Making Guadalupe Less of a Drag

Screen shot 2015-03-04 at 12.22.02 PMThe portion of Guadalupe near campus known as “The Drag” may have originally gotten its nickname in the 1950’s as rambunctious students raced cars down the street, but it is a “drag” for an entirely different reason these days.

During peak traffic times, which are getting longer and longer, The Drag is jam-packed with 1,400 vehicles per hour, 1,461 transit trips per day, 738 people bicycling per hour, and 4,618 people walking per hour.

What we have now is a street designed primarily for cars that has gone through a series of retrofits to add better sidewalks in places, several different versions of bike lanes over the years, and most recently major new transit stations. Then there are sections too narrow to squeeze parking, sidewalks, bike lanes and car/bus lanes between the buildings, so bike lanes or parking disappear and sidewalks are too narrow. On top of all that, the intersections screw up everything, with a couple (those at Dean Keeton and 27th Streets) identified as the least safe intersections in town for pedestrians.

Which is why the Austin Transportation Department is looking into ways to improve the design of The Drag. The study will be completed by summer 2015.

There are serious mobility constraints on The Drag:

  • Public rights-of-ways are very narrow above Dean Keeton.
  • UT Administrators may be amenable to removing some left turns into Campus, but are much less amenable to other possible solutions, e.g., shifting bicycling traffic from Guadalupe into campus.
  • Ever present resistance to removing parking.

The study is currently seeking input on how best to balance all of these competing demands. Are transit-only lanes a higher priority than car traffic lanes or parking? Are more and better intersections needed for the high levels pedestrian traffic and urgent safety needs, even if the intersections mean less vehicle capacity on Guadalupe? Are there good options for shifting cars, bikes, pedestrians, or transit to relieve some of the pressures for “Guadalupe to be all things to all users and failing at most?”

To get involved or just share your views:

4 Responses to Making Guadalupe Less of a Drag

  1. jack says:

    Bicycling on Guadalupe before the installation of the cycle track was safer, faster, and more pleasant than at any time since that installation. Never should a forward-travel lane (as the cycle track is) be placed to the right of traffic that may turn right across it. The green paint is slippery in the wet. Portions of the track are encroached upon by passenger doors of parked cars–and a bicycle that needs to avoid a door has a curb to the right which presents another danger. Never should a bicyclist be directed to the right of a stopped bus loading or unloading passengers.

  2. chris says:

    last time I road the bike on the drag, fo sure it lived up to the old-school term “drag”. Fancy design, green painted “secure space” for bikes for that 1/4 or abouts mile had detoriated, more or less fully unusable from surface damage, debrise and plain ugliness (potentially hiding tire-terrorizing obstacles. If you plan,design and impliment, maintain or get out. (as probably November or December last time I had a look see. I put in a few calls–ny updates?)

  3. jack says:

    Bicycling on Guadalupe before the installation of the cycle track was safer, faster, and more pleasant than at any time since that installation. Never should a forward-travel lane (as the cycle track is) be placed to the right of traffic that may turn right across it. The green paint is slippery in the wet. Portions of the track are encroached upon by passenger doors of parked cars–and a bicycle that needs to avoid a door has a curb to the right which presents another danger. Never should a bicyclist be directed to the right of a stopped bus loading or unloading passengers.

  4. jack says:

    “During peak traffic times . . . The Drag is jam-packed with 1,400 vehicles per hour . . . 738 people bicycling per hour . . . .” So, if we are to believe our eyes, more than half of the 1,400 vehicles per hour on the Drag are bicycles?