AUSTIN (KXAN) — After six months of going through community feedback, the City of Austin’s Transportation Department has decided to move forward with two plans to improve Shoal Creek Boulevard.
In December, the city hosted a listening session that allowed the community to suggest ideas on how to improve or change the safety and mobility in the area.
Then in March, the city presented the community with eight options, five for the lower section of Shoal Creek Boulevard stretching from 38th Street to Foster Lane, and three for the upper section of the road from Foster Lane to Highway 183.
Ultimately, the city decided on Alternative E, a two-way protected bikeway for the lower section of Shoal Creek Boulevard from 38th Street to Foster Lane. Transportation officials said this idea received the most support from the community.
The design will also include a new pedestrian and bicycle underpass at Ranch Road 2222, improved intersections, new pedestrian crossings and sidewalks.
But the biggest change drivers will notice is no more parking. The city plans to remove parking on the west side of the road to make way for the improvements.
Along the upper section that stretches from Foster Lane to US 183, a one-way protected bikeway will be built on both sides of Shoal Creek Boulevard. This was the city’s Alternative Y plan.
The city says there will be a lane conversion from five to three lanes to make room for these improvements.
Liza Wimberley, a bicyclist who lives in the area, believes these changes will encourage more people to get out of their cars.
“I think having protected bike lanes is a great way to do that because it allows more people to feel comfortable to get out of their car and get on their bike,” she said.
City council members Alison Alter and Leslie Pool both released statements saying they understand that 70% of those who participated in the survey and live on Shoal Creek Boulevard prefer no change to the street but both agree there needs to be a balance of the needs of all those who use Shoal Creek.
The city expects to begin construction later this summer.