Bicycle advocates pressuring UT, city to add bike lanes after fatal collision

    Bicycle advocates are working to put pressure on UT and the city to add bike lanes after a cyclist was killed in late January. (CBS Austin)

    Bicycle advocates are working to put pressure on UT and the city to add bike lanes after a cyclist was killed in late January.

    In the Bicycle Advisory Council meeting Tuesday night, members were set to vote on a recommendation to safety improvements to San Jacinto Blvd. This comes after a bus hit and killed a cyclist next to the football stadium on January 28.

    That cyclist was 39-year-old Tony Diaz, an employee of Fox 7 Austin.

    The recommendation says San Jacinto is currently dangerous to walk or bike on. It calls for protected bike lanes, elimination of private vehicle access, raised crosswalks and improved sidewalks.

    "To see something happen in a place that should be safe for students was a call to arms for us a little bit," BAC alternate member Daniel Alvarado said.

    Alvarado said after the crash, members of the council have been talking a lot about what happened and what improvements can be made.

    The council does not have any authority, it only advises the Austin transportation department. However, Alvarado hopes this will put pressure on UT and the city. That area of San Jacinto is on UT property.

    The recommendation also calls on Cap Metro to reevaluate its position on shared bus and bike lanes. On San Jacinto, buses and bikes share the same lane.

    "Cap metro says that it's safe to share a lane and this death proves exactly the opposite," Alvarado said.

    Cap Metro and the city recently changed west 5th Street to include a shared bus and bike lane. Alvarado was against that idea but says signage helps in that area. He said other areas are more dangerous, including Guadalupe south of Martin Luther King Blvd.

    "That is definitely not safe and that is definitely not going to have children or un confident cyclists out on that bike lane," Alvarado said.

    Alvarado said transit users and cyclists are on the same team, and he wants to work together with transit. However, he said the city needs to prioritize vulnerable users over single occupancy vehicles.

    Cap Metro said in a statement:

    "Cap Metro strives to operate safely alongside all modes of transportation. Busses, bicycles and motor vehicles share the road in much of our community, so we're always willing to consider additional input on how we improve the way we use these roadways together."

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