Bike to the Future

May is bike month, a chance to celebrate all things bicycle! Lots of Austinites are going bike crazy, so this is a great time to look back and reflect on how far we’ve come in making it easier to bike around Austin.

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In late 2012, bicycling experts from the Netherlands dropped by and asked us to Think Bike. Their insights paved the way for Austin to become one of six cities to be chosen to participate in the Green Lane Project and to start thinking about bike lanes much differently. We now have Green Lanes and you can see how they work on the ground in our community. The Green Lane pictured above is on Guadalupe Street, one of the pilot tracks, and is highly used and highly visible. The success of these early pilots is leading the City of Austin to planning for more Green Lane projects on key corridors and as a “last mile” connection to transit hubs. Check out this great video, which features Austin’s lanes and an interview with an employee of Movability member Rallyhood, for more on how protected bike lanes benefit all road users.

And speaking of transit, Capital Metro came to the bike party as well. As many commuters know, transit works great when combined with bicycling. Capital Metro buses can now hold 3 bikes, and seven secure bike parking facilities called MetroBike are now open at MetroRail and MetroRapid stops!

Bike fever isn’t just catching among cyclists either. Some of our local businesses already understand that bikes mean business. And they are starting to understand how to cater to their cycling customers. People for Bikes featured a number of Austin businesses in its latest report.

And how about our latest jewel in the Violet Crown City, Austin B-Cycle? The bike share system is breaking records already, as Austinites and visitors both find many reasons to love bike share. B-Cycle has proven to be a great way to get around downtown, while avoiding traffic and parking headaches.

At Movability, while we love bicycling, we love all modes equally. We understand cycling will work well for people closer to downtown and for trips around downtown. Soon it can also enable easier use of bus and rail for many customers, expanding the reach of transit.

Six percent of downtown travel is done by bicycle, and that is a great thing. If those cyclists were driving, already bad congestion would escalate exponentially and parking would over flow into adjacent neighborhoods. All of the bike projects together with the many other mobility improvements happening across Austin are critical for helping even more people to choose a bike when it makes sense. Now all that’s left is for you to do your part and give them a try!

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