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(Laura Figi/Austonia)

Bike lanes have taken over either side of the street.

The "Main Street of Texas" just got a makeover designed for bikes and scooters.


Bike lanes have taken over one of three lanes in either direction on Congress Avenue from Riverside Drive to 11th Street, as part of a recently finished project from the Austin Transportation Department.

The lanes were originally installed in June, as a temporary measure, to allow cyclists to cycle and social distance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, the city decided to make them a permanent fixture and began the process of replacing the orange cones used during the interim period.

The changes were made as part of the City of Austin's Congress Avenue Urban Design Initiative, which aims to make the area human-centric and accessible for all.

The bike lanes are protected by flexible delineator posts and parking stops, as well as enhanced bicycle crossing markings.

The initiative also includes changes for drivers and pedestrians: new left turn lanes with protected left phases on Cesar Chavez , 5th and 6th streets; dedicated right turn lanes on Cesar Chavez Street, Barton Springs Road and Riverside Drive; shorter pedestrian crossing distances; and protected intersection designs.

From the driver's perspective, the changes should minimize the contact cars have with pedestrians, scooters and cyclists. The project is expected to reduce collisions in the area.

Four people have died in bicycle-car collisions in Austin this year, according to the Austin Police Department.

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