I recently moved into a different part of Austin. I am now off of Slaughter near Southpark Meadows. It's about as far south you can go, but were still pretty close to stuff, and near several bus stops. A big plus for my roommate who doesn't have a car. I like it because where I am Slaughter has bike lanes. I was pretty apprehensive about riding on them though because they aren't separated and the traffic moves pretty fast. I'm pretty satisfied with the location, Southpark has practically everything you could need for your daily life, with a bike lane all the way. Of course, the lanes aren't great and I've seen nobody use them. Most people ride on the sidewalk. I think though that if they are there, I should make an effort to use them unless they really are unsafe.
I rode west today on slaughter in an effort to get to the really nice H-E-B in the Circle C area. It proved too difficult though when I got to Mopac, as there is no provision for anything to get across other than a car, as you can see above. On my way there, the sidewalk suddenly ended. Thank god my bike is a hybrid.
As you can see, the sidewalk all of a sudden pops up again. That is why I laugh when people say you should ride on the sidewalk. In some places....there is none! Riding on the grass was not uncomfortable, but if I had a different bike it would've been. I could tell others had done some off-roading too, as the there was a slightly visible trail. I don't know why there is a driveway there, I guess someone backed out of building something.
The layout of Slaughter really baffles me. On one part you have some effort to accommodate cyclists, and then on the other end you make it as difficult as possible. Did it ever occur to them one might want to ride Slaughter from end to end? There are bike lanes in the Circle C neighborhood, I've seen them. The only thing I can think of is most of the cyclists there are of the lycra variety, and either stick to their own neighborhoods or strap their bike to their car and go somewhere else.
Having been thwarted in going to the nice HEB, I went to the one right off of Manchaca. I managed to get into the left turn lane, but realized the sidewalk in front of the HEB was right there. So I did something slightly illegal and turned left in the crosswalk onto the sidewalk instead of turning onto Manchaca and trying to turn left again. I made sure no traffic was coming and I made it across in 3 seconds. Thoughts? I felt it was justified in that I was already in a vulnerable position and would be in another one when I need to turn left again into the HEB. There are those who say always follow the rules but sometimes I feel that isn't always the best choice in safety.