In the interest of students and residents, more efficient and convenient bike lanes need to be installed throughout San Marcos roadways.
The inefficiency of the city’s bike lane system is not only inconvenient for cyclists, but dangerous for pedestrians and motorists. Biking is a unique part of the San Marcos culture. Students and residents who choose to bike should not have to cycle on the shoulders of highways and in the middle of traffic.
According to a Sept. 27 University Star article, bike lanes have been added to River Road, Thorpe Lane, Cheatham Street and portions of C.M. Allen Parkway. The city has also issued a map detailing San Marcos’ different bike lanes and their varying difficulties. While this is a step in the right direction, more must be done to better accommodate the city’s cyclists.
Peter Vogt, geography junior and vice president of the Texas State cycling team, said in the Star article that San Marcos’ bike lanes do not adequately serve the community’s bicycling needs and are not part of a cohesive system. These issues are clearly reflected in the 2012 San Marcos bicycle map.
Multiple routes are categorized as “easy” in the map, meaning they have low traffic and little elevation change and are largely located along neighborhood streets not typically frequented by students. Portions of roads closer to campus like Hutchison and Comanche are considered “intermediate” routes. Intermediate routes have moderate traffic volumes and “usually lack facilities such as bicycle lanes,” according to the map.
It is nonsensical and unsafe to label routes as having an intermediate difficulty level when they are largely devoid of bike lanes. The majority of routes on the map are considered “easy,” but whatever benefits they have are cancelled by the fact that a few blocks down the road a cyclist will find themselves on an intermediate section with relatively no bike lanes.
Connecting existing bike lanes should be the city’s priority rather than sporadically placing new lanes around town. Almost all of Sessom and Aquarena Springs Drives, arguably two of the most heavily trafficked and dangerous roads around campus, do not even have a difficulty classification.
They are considered “future capital improvement projects.” Navigating Sessom Drive can be stressful for even the most experienced driver. This stress is compounded by the fact that motorists often have to avoid hitting cyclists weaving in and out of traffic because there are no bike lane options.
Every student and resident, cyclist or not, would benefit from an improvement in the city’s bike lane system. The city should continue their efforts in making additions to the system, but also needs to give priority to improving the dangerous and incomplete routes around campus.