The group, convened by local bicycle advocacy organization Bike ATX, featured some riders in jerseys, padded shorts and spandex, and others with children’s seats. All of the riders were there to celebrate a milestone for a city project to add protected bike lanes along Shoal Creek.
Construction began in 2019, and the Austin Transportation Department has been working in segments to open the protected lanes on Shoal Creek. When completed this summer, the project will feature two-way bike lanes along Shoal Creek from West 38th Street to Foster and a one-way bike lane continuing up to US 183, a roughly 5-mile stretch of road.
A significant section of that two-way bicycle lane opened Feb. 7 on Shoal Creek between Foster and Shoalmont Drive, adding to some already completed sections. The remaining portion, set to open later this year, will run from Shoalmont to W. 39 1/2 Street.
Not everyone in the neighborhood is pleased with the changes. Allandale resident Becky Robinson said the narrowing of the vehicle lanes has put cars too close together, especially at the entrance to Northwest Park and the intersection of Shoal Creek and Foster. She said with so much ongoing home construction work, trucks are using the road frequently and finding the lanes hard to navigate.
“[The city] had a good idea in mind, but they went a little too far with it. I think whoever designed it probably does not live in this neighborhood,” she said.
David Henderson is a resident of the Brentwood neighborhood who has cycled for more than 40 years. He said he previously rode north on Shoal Creek in the vehicle lane but now has switched to the bike lanes. He defended bike riders in a neighborhood Nextdoor thread and said, after experiences on his bike with drivers “buzzing” him by swerving too close, he wishes the anti-bike rhetoric could be toned down.
“I’m very defensive when it comes to people complaining about bikes. There’s no reason for it, in my opinion,” he said.
Since the opening of the new stretch of bike lanes, parking is prohibited on the west side of Shoal Creek between Foster and Shoalmont. Construction began in mid-February at the intersection of 45th Street and Shoal Creek, which will allow the next section to be installed, per ATD. The work is expected to take about 10-13 weeks.