As Austin continues to develop, the city is working on ways to mitigate traffic congestion that’s begun to characterize the exploding city. One of the ways it’s hoping to ease that congestion is through implementing a three-year plan encouraging more residents to bike.
In a statistic cited by PeopleForBikes, the city estimates that only one in about 20 working residents currently commutes by bike. Why? While the city has embarked on a massive street repaving project that has created bike lanes, Austin’s map of lanes looks like, in PeopleForBikes’ words, “so many pick-up sticks.” They’ve created lots of bikes lanes, but with little connection among them.
The plan is to close this network and install small physical barriers to separate bike lanes. For years the city had been working on a sturdy, low-cost bike lane separator, and they finally arrived at the concrete “button”. After installing several of these buttons itself, the city was unable to find a concrete company willing to do a full run of buttons because of the prices associated with shipping concrete.
Last year, the city bought bike-lane sweepers to clear debris from bike lanes. Still, ridership remains low. But the city is at work, hoping to convert seven percent of central-city trips from car to bike, which would ease congestion and reduce transportation costs.