Bicycle and Pedestrian Connectivity in the City of Austin

January 16, 2012 by Will Schnier P.E.

 

The City of Austin is increasingly requiring new projects to more generously comply with Section 2.3.2.B.1.b of Subcapter E, Design Standards and Mixed Use Subchapter of the Land Development Code. This section of Subchapter E requires that all new commercial and mixed-use development projects provide a direct pedestrian and bicycle connection from adjacent public streets to a customer entrance. There are several ways to satisfy the code requirement alone, however smart developers and designers can usually find a way to make the bicycle improvements a real added-value asset to the project. BIG RED DOG has recently designed a full bike track for one of our new Vertical Mixed Use projects in south Austin.

Example of a bicycle lane crossing a travel lane - green paint indicates a shared roadway

 

Austin is a member of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). NACTO has been around for approximately fifteen years and is currently comprised of several of America’s largest and most progressive cities.  Other member cities include Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Boston, Portland and San Francisco. NACTO’s mission is to encourage “the exchange of transportation ideas, insights, and practices among large central cities while fostering a cooperative approach to key national transportation issues.”

The design professionals at BIG RED DOG have been utilizing the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide on several of our large mixed-use projects in the City of Austin. The design guide provides a comprehensive set of instructions covering everything from designing bike lanes themselves to providing guidance on the placement and design function of traffic signals, pavement striping, and signage. The Guide is intended for engineers working in more urban areas, however many of the principals will translate to a more suburban environment as well.

The City of Austin has an entire office dedicated to the bicycle program – the Neighborhood Connectivity Division of the Public Works Department is responsible for ensuring that Austin does develop as a connected City in the years to come. This is the office responsible for reviewing proposed development plans, recommending the necessary bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and then working with the design team and other City staff members to develop the necessary bicycle features to complement the project and satisfy the code requirements. They also publish excellent trail maps for cyclists – be sure to check those out.

 

Sample of a dedicated bicycle lane on a public street.

 

BIG RED DOG has been the civil engineer on several projects that required the creation of bicycle lanes and bike tracks. If you have questions about the City requirements or bike lane and bike track design in general, we welcome you to contact our office at [email protected] or (512) 669-5560.

 

 

Written by Will Schnier P.E.

Will Schnier P.E.

Will Schnier is the Chief Executive Officer of BIG RED DOG Engineering | Consulting. Will received his BSCE from Purdue University and co-founded BIG RED DOG Engineering and Consulting in 2009. Since starting the firm in 2009, BIG RED DOG has grown to over 100 team members with offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. BIG RED DOG has garnered awards for being one of the 50 fastest growing companies in Texas (Business Journal’s Fast 50 in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) and an ENR top 100 Design Firm in Texas and Louisiana (2012, 2103, 2014, 2015). Mr. Schnier is very well versed in the project review and development permitting process having worked closely and very successfully with City and County review staff, neighborhood associations, environmental groups, and public boards and councils. He has been responsible for the project management, engineering design, and regulatory permitting of hundreds of single family subdivision projects, mixed use and multifamily residential developments, industrial facilities and oil and gas development projects throughout Texas. He is the author of two publications: “Land Subdivision – A Practical Guide for Central Texas” and “The Book on License Agreements in the City of Austin”. Will was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) in 2014 and served as Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s appointment to the City of Austin Zoning Board of Adjustment from 2011 to 2015.