Emails (excerpted), Roger Falk, Austin, Oct. 24-27, 2016

3:13 p.m.

Oct. 24, 2016

Here's the last version of the lane audit. These are ESTIMATES (and subject to some variance), partly because the bond is so poorly defined and is a moving target.  Our attempts through open records have provided little insight as to the specifics of when, where and what work is being done.  The corridor projects offer better documentation and these numbers relate to those.  We haven't analyzed the mobility segments as the specifics are even more elusive and uncertain.  I probably provided this audit to Ben and Mike and it should be close to what you already have.  

 

...

 

RSF

On Tuesday, October 25, 2016 11:24 AM, "Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin)" wrote:

Do you see inaccuracies in this Oct. 1, 2016, analysis we should consider noting?

 

g.

12:31 p.m.

Oct. 25, 2016

Re-reading Ben's article, I see he shows 35 miles of lane removal (15 vl + 20 lt) vs 31.1.  I haven't seen specific plans or diagrams to comment on the 14 miles he added from the mobility segment. We must always keep in mind, this entire bond package is an enigma with regard to what, where and when and how the less than half the funding will be employed.  

 

...

 

RSF

(Selby)

11:55 a.m.

Oct. 26, 2016

Mike, Roger:

 

Jim Wick, who’s working for a group in favor of Proposition 1, emailed me this morning with the comments below. Does what he says add up? If not, why not?

 

I’ve also found potentially helpful this Oct. 1 American-Statesman news story, which includes a list of lane counts.

 

Keep in mind we’re checking the claim that the mayor’s plan call for removing 27+ miles of traffic lanes, replacing them with lanes dedicated to buses and bicycles.

Thanks.

 

g.

W. Gardner Selby

Reporter / News

Austin American-Statesman

PolitiFact Texas 

 

From: Jim Wick

Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 11:32 AM

To: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin)

Subject: Information

 

Hi Gardner,

 

I'm writing in regards to the statement that the Mayor's plan would remove 27+ miles of vehicle lanes and replace them with lanes for bicycles and buses.

 

I took a very hard look at the corridor plans and can say with absolute certainty that there is no way that number is correct.

 

First, there is no vehicle lane loss for buses on any corridor except for potentially Riverside and Guadalupe.

 

There is no vehicle lane loss for bicycles in this plan.

 

The plan does call for replacing some two way left turn lanes with medians and turning bays, so I went through the corridor schematics and calculated how many feet of vehicle lanes we would be "losing" to medians. Here are my calculations:

 

South Lamar is a 3.3 mile corridor that would lose 1.6 miles of TWLTL to medians. The remaining 1.7 miles would still be TWLTL or turning bays, along with sections of the roadway that already have a raised median.

 

Airport Blvd is a 6.5 mile corridor that would lose 3 miles of TWLTL to medians. The remaining 3.5 miles would still be TWLTL or turning bays, along with sections that already have a median.

 

North Lamar is a 6 mile corridor that would lose about 4 miles of TWLTL to medians. The remaining 2 miles would be turning bays or already has a median.

 

Burnet is a 5 mile corridor that would lose 3.2 miles of TWLTL to medians. The remaining 1.8 miles would be turning bays or already has a median.

 

Riverside is a 3.7 mile corridor that would lose .5 miles of TWLTL to medians. The remaining 3.2 miles would be turning bays or already has a median.

 

East MLK (city portion) is a 3.5 mile corridor that would lose 2.5 miles of TWLTL to medians. The remaining 1 mile would be turning bays.

 

By my calculation, we'd lose 14.8 miles of TWLTL to raised medians, but not to bikes or buses.

 

Does this all make sense?

 

Thanks,

Jim

(Falk)
9:49 a.m.

Oct. 27, 2016

...

 

I'm currently out of town and don't have materials, typing on a phone and will try to go from memory.

 

Little of Burnet has medians and that's mostly S of Koenig. S Lamar has some in the block between Riverside and Barton springs.  I'm not aware of any lane removal specifically for bicycle paths.  There is some imposition of roadway bike lanes, some of which could be in combination with dedicated bus lanes, perhaps on Guadalupe.  I didn't deduct intersections so can't comment on Jim's accuracy.  I reviewed Ben's article, it seemed he came up with something like remove 20 miles turn, 15 other and 14 adds including the mobility pieces.  That  largely comports with my calculations on the corridors.  Wick is about 5 miles less on the corridor turn lanes add Ben's 15 miles of non turn puts him just shy of 30, I was like 28 and Ben 31.  Regardless, it's all estimates, because the corridor plans are, at the end of the day conceptual and somewhat variable.  Furthermore, with a $1 billion funding deficit and no specifics on what where and when, it becomes even more subjective. That's why when I have talked on the subject I try to stick to generalities.  One thing on which we can all agree is, lanes will be lost.   Did you see the traffic count on the Mopac toll lane?  Lanes equal capacity.

...

 

R

 UPDATE:

 

While I don't have time or appetite to wade back into this, a couple things piqued my curiosity and need revisiting:

 

1) While I've never claimed lanes are being removed for bicycles and I didn't specifically look for that, the point is debatable.  I mentioned Guadalupe in my response and re-reviewed the corridor.  It appears in the "preferred cross section and rendering" under #4 at 24th street, replacement of a shared vehicle lane with a bicycle only section is planned:  http://austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Transportation/GCIP-May_11_Public_Meeting_Boards-Preferred_Concept.pdf   

 

I also had the Riverside plan sitting on my desk and looked at it.  On page E-5, figure E.1 shows the vehicle travel lane replaced with parking and in E.2 the lane is removed and replaced with a bicycle only segment (apparently 6.8 miles of it on the corridor).  http://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Transportation/projects/CorridorStudies_Riverside-Final-02-24-14_s.pdf

 

I don't have time to review all the plans with this lens, but clearly instances exist to support the claim.  As I stated, the variance in these plans make analysis on some points subjective.

 

2) After thinking about the high number of existing medians/turn bays referenced by Jim (as much as half the corridor), I went back and took a quick look.  I think he may be excessive in his discounting of these areas.  As previously stated, I didn't evaluate this (nor did Ben based on the calculations in his article).  With the exception of Riverside, there are very few medians on the corridors.  As I stated Burnet has a little South of the plan area, there is also a short segment at the 183 intersection.  Airport, where he discounts half the distance to medians/turn bays there is a small median segment near the Mueller development and some at the Koenig/290 intersection, N Lamar has virtually none other than the 183 intersection.  As I stated in my response yesterday, the only significant median area on S. Lamar is between Riverside and Barton Springs where some corridor development took place in the past few years.  This is near your office, I suggest you go  take a look at how this is working out.  Take note of the forest of plastic barrier sticks, what a great design!  I have great familiarity with this area as my bicycle group has started/ended at Chuy's  for years and I use Toomey to come and go.  These medians are a hazard compared to the continuous turn lane where you could take refuge to merge into the traffic lane. Not a fan.

 

I will one last time ask you to please review the $5/month tax claim using the Election Code 3.009 disclosure and the $250,000 home value disputed by the MLS/Board of Realtors average of around $340,000.  This is a key number used by voters to determine their choice and it desperately needs clarification.  

 

That's it;

RSF