Improving Austin Transportation: Easy Changes For Safety
There are a lot of things that need to happen soon to make downtown Austin more manageable without a car.
The most urgent problem is that the crosswalk/ bike path under I-35 at 4th street needs to be vastly improved before someone gets killed. I’ve seen several verbal altercations between bicyclists/ pedestrians and drivers at this spot over the years. Having a plain crosswalk on a highway access road feels very dangerous as a pedestrian. At the very least it’s time to put crossing lights at this crosswalk! While having a cop directing traffic at this intersection during much of SXSW is a good stopgap measure, the City of Austin needs to assign someone to that intersection full-time until changes can be made!
Austin also needs much more bike parking downtown. It’s hard to find a place to park your bike at many downtown events, which discourages biking. It would be nice to add some secure (paid) bike parking as well, as I’m pretty sure the crime stats will show the number of bikes stolen in Austin to be pretty high!
Finally, it’s way past time to start better regulating Austin pedicabs as passenger vehicles. NYC and San Diego have already seen accidents where passengers in pedicab accidents were hurt or killed, so there is a need. Under current regulations, Austin pedicabs make walking and biking around the city more difficult, as their wide vehicles make full use of narrow sidewalks. One Canadian pedestrian who is visiting for the festival reported being clipped by a pedicab!
I’m a chubby girl on a 20 year-old beater bike, and I’m a lot faster than an empty pedicab! That can’t be good for the current state of gridlock on Austin streets!
Austin pedicabs: Obey basic traffic laws. Splitting lanes & swerving in front of cars is not a good look. It's like the wild west downtown.
— DJ Mel (@DJMel) March 10, 2014