The city of Austin added a new group of three streets to its Healthy Streets initiative as of July 27, closing down thru traffic in order to encourage outdoor, socially distanced exercise.

Austin City Council passed a resolution in May to start the pilot program, which still allows vehicle traffic for residents, deliveries and emergencies but otherwise keeps the streets open only for bikers, walkers, runners and others getting outdoor exercise.

An initial group of streets closed May 21, and the new streets—located in South Austin, Hyde Park and Windsor Park—were added in July.

The Austin Transportation Department is selecting streets on a rolling basis and will post additional batches of proposed streets on its website for residents to review and provide feedback.
Urban trail could connect South Austin to airport

Local officials are studying an abandoned, 6-mile-long rail corridor linking South Austin to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and looking for resident feedback about developing the corridor as a pedestrian and bike trail with options to expand public transit in the future.

The Bergstrom Spur Rail Line was formerly a connection to the Bergstrom Air Force Base but has been decommissioned since 1993 and today sits mostly in disrepair, according to a video produced by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

In 2019, CAMPO provided the go ahead for a study looking at the possibility of a trail along the spur. A report from that study will be ready later in 2020, at which point the conversation will move to funding and building the trail.

But before the study is completed, officials are looking to gather more feedback from the public. A virtual open house and videos outlining the specific segments of the project are available on CAMPO's website through Aug. 14.

Austin BCycle program to expand under Capital Metro umbrella

A program to bring the city of Austin's BCycle program under the umbrella of Capital Metro was approved by the public transportation agency's board July 20 and is scheduled to launch in the fall.

Chad Ballentine, vice president for demand response and innovative mobility at Capital Metro, told board members July 20 that Capital Metro would purchase 200 ebikes to expand its fleet as part of the program, which would be rebranded as "MetroBike."

Ballentine had previously told board members the service would allow residents to purchase a one-day Capital Metro pass on their phones that would allow them to ride both public transportation and city-owned bicycles. The vote passed 7-1, with board member and Leander Mayor Troy Hill voting against.