Re-striping on Mesa Drive could mean fewer bike lanes

Bicyclist using lane (KXAN)
Bicyclist using lane (KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s an issue that has many people in Northwest Austin fired up. Pretty soon one Austin neighborhood known for its cyclists could have less room to ride their bikes. The city is looking at adding more street parking along Mesa Drive between Cat Mountain Drive and Far West Boulevard. And in order to do that, they’d have to get rid of some of the designated bike lanes. Some tell KXAN it will only make the area more dangerous not only for cyclists, but for everyone who lives there.

An active cyclist, Stella Harper rides her bike almost every day, which includes riding on parts of Mesa Drive. Over the summer the city’s transportation department repaved part of the road as routine maintenance. And now, what used to have bike lanes could turn into a parking shoulder.

“From personal experience you have to be really careful even with bike lanes and without bike lanes it just makes things more dangerous for people in the community,” said Stella.

On one side of Mesa before Cat Mountain Drive there are designated bike lanes, but once you get to the other side of Cat Mountain Drive between there and Far West Boulevard they disappear and now the city is trying to decide how to re-stripe it.

Laura Dierenfield with Austin’s Transportation Department says, “Bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists and homeowners can all be served ultimately in the final solution.”

Dierenfield says nothing’s a done deal yet and they’re looking at ways to keep the bike lanes and add a shoulder for parking. Something she says some people have been asking for.

“What we’re hearing from homeowners is that as they gather their family they have a need for that parking from time to time,” said Dierenfield.

Stella says she understands but also thinks it could cause more harm than good.

The Transportation Department said a decision should be made within a month. Then re-striping will begin immediately following that decision.

Right now they are looking at four different options after getting public input. Those options include:

  • A parking/bike lane which would offer alternate parking on different sides of the street. One side would have a parking lane with a bike lane and the other side of Mesa would just be a bike lane.
  • Alternating parking on either side of the street between blocks.
  • A shared, wider shoulder where drivers could park and cyclists could still ride.
  • A wider bike lane with designated parking at certain times of the day.

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