AUSTIN (KXAN) - On "Bike to Work Day", Austin opened up its latest bike lane Friday. It stretches from South 1st Street to Lamar Boulevard on Barton Springs Road.
The next generation of bike lane is more family friendly. The west bound side boasts a wider sidewalk to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. The east bound side now has a seven foot wide bike lane with markers to keep the cars away from riders.
"There's a little bit more protection feels more comfortable and is safer," said Zach Vanderkooy with Green Lane Project. "It's the type of bike lane you can bring your kids on or that grandparents can ride on."
The City of Austin says projects like this will mean more people getting out on their bikes.
"If we can make facilities safer more family friendly, give them the protection and buffer they need, we know we're going to increase ridership," said Chad Crager, project manager with Neighborhood Connectivity Division of Public Works.
Aubrey Lempertz and her friends are big fans of the bike lanes around town, like those in the Zilker neighborhood and along Rio Grande. They're avid cyclists with their own cycling group.
"We like to get out and bike and have fun and let everybody know you can get around town without a car," said Aubrey Lempertz.
The new cycle track is only part of the bicycling plan the city is tackling. The Austin Police Department is wrapping up the first of three phases as part of their Safe Bike Initiative.
Phase one has undercover officers on bicycles targeting the riskiest and most traveled areas during rush hour. Dozens of vehicles have gotten pulled over during each event. The goal is to educate them on the Vulnerable Road Users Ordinance , including the three foot passing rule.
Phase two of the initiative targets cyclists. The final phase will involve enforcing the laws with citations.
Cyclists like Lempertz say it's a step in the right direction.
"There's a lot more to do but I think its definitely going in the right direction," Lempertz said. "It's taking the right steps."
Vanderkooy is hopeful safer bike lanes will continue to be placed throughout the city.
"What we're seeing is these types of lanes are being built all across the country, big and small," Vanderkooy said. "What's driving it isn't necessarily a passion for bikes, it's a rational cost effective transportation solution.
"It can really help relieve congestion. It builds the capacity of the entire transportation network. City leaders are looking at it as a good investment a wise use of resources."
More than 100 trees covered in lights now shine bright throughout Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is open for another season.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Travis County non-profit Center for Child Protection will benefit next March from an all day fundraiser at the Circuit of the Americas that will see plenty of donors racing on the track.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Santa visited Austin early on Sunday, joining hundreds of motorcyclists for their annual Toy Run.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.