austin, texas has in the past decade or so (apparently) grown heavily out west of the Colorado river (the Texan one, that is). what natives will generally agree is “Central Austin” is the region bounded by 360 on the west, 183 (both north and east), and 71 below.
there are people living on the east side of the river and working on the west side – plenty of decent neighborhoods west of Mopac (loop 1), cheap places to live in less-good neighborhoods east of I-35; on the west of the river, there have sprung up large office buildings with reasonable rents right along 360 (also known as “capital of texas highway” by people who have strange ideas about highways and whether or not traffic lights belong on them (they don’t)).
there are also people living west of the river, some east of 360, many more south and west – suburbs, you know – who work east of the river. for example: in the downtown – the region between mopac and I-35 from the river up to enfield/15th. lots of office buildings downtown.
now, note that there are three places to cross the river for these people:
“wtf dude, I see mopac and 360 crossing the river, that’s it, where’s the third one”
now mopac (and 35, but whatever) gets enormous traffic in the evening – it’s practically a parking lot. there’s a lot of people going north and south – office parks up north, suburbs down south and vice versa, plus everyone going from and to (because where do you think the party’s at but) downtown. if you’re going east-west, either direction, you’re pretty much screwed.
sure, you could also go up north on 360 and take 2222 across:
now you’re getting stopped by lights on 360 and then probably getting stuck in north-south traffic east anyway (or vice versa)
so: the redbud trail bridge, and the drive through Westlake Hills etc. this is all a reasonably nice drive, but on the other side, you’re gonna run into trouble:
if you haven’t figured it out on your own, the point is that “Exposition Boulevard” is pretty much the main way for anyone to go up north from lake austin boulevard – i.e. people coming across the bridge, and people coming out of downtown, and the main way south for people headed towards either the bridge or downtown.
now you say “well what’s the problem with that? i bet exposition, being a Boulevard, is just like the lake austin one – two lanes in each direction, wide enough to handle the traffic etc.” to which I answer by first asking how you know so much about lake austin boulevard without knowing about exposition, and then explaining the awful truth. which is, that from west to east, property line to property line, Exposition Boulevard consists of:
- a southbound bike lane
- a single southbound traffic lane
- a single northbound traffic lane
- a northbound bike lane
- a lane for parking
- a sidewalk
at the lights there are, of course, left turn lanes (by getting rid of the parking lane).
so yes, after the massive traffic getting over the bridge, there is additional massive traffic on Exposition. also, I don’t think anyone tries to bike on it during rush hour more than once.
anyway, the punchline is that liberalism looks at a fundamental problem with urban sprawl, ignores any sort of logistical issues, and says “let’s put in Bike Lanes! that’ll sure Fix Things!” and then everyone gets to go home burned out by traffic.