Travis County moves forward with bike safety plans

Austin-area residents have numerous off-road cycling facilities such as trails and the Veloway in Circle C. The Travis County Commissioners Court recently approved on-road bicycle facility improvement plans such as widening shoulders and adding pedestrian hybrid beacons.

Austin-area residents have numerous off-road cycling facilities such as trails and the Veloway in Circle C. The Travis County Commissioners Court recently approved on-road bicycle facility improvement plans such as widening shoulders and adding pedestrian hybrid beacons.

The Travis County Commissioners Court approved next steps for a few bicycle safety projects at its May 3 meeting.

Voters approved $3.3 million of bond funds in 2011 to address bike safety issues in the county, and the court appointed members to a Bicycle Safety Task Force to develop recommendations on how to spend those funds. The task force looked for gaps in the network and aimed to address obvious safety issues in multiple precincts of the county, BSTF member Erick Benz told commissioners May 3.

“A second grader riding to school has different needs from a recreational cyclist, and they need different facilities,” said Benz, who is also board president of local group Bike Austin.

Commissioners approved the list of recommended bicycle safety projects for 2011 bond funds on a 3-0-2 vote. The task force’s recommended projects included:

  • adding bicycle facilities on Howard Lane to improve connectivity to Capital Metro’s Howard Lane bus station

  • adding facilities on Bullick Hollow Road from RM 620 to FM 2769, including an additional 2-foot shoulder to provide a buffer for cyclists

  • adding shoulders along Circle Drive from W. Hwy. 290 to Thomas Springs Road

  • smoothing road surface for cyclists along shoulders of Southwest Parkway from Travis Cook Road to W. Hwy. 71

  • adding a pedestrian hybrid beacon at Quinlan Park Road near Steiner Ranch Elementary School

  • adding a pedestrian hybrid beacon at Johnny Morris Road at Daffan Lane

Additionally, Benz said the BSTF encourages the county to develop a comprehensive Travis County bicycle master plan and approve a position in its 2017 operating budget for a bicycle/pedestrian planning staffer. The court did not vote on those items.

Commissioners voted 4-0-1 to create a bicycle advisory committee. The court also approved a document listing potential projects for future county and city bond elections, including bicycle facility improvements in Austin and Pflugerville, with another 4-0-1 vote.

Commissioner Ron Davis abstained from each vote, citing financial concerns and adding that he wanted more feedback from Travis County Transportation & Natural Resources staff before making a decision.

Resident John Woodley, who said he is an advocate for disability access, stated the county could seek federal funding to make Americans with Disabilities Act improvements to the proposed projects.

“Some of the plans are to give an extra two feet of [space for cyclists],” he said. “I don’t think that’s quite enough to include people with disabilities who have to use a wheelchair, for example.”

Cyd Grimes, Travis County Purchasing Agent and property owner, said making improvements along Hamilton Pool Road—which were among the potential project candidates for future bond elections—would be too expensive and cyclists could instead be diverted into the existing cycling trails system. She added road development in the area would be difficult since it is designated as a preserve.

“We need to be very careful in these highly environmentally sensitive areas that you and the taxpayers have spent millions of dollars to make a preserve and a nice park,” she said.
By Kelli Weldon
Kelli joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter and has been covering Southwest Austin news since July 2012. She was promoted to editor of the Southwest Austin edition in April 2015. In addition to covering local businesses, neighborhood development, events, transportation and education, she is also the beat reporter covering the Travis County Commissioners Court.


Face coverings are now required for those entering polling places in Texas during the general election. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Citing racial discrimination, district court judge voids exemption to face covering order for voters, poll workers

A district judge's decision sided with arguments that an exemption to the statewide face covering order violated the Voting Rights Act due to disproportionate effects of COVID-19 for Black and Latino Americans.

The Native Plant Sale is open to reservations only through Nov. 22. (Courtesy Lady Bird Wildflower Center)
From fall festivals to 5Ks, here are 16 events to put on your calendar in Southwest Austin, Dripping Springs and around the region

From the virtual Texas Book Festival to ghost tours in Georgetown, find an event to attend this October and November.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir speaks to reporters Oct. 28 at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex in East Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Travis County breaking voting records; clerk expects turnout to climb as high as 80%

More than 480,000 ballots have been cast in Travis County, surpassing the total from the 2016 presidential election.

Photo of new construction in process
South Austin developer sues city in ongoing saga to improve permitting process

An Austin developer alleged the city circumvented a state law that requires permitting to take place within 30 days.

Photo of boarded-up Sixth Street bars
With COVID-19 projections 'bleak' through Thanksgiving, Travis County keeps bars closed

Statistical models from the University of Texas show a 92% chance the pandemic is worsening, but the increase in cases and hospitalizations have leveled off in the last few days.

Slab BBQ owner Raf Robinson said the payroll protection program saved his restaurant. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
'I just need to pay the rent:' Austin small businesses in survival mode are doing everything in their power to outlast the pandemic

From selling inventory to flipping their business models to changing a yoga studio into a coworking space, small business owners are trying to avoid adding their names to the growing list of locally owned Austin institutions that have shut down.

Customers can order Goodstock Angus and Goodstock Black Label beef, including ribeye steaks, strip steaks, filets and ground chuck. (Courtesy Nolan Ryan brands)
Nolan Ryan expands Round Rock-based butcher business and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Burnet Road at West Braker Lane
Corridor projects along South Lamar Boulevard, Burnet Road will break ground by early 2021

Two corridor roadway projects approved in the city of Austin’s 2016 Mobility Bond are moving forward after recently receiving environmental clearances.

Screen shot of a Zoom board meeting
Dripping Springs ISD Superintendent Todd Washburn resigns; Brett Springston is named interim replacement

Less than a year after he was hired, Superintendent Todd Washburn is departing Dripping Springs ISD.

An "I Voted" sticker is left outside the Northwest Recreation Center in Austin, one of 37 early voting polling places open in Travis County. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than half of all Travis County voters have cast their ballots, exceeding early voting turnout percentage in 2016

More than 448,000 votes have been cast in Travis County. Early voting closes on Oct. 30.

Austin ISD trustees met Oct. 26, discussing in-person learning during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Twice as many Austin elementary students have returned to campus compared to first day of in-person instruction, district says

Austin ISD will open its campuses to accommodate all students who request in-person instruction beginning Nov. 2.