Shoal Creek Boulevard Getting Protected Bike Lanes – Despite Neighborhood Opposition

Jun 18, 2019

City planners have picked the layout for protected bike lanes that will run the length of Central Austin's Shoal Creek Boulevard – although most residents who live on the street would prefer it stay as-is. 

A two-way protected bike lane will run the length of the west side of Shoal Creek Boulevard from 38th Street to Foster Lane, which would then lead to one-way protected bike lanes on either side of the boulevard from Foster Lane to U.S. Highway 183.

MoveATX, which describes itself as a coalition wanting a "better mobility future" for Austin, said the bikeway will enable cyclists to get to The Domain without having to ride in the same lane as cars.

Construction on the project, estimated to cost between $3 million and $4 million, will start this summer. The first phase is expected to take 6-9 months, according to the city, and will be paid for with money for the bikeways program in the 2016 Mobility Bond.

The City of Austin said the street was already scheduled for routine paving in 2019, giving the city a blank slate for reconfiguring it.

In a joint email statement, City Council members Alison Alter and Leslie Pool called Shoal Creek Boulevard one of Central Austin's "most beautiful streets," adding that the design helps the city achieve its mobility and safety goals.

They acknowledged that 70 percent of people who live on the street said in a survey their preference was "no build."

"However," they wrote, "we must strike a balance among the various stakeholders who use the street, including the increasing number of neighborhood families, kids on bicycles, commuters, and seniors."

Clarification: An earlier version of this story didn't specify that 70% of Shoal Creek Boulevard residents prefer the road to stay as-is, compared to 27% of overall survey respondents.