SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — A project in the heart of the city will make it easier for cyclists to get around San Marcos safely, but KXAN has learned the final piece of construction won’t start for several months.
Originally, the city planned to begin building physical barriers and bike signals this month to finish the two-way bike lane on Guadalupe Street between University Drive and Grove Street. The new timeline pushes the start of construction to April or May.
Some of the work is already done; the city set out construction cones at the end of last summer to take one lane away from cars and give it to cyclists.
“I think that people are afraid that that is going to create congestion,” said Gabrielle Moore, a member of the alternative transportation advocacy group Move SM. To the contrary, she believes projects like the new bike lane will ultimately increase the number of people getting around without cars.
“When you create the infrastructure for them to utilize the roads that way, they feel safer to do it and more will come and utilize it that way,” she said.
Trenton Kowalczuk, a regular cyclist around town, generally feels safe sharing lanes with cars.
“There are specified bike lanes that make me feel like, ‘OK, I have a right to lane just as much as these cars do,'” Kowalczuk said.
Still, he supports having a protected bike lane. For one, he feels guilty sometimes when there are cars behind him trying to go faster than he can pedal.
“I think that’ll allow for much more fluid traffic,” he said, especially when Texas State University students are in town.
Transportation Master Plan
The Guadalupe Street project is one element of a massive system of bike lanes and paths the city is pursuing.
Part of the Transportation Master Plan, adopted by city council in December 2018, recommends a bike network spanning the entire city by 2035, incorporating protected and buffered bike lanes, shared-use pathways, and wider shoulders to encourage everyone to feel safe, no matter their preferred mode of transportation.
“Shifting travel modes from automobiles to active transportation modes (walking, cycling) positively impacts the City of San Marcos through health, environmental, economic, social and safety benefits,” the Master Plan notes.
The proposal pushes to covert 10% of trips under five miles in the city from cars to bikes.
“San Marcos is basically within a three mile radius,” explained Moore, who’s also a member of the city’s volunteer Planning and Zoning Commission. “It’s really easy to ride your bike everywhere.”
More dedicated options, she added, will make it even easier. Another protected bike lane is planned for Hopkins Street, intersecting with Guadalupe around the square.
The city plans to finish construction on the first lane in July or August.