2024BFRNT: The Guadalupe Green Lane

First installment in the 2024 Bike Facility Roast N Toast series.

(Yes, I achieved the repeat of my dumbest/awesomest mission on the 27th when I turned 52, now the bike is safely being overhauled and I’m resting my butt).

Unlike other facilities I’ve used recently, I’ve not bothered to take pictures, because this is very frequently google-mapped. A couple representative samples are sprinkled within, screencapp’d from them.

I tweeted, but did not crackplog much, about this facility when it was put in more than a decade ago, as at the time I was still not cycling – the reactive arthritis was at its worst during this time, only receding by about 2018, and I was spending all my energy on another mission1. One rare exception was this one back in 2013. I DID try to alert former cycling acquaintances at the time in another forum, which was a complete waste of energy, and in fact, actually led me to stop even trying to participate in the Bicycle Austin forums at all.2. Also, our old pal Jace Deloney was very credulous on the facility.

At the time, I was driving exclusively to an office near Westlake High School and some mornings and afternoons I’d use Guadalupe for various reasons instead of heading straight for Mopac, so the 2013 take on it was purely from the drivers seat.

But since I restarted cycling: of all the ‘new’3 facilities, this is the one I’ve ridden the most, by far. At this point in February of 2024, I’ve been on it for several hundred trips, including nearly every commute to work in 2022 and 2023 and a large number of recreational/exercise trips.

Location: Guadalupe, southbound only, 24th to MLK

Implemented: 2013, I think?

Type: On-street parking-protected 1-way bike lane

Context: Relatively few curb cuts; most intersections are signalized

Prediction when installed: Pedestrianapocalypse (I observed this while driving many times through the area). Moderate danger at intersections from turns.

Experience as a cyclist: I started commuting downtown on this thing in late 2021 moving up to 3 days/week through 2022 and most of 2023 barring a period where I was off the bike for about six months. My experiences were mostly good in the morning (I’d be coming through anytime between 6:30 and 7:45 AM, so pedestrian traffic is nearly nonexistent). On this particular work commute (Hyde Park to Silicon Labs), I’d bomb down Guadalupe the whole way in the morning for speed – and there weren’t many cars either – and most days I’d take the green lane because I could maintain my (fast for me but not for others) speed while doing so. I did not ride the other side in the evening because going uphill on the tiny part with all the bumps and buses in rush hour is not very enjoyable – so I’d mostly use Rio Grande on the way back.

Then I started going on longer recreational rides – both using the Southern Walnut Creek Trail as part of a loop and then south down-and-back rides, usually on the weekend (if I was going to add miles on the way to work, I’d go east first and thus avoid this section). On the weekend rides when I was leaving during daylight hours, I started to notice that as predicted, pedestrians observe this facility as the sidewalk it appears as way too often.

Then I got laid off in November 2023 and started to go on frequent long rides even during weekdays. This is the worst-case scenario, and the location of my nearest near-miss in years. On three or so occasions during the day, I’ve encountered wrong-way cyclists or scooterists. One scooterist was the nearest of misses – even a collision if you want to be pedantic about it – a young undergrad going north in the southbound lane; I was going fast on the assumption she’d interpret my glare and move to the side; but she moved right into my path instead; I slammed on my brakes; caught her and her scooter and we narrowly remained upright.


Other experiences along here were more typically what I predicted way back when – pedestrians stepping off or standing without looking being fairly common. No, Jace Deloney’s optimism aside, people never learned any better (the fact that there’s a brand new crop of novices every year means that of course would never happen). Occasional cars making turns without looking, but not as many as I would have feared; they got pretty used to the facility, unlike the pedestrians. Really bumpy, badly maintained, road surface (as a friend of ye crackplog said, “they clearly just went to Home Depot and bought a couple of cans of green paint and haven’t bothered to touch it up in a decade”).

I took to just riding in the rightmost traffic lane when going through during high pedestrian traffic periods, depending on how bad the car traffic was at the time. Have yet to be harassed by a motorist for doing so, which has been nice.

Other fun wrinkles: the planters tend to get moved at times (affecting both perceived and actual safety!); the path to ride has shifted due to construction multiple times so sometimes you’re on green and sometimes not; and scooters parked near the facility sometimes end up in it (sometimes due to that shifting path not making it clear where they are supposed to be). The last construction move appears to be permanent, and as same old ye crackfriende said: “the en-straightening at 20th Street […] moves cyclists even further from the visual field of drivers turning right.”, defeating one of the original things that made this facility not as bad as common cycletracks (visibility at intersections is the achilles’ heel for these things in general). This maintenance/shift “[…] also dovetails with the paint maintenance part since they didn’t bother to paint the new segment and left a green fork that could Wile E. Coyote someone who’s mildly inebriated into a wall of planters or whatever’s there now.”

so I guess the tldr version is: when students aren’t around, it’s fine most of the time, but you don’t need it in the morning anyways, and in the afternoon you’d be going the wrong way most likely. When students are around you’re screwed and you better have your head on a swivel unless like me you were riding at 6 oh god in the morning.

(I had visions of producing some nicely designed sliders and scales here for these rating components but then laziness won out; I may go back and replace later though).

Ratings (all out of 10)

Usefulness for commuting (Southbound only): Ranges from 3 high-pedestrian times to 9 in early mornings or when school is out of session

Comfort/pleasantness rating for adults: Ranges from 5 at worst to 8 in low-pedestrian times

Perceived safety for AAA: 9

Actual safety for adult-speed cycling: 1 to 7

Actual safety for child-speed cycling: 3 to 7

How Right Was M1EK: 9 (Pedestrians are exactly as bad as I predicted; cars not looking when turning are slightly better than I predicted).

Encourages bad behavior: 2 (encourages bad pedestrian behavior and wrong-way cycling and scooting)

  1. helping AURA build their organization and mission, defeating a bad rail plan, and then getting stabbed in the back by those motherfuckers 

  2. That thread, if you don’t want to waste time on it, had me against a bunch of “people will learn!” guys, then a bunch of “maybe Mike is right after all” backtracks, finishing with Doug McLaren being an asshole by trying to have it both ways 

  3. new to me