's anyone's guess, but I'd expect high traffic as the development completes.  It's the only east-west street that traverses the development.

* Indeed, it's a mixed message to road users if a bike lane is painted that is meant to not be used.  Some motorists will get angry and act dangerously as a protest toward bicyclists outside of the bike lane.  That's why the current striping configuration won't work.

* I can't see angled or reverse-angled parking working.  It likely wouldn't pass ROMA muster, plus I think a lot of bicyclists (myself included) would have to be convinced of its worth.

* Stop signs are placed every few blocks or so.  This is the main street thoroughfare in the neighborhood (not the development).

If the consensus ends up being sharrows -- there is no consensus yet -- then we still have to ask what message the sharrows are intended to send.  Since there is a double-yellow line, it is explicitly illegal for a vehicle to cross the center line.  Where would the sharrows be painted?... in the middle of the lane or adjacent to the door zone?  Does it make sense to use official markings to guide motorists to break the law by crossing the double-yellow line?  Or are motorists supposed to squeeze by bicyclists?  It's one thing to expect motorists to cross a double-yellow line to pass and it's another to guide them to do so.  These sharrow questions will need to be addressed, in general, for other facilities too. 

Please post your responses here:
http://bicycleaustin.info/forum/viewtopic.php?id=133

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#7 2009-02-06 15:08:10

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

Re: Mueller Redevelopment

In this city, you take what you can get. Once again, with a clean sheet of paper they still can't get it right. With that said, I don't find bike lanes that are in parked car door opening zones to be much of a problem. The weird striping with shared use of the pavement adjacent to the parked cars seems to caution everybody to be a little more careful.  And if you are an urban bike rider you have to be pretty green behind the ears to get caught by a door in one of those zones. But the real benefit seems to come from the extra cautioning implied by the extra stripe alongside the parking area. I think it alerts drivers in the traffic lane and parkers to watch for bikes.  I can't prove it, though. Maybe the city can spend some more money on a study (to ignore).

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