Things to Consider about a Bicycle Boulevard

in Nueces Bike Blvd

Things to Consider about the Nueces Bike Blvd
  • Reality is that the % of motoring to cycling commuters is 95:5
  • Whether you like it or not, with increased density comes increased motoring traffic, commercial deliveries, and vehicular congestion.
  • It is unlikely that the level of bicycle commuting will ever reach levels that meaningfully reduce vehicular traffic loads that accompany increased development and density.
  • When roadways reach their maximum design loads, new development or redevelopment bears the financial burden of improving roadway capacity and/or function. When carrying capacity of a road is reduced, the surplus capacity is diverted onto the surrounding network of roads, which negatively impacts redevelopment opportunities on all affected streets.  The street that’s been put on a diet now carries a lighter load having been, by design, limited to the number of trips it can efficiently accommodate. If you are proposing to increase development density on that street, a Traffic Impact Analysis will show that the accompanying increase in vehicle trips will cause an increase in neighborhood congestion. The burden to relieve this congestion will fall on the redevelopment project – either investing in roadway infrastructure or reducing density and thereby the traffic it will generate.   The surrounding roads, having absorbed the ‘excess trips’ from the diet road, are now running at or over their design capacity and are equally burdened by an increase in density and its accompanying increase in motoring traffic.
  • Reducing redevelopment opportunities results in a decrease in property value.
  • Impeding traffic flow and real or perceived access to commercial property reduces its marketability to tenants or buyers, resulting in a decrease in property value.
  • Bicycles and trucks, cars, vans, SUVs, buses, emergency vehicles, pedestrians and wheelchair bound citizens all currently co-exist without incident on Nueces Street.  It is appropriate to provide safe passage for cyclists but not at the cost of reducing vehicle capacity in a significantly commercial district of downtown Austin.
  • 100% of the properties along Nueces Street, from 3rd to 19th are zoned with some form of commercial zoning.  From CBD (Central Business District – the most intensive zoning category) to LO (Local Office, the least intensive zoning).  According to City of Austin zoning maps, only 3 properties fronting Nueces have ‘Historic” designations.  Characterizing this 1.25 miles of western downtown as a “mostly historic residential neighborhood” is a gross misrepresentation.
  • Uses along Nueces include (but are not limited to) The Butler School of Dance, the Austin Music Hall, the 360 Condo Tower, Mellow Johnnies Bike Shop, the Federal Court House, 3 commercial banks, several bars, two restaurants, 3 state trade associations, the Travis County Jail and criminal justice complex, law offices, small apartment complexes, real estate company, architects, interior design firm, publishing companies, 2 sandwich shops, a cookie shop, Wells Fargo’s major motor bank, a church, development companies, accounting firms, lobbyists, 2 salons, an insurance agency and an awards company.
  • From the alley between14th and 15th streets to 19th street, properties along both sides of Nueces are un-encumbered by Capitol View Corridors. This area is considered by many city leaders to be the next most likely area to be transformed with greater densities to meet this community’s goals for density in the urban core.
  • Eliminating stop signs on all the cross streets to allow cyclists an unimpeded flow through west downtown will increase congestion at all intersections as the cross streets bear the burden of carrying increased traffic.
  • Capital Metro runs a bus line along Nueces from 19th to 15th, where it heads west for a block and then runs southbound on Rio Grande to the ACC Campus
  • City of Austin Fire Station #2 is located at Nueces and MLK.  100% of its southbound runs occur down Nueces.
  • Reduced vehicular mobility is detrimental to retail sales.  Just ask the 2nd Street retailers who are barely hanging on to their stores and whose rents are being subsidized by the City of Austin.

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