Back on Saturday, August 29, cyclists and active transportation advocates joined Bike Austin and Friends of The Grove at La Mancha Tex-Mex to participate in a Design Charrette and share ideas with the owners of The Grove at Shoal Creek.
Called "Share Your Vision: Bike Lanes at The Grove," we met and envisioned various ways to make The Grove the most bike-friendly community in Austin.
For more than two hours, we heard a lot of great ideas and gathered a lot of helpful input. In general, here’s what we heard:
- Safety First!
- Each mode of transportation needs its own space.
- Give bikes and pedestrians priority over cars.
- Make walking or biking as convenient as driving.
Focus on Safety
There was a strong focus on safety (both real and perceived) for cyclists and pedestrians. Some plainly said that stripes and arrows do nothing, and encouraged the implementation of physical separations to increase safety. Many expressed a desire to slow-down speeds limits, like lowering the speed limit to 25 MPH along Bull Creek. Others pushed for utilizing traffic calming elements to increase safety. Many said that the 45th Street intersection must be improved for safer crossing for cyclists and pedestrians.
Make Bike Lanes Safer
Many people brought up the idea of parking spaces between biking and driving lanes to enhance safety. Some noted how placing bike lanes between driving and parking causes conflict when cars are driving out of a space, or when a door gets opened and blocks the bike lane.
Separate Pedestrians and Cyclists
We also heard about the importance of separating of pedestrians and cyclists. Some cyclists said that multi-use trails are okay for families biking to the park, but not for commuter cyclists.
A lot of discussion centered-around making cycling and walking as convenient as driving a car. For example, we heard ideas about adding showers at offices, placing water fountains with bottle-filling stations, and including bike repair stations. Many expressed a desire to see lots of bike parking where it is most convenient to the retail area. Feedback included: “If the bike racks are out in the open where there are lot of eye on them, they don’t need to have so many physical security features.” “By lots of parking, we mean double whatever we’re thinking we need.”
We heard a lot of positive feedback about the B-cycle program! https://austin.bcycle.com/stations/station-locations
Ideas about Aesthetics
People offered ideas about the overall aesthetics of The Grove, like:
- Incorporate wildflowers and storm water management into infrastructure and trails.
- Make trails and sidewalks comfortable (shaded) and visually pleasing places to be.
- Celebrate the bus stops with modern design and art.
- Environmentally friendly planting – drought resistant.
- Less pavement, more green.
And Even More Ideas!
We heard lots of ideas throughout the Design Charrette:
- Urge companies with offices at The Grove to give incentives to their employees for using alternative transportation, like bonuses or companies pay for the Metro passes.
- Have grocers deliver groceries so people can walk/bike to the store without worrying about lugging everything back.
- Have a program to Educate Drivers! Often, bike/car issues are caused because drivers don’t understand how bike infrastructure works.
- Make The Grove accessible from the North and East. The proposed access from 45th Street was strongly supported. Some want us to continue to explore long-term solutions for a bridge over Shoal Creek.
- Improve 45th Street itself for both pedestrians and cyclists.
- Connect to the Shoal Creek Trail.
- Calm traffic inside the site in areas where bikes will mix with cars.
- Provide bike parking in residential areas too so folks can visit homes via bike.
We sincerely thank all the participants, Bike Austin, Friends of The Grove, and La Mancha Tex Mex for a great afternoon full of ideas, good conversation and great food.