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CAMPO Bicycle & Pedestrian Subcommittee recommends bicycle infrastructure in new projects

Posted Jan 14 2009 6:55pm

Yesterday, the Bicycle & Pedestrian Subcommittee of CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) met to consider bicycle and pedestrian accommodations in upcoming projects and make recommendations to the CAMPO board. For those unfamiliar with CAMPO, it is the regional planning organization that determines how highway dollars get spent. The subcommittee includes representatives from TxDOT, Capital Metro, the City of Austin, and University of Texas as well as CAMPO staff.

Getting your voice heard on bicycle facilities in new projects

Five projects for the 2008- 20011 cycle are up for Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Requested Amendments (say that five times fast) at the upcoming CAMPO board meeting. This process is done every six months by CAMPO to ensure projects are addressing current needs. Here they are as well as what bicycle and pedestrian facilities are being recommended by the committee.

1. Model Improvement sponsored by CAMPO
Description: Implement transit model improvement
Total Project Cost: $50,000 
Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities: Not Applicable
Austin Bike Blog Note: This is to fund a study to improve how transit is implemented in CAMPO planning. As this does not directly effect cyclists, there is no provision for Bicycle and Pedestrian.

2.  Improvement to Howard Lane sponsored by Travis County
Description: Four lane divided highway with bike lanes and sidewalks on Howard Lane between Cameron Road and SH 130
Total Project Cost: $22,000,000
Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities: Bicycle Lanes and sidewalks on both sides of road built to AASHTO Standards.
Austin Bike Blog Note: Understanding that it is far cheaper to build roads with bicycle facilities from the start than retrofit, this recommendation includes provisions for those choosing to go by bike or foot. Rob D’Amico from the League of Bicycle Voters asked if the bike facilities meant real bike lanes or just sidewalks. Greg Griffin with CAMPO indicated that the construction would be by AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) standards which should mean real bike lanes with sufficient space.

3. Improvements to 3177 sponsored by TxDOT
Description: Realignment of .83 miles of roadway from US 290 to Lindell Lane
Cost: $7,500,000
Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities: Sidewalks and wide outer lane for cyclists.
Austin Bike Blog Note:  No bike lanes here but a wide shoulder for cyclists. You might want to take advantage of the feedback process listed below if we want to see bicycle lanes on this stretch of road.

4. Improvements to US 71 (Ben White) at IH 35 sponsored by TxDOT
Description: Construction of direct connectors (fly-overs)
Cost: $47,400,000
Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities: None.
Austin Bike Blog Note: If you have been on any of the fly-overs at Ben White and I-35, you know some of them are incomplete, i.e. they stop in midair. This will complete them. No accommodations are being make for cyclists and pedestrians because this use of the fly-over ramps is discouraged for safety reasons. Sidewalks and wide shoulders will still be available on the access road at these intersections.

5. Construction of SH 45 sponsored by TxDOT
Description: Planned route of SH 45 from Loop 1 to 1626 including 4 tolled lanes and 2 non-tolled access roads.
Cost: $6,000,000
Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities: Wide outer lanes and shoulders on the access roads and sidewalks for pedestrians where appropriate.
Austin Bike Blog Note: The key words on this one for cyclists and pedestrians is where appropriate. It was indicated that much of this is determined by requests by developers and current land use. Considering how divided our community has been about toll roads, you would think facilities that provide public benefit like bike lanes and sidewalks would be included. If you want to ensure that there are facilities at the time of construction, I would suggest you take advantage of the feedback process below to make your viewpoint heard.

Map of TIP Amendments for 2008-2011 projects

Map of TIP Amendments for 2008-2011 projects

CAMPO is taking additional public comment on TIP Amendments at several hearings later this month. If you wish to attend to make your voice heard, visit the CAMPO calendar to find the listing of hearing locations and times. 

Standardizing bicycle and pedestrian counts

There was additional discussion about coming up with a standardized way to track bicycle and pedestrian trips in the Austin metro area. Currently, the City of Austin does this tracking on a limited project by project basis, but no one does regular counts at the same locations year after year. It was suggested that CAMPO would be the natural organization to do this regular research.

Subcommittee chair and CAMPO Senior Planner Greg Griffin indicated that staff had found a way to fund most of a pilot but needs to find $6000 more in funding. The pilot would look at 10 locations in the CAMPO planning area including locations that have recently received facilities improvements. Austin Cycling Association has been suggested as a possible funding partner, but others are being looked at. 

The CAMPO Bicycle & Pedestrian Subcommittee meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 1:30 in Suite 700 of One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road. Greg Griffin is the contact person for the subcommittee and can be reached at (512) 974-2084 or greg.griffin@campotexas.org.

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