Bicycling to Nowhere

If there’s anyone who still questions whether the City of Austin prioritizes bicycles over cars, look no further than the amount of taxpayer money going into bike-shelters at MetroRail stations in Austin.

The first of such facilities opened today at the Kramer Lane MetroRail location – a station built literally between two warehouses, with no public parking nearby.

Riders have been able to take their bikes with them on the train, but thanks to the quick-thinking bureaucrats at Cap Metro, they will now be able to store their bikes in a secure 24-hour surveillance shelter.

How much did this facility cost you, the taxpayer? Only about $150,000. This one on Kramer Lane came from local sales tax revenue (that could have gone towards road repair). New shelters will come from a half-million dollar grant from the Federal Transit Authority, and $50,000 from the City of Austin.

Surely for a facility that costs as much a small home, the investment will be worth it? Well, not exactly. This is Austin we’re talking about.

One storage facility will only be able to store 24 bikes at one time, with up to 50 people who can pay for a year of access. Assuming Cap Metro has all 50 slots paid for, it will only take 100 years to make back the initial investment – about the time Austinites may actually see a reduction in traffic.

Sadly, these shelters will only be drops in the bucket compared to the $1.3 billion Austin wants to spend on a new “urban-rail” system. Although by then, you’ll probably be able to drive your electric car and charge it right at the station!

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