Leander City Council approves testing bike lane barrier system

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Leander City Council unanimously approved the installation of a barrier system between the bicycle and vehicle lanes at the intersection of Vista Ridge and Municipal Drive with Bagdad Road during its Thursday night meeting.

Council had previously received requests from Leander ISD and Planning and Zoning Commissioner Marshall Hines to consider the physical bike lane delineators, according to council documents. City staff presented different types of delineators to P&Z during an Aug. 24 meeting, and City Council held a joint workshop with P&Z Thursday evening before the regular council meeting Thursday.

Nine residents spoke in favor of installing the bike lane delineators during the regular meeting.

Several were students from either Camacho Elementary School or Leander Middle School, and nearly all said they have been forced onto the sidewalk while riding their bikes because of cars parking in or pulling into the bike lane.

One of those students was Kamryn Lowery, a fifth grader at Camacho Elementary School.

“Please keep the kids safe and build barriers,” she said. “I ride on the sidewalk when there’s traffic. I should not have to do that. Kids should feel safe riding in the bike lane and not worry about it. That’s why barriers are the answer.”

Several parents raised concerns about drivers using the bike lane as a right turn lane onto Bagdad. Leander resident Kimberly Davies said something needs to be done to make the intersection safer for children riding their bikes to school, but she said the bike lane barrier was not the solution.

“I, too, agree that intersection of Vista Ridge and Municipal Drive is not safe for kids,” she said. “I disagree with the bike lane [delineators]to go up—I think it’s an illusion of safety.”

She suggested looking into other options, such as moving the crosswalk or adding a dedicated turn lane at the intersection for cars turning right.

City Council considered a handful of delineators—a raised concrete “button” that would allow a car to drive over it but still cause the driver to physically notice the barrier or several different types of vertical poles. Prices ranged from around $30 to $150 per each button or pole. (via Caitlin Perrone/Community Impact Newspaper)

Leander Mayor Chris Fielder said the city has been looking at several options aside from the barriers, such as signalization changes. He said a combination of options, such as signalization changes and the bike lane delineators, could be used.

City Council considered a handful of delineators—a raised concrete “button” that would allow a car to drive over it but still cause the driver to physically notice the barrier or several different types of vertical poles. Prices ranged from around $30 to $150 per each button or pole.

The council opted for a series of vertical poles and concrete “buttons” to run along the border of the bicycle lane. The distance the barrier will run from the intersection will be decided by city engineering staff in the future.

Assistant City Manager Tom Yantis said the intersection’s bike lane separators would be used on a trial basis to determine if they should be involved at intersections with bike lanes citywide.

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COMMENT
  1. As an avid cyclist I am all for the barriers but wish the trial included a longer section, not just the intersection portion. Furthermore, we have a lot of unfinished sidewalks around Leander and that also makes riding a bike difficult if riders have to get off/on the sidewalk to avoid rocks/holes/trash from missing sections.

Caitlin covers Cedar Park and Leander city councils and reports on education, transportation, government and business news. She is an alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin. Most recently, Caitlin produced a large-scale investigative project with The Dallas Morning News and led education coverage in the Brazos Valley at The Bryan-College Station Eagle. After interning with Community Impact Newspaper for two summers, she joined the staff as a reporter in 2015.
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