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Support the Urban Trails Master Plan

September 20, 2014

From the good folks at BikeAustin!

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One of the best things about riding a bike in Austin these days is our growing network of off-street paths and trails. Have you had a chance to ride the new boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake? How about the new Southern Walnut Creek Trail? These are both amazing cycling facilities that you can ride through some of the most beautiful areas of Austin and never encounter a motor vehicle, perfect for outings with those who aren’t quite ready to take it to the streets, and a ton of fun for cyclists of every type!

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That’s why I’m reaching out to you today on behalf of Bike Austin, Austin’s bicycle advocacy organization. We need your help to make sure the Urban Trails Master Plan (UTMP) passes with flying colors when it goes to City Council for their approval this Thursday, September 25th. The UTMP is an amazing document (read it here) that lays out a grand vision for hundreds of miles of off-street paths in every part of the city. The trails in this plan will be integral to creating a city wide network of protected cycling facilities when linked with the cycling facilities in the updated Bicycle Master Plan that is expected to go to City Council for approval in November.

Join me in letting our City Council know how important this Plan is to you, your family and your friends who love to ride their bikes. You can send a single email to every member of the Austin City Council here.

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These are some of the important points that I suggest you may want to share with the members of our City Council:

Safety
•Many people, especially our most vulnerable users, prefer to ride or walk on off-street trails that provide protection from vehicle traffic. A citywide Urban Trails system provides the backbone for a safe all-ages/all-abilities system of walking, running and cycling paths.
•Trails in neighborhoods provide connectivity to adjacent schools and services.

Healthy, green Austin
•Trails are one of the most highly requested amenities when Austin citizens are surveyed about their desires for new city facilities. Trails in heavily developed areas such as downtown provide a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life and the opportunity to exercise for health and well being.
•The Master Plan calls for urban trails to be constructed to protect trees, vegetation and wildlife habitat and provide a sustainable travel surface through ecologically fragile areas that minimizes the need for ongoing maintenance.
•The Urban Trails System expands access to the green infrastructure across Austin, providing a quick and easy way for people to experience parks and open spaces and the recreational opportunities found there.

Cost effectiveness
•Constructing urban trails is the most cost effective means of adding to our transportation system-50 times less expensive than roadways and 12 times less expensive than on-street cycle tracks.
•Sustainable travel surfaces are more cost effective to maintain.

Reducing congestion, helping the environment
•Austin’s Urban Trails Master Plan places a priority on providing another transportation option for its citizens and visitors in addition to being a great place for recreation.
•A comprehensive Urban Trails system protects air quality and decreases traffic congestion by providing people an alternative to using an automobile.

Riding a bike in Austin is a great way to get around for every reason and building a great network of cycling facilities will make riding in Austin better for each of us and for generations to come. Let’s pull together and tell our City Council to approve the Urban Trails Master Plan so we can begin building the kind of city we want!

Thanks for your support!

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