City Hopes for a Smooth Rollout Ahead of Brazos Street Conversion

Dec 18, 2014

Austin's downtown traffic flow will change starting next month. The City of Austin is converting Brazos Street from one way to a two way street between East Cesar Chavez and East Sixth streets. 

Austin Transportation Department Director Rob Spillar says a number of cities have gone through this process to slow traffic.

“We’ve been doing a lot of studying and we think this is a good plan. I won’t try to persuade you that it’s not going to be tough the first couple, three weeks," says Spillar. "We probably will have to tweak our initial plans once we get those out there, but we’re committed to do that.”

Spillar added that the city plans to replace stop signs at Third and Fourth streets with synchronized traffic signals.

Austin architect Girard Kinney has been living and working downtown for almost 50 years, says it’s a good way to control traffic downtown.

“I was concerned when we changed to one-way streets," Kinney says. "Two-way streets are just a far better, more just choice in offering a way of doing a street system in the city.” 

But others disagree with the changes. For Eddie Safady, who works at Prosperity Bank downtown and lives on Congress Avenue, navigating through traffic is always a challenge.

“Narrowing Brazos to one lane of traffic going each direction is just not sufficient to handle the capacity that we have," he says.

The city also plans to convert Seventh, Eighth and Colorado Streets to two-way traffic starting in 2016.