This month marks an important anniversary for Austin bike-lovers. Three years ago, the Bicycle Master Plan was officially approved by City Council. Now in 2017, the Austin Transportation Department has announced that we’re actually doing better than expected in reaching the goals laid out in the master plan and creating a bicycle network that provides mobility options for people of all ages and abilities.
So what is the Bicycle Master Plan?
The plan is essentially a biker’s dream, envisioning a 247-mile, $152 million bicycle path networkthroughout Austin. The plan is expected to remove 20,000 daily car trips from the road, representing a 7 percent reduction in motor vehicle traffic in the densest parts of Austin.
But, since it’s difficult (and expensive) to build out a project of that size all at once, the master plan is meant to be rolled out in stages. As the Austin Transportation Department reports, we actually surpassed our target of having 20 percent of the bicycle network built out by 2017. (Today we’re at 24 percent).
After this year, the plan is for Austin’s bike network to grow at an even faster rate. Fifty percent of the network is supposed to be completed by 2020. The money from the 2016 mobility bond, which included $20 million for bike lanes (much of which still hasn’t been spent), will help provide the funding to reach that goal.
Want to start biking in Austin, but don’t know where the best bike lanes are? Check out the city’s newly updated Austin Bike Map.