AUSTIN (KXAN) — Crews with the Austin Transportation Department’s Corridor Program Office are working to install a curb-protected bike lane along nearly three miles of Slaughter Lane in south Austin from South First Street to Brodie Lane.
The project is part of the voter-approved $720 million 2016 Mobility Bond. Corridor Program Office officials said this added barrier will help improve safety by ensuring bicyclists and pedestrians are protected.
However, one neighbor in the area has noticed a problem.
In May, Bruce Malone began documenting drivers’ car tire blowouts along the curb on camera. He said it has become a daily occurrence.
“Many of the drivers that I’ve talked to said they have no idea what they hit; they never saw it coming,” Malone said. “[It’s] made out of concrete, very sharp concrete, and it actually sticks out into the street cars coming around the curve here. [Drivers] bash into the barrier and blow the tires.”
City officials said the curbs are replacing bike lanes that already exist on Slaughter Lane but are only marked by painted lines and do not have a physical barrier. Along this portion of Slaughter Lane, there have been over 1,400 crashes in the last five years, according to Vision Zero crash data.
Four people died and nearly a dozen had serious injuries. Thirteen of the crashes involved bicyclists and 15 involved pedestrians.
Malone believes the concrete curbs are a bigger issue and would like the city to address it sooner rather than later.
“You cannot chalk it up to bad driving or new experience,” he said. “One, because there are new people coming to Austin every single day, so every day, you’ve got a new driver that’s not familiar with this area, and that’s going to happen for years to come. You have to understand there is an inherent problem here.”
City officials said once crews finish installing the curbs, they’ll add white reflective thermoplastic paint on the ends of the bike curbs, so drivers can see them.