Austin finishes half of its bicycle network, expects to complete entire 400-mile system by 2025

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin has completed half of its bicycle network it’s been working on since 2014.

The All Ages and Abilities (AAA) Bicycle Network was first recommended six years ago when the city released its bicycle network plan. The 400-mile connected bicycle network aims to provide access for people of all ages and abilities meaning they want to ensure everyone can get around whether someone is eight years old or 80.

The network includes neighborhood bikeways, street crossings, urban trails and protected bicycle lanes.

Source: American Community Survey Journey to Work Data, City of Austin

Data from the American Community Survey Journey to Work Data for the City of Austin shows bicycle networks can help reduce crashes. The rate of crashes involving bicyclists dropped nearly 60% between 2010 to 2015 as the city continued to build bicycle facilities. Officials say the network will help continue to bring that number down as it creates more options for people to travel, and do so safely while maximizing the space available.

“People are looking for those options and as cities grow and people choose to live in urban centers there’s only so much space we have to share and that space needs to be more efficient,” said Laura Dierenfield, a division manager at Austin Transportation Department.

For those who ride around the city, these improvements are a welcomed change.

“I wish they were on every road, that’s a little impractical, maybe, but every road they’re on I feel much safer,” Austin FC broadcaster Adrian Healey said about protected bicycle lanes.

Healey said because of the bikeway system, he’s able to explore the city and feels safe.

Out of the 215 miles of bikeways built so far, 50 miles account for protected bikeways. And, half of the bikeways are within a quarter-mile of a CapMetro transit stop.

City officials expect to complete the remaining roughly 200 miles by 2025.

They plan to continue to expand the bicycle facilities across the city and are asking the community for feedback through its new initiative ATX Walk Bike Roll. The new plan will update the city’s three current plans — the Urban Trails Plan, Bicycle Plan and Pedestrian/Sidewalk Plan. The survey closes on Sept. 26.

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