Austin Bike News Roundup for April 16, 2020

It’s an odd time to be writing one of these blog posts. You’d think there’s not a lot of news. But there is and it could be of interest, so here it is. For more about these organizations, see my post 12 Bicycle-Related Groups in Austin, Texas You Should Know About.

Stop CAMPO Raid on Trail Funds for a Highway

Farm & City

Farm & City, which advocates for better transportation policy and livable urban and rural areas in Texas, sent out an action alert. They are asking Austin, Texas area residents to “ask the CAMPO (The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) Policy Board to maintain funding for active transportation, transit, and smart traffic solutions.”

The Transportation Policy Board (TPB) of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) will be having a special called meeting on Monday, April 20th to consider which already-approved projects to cut to divert $600 million to rebuild I-35 (Interstate Highway) in central Austin.

Also, the Northern Walnut Creek Trail will be part of the Big Loop, connecting much of the region’s urban core with a safe shared use path. This segment has been through a long process and is ready to begin construction this year. The North Side deserves this high quality investment not to be delayed once again.

Farm & City

Specifically, they are asking allies to send a letter advocating for for active transportation, transit an smart traffic solutions. To help, go to this link.

Thursday Night Solo Rides

Social Cycling Austin has suspended their various group rides, but they still encourage people to get out and ride by themselves following City health regulations to stay away from other people by 6 feet or more and to wear cloth face masks. (In a related not, tonight on my 18-mile ride, I saw a group leaving from a church off Mesa Road. They were not distancing, some riding side by side. I headed the opposite direction to get away from those COVID-iots.) For more info see Social Cycling’s link.

Copyright City of Austin

Updated Map of Austin / Texas Bike Shops

My post Which Austin, Texas Bike Shops Are Open During the the COVID-19 Shelter in Place? covered about half a dozen shops in North Central Austin. Now, Ghisallo Cycling Initiative has put together this handy statewide map for Texas bike shops. A much more comprehensive list, it’s a bit clunky to work, but has some good information. There’s also a chart of percentage shops open by city. Lastly, they also encourage people to ride on Wednesday evenings and share photos and videos. For more info, here’s the GCI website.

Bike Month Is ON; Bike to Work Day Is OFF

Bike Austin let members know in an email that the annual celebration of commuters will be in the fall. But people are still encouraged to cycle safely. They offer some tips and suggest virtual participation via social media as well. One link leads to the League of American Cyclists page, which has this nice infographic.

Copyright League of American Cyclists

Shoal Creek Improvements Continue

The City of Austin keeps working on these bike lanes, sidewalks and intersections. The Active Transportation Department notice says that “crews are completing construction this week of a new sidewalk on the south side of 45th Street between Shoal Creek Boulevard and Shoalwood Avenue. When complete, crews will move to Shoal Creek Boulevard and 38th Street to begin construction.” For more on this project, go to this link.

One Piece of Bad News

I saw a news alert that a cyclist had been seriously injured crossing the only urban commuter rail way we have in Austin. This particular crossing has gates and is not far from where I stay.

Quite by chance (although perhaps subconsciously I wanted to see the scene), later that very same day I was going at high rate of speed (for me) and crossed that very same location. I was nearly caught by the gates which drop VERY quickly, without sufficient warning in my view. Luckily I had the presence of mind to not make a dangerous stop that could have launched me from my bike into the path of the train. Although intuitively that’s what I wanted to do and would have done in a car, it was simply safer to accelerate and finish crossing.

However, I don’t defend any cyclist who tries to run the gates or go around on the sidewalk. We don’t know what happened here. I don’t have anymore news about the cyclist aside from what was in the blurb on KXAN, unfortunately. They did say he or she was “trauma alert.” Let’s hope they make a full recovery.

I hope this has been an educational post for you. If you liked it, please share widely as below. Thanks!

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