Monday, February 21, 2011

Bicycle Boulevard

Once again, Austin is attempting to make the streets a little more bicycle friendly. It appears cyclists in this town didn't get exactly what they wanted due to boneheaded business people, but nonetheless its a step in the right direction.

The city is planning on implementing several new traffic calming features on Rio Grande, a main artery in downtown.  Roundabouts, speed bumps, and "bulb-outs" are supposed to make the street more friendly to bike traffic and make it a "bicycle boulevard". Originally, the street chosen was Nueces, because it is flatter, but businesses along that street protested because they thought it would hurt business. Now, Nueces will have bike lanes.

I'm not sure exactly how Ben Wear, the columnist who reports on transportation issues for the Statesman, feels about bicycle infrastructure. I get the feeling from his title, "Stay Calm: Bicycle Boulevard on its Way" may be a jab at the bike lobby being so insistent, but it might just be a play on words since the whole point of these features on Rio Grande is to calm traffic. Some commenters seemed to think he had a bias, but I'm not so sure.

The comments of course are hilarious and fall in the same vein of every other article on bicycle infrastructure. I couldn't resist of course putting in my two cents. Internet forums like this are paid attention to, as CapMetro added midday service to its commuter rail in response to calls for it on the statesman forum.

So, slowly but surely, it will become better.

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