Get on Your Bikes and Ride for Bike Month!

Did you know that May is Bike Month?

With the weather still relatively reasonable, it’s a great time to either try out bike commuting for the first time or, if you’re a veteran bike traveler, help folks who are new to bicycling around the city get started. Many active commuters enjoy riding to work because it gives them a workout as they’re commuting and lets them bypass traffic.

The biggest event of Bike Month is Bike to Work Day on May 19, but that’s by no means the only bike-related fun going on this month!

Check out this calendar for a full list of rides that Bike Austin is organizing throughout May. From hilly rides to novice level trips and rides for city commuters to countryside rides, there’s something for everyone on this calendar!

Bike to Work Day will also have plenty of opportunities for both beginner and veteran bike commuters: for those new to bicycling, Bike Austin is organizing a series of “bike trains” – group bike rides to help you get familiar with riding around the city and some of its bike routes. If you don’t have a bike at all, but want to participate, Austin B-Cycle is offering free membership on May 19. Just use code 519 at any B-Cycle kiosk. And for everyone planning to ride to work that day, Bike Austin will have over 40 fueling stations with coffee, snacks, and swag to help you on your way. If you live too far from work to ride, Capital Metro can help! Use the bike racks on their buses to get you and your bike into the city.

This year’s Bike Month is also a great time to take part in a series of City of Austin events marking the launch of the Big Jump Project, a 2017 – 2020 initiative led by PeopleforBikes and nine peer cities across the country in order to achieve a “big jump” in the number of people traveling by bicycle in the city’s central core. The project’s ambitious goal is to double bicycle ridership in three years in Central Austin and make travel by bicycle an even more viable transportation option while expanding the many community benefits that biking brings. Find details on the kick-off events here. 

More information on the Big Jump initiative can be found here.

Photo courtesy of City of Austin

Frustration, Thy Name Is Parking

A recently-completed draft of a Downtown Austin parking study proposes solutions that may help address both congestion and parking challenges, as the number of people coming into downtown grows and development is projected to surge ahead in coming years.

A large part of the recommendations around improving the parking experience in downtown includes helping downtown employees connect with mobility options, thus reducing the parking demand and reducing the congestion caused by vehicles circling to search for parking.

The Downtown Austin Alliance hired Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates to develop downtown parking strategies, and began that work a year ago. Now the initial report and a set of 19 recommendations are done.

Survey responses that Nelson/Nygaard gathered show that almost 75% of downtown employers provide free or subsidized parking, yet few downtown employers offer comprehensive mobility programs to encourage travel by other modes.

By increasing the use of transportation demand management (TDM), which helps more people use alternative transportation options, the demand for parking could ease up. Other recommendations include evaluating the possibility of a park-and-ride circulator to improve transit connections and access to more remote parking; support for employee mobility programs; and revisions to the zoning code to better support walkable, mixed-use development within the downtown.

The findings support the work that Movability Austin does with employers, helping them develop mobility policies and giving their employees better access to options from teleworking and flex hours to transit passes or car share memberships.

Are you an Austin employer frustrated by the high costs or dearth or parking? Contact us to talk about how we can help!

Click here to learn more about the parking strategy.

Photo courtesy of Nelson/Nygaard

Vision Zero Improvements Mean Safer Streets

As part of the Vision Zero Program to end Austin traffic fatalities, the Austin Transportation Department (ATD) has completed a safety improvement project around the intersection at North Lamar Boulevard and Rundberg Lane.

The upgrades include medians designed to reduce left-turn crashes, a new pedestrian hybrid beacon, a traffic signal with pedestrian crossings, high-visibility crosswalks, and accessible pedestrian ramps.

Over the course of the past year ATD has also completed Vision Zero safety improvement projects at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and I-35 frontage roads, Cameron Road and the US-183 service roads, and Mount Bonnell Road at RM 2222. ATD began Vision Zero improvements at Lamar Blvd. and Parmer Lane in March, which should wrap up this month.

The Vision Zero work means safer streets, which in turn make it easier for people to get around with mobility options and not rely solely on cars.