Stretching 10 miles, the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Path is considered one of Austin’s most beloved options, receiving greater than 4.5 million visits a yr. Behind the path’s pure magnificence and serenity, nevertheless, are numerous hours of planning and execution.
The Path Basis not too long ago published a security and mobility examine of the Butler Hike-and-Bike Path, developed with town, to supply a “sensible implementable plan for conserving pure areas whereas providing the very best high quality consumer expertise” to residents.
At greater than 100 pages, the examine offers an in depth evaluation of the path, aggregates data from neighborhood discussions and highlights the highest security and mobility issues for the long run.
Austin’s speedy price of development is among the motivations behind this planning push. In keeping with the examine, the residential and employment density across the path has doubled up to now decade and is projected to double once more by 2040.
A prevailing concern amongst survey respondents are pinch factors – areas of congestion alongside the path attributable to excessive demand, restricted visibility, sharp turns, uneven surfaces, and different obstructions to visitors. The survey reviews that “a lot of the path might be prone to growing complaints about consumer conflicts and pinch factors on account of anticipated development in Austin.”
Austin Municipal Code dictates that the utmost allowable width of a tough floor path near a waterway is 12 ft with a 2-foot shoulder on either side, with an general hall space 20 ft in width. In follow, although, the precise path width has plenty of variability. In some locations, the path could be as slender as 8 ft throughout, whereas in others, it’s as large as 20 ft.
To deal with a number of the issues round pinch factors, numerous choices are being thought of, together with path widening, doubling the path, sluggish zones, and on-street choices for bikers that will assist divert visitors.
The examine recommends the path be at the least 14 ft large with 2-foot shoulders on both facet – with some different choices the place doable growth area is proscribed like Zilker Park or Rainey Avenue. For these sections of the path, the advice is to train different choices like a double path or a boardwalk. Till then, the advice is to pilot sluggish zones in these areas.
The examine additionally recommends, nevertheless, that until it’s presently in place, a path ought to by no means be wider than 20 ft, plus the shoulders.
The report proposes numerous security and mobility initiatives which can be accompanied by a plan view and conceptual graphics.
One of many proposals consists of doubling the path from the Roberta Crenshaw Bridge (often known as the MoPac Bridge) and the Pfluger Bridge. It could additionally see the addition of a brand new, double-deck bridge that will deal with pedestrian visitors on one stage and bike owner visitors on the opposite.
The flexibility to execute the widespread modifications wanted all through the path depends on amending part of town’s growth code.
Proper now, there’s a 50-foot setback from the lake, stopping the capital and upkeep initiatives the Path Basis wish to implement.
In an interview with the Austin Monitor, Path Basis representatives stated that whereas they’re excited in regards to the examine and its findings, the suggestions are, in the end, “a plan to make a plan.”
The inspiration nonetheless must prioritize and combine these new suggestions with those presently cued up.
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