AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you are one of the many who trade in four wheels for two to get to work — or maybe you cycle and take the bus to commute — Capital Metro wants to hear from you. The transportation organization has scheduled a meeting Tuesday to gather feedback and find out how they can make our cycling experience even better. Since an initial engagement project started back in 2010, Capitol Metro has worked on several cycling-related projects. Now a new phase of that project is set to begin, and the agency will once again turn to the cycling community for input and ideas.
In 2010, the project started with a study that identified the main stakeholders from the cycling community, including several cycling advocates in the Austin area. From those meetings, three main issues arose:
- Safety: Capitol Metro identified this as the No. 1 concern that came through in almost every issue identified. Cyclists expressed major concern about bike theft, and an idea for securely designated bike storage shelters at the most heavily populated transit stops was born. In 2012, Capital Metro opened its first MetroBike Shelter at Kramer Station. In 2014, six more shelters opened at Plaza Saltillo, MLK Jr., Highland, Lakeline, Tech Ridge Park & Ride and South Congress Transit Center. Every shelter offers security through a daily key-card access for members only and is monitored 24 hours a day by camera.
- Capacity: Some cyclists prefer to bike and take the bus or train but had problems finding space on the front of the buses, which only had the capacity for two bikes. Capital Metro substituted all racks to fit three bikes.
- “First and last mile” experience: A larger concern for cyclists had less to do with the on-board experience and more to do with the beginning and/or ending portion of their cycling trip. Cyclists often have to deal with street traffic, and not all roads that lead to the more popular stop are bike friendly. In 2013, Capital Metro and the City of Austin launched a new trail system along Airport Boulevard to accommodate bike and foot traffic.
Now, Capital Metro is inviting the Austin cycling community to a new workshop to get a better idea of what challenges or barriers they are facing.
“Whatever we can do to make that commuting connection easier, we want to help facilitate that,” said Melissa Ayala, with Capital Metro. “We want to continue these conversations with our community and those people that do it on a daily basis who can give us that feedback to make the tweaks to our system so that we can make it even better.”
The Capital Metro “Gear Talk” Workshop runs Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Cycleast at 1619 East Cesar Chavez St. All are welcome. Visit Capital Metro for more information.