2016 was a banner year for bicycling in Austin, thanks to Bike Austin’s members and supporters. From Prop 1, to some big changes at the Austin Police Department, here’s our snapshot of what we were able to accomplish last year, and what we’re most looking forward to in 2017.
- Bike Austin led the fight to fully fund the Bicycle and Urban Trails master plans, as well as all high-priority sidewalks. We rallied
on the steps of City Hall and spoke at over a dozen boards, commissions and City Council meetings. When the bond package was finalized, we pushed hard to get out the vote in support of Prop 1.
- On November 8th, the bond passed with 60 percent of voters voting “yes.” Over the next 5-8 years, the City of Austin will invest the following in our active transportation networks:
- $500 Million to overhaul 9 of Austin’s most dangerous corridors, including adding protected bike lanes, sidewalks and safety enhancements
- $20 Million in Protected bike lanes
- $26 Million in Urban Trails
- $37.5 Million in sidewalks, prioritized under Austin’s Sidewalk Master Plan
- $37.5 Million in Safe Routes to Schools projects, including sidewalks, protected bike lanes and other pedestrian safety improvements
- $15 Million in Vision Zero street safety improvements
- Bike Austin members donated the money to purchase two C3FT devices, which the Austin Police Department is now using
regularly to enforce Austin’s Safe Passing ordinance.
- Our education efforts led the Austin olice Department to create a new position focused exclusively on enforcement issues aimed at protecting bicyclists. Rheannon Cunningham now heads up APD’s bike enforcement department.
- Bike Austin continued APD round-table discussions and hosted our annual Chat with the Chief to give Austin’s bicycling community a direct line to the APD.
- Our staff and League Certified Instructors(LCIs) re-wrote the APD’s informa and on-going training on bike-related law and crash investigation procedure.
- Our LCIs trained Capitol Metro Bus Drivers on best practices for interacting with bicyclists. At the end of 2016, Bike Austin Executive Director Mercedes Feris filmed a new safety training video that will now be shown to all Capital Metro drivers and will be used for ongoing trainings with commercial fleet drivers.
- Bike Austin trained 12 new League Certified Instructors.
- We launched two Ciclovia Open Streets events in Dove Springs and North-Central Austin, opening up space typically reserved for cars for people and gave away almost 100 bicycles along with a bike safety training.
Rides and Community
- Our incredible, indelible Ride Leaders (all trained bike safety experts, by the way), led over 500 free group rides all over Central Texas.
- Bike Austin launched monthly free Member Happy Hours, Beyond Bike Lanes community bike discussions and held the biggest Bike to Work Day ever, including a guest appearance by Mayor Steve Adler, who rode in on an Austin B-cycle.
- Led in part by our amazing volunteers, we rebooted the Armadillo Classic in Liberty Hill with over 600 riders, and held quarterly social rides exploring local businesses and parks.
2017 – A Look Ahead
All of this work was possible because Bike Austin members, volunteers and supporters pitched in their time, resources and social capital to support our mission. In the year ahead, we plan to build on this success and launch several new, exciting initiatives aimed at making Austin the best bicycling city in America.
- We’ll launch an effort to secure at least two protected bike lanes to local schools in every City Council District, funded by Prop 1.
- We’ll grow our campaigns for protected bike lanes on Shoal Creek Boulevard, Teri Rd, Pleasant Valley Road, Rundberg Lane and Cameron Road.
- We’ll turn out hundreds of Bike Austin members to support fully protected bike lanes and pedestrian safety improvements on every one of the corridors funded by Prop 1.
- We’ll expand our Ciclovias to reach more neighborhoods, and open up more street space.
- We’ll train more fleets of drivers to drive safely around bicyclists and pedestrians.
- We’ll expand our events with the APD to give Austin bicyclists more opportunities to guide safe, equitable policing of dangerous driving.
- We’ll work to strengthen Austin’s Safe Passing Ordinance to give bicyclists four feet of space, and clarify some confusing language in the law.
Rides and Events
- We’re thrilled to once again host the Easter Hill Country Classic in 2017 – a multi-day ride during peak wildflower season in Kerrville, TX
- We’ll host the biggest-ever Hottest Day of the Year Ride, supported by a new cadre of local businesses and 101X.
- Our monthly Member Happy Hours will start to feature live music, guest speakers and even more luminaries from Austin’s bicycling community.