There is a proposal, yes, only a proposal-for adding travel lanes for those who ride bikes and walk on or around NW Austin specifically Jollyville Road along the 183N expansion project. This will remove two lanes of travel for those who drive cars. Bike and pedestrian facilities are sorely lacking in Austin. Due to the lack of bike infrastructure, bike crashes resulting in serious injury and even fatal injuries occur. These crashes are all preventable.
Catastrophic injuries and deaths from bike and pedestrian crashes may have occurred to someone you know, or perhaps a close relative. The growing epidemic of vulnerable road user injury and death in Austin indicates the odds are high that it has happened to a friend or relative of yours. If thus far you have not known or been related to someone seriously injured walking or riding a bike in Austin chances are high you will be that person or know that person soon.
Pedestrian infrastructure in Austin is lacking and in some areas non-existent. Pedestrian deaths and catastrophic injuries are at an all time high. Yet, just the proposal of adding this bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure to NW Austin, specifically Jollyville Rd along the 183N Expansion has raised great ire in area residents.
Austin is seriously lacking in any alternatives to car travel. With most of Austin being within a ten mile radius to downtown that means that many people who ride bikes actually could abandon car travel and ride to work. That would decrease car traffic and increase the flow of traffic for those who still choose to commute by car. The idea of increasing alternative modes of travel by creating more bike and pedestrian travel options is a win-win for car drivers, pedestrians and those who ride bikes.
Folks arguing against this proposal really don’t get it. Every car taken off the road helps them get to where they are going faster and with less congestion. Bike lanes won’t prevent you from getting somewhere in less time they will help you get to where you want to go faster because more people will be choosing a healthier option, biking or busing. If there is increased pedestrian infrastructure and safe routes to bus stops, many folks will choose to ride the bus.
For all of those who are angered at this proposal, try thinking about the improvements we want to see to our City and the greater chances our children will safely make it school in a bike lane, or how you will get around when your driver’s license is no longer your only option.
There is a meeting tonight at 6 PM at the Spicewood Springs Library, 8637 Spicewood Springs Road expected to last one hour. District 10 Councilmember Alison Alter is expected to attend the informal meeting.