Bicycle Bits

Jingle Bell RideFor more than a dozen years, bicyclists have taken to the streets around Christmas time for the annual Jingle Bell Ride. This year’s event, sponsored by the Austin Ridge Riders, Austin Cycling Association, and Bicycle Sport Shop happened last night, with what appeared to be a few hundred mounted enthusiasts gathering to celebrate the holidays and exert their non-motorized presence around downtown.

The route [.pdf] was somewhat shorter than in years past, striking a balance between the city’s fiscal tolerance and the bicyclists’ two-wheeled hedonism, with the sanctioned route cutting through the Trail of Lights, around Town Lake, and lapping Congress Ave. I assume that some hardcore bikers blazed their own extended trail through other parts of town.

The Jingle Bell Ride has the advantage of many bike-friendly streets and paths, but most of the urban and near-urban core leaves a lot to be desired for encouraging bicycle traffic (I’m looking at you, South Lamar). Bike routes get a lot of lip-service from those encouraging sustainable / centralized development, but the city doesn’t seem able to put its money where the collective mouth is. How long has the Lance Armstrong Bikeway been in gestation? Without a more holistic approach to traffic planning, would-be bicycle commuters can look forward to vehicular encounters and Frankencurbs in return for trying to Do the Right Thing.

One such design oversight on E. 7th might be overcome with enough public input. According to the BicycleAustin site:

The city will be spending large amounts of money to add all kinds of “gateway” decorations to the street, but the staff is unwilling to do what citizens made them do on Barton Springs Rd.–remove the two-way left turn lane in order to have space to accommodate bicycle facilities. Restaurant Row on Barton Springs Rd. was a nasty place for cyclists before the improvements which removed the center turn lane and added bicycle facilities. The same kinds of improvements can be accomplished on E. 7th St. if we demand changes to the design now.

If you’d like to voice your opinion, the Urban Transportation Commission is receiving public input tonight at 6pm in the 8th Floor Conference Room of One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Rd (near S. 1st).

Comments are closed.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.