Austin Needs Off-Road Hike-and-Bike Trails

RECEIVED Tue., May 13, 2008

Dear Editor,
    The Chronicle article on bike transportation programs was an excellent review of past, current, and future city programs [“The Revolution Will Not Be Motorized,” News, May 9], but it left out the accomplishments of one critical group. As your article mentioned, the biggest obstacle to bike transportation is riding alongside fast-moving traffic. There are a number of volunteer groups in Austin that are trying to remove this obstacle by building urban off-road hike-and-bike trails. These groups include the volunteers building the Oak Hill Y to Downtown Trails, the Country Club Creek Trail, the Bull Creek Trail, the Barton Creek Green Belt, and the Copperfield Trail.
    Building bike lanes on major arterial roads will decrease parking spaces, decrease lane width, and increase traffic congestion. This causes motorists, neighbors, and businesses to oppose bicycle-oriented transit. One famous result is the still-evolving fight over the Shoal Creek Boulevard bike lanes. The only way to avoid more of these situations will be to design bike routes to run on low-speed residential streets, and connect the sections with off-road trails. The city of Austin Bicycle Plan should prioritize and fund more of this type of mixed-use bike routes.
Malcolm Yeatts
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