Last month your faithful cyclist and semi-regular bicycle activist (moi) attended a City of Austin open house. Today they sent out a follow-up notice, and I’m sharing it with you. It has some interesting approaches to making this street safer, but they aren’t a done deal yet. We have to make sure Austin doesn’t give up and cede the road back to cars. Even if you don’t live here, you might find the way they (we) do things here to improve safety for walkers and bicyclists interesting.
Sorry, with coronavirus rearing its ugly head, even leading to the cancellation of South by Southwest for the first time in its 34-year history, I should say pedestrians. Walkers are what the survivors call the zombies in The Walking Dead. I didn’t get any good shifts and was going to sit out SXSW anyway, but I have mixed feelings about it. That’s because there are 0 reported cases in Austin. Well, let’s just hope there are more of us in The Cycling Alive group when it’s all over.
In my fourth annual post about living without a car, 14 Years Not a Slave to Cars, I talked about the obvious benefits of riding a bike and not having a car. Of course there’s helping the environment, getting exercise and Vitamin D, and getting to write blog posts that are read and celebrated by 10’s of people around the world. But there are downsides, too. Let’s talk about it!
NOTE 1: If you clicked on, read or liked my Southern Walnut Creek post, please feel free to do so again. I accidentally duplicated it so removed the post.
NOTE 2: You may have seen that sometimes I’m scheduling posts for early on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. Normally I post late Monday, Wednesday or Friday. But I think I may be losing a few potential viewers the latter way, so I’m trying the former. What are your thoughts about the schedule? Please let me know in a comment.
Dr. Adonia E. Lugo, (maybe I’ll call her Doctor Wheelgood), who is Affiliate Faculty in Urban Sustainability at Antioch University Los Angeles, was here in Austin for the Imagine Austin Speaker Series. Her talk was called, “Mobility Justice: People Power & the Future of Urban Transportation.”Those in attendance said it was quite good. I wouldn’t know.
Today’s main local paper Austin American-Statesman had an article titled “Austin’s strategic mobility plan hits home stretch.” It looks at ways to improve bike lanes, sidewalks, public transit and even roads so that people can move about the city better. The deadline for answering a poll about the plan is Sunday, January 13th, so the update is welcome. It also reveals some cracks in the fuselage.
(Is anyone getting my Planes, Trains and Automobiles reference? Hello, anyone? We miss you, John Candy.) Minor things like how will it be paid for, and will people agree to give up car lanes. A Dude has some thoughts, so let’s take off, eh, hosers? Continue reading →
Today I went on yet another 30 minute daily walk. I try to go early because it’s so friggin’ hot and humid here in Austin, Texas in late June. Summer came early this year (thanks, global warming!). While there are strategies for dealing with the heat that I outlined in a previous blog, acclimation – getting used to it – is inevitable if you want to keep up a fitness routine. (Thanks to Julie78787 for reminding us of this important step.)
But I’m finding my walking is getting a little stagnant. I’m not a morning person but that’s the best time to go to get some Vitamin D without too much harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. It’s not led to any weight loss, noticeable gains in strength, or huge uplift in my mood. But I keep doing it because I believe that it will pay long-term benefits. Here are some: Continue reading →
Volunteering to Make Austin’s Streets Safer for All
Today A Dude visited the downtown Austin, Texas office of Central Texas’s leading bicycling and pedestrian advocacy and education non-profit organization, Bike Austin. My goal? To get trained by amazing Community Development Planner Shavone Otero on how to engage Austin businesses to become members to keep the group alive. That’s her pointing at me in the photograph. Together with the Bike Austin Education Fund, their mission is to:
“…improve quality of life for all of Austin and Central Texas by growing bicycling as a form of transportation, exercise, and recreation.”
Pretty simple, but not so easy to implement. Austin traffic continues to worsen, with projected population growth. Amazon is considering us for another headquarters, which would add 50,000 employees and their families to the roadways. According to the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, Austin ranked 42nd worst traffic in theworld. Drivers spent almost two full days per year in their car. That’s up 24 slots from 66th worst in 2016. So bicycling is going to play a vital role in that whole… let’s just call it a mess. Continue reading →