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Why Austin Could End 24-Hour Trails

Updated: Thursday, September 26 2013, 06:14 AM CDT
Later today it could be the end of Austin's 24-hour hike and bike trails. And this morning one group is stepping up to urge City Council to keep them in place, saying it'll make the roads a more dangerous place for cyclists, while city leaders say it'll cost too much and spread police too thin.

Bike Austin, a local cycling advocacy group, wants the city to think twice. This morning , they're asking supporters to email the mayor and council, sign up against the resolution, and speak out against it at City Hall. The group says some cyclists are afraid they're more likely to be hit by a drunk driver and would be ticketed for trying to stay out of harm's way by using the trails overnight.

So why get rid of it? Mayor Lee Leffingwell says patrolling the trails costs $1 million a year in overtime, money that runs out in October, and to pick up the slack, those officers have to come from somewhere else.

"They announced that they were going to pull nine district representatives, those are the people that work in the neighborhoods and talk to neighborhood people, and put them on trail duty," said Leffingwell. "So to me it's a simple choice: do we want to keep the trails open 24 hours or do we want to have the DRs? I chose the DRs."

Mayor Leffingwell says since the curfew was lifted, the trails have averaged 10 bicycles per night. However, no matter which way council votes, pedestrians still sure not allowed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on the trails.

The Austin City Council starts at 10 a.m. Thursday at City Hall.Why Austin Could End 24-Hour Trails


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