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News / Blog Advocacy News Austin Bond Election Rally

Austin Bond Election Rally

Trails still in need of funding include the MOKAN connector to Manor and along SH 130 between Hwy 71 and US 290 {/attractor}

Cyclists in Austin are mobilizing to get more bikeways! We need your help NOW!

This Thursday, January 5, 2006 , at 7:00pm , please join fellow cyclists at Austin City Hall at 301 W. Second Street in downtown Austin . This is the FINAL public hearing of the 2006 Bond Election Advisory Committee (BEAC).

This is our last opportunity to state our support for more bike facilities before the BEAC sends its funding proposal to the Austin City Council. The BEAC is advising the City Council on how your tax dollars should be spent. Don’t miss this opportunity to show your support of a better bicycle network for the greater Austin area!

We need a minimum of 40 people to show up at the meeting on Thursday in support of the current $2 million for new bikeways and to ask for a greater share of the transportation budget for bicycle facilities. We're asking for an additional $18 million to build essential bikeways in Austin.

Bring your friends, and Texas Bicycle Coalition will outfit you with neon bike pins and other identifiers so the cycling contingency stands out in the sure-to-be-crowded room. We already have some speakers who will address the committee members, but we need you and everyone you know who wants more and safer bike ways in Austin to deliver an imposing visual message. The Coalition has successfully used this strategy in the Texas Legislature, and we know that a group of 40+ respectfully-dressed citizens donning neon bike pins makes a solid impact on committees.

Several committee members have already expressed interest in funding for bikeways. Now we need citizens to show their support by attending this critical meeting.

We’ve made significant progress in recent years towards making Austin more bike-friendly. These efforts resulted in:

· the passing of $20 million in bonds for bike facilities in 2000;

· $4 million committed for constructing the Lance Armstrong Bikeway; and

· $9 million in Congressional earmarks for the construction of bikeways from Austin to Manor, including the Walnut Creek Trail.

Currently, only about 2 percent of Austin ’s entire proposed transportation budget is allocated for bikeways – $2million of the entire $98.9 million transportation budget. We fully support the proposals for using this $2 million. These current proposals include funding for four bike lanes in the downtown grid area and also the creation of an overall master plan for bikeways in Austin . See the specific line item transportation budget at. For more information about the committee, visit www.ci.austin.tx.us/bedget/beac.htm.

We aim to expand bikeways MUCH more extensively throughout the Austin area. On January 5 we will speak to the BEAC to support the current proposal of $2 million and also ask for an additional $18 million. We are asking for this additional money to fund the completion of two major bikeway arteries: $6 million to complete the bike trail from downtown to Manor and $12 million for phase 1 of the SH130 bike trail between Highway 290 and Highway 71 with a bridge crossing the Colorado River . These projects are essential to an overall network of bike trails in Austin .

According to the regional survey by Envision Central Texas, 70 percent of citizens in a five-county area of central Texas , including Travis, want to have SAFE bikeways from home to work and from home to shopping centers. Increased funding for additional bike facilities will make Austin an even better city.

There are several factors indicating that NOW is the right time to seek this $18 million in funding:

  • There is no doubt that there will be far less cost overall if these projects are funded and initiated now: Contracts have already been given for current development of SH 130. Adding bike facility contracts now means less time and money in the long run.
  • Implementing these projects now is essential to Austin ’s overall plan to encourage development away from the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone in two ways. First, they will draw development projects themselves away from the aquifer zone and they will “pave” the way for developers to incorporate trail networks within their development projects into these bigger main bikeway arteries.
  • There are federal matching funds currently available that can help leverage the $18 million to implement more bike lanes within the city grid beyond the four projects proposed in the current budget.
  • Bicycle tourism is an emerging economic market in Austin and is aided by recent bicycle tourism legislation signed into law by Governor Perry. These additional bikeways in Austin will help promote bicycle tourism in Central Texas .

A number of committee members on the BEAC support this issue, but they need to hear from you to make it happen! Other groups have been active and made their presence known in front of the BEAC in past public hearings, including the BMX/skaters groups, library, Mexican art museum, and Asian cultural center. Supporters of bikeways have not sufficiently made our voice heard on this issue yet.

Please come to City Hall on Thursday evening to engage in our local political process and have your voice heard for more bikeways in Austin .

Thank you for your interest in making Austin a more bike-friendly city!

Austin Cycling Association
Austin Metro Trails and Greenways
Texas Bicycle Coalition

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