SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – The Texas Transportation Commission has approved more than $4.5 million in bicycle and pedestrian projects for three cities near the Austin-area. The city of San Marcos will see just under $3 million in improvements, Liberty Hill will receive $1.3 million and Dripping Springs $406,000.
The funding from the federal Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TASA) Program supports cities where the population is less than 200,000 people. The program aims to enhance safety for pedestrians and bicyclists and connect important community destinations.
In San Marcos, the project will fund a 2-mile-long, 10-foot-wide shared use path along the banks of the San Marcos River from the Hopkins Street Bridge to just west of Interstate 35 southbound frontage road. The improvements include a pedestrian bridge over Purgatory Creek, bikeway signage, benches, trash receptacles, bike racks, and undercrossings at Cheatham Street and at the Union Pacific railroad.
Avid cyclist Michael Olstad has been riding in San Marcos for almost 40 years. He says a lot has changed with bike paths since he first pedaled through town.
“There were none and now there are. When I first moved here, San Marcos was a whole lot smaller, I mean none of this was here,” said Olstad. “It’s tremendous the changes and how they are adapting to the growth. I mean, when I’m coming or going out for a ride, the number of people I see on bikes is impressive and I love it.”
Improvements will also be made in downtown San Marcos at nine intersections, including countdown pedestrian signals and ADA compliant ramps. All changes Olstad says are positive for the next generation of cyclists. “If we can get trails for them to ride safely without mom and dad having to worry, that’s fabulous,” he said.
In Liberty Hill a 10-to-12-foot-wide shared use path will be constructed along Main Street starting near the intersection of County Road 279 and extending to State Highway 29. In Dripping Springs a 6-foot-wide sidewalk will be constructed on Sportsplex Drive between US 290 and Mighty Tiger Drive.
Each city must begin the projects within three years.