Real change for the better is possible, but not guaranteed.

Ever gone for a pleasant bike ride on the northern part of Burnet Road? We haven’t either, but that could change before long, with your help.

A virtual public hearing is now underway regarding improvements planned for the northernmost part of Burnet Road: the 2.5-mile stretch from 183 up to Mopac. This road currently has no bike facilities at all, but change is in the works. You can review the current plans and watch a video of the city’s presentation here.

The currently planned, funded improvements look pretty good:  They include bike-ped facilities along both sides of the road all the way from 183 to just short of Mopac. In most places, there would be a 9-foot-wide shared-use path on each side, separated from car traffic by an 11-foot-wide landscaping strip. The number of car traffic lanes wouldn’t change.

Unfortunately, the city’s longer-term vision looks much worse. The planned but currently unfunded “improvements” would add a car lane in each direction, making this a 6-lane divided roadway. It would also put people on bikes much closer to the cars:  the bike lanes would be 2-3 feet from the car traffic, with no landscaping in between. The city would accomplish this plan by taking space that was previously planned for transit and instead devoting it to cars.

We should expect better than this. Join us in speaking up now to support well-designed bike paths, and to oppose the car-centric plans that are planned but unfunded. Your comments could read something like this:

I support the addition of shared-use paths or separate sidewalks along the whole stretch of Burnet Road from 183 up to Mopac, separated from car traffic by an 11-foot-wide landscaping strip. I do NOT support the planned, unfunded improvements that call for adding car lanes and placing people on bikes closer to car traffic. Bike facilities in this area should always be separated from car traffic by a landscape strip at least 10 feet wide, which should include street trees. And all intersections should be bike-friendly, so that people on bikes can safely cross any car traffic lanes. 

Act fast! The public hearing closes at 5pm Friday, June 5. Responses to comments received before the deadline will be posted on the project website.