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Debate Over Protected Lanes on Broadway Ends With Unanimous Vote to Shift Bikes to Side Streets

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A cyclist pedals north from downtown on Broadway. - SANFORD NOWLIN
  • Sanford Nowlin
  • A cyclist pedals north from downtown on Broadway.
City council voted unanimously on Thursday to construct protected lanes that would shift cyclists off of Broadway just north of downtown. But it was apparent that months of disagreement over the plan hasn't faded.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Roberto Treviño, downtown's councilman, have engaged& in a public pissing match over whether the mile-long stretch of Broadway between I-35 and Houston Street should accommodate bikes.

Thursday's vote authorized $6 million to build protected lanes on the side streets Avenue B and North Alamo, dealing a defeat to Nirenberg and District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, who wanted Broadway to accommodate both bikes and cars all the way from Hildebrand Avenue to Houston Street.

Treviño, buoyed by a recent recommendation from city staff, has argued that extending the lanes all the way down Broadway would create safety risks and slow traffic.

"The focus of the Broadway and Avenue B and North Alamo design has always been to create a pedestrian-focused experience," Treviño said. "This design is the safer option for all, as it provides wide sidewalks, protected intersections and two-way protected bike lanes in addition to other safety and aesthetic amenities."

Despite his vote to approve the funds, Mayor Ron Nirenberg wasn't about to let things go.

“Anyone who has lived in this city for more than a few years knows that we have made many regretful decisions about transportation in the past,” he said. “We will regret the decision to exclude bike lanes from Broadway.”

The continued sniping suggests the fight isn't yet over. Council is expected to vote early next year on zoning the area could provide another opportunity for Nirenberg to bring up the issue.

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