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Austin Officials Want To Install More Bicycle Traffic Signals
Austin is hoping to increase the number of bicycle signals in the city. There are currently two bicycle traffic lights in Austin, one at 4th and Red River and another at Rios Grande Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
The city applied for a new grant that would give them $250,000 to spend on ten new bicycle traffic signals. The city would have to pitch in about $50,000.
Nathan Wilkes is an Associate Engineer for the City of Austin and says there are several reasons why the signals would beneficial. He says they can prevent collisions by giving the cyclist a few seconds head start if a motorist is turning right and cyclist is going straight. Wilkes says, “Another example is there are places where there is one way vehicle access but there’s no reason not to have two way bicycle access, so we can provide better access for bicycles if we have access for them.”
But will cyclists follow the signals? So far this year, 487 cyclists received citations for everything from running red lights and stop signs to riding on the sidewalk. “The better our infrastructure accommodates people of a particular mode and actually suits what they are trying to do then we’ll get better compliance out of it,” Wilkes says.
Cyclist James Lilly is a manager at Barton Springs Bike Rental and also works as a Pedicabber at night. He says the existing bicycle traffic signals definitely help keep him safe while he’s working, “I’m downtown a lot at night and I find that some of the traffic down there is not always the most sober so having an extra traffic signal definitely helps.” He says the added lights will make his ride much safer, “if they put them in the right locations, it will definitely do a lot of help because traffic is one thing that Austin has a lot of.”
By Lydia Pantazes