Aleksiina Chapman from the City of Austin Transportation Department spoke at our most recent Friends of Hyde Park monthly meeting. Here are her responses to some of our biking concerns:
1) Hyde Park - East Side Connectivity
a) 51st street: there is a need for a protected bike lane from airport to 1-35. This would provide safe uninterrupted passage from Hyde Park all the way to the Mueller development.
• 51st Street across IH-35 will have wide sidewalk and buffered bike lanes
• Cameron Rd bike lanes will be extended south to meet 51st
• No immediate opportunity between Airport and IH-35; adding bicycle lanes would require street widening or reducing the number of vehicle travel lanes. A lane reconfiguration will not be precluded with TxDOT project. Community discussions and traffic analysis would be required for any changes on this street.
b) 381/2 street: there is a need for a protected bike lane from Red River to Cherrywood. This would provide safe uninterrupted passage from Hyde Park all the way to Cherrywood and be a great way to get to the new Manor businesses on the East Side without having to go to Dean Keaton.
• Plans to extend the bicycle lanes with resurfacing on both sides of IH-35.
• IH-35 corridor plan recognizes 38th ½ as an important bicycle crossing
• TxDOT coordination would be required for improvements on the IH-35 crossing and analysis would happen with resurfacing or reconstruction.
c) 45th Street – a lane conversion project was considered in 2000. Would this be possible today?
• 20,000 – 25,000 upper limits of lane conversion projects
• Could be potential but it’s high volume
• Support for this type of project from the neighborhood is highly influential
2) Hyde Park - Lamar Connectivity
There is no easy and safe way to reach Lamar Blvd. from Hyde Park, even though Central Park is a huge draw from people from the neighborhood and it's right next to us. Plenty of people would bike to Central Market and the surrounding stores if it were doable.
A lot of people have suggested using the Austin State Mental Hospital as a great pathway towards Lamar. The investment would be minimal, some paint and creating an opening towards the Central Market parking lot. A lot of more experienced bikers already use it as a safe shortcut, but it would draw so many more cyclists if it were official.
• This has not been explored. We can keep it on our radar for opportunities.
• If this site is redeveloped there is a high chance that a connection can be negotiated.
3) Focused Road Maintenance
There are four major arteries that connect Hyde Park cyclists to campus, Red River, Duval, Speedway and Guadalupe. Of these, we have heard major and consistent complaints about the structural integrity and safety of Speedway and Guadalupe:
a) Speedway: Speedway north of 38th all the way to the intramural fields needs urgent repaving. Potholes, cracks, and uneven surfaces make it unsafe and painful (literally!) to ride, even though a lot of students live in the area and use it daily to commute to class/work.
• Speedway south of 38th Street is scheduled for resurfacing in the next 2 weeks. The bike lanes will be widened and parking will be removed from the bicycle lanes.
• Speedway north of 38th Street requires full depth repairs and is tentatively scheduled for FY 2016 (Oct 2015 to Oct 2016)
b) Guadalupe: While the new bike lane is great, and still in decent shape, debris frequently collects along it, creating unsafe obstacles for people on bicycles. Because of how busy the road is, this could prove to be very dangerous for someone that has an accident due to branches or gravel that accumulates on the bike lane. The city should make an effort to keep the bike lane clear as much as possible.
• The city reacts to citizen feedback on these types of issues. The best way to resolve debris in a bike lane is by calling 311 and reporting the issue. You can also submit 311 online or through the app.