6-months after cyclist death on UT campus no bike lanes added to San Jac

It's been more than six-months, since avid cyclist and FOX 7 Austin employee Tony Diaz was hit and killed by a CapMetro bus.

Diaz was riding home from work on January 28th, cycling along San Jacinto in diagonal parking spaces, close to the east curb when the bus drifted into the parking spaces and pulled Diaz underneath.

Since then, bike advocates have urged the University of Texas at Austin to add bike lanes to that street.

Discussions between road safety advocates and UT representatives have been ongoing but no changes have been made to San Jac so far. It's caused frustration for advocates like James Lentz, President of Campus Bike Alliance.

"I'm disappointed that there hasn't been much movement I get the impression that the university's not prioritizing student safety," Lentz said.

Lentz detailed the car traffic and foot traffic around the university saying designated bike lanes for cyclists is needed.

"Every time I ride down that street I am thinking about the fact that tony died there and I worry that it could be someone else," said Lentz.

This week, a university representative told the advocacy groups the university is not ready to commit to bike lanes on San Jac and will not be removing parking.

Although UT’s 2013 master plan was set to add bike lanes, Director of Media Relations J.B Bird said the campus environment has changed a lot since then. The newly proposed basketball arena is shifting campus construction around.

“The university appreciates as always the thoughtful perspectives of cyclists, who continue to bring positive ideas to improve transportation safety on campus. We are committed to bike lanes on the new Red River section through campus," Bird says.

"After evaluating the San Jacinto corridor, we are moving forward with safety improvements, including better cross walks, moving several bus stops, and adding signage for safety and speed management. With major construction plans for Red River and Dedman Drive, we are not ready at this time to do anything further on San Jacinto without considering a comprehensive plan. We will continue to meet with internal and external stakeholders, including cyclists, to gather input on the most effective, comprehensive improvements,” said Bird.

Bike safety advocates will meet with campus representatives again in the fall and say until changes are made they will not give up.



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