The city reached the milestone June 19 and is on track to finish the entire 400-plus mile network earlier than expected by 2025. Its website states that paths on the network can take many forms, including protected bicycle lanes, neighborhood bikeways and urban trails.
While the initiative overall is ahead of schedule, the transportation department expected to reach the halfway point in 2020.
“The city was on track to meet that, however, upon the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, that progress was disrupted, as it was for many other city services, due to resources shifting to respond to the emergency,” said Jack Flagler, public information specialist with the Austin Transportation Department.
According to the press release, 64% of Austinites now live within a half-mile of an All Ages and Abilities bikeway. It also said that 51% of the bikeway is within a quarter-mile of a Capital Metro bus, rail or MetroRapid stop.
“Building out this All Ages and Abilities bicycle network to encourage bicycling benefits the entire community by improving mental and physical health, delivering on Austin’s Climate Equity Plan and fostering a livable, affordable and sustainable future for all Austinites,” Assistant City Manager Gina Fiandaca said in the press release.
The most recently completed stretch of the network runs along Manor Road from Dean Keeton Street to Springdale Road. That 5-mile stretch of protected bikeway finished in late August.
The effort aligns with the city’s goal of having 50% of the population use public transit, walk, carpool, ride a scooter or bike instead of only driving by 2039.
The pandemic affected the evaluation of progress toward that goal too, as many people are no longer commuting to work, Flagler said.
The initiative has received support from multiple government agencies, including the transportation department, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and the city of Austin Public Works Department.