Care about bike lanes and cycling infrastructure?
Check out two important events this weekend – a family bike ride to support the city’s proposed Bicycle Master Plan and a rally to demand that the city paint bike lanes on Mesa Drive.
Both events, organized by Bike Austin, take place Saturday.
The Our Streets Family Ride, a family-friendly ride down Shoal Creek Boulevard, starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at Beverly S. Sheffield Northwest District Park, 7000 Ardath Street.
The ride kicks off a four-month push to collect 20,000 petition signatures in support of funding the city’s Bicycle Master Plan and all high-priority sidewalks. Afterward, everyone will get a petition packet so they can collect signatures for the drive.
Second, Bike Austin will host a rally at noon at the corner of Mesa Drive and Far West Boulevard to encourage city officials to stripe bike lanes on Mesa Drive.
Crews removed existing combination bike-and-parking lanes on Mesa when they resurfaced the street last year. The city initially planned to paint dedicated bike lanes on one side of the street and a parking lane on the other, but a group of neighbors and City Council Member Sheri Gallo oppose the plan. They say that adding bike lanes would make the driving lanes too narrow.
“We have many young drivers and seniors in our community, and I feel the additional widths of our vehicle lanes are safer for everyone,” Gallo wrote in a January newsletter to her residents of her district.
Charlie VanSteennwijk, an 11-year-old Murchison Middle School student, was hit by his car while riding on a sidewalk along Mesa Drive last week. He suffered a concussion, broken teeth and a cut on his chin that required six stitches. He and his parents Anton and Amy will speak at the rally.
Bike Austin officials say a bicyclist in an on-street bike lane is more visible to motorists at intersections than someone riding on the sidewalk.
After the rally, participants will ride and walk to a Transportation Town Hall meeting hosted by Gallo at the Austin Board of Realtors to deliver their message in person.