New Bike Trails for Austin?


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Austin is a model for cities across the nation that has prioritized the responsibility for providing safe, secure and serene bike trails for the enthusiast. One member of the City Council is an avid biker and is promoting 24-hour bike trail access. The Councilmember recognizes there has been a rise in bike and pedestrian accidents on Austin streets and believes that opening these trails 24/7 would reduce accidents.

However, he admits that “opening those trails comes at a price. A pilot program for the last six months of 2013 would cost the city an estimated $400,000 for additional park rangers, dispatchers and administrative support, plus $1.6 million to cover overtime costs for police officer”.

Additionally, it would cost $3.1 million annually to patrol the trails overnight, if the Council decides to eliminate the curfew…and then there’s the cost to light the trails at night.

Dozens of pedestrians and bikers were killed in Austin vehicle collisions in 2012 alone. In some cases the driver was at fault – and at other times the opposite was true. But, providing routes for pedestrians and bikers to traverse the city far away from heavily congested traffic areas would certainly be a valuable safety measure.

I’m not sure that you can really place a value on such things as quality-of-life. Austin does a very good job of providing a very fit and fun environment for families and students alike. Unlike Houston, it is nice to see pedestrians and bike traffic being taken into consideration for the community. Communities that do not plan for amenities such as bike traffic, bike trails and individuals walking, pay a heavy price in the quality of life category.

Houston has many pedestrian accidents and bike accidents simply because there is no other way for the pedestrians or the bike riders to ride. With no sidewalks and bike trails the alternative is the roadway.

Greg Baumgartner is an injury lawyer in Austin and the founder of the Baumgartner law firm, which is dedicated to helping personal injury victims seek civil justice. If you would like to speak with a pi attorney call the Baumgartner firm.

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