Bike Austin joins UT students in call for immediate action
Bike Austin joins many others in mourning the tragic and needless loss of Anthony Diaz, a Navy veteran who was run over by a bus last week while riding his bike on the University of Texas campus.
The street Diaz was traveling on — San Jacinto Boulevard — is an important corridor for bikes, and has become more so as a result of changes the university recently made to Speedway. But the street’s current design is badly dated, and puts the lives of its users at risk every day.
San Jacinto has long had bike lanes on all parts of the street outside the campus. But on the UT stretch, from Dean Keeton to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., there are no bike lanes at all: just a wide car lane in each direction, with head-in, angled car parking lining both sides.
For at least the past five years, UT’s leadership has recognized that the current design of San Jacinto is inadequate. The university’s Campus Master Plan, approved in 2013, calls for removing all parking on San Jacinto and installing a physically separated bike path.
The City of Austin has likewise called for a safer design of this street. The city’s 2014 Bicycle Master Plan envisions physically protected bike lanes on the whole length of San Jacinto. The stretch north of MLK is intended to be part of a core network of facilities that are comfortable for people of all ages and abilities.
Yet nothing has changed. As the crash last week painfully demonstrates, the UT segment of San Jacinto remains deadly for people on bikes.
We can do better. San Jacinto can and should be made safer immediately by restriping the street to include separated bike lanes, and placing barriers for protection. Physically protected bike lanes have a proven track record of saving lives.
The university and the city have both envisioned a future in which more people choose to get around by means other than the car. It’s now up to both to rework our streets to make active transportation safer. To honor the memory of Anthony Diaz, and to prevent the loss of more lives in the future, San Jacinto needs to be fixed now.
Statement from Campus Bike Alliance, Feb. 1, 2019
Students call for additional bike lanes on campus following cyclist death, Daily Texan, Feb. 5, 2019