Six photos show how much a quick protected lane can add to a bigger project

August 28, 2014

Michael Andersen, Green Lane Project staff writer

Here are a few images from Austin bikeway engineer Nathan Wilkes that show how several thousand dollars of posts and paint can bring a new million-dollar bridge from good to great.

The bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Little Walnut Creek, visible in the top right background above, officially opened Monday after 17 years of planning and debate. It created a direct link between Hart Elementary School and the residential neighborhood to the north — but the link also required pedaling on a wide street that many people would see as unsuitable for children.

The new bidirectional protected bike lane, Wilkes wrote in an email, "is on both sides of the bridge and makes seamless transitions between on and off-street infrastructure." The 1.1-mile biking improvements cost $20,000, compared to $1.2 million for the bridge itself.

Planning for the protected lanes started in January, and installation took four days.

Here's what the kids' new route to school looks like, from north to south:

Gaye Fisher, a nearby resident, said she had been the bike lane project's "biggest skeptic" when she heard about it, believing it would always be unsafe for elementary schoolers to bike on these streets. But after the lanes were installed last weekend, she said, she changed her mind.

"The posts that divide the bike lanes from the major traffic, they tell people to slow down and respect the space," she said in an interview Thursday. "It looks great."

The Green Lane Project is a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook or sign up for our weekly news digest about protected bike lanes. Story tip? Write michael@peopleforbikes.org.

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