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.
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.
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.