With the growing number of cyclists, cities will have to adapt to increased strain on their infrastructures as bikes and motor vehicles compete for space. In Austin, the city is considering a new bike plan. It calls for some interesting additions — most of which make perfect sense.
- A north-south and east-west dedicated bike “boulevard.” This would probably be a bike lane added to existing major thorofares, but the hope is that more people will choose to cycle if bike lanes are available on busy streets.
- Prohibiting parking in bike lanes, and making them tow-away zones.
- Requiring bike lanes on all new roads, and adding them to existing roads.
- Full time funding for the city Bicycle Coordinator (this has been an easy target for budget cuts in the past).
- A permanent Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission to make sure the city keeps meeting the needs of cyclists.
- A timetable to make sure these things get done in a timely manner.
Heck, these kinds of improvements could probably be made in cities all across the country. Austin grew rapidly during the 1990s, and that growth catered more to cars than to alternative or mass transportation. We have some catching up to do.
Today, I signed a petition encouraging the City Council to adopt such a Bike Plan. I’m looking forward to riding in a more bike-friendly city.