Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Austin Bike Petition

In CAse you didn't know, there is a petition that you need to sign. You can find it here.

The Austin Bike Plan petition is a chance for you to tell the Austin City Council to prioritize bicycle infrastructure so our residents can use this low cost, low emission form of transportation for most of their daily needs.

Currently, the City of Austin is updating its Bike Plan to adapt to current needs. Rising fuel costs, global warming, and an economic downturn have caused a record number of Austinites to turn to cycling to meet many of their transportation needs. Unfortunately, Austin’s infrastructure has not kept up with this demand forcing cars and bikes to share the same road space, at times in dangerous ways.

In fact, a recent report produced by the City of Austin Street Smarts Task Force found that only 1/3rd of the facilities proposed in the last plan adopted in 1996 have actually been completed- all during a period when the Austin area was growing by an average of 4000 new residents/month.

Citizens for Transportation Choices is circulating this petition to demand the City of Austin take transportation cycling seriously with several key commitments and a clear timetable for implementation.
Our Austin Bike Plan Petition calls for:

* Adoption of a Bike Plan with clear timelines for full implementation. By requiring timelines, the City can come up with a realistic plan that citizens can easily monitor the progress of. This will prevent having another 12 years pass with only 1/3rd implementation.
* Establish both an initial North-South and East-West cross town dedicated bike trail or bicycle boulevard. A recent Portland State University study found that good bike lanes encourage both regular and casual bike riders to ride more. An initial cross town road that separates bikes from car traffic, many more Austinites will take advantage of biking for transportation. The success of this route could then lead to a network of other dedicated routes connecting the entire city.
* Prohibit vehicle parking in marked bicycle lanes and establish these lanes as “tow away” zones. A bicycle is a vehicle and is treated like one by Texas law, yet the City of Austin allows cars to shut down traffic by parking in bike lanes. This forces cyclists into traffic and renders bike lanes useless. Disrupting car traffic like this would not be acceptable, and it shouldn’t be acceptable for bike traffic if the City is serious about its commitment to cycling.
* Commit to building bicycle facilities/infrastructure on all new roads and improvements to current arterial roads where these facilities/infrastructure do not already exist. Installing bike facilities is very inexpensive, even less so when new roads are being built or current roads are being improved. By requiring facilities such as bike lanes or bike boulevards on arterial roads under construction, we can make it easier for cyclists to safely travel on our transit corridors.
* Funding for full time staffing of the Bicycle Coordinator and a minimum of two paid positions charged with educational and promotional activities in accordance with best practices of other cities. The Bicycle Coordinator at the City of Austin has been inconsistently funded in the past including previous funding cuts and elimination of the position. This critical position which oversees all bike projects and the Bike Plan needs to be fully funded for a full time staff to ensure bicycle infrastructure receives the focus it deserves. Additional staff for education and promotion as recommended by the Street Smarts Task Force will ensure bicycle transportation is properly promoted and cyclist on the street are riding safely.
* Establish a permanent City Council appointed advisory Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission to make ongoing recommendations. Once a new Bike Plan is implemented, it is critical that it continue to be reviewed and updated to adapt to emerging critical needs and well as ensuring the Plan is meeting timelines. A permanent citizen lead commission would serve this roll providing continual citizen input to make sure the plan continues to meet the needs of our city.

So go do it already.....gah....

til next time


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