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Safety barriers have arrived!

18 May 2022

An Opinion

San Antonio, thank you! In the wake of a tragedy, parks officials installed barriers on the Salado Creek Greenway at I-410 service road. This device is designed to encourage cyclists to unmount prior to crossing the dangerous service road.

Newly installed safety barriers on Salado Creek Greenway at a blind spot at I-410 service road—Photo: SRR
Newly installed safety barriers on Salado Creek Greenway at a blind spot at I-410 service road—Photo: SRR

A 53-year-old cyclist lost his life on 17 March 2022 when he reportedly disregarded a stop sign and was struck by a car. Trail officials have posted stop signs at both sides of the crossing with further instructions to unmount. This crossing is one of the north Salado Creek Greenway's most precarious. On approach to the crossing from Robert Tobin Park, the trail runs under I-410 where it reaches the service road that has a "blind spot." A low-overhang overpass hides the visibility of any incoming traffic on the service road.

Stop sign is positioned at service road crossing—Photo: SRR
Stop sign is positioned at service road crossing—Photo: SRR

Some cyclists will follow the law if there is traffic present; otherwise, they will ignore them. As the case of the I-410 service road, cyclists have been observed of just rolling right on through—no unmounting or stopping as guided by signage. Throughout the U.S., the stop sign law is loosely enforced for cyclists. It is left up to the officer to decide whether or not to issue a citation.

Markings and signage for motorists

For the motorists, road markings and signage are deficient for many crossings, especially after dark. In the I-410 crossing case, a yellow diamond-shaped sign shows the international symbols for a cyclist and pedestrian; however, it is so high that some car lights may not be able to illuminate it effectively. A solution is research to make this stand out as a crossing. Perhaps, more signage, speed bumps, visible pavement markings—a solution based on studies.

An email had been sent to TxDOT's public information office making an inquiry on what TxDOT can do to improve the visibility of the crossing on the service road; however, no reply has been received as of this writing.

What motorists see on the service road as they approach the crossing—Photo: SRR
What motorists see on the service road as they approach the crossing—Photo: SRR

A drawback

Even though the barriers are designed to cut down on accidents, they can pose a problem for those on incumbent bicycles—especially those who are handicap. Further studies may suggest improvements in this area.

About the Salado Creek Greenway

Salado Creek Greenway is a popular 19.7-mile (31.7-km) trail that provides the experience of riding in the woods. The trail runs north to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Park where it connects to the Leon Creek Greenway; it runs south to Holbrook Road where it terminates. Most of the trail threads through wooded area.

Wooded experience on Salado Creek Greenway near Oakwell Farms Trailhead—Photo: SRR
Wooded experience on Salado Creek Greenway near Oakwell Farms Trailhead—Photo: SRR

Salado Creek Greenway crosses a side road of Austin Highway—Photo: SRR
Salado Creek Greenway crosses a side road of Austin Highway—Photo: SRR

—SRR Features

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