Bike paths come to “Main Street of Texas”. Austin Transportation is introducing new bike lanes on Congress Avenue, the department said on June 22.
The new lanes will lead from Riverside Drive to 11th Street “to improve safety and comply with risk-based COVID-19 guidelines to ensure adequate physical distance for all users [Congress] Avenue and Ann Richards Bridge. “Heavy pedestrian use of the avenue sidewalks makes it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain six feet of distance in some places.
The bike paths will be cordoned off with traffic cones, but Austin Transportation says it shouldn’t interfere with parking lots, area shops, or access to residential areas.
The new lanes on Congress Avenue will be installed on June 30th. Although they’re temporary, the department doesn’t have an end date yet. Instead, a press release states: “The temporarily protected bike lanes and the option to switch to a more permanent installation are part of Congress Avenue’s Urban Design Initiative and an important step towards realizing the vision and improving safety and mobility for everyone [Congress] Avenue.”
Congress Avenue’s Urban Design Initiative is part of Imagine Austin, a proposal adopted in 2012 to turn the city center into a walk-in, integrative space for everyone.
In May, more than 1,000 residents signed a petition calling for the cycling routes to be included in Congress. During its June 11th session, the Austin City Council formally passed the measure.
The onset of COVID-19 and the need for residents to have access to outdoor areas where they can safely adhere to social distancing protocols have led to an increase in projects like this and the Healthy Streets initiative. In addition to Congress, special cycle paths were recently added to Pleasant Valley Road across Longhorn Dam and the Riverside between South First Street Street and Lee Barton Drive.