GoodHood: Austin Neighborhood Rides
Not long ago as I was doing some design research on what makes good urban signage, I found an image that had the word "GoodHood" put into the sidewalk. I love the idea of claiming your hood as good! In an effort to do my due diligence in trying to experience my neighborhood by bike, car, walking and riding (transportation), I met up with my colleague Jacob to do a neighborhood ride-about. My goal was to show him the biking infrastructure that was newly put in place on Justin Lane, grab a coffee and chat and complete our circle. I figure I would want to do little rides like this that are rides I would take on a regular basis when running errands etc... Here is graphic of our ride and a detailed list of the experience:
May 29: Sunny 90 deg
10:15 am: Jacob arrives by bike at my house on Denson
Notes: We went up Denson to Lamar and jogged over on Romeria. At the Lamar intersection we observed walkers, people at the bus station, and a woman going down the Lamar sidewalk in a wheelchair.
We rode up Denson along with the car traffic and waited at the light, not knowing if it was going to change. We had to turn left onto Lamar, so we used the car left turn lane. It felt fine, but we are both used to biking with traffic. We did a really quick jog onto Romeria, as I led the way since Jacob doesn't know the area. Romeria does not currently have any bike or walking infrastructure but I think is slated for some this fall.
When we got to Arroyo Seco we turned onto the protected bike lane and rode up to Justin Lane. The new bike lanes are great and the markings on the street are very bold. At that point we grabbed some coffee at Dia's Market which looked really appealing from the street. It has a great front patio for dining but needs bike racks out front. While at Dia's we observed 5-6 cyclists going down the new bike lane on Justin, one couple with a baby on the back. Most of the people we saw were in 2's biking together. Most were in regular clothes; one man was wearing biking clothes.
Arroyo Seco bike lane
Extremely comfortable and shaded, no problem even in the summer heat. Note the lack of other cyclists on the path - maybe too early in the day?
Justin Lane bike lane
Brand spankin' new and easy to navigate. Hopefully this will be a part of a more comprehensive network through the City.
11:20 am: We left Dia's and headed toward Airport Blvd to complete the circle. Crossing Lamar was hairy and really confusing but we made it over riding on parts of the sidewalk. This intersection is kind of a mess and there were loads of pedestrians walking around because of the bus stops on Lamar. We used the pedestrian crosswalk to get across Lamar and it felt completely safe but probably not the ideal way to cross.
We rode up the Airport bike lane which was really sunny because there are no trees, but it felt fine, maybe because of the wildflowers on both sides. We wove around several walkers but all were happy to be on the urban trail.
We turned right on Guadalupe into the bike lane after the traffic went past the intersection. The lane was a bit narrow and hot because of the black pavement but became wider as we approached Denson. There was little or no traffic on Guadalupe as we rode down, we were able to continue our conversation.
All in all, I gave the ride 4 stars because it was enjoyable, easy and mostly protected even on a hot summer day. The worst part of the ride was easily the Lamar/Airport intersection.
Airport Boulevard Red Line Trail
Beautiful wildflowers line the path, making for an easy and safe ride. Could use some shade trees, however...