It doesn’t make financial sense to spend $1 million to keep three hike-and-bike trails open to a handful or two of bicyclists overnight. But it poses a moral dilemma to close trails that permit cyclists to bypass congested streets during hours they are more likely to encounter drunken or drug-impaired drivers.
Those dueling perspectives are why the Austin City Council continues to postpone what on the surface seems like a fairly simple deal — to keep trails open at night or close them. Earlier this year, the council initiated a pilot program for the three trails — Butler, Shoal Creek and Johnson Creek. In opening to cyclists (but not pedestrians) beyond curfew hours, the city aimed to test demand of late-night commuters wanting alternative transportation, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. But the demand didn’t materialize, according to Austin police.
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