Here are visible signs that the “Bicycle Boulevard” and the accompanying traffic calming improvements are taking shape. After breakfast, yesterday, I snapped this photo of the construction at Rio Grande and 10th Street (POV is south along Rio Grande).
I really like this. Traffic circles are… just… charming. This should be complementary to the Original Austin neighborhood.
Rainey Street has one that I go around most days. It seems to be effective. They encourage drivers to pay more attention, and to interact with other drivers through gazes, gestures, and waves.
ACC Motorist says
The construction is really progressing nicely. I attend ACC’s Rio Grande campus. For health reasons I cannot cycle. That being said, just as when I was in London a year ago, the roundabouts that have been decided on make me more cautious as a driver at intersections. However, this is Austin, not London and behaviour on the roads varies greatly between the two locales. It’s my opinion that roundabouts should be more of a focus in state licensed Drivers Ed and Defensive Driving courses. I think that’s the best we can hope for right now, however I do not believe that this should be considered a Bicycle Boulevard nor should it be closed off to motor vehicles.
Atlanta Events says
Well, I, for one, hope this does work out to benefit the cyclists of Austin. I know many major cities could use, or are trying to become, more bicycle friendly and it seems like any effort is at least a step in the right direction. I do know, in Austin, there are plenty of cyclists and that any effort to make it safer could help.
When I lived in South Austin off Bouldin I used to enjoy these. But riding my bike down there, there was always a lot less traffic and for the most part drives were cool and I never had any problems.
Austin Healy says
The design looks better than the one on Rainey. It seems much bigger, and appears to have a cut out (curb) going through the cross street.
I ride through the rotary on Rainey daily, and see where the benefits to cyclist could exist. Unfortunately, the size of the rotary and visibility of cars approaching the rotary make it quite hairy at times. The occasional wrong-way driver and occasional dead-stop-of-confusion also diminish the benefits of these rotaries.
Conversely, locales with many, properly designed rotaries can be very effective for cars and cyclists alike. I commuted for a number of years in and around Boston. There are plenty of rotaries and everyone knows how to negotiate them. They are large so cars entering them must slow down, but the distance between entrances is also larger which gives slower moving traffic like bikes better visibility and opportunity to enter.
Hopefully the design on rio grande is better. Maybe the increase in number around town will improve driver awareness.
ATX Cyclist says
It’s too bad they didn’t build this “boulevard” one block to the east… on Nueces… ya know, where the cyclists ride.
Reducing traffic speed in and of itself does precisely nothing to help cyclists – most people would rather ride Loop 360 than Lamar downtown. Bicycle boulevards are supposed to prioritize bicycle traffic OVER car traffic – and without diverters, this simply is not worthy of the name (as it wasn’t when proposed many months ago).
People in this town let public officials get away with far too much.
Lower speeds reduces cyclist’s chances of being fatally or seriously injured. Would you rather get hit by someone going 20 on Rainey or 70 on 360?
Yet, you say that more people would rather ride on 360 than Lamar. Why? They have much more room to breathe. The road is much much bigger. However, with a compact street such as Rio Grande, safety needs to be a major focus. I will agree that it isn’t a “bicycle boulevard” per se, but at least the idea of one is in the public consciousness now.
I don’t think you got the point. Predictability is better than slow speed. I would rather NOT get hit by a car going 70 than get hit by a car going 20.
But slow speed is better than nothing. I’d rather the city build these traffic circles and have the ability to turn the street into a real “bicycle boulevard” later than just leave it the way it was.
The traffic circles do nothing to accomplish the goals of a bicycle boulevard. Not sure where you ever got that idea. The entire point of a bike boulevard is to make it more convenient for through cyclists than it is for through motorists (this almost always requires at least a diverter or two that cyclists can go through but motorists cannot).
The traffic circle is actually tipping the balance even further towards through motorists. For instance, I intend on driving home on this route once in a while from work while I don’t today – thanks to the 4-way stops.
I’m a bit confused about how this benefits cyclists at all. Drivers in this city will yield to a stop sign, but rarely to a cyclist. Entering a round about on a bike at any speed seems like a sure fire way to get run over. I browsed the presentation on this and it doesn’t look like they’re closing the roads to vehicle traffic. Most existing round abouts with bike lanes leading too them don’t provide any safety for cyclists, typically you just lose the bike lane all together through the intersections.
Maybe I’m missing something, but I’d much rather deal with stop signs. Preferably get rid of most of the 4 way stops and create uninterrupted stretches of road that are easier for cyclists and cars to get between more significant intersections. Rio Grande for example could be free of stop signs except for south of 6th, and 12th and 15th intersections. I ride from Barton Springs to ACC Rio for class all the time and take Lamar, it’s much easier to ride with real traffic than deal with inner neighborhood streets. Particularly since the pedestrian bridge is really only useful if you’re riding around for recreation. That extension quite annoying dumps you in the middle of nothing with quite a few obstacles preventing you from carrying any speed once you exit the extension to the north.
Here, take a look at this: http://www.streetfilms.org/mba-traffic-calming/
Traffic circles are meant to reduce overall speed of cars by creating not only physical obstacles, but psychic ones as well. The less room a car has to navigate in, the slower it will go. Which brings me to my next link:
That graph (it’s for pedestrians, but the data is pretty much the same) shows that while cycling with “real traffic” might be easier (I find it uncomfortable, but whatever), you have a much greater chance of being fatally injured.
Also, less exhaust fumes.
Also, more shade.
Emphasis on air quotes – this is NOT a bicycle boulevard by any reasonable definition of the term.