This is a page I've thrown together fairly quickly to serve as a collection of information on the Shoal Creek Boulevard debacle in the city of Austin.

NEW on 8/27/2002:

Diagrams of the city plan and the consultant's plan. Viewing these pictures is critical to understand why some cyclists, myself included, thought the consultant's plan was worse than no bike lanes at all.

Other items of interest:

Shoal Creek Blvd. is, without hyperbole, the most critical north-south route for bicycle commuting in the city. It serves to connect the north and northwest employment centers with central Austin; and does so with the assistance of right-of-way (i.e. no 2-way stop-signs) and through travel (i.e. you do not have to shift from road to road to stay on this bike route). Follow route 31 on this map section. Additionally, if you stay on the road past 40th St.; it connects with the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike trail which goes all the way to the river.

In fact, this is the route that initially got me into cycling as an adult; and it's the route that got me into bicycle commuting. Had the bike lanes not been there in the first place, I would not live in central Austin today; and I would definitely not have ever started to biked to work.

For my last five offices (one at IBM and four, yes, four at S3), Shoal Creek Boulevard was the critical segment of the trip. With the addition of proposed bike lanes on Metric Boulevard and Jollyville Road, respectively, the longest parts of both commutes would become substantially attractive for beginning bicycle commuters.

Since I left S3, arthritis has sidelined me for a while, and I've started a new job (which is located in southwest Austin), so I don't get to ride this route as often as I used to. However, for the majority of people for whom bicycle commuting might be an attractive option (people living in central Austin and working in north or northwest Austin; or people living in north or northwest Austin who work in central Austin), it's absolutely essential that a long north-south route be attractive enough to coax beginners to start commuting via bicycle for work; and as you can see below, no other route can satisfy the need that Shoal Creek does.

Other possible north-south routes

On the central map section, you can see several other major north-south bicycle routes. These are discussed below. For the purposes of discussion, NW Austin is assumed to be the Jollyville Road corridor heading west/northwest from the Arboretum and contains all of the major employers along US 183. NC Austin is assumed to be the Burnet and Metric corridors containing Dell, IBM, and major apartment complexes. NE Austin is considered to be parts of Austin east of Metric Blvd. and north of US 183; and includes TNRCC (other employers of note?)

Route Num.General Route and CommentsNWNCNE
23 This route goes up west Austin (west of Mopac) on Exposition, Pecos, Balcones, Edgement, etc.; and contains a significantly difficult transition point through Highland Hills; and also contains hills which are so substantial that nobody except for cyclists engaged in hill-training would ever take this route. FFF
31 Shoal Creek Boulevard. Goes all the way to Steck (which can get you west of Mopac) on the north end, and all the way to the hike-and-bike transition point just north of 38th on the south end. The longest single stretch of bike route on the same road in central Austin. Lane figures given do not include subtractions based on width of stripes which can make each figure lower (4' bike lanes go to 3'8", for instance).
ORIGINAL (7' bike lanes with parking allowed and 13' travel lanes)CB-C
NEWPLAN (6' parking, 4' bike, and 10' travel lanes)FFF
CITYPLAN (6' bike, 11' travel, 11' travel, 12' shared)B+BB-
41 On Woodrow St.; relies on Route 31 or Route 43 for southern access; extreme amount of zigzagging on northern end to cross Anderson Lane. Does not connect to north-central or northwest Austin. Route 31 southern access requires Shoal Creek Boulevard above; Route 43 southern access requires Lamar Blvd. below. DDB-
43 Lamar Blvd.; continuing through route 41 to the north. FFF
33 Southern stretch (highly travelled section) of Guadalupe; transitioning with extreme difficulty into route 43 or 47 for further northern travel. Extremely high utility for college commuters; but virtually none for business commuters. D-D-D-
47 Nice (northern) stretch of Guadalupe. Pleasant trip; some access problems at southern end; no connectivity to employers of note; no connection to NW Austin of practicality; connects via 41 to NC Austin. Moderate connectivity to NE Austin. FD+B+