Today is November 3, 2020. In the United States, it’s Election Day. Either the country will re-elect the incumbent President or the former Vice President. (Or maybe the Russians will manipulate some people to do their bidding.) The point is, it’s a big deal. Why? Because of the scope of radical changes #45 has made, most of which most of the US is about to pass judgment on.
But this is a bike blog, and while the personal is political, I don’t like to irritate readers who may be from across the aisle. I also pull no punches if I do write about politics. In the end, it’s a choice each registered voter has to make for themselves, while hopefully considering the greater good. But only one of the two candidates rides a bike, so it’s a no-brainer.
This past Thursday the City of Austin (Texas) Active Transportation Department had a gathering for interested citizens to come give their input about bike lanes. These roads are really the same, they just change names. After passing one highway, it becomes a six-lane death trap from hell, if you’re on a bicycle. As a cyclist who volunteered numerous times on a committee for just this cause, I was keen to go and see this project finally start to come to life. It’s always interesting to participate in the process of something that could save your own life and that of friends and neighbors. Isn’t that something every bike rider should get behind?
The neighborhood I moved to almost two decades ago is one that I’ve lived in for much of the time since. Although as I detailed in my previous post, I’m in an older, funkier area. In fact, I was living nearby here the very first time I moved to Austin, long ago. Back in my usual digs, the Neighborhood Association (NA) is very organized, and it in turn has a Transportation Committee (TC). Recognizing it as a possible avenue to explore issues of Connectivity, Caution (Safety) and Cleanliness, I attended the meeting Tuesday. That’s what this is about.
After a several year grassroots campaign by members of Bike Austin and Walk Austin, victory was achieved! The City of Austin (Texas) announced it will construct a two-way protected bicycle lane on the west side of the major bike thoroughfare from 38th Street to Foster Lane. From that point to 183, it will put in one-way bicycle lanes on each side of Shoal Creek Boulevard (SCB). This is an important win for bicyclists of all kinds who use the street, as well as for pedestrians. Because currently it’s a mess of weaving in and out of parked cars, which can be deadly. The details are below.
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
Part I: More Data from Garmin Gadgets
I finally made it to Sun & Ski Sports for the sensors. Once I figured out how to sync then with my Garmin vivoactive hr watch, they were easily installed by Mike the Mechanic. Speed is already measured by the watch, but now it can be measured on the home trainer. That is, if we don’t blink and miss Austin’s short winter and I don’t need to pedal inside. However, clearly, I do. The X-Files has been back on for over a week and I hadn’t seen either episode. Such Scully-y and Mulder-y goodness! If you’re not a fan, you have no idea. I’m sure the paranormal investigating FBI agents are cyclists when not busy hunting conspiracies or aliens and such.