Traffic

Jillian Schantz Patrick/KUT News

Update: Austin's latest surge of winter weather means postponement of lane restriping work on MoPac.

While lane closures continue, lane restriping  probably won't begin until after Friday's expected rains, and possible freezing precipitation on Saturday. See the tweet below:

Original story (Dec. 9): Construction work on MoPac is about to get underway. Overnight lane closures begin tonight as crews install construction signs in preparation for restriping portions of the road.

Callie Hernandez for KUT News

In Austin, it's a constant: Traffic.

There’s recent statewide and local efforts to mitigate congestion – which will take substantial investment and extensive construction. So despite proposals in the pipeline, traffic will continue to be a slow-going, fast-growing problem.

So, it got us wondering: What are the worst intersections in Austin? 

Map Data @2013 Google

Traffic may be moving slower on SH 71 this morning around Southwest Parkway. And it’ll probably be that way for the next eight months or so.

SH 71 is reduced to one lane in each direction while crews work to widen the road.

The Texas Department of Transportation is adding turn lanes, an acceleration lane and paved shoulders to 71 at Southwest Parkway. TxDOT says the project will increase safety in the area.

TxDOT warns drivers should plan for possible delays in the area.

Erik Reyna for KUT News

It may not be news to anyone trapped on Interstate 35, or suffering a meltdown on MoPac, but a new study confirms the obvious: Austin drivers are far less safe than the nationwide average, according to a study from insurance company Allstate.

Austin ranks among the bottom quarter of U.S. cities in Allstate’s “Americas Best Drivers” report – 155th out of 200 largest cities. The city actually fell six places from its ranking last year (149th), meaning Austin drivers have gotten less safe by Allstate's standards.

Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Update: Capital Metro’s MetroRail Service is back up and running this morning. But trains are running behind schedule because of a technology problem earlier this morning.

Capital Metro says the first train will depart from Leander at about 6:50 a.m.

A Capital Metro spokesperson says crews will work hard this morning to get back on schedule.

Original Story (6:22 a.m.): Capital Metro’s MetroRail Service is down this morning because of a technology problem.

 

Preparations are underway for the Auditorium Shores concert and fireworks show Thursday.

The festivities start at 8:30 p.m., with a performance by the Austin Symphony. Fireworks are set to start at 9:30 p.m., and the event is expected to end at 10 p.m.

Above, you'll find a map of street closures for the event — streets marked red will be completely closed. Those in blue will be partially shut down.

Update (4:30 p.m.): Austin Police are warning that I-35 southbound could be closed through the evening:

Original Story: Southbound Interstate 35 is shut down just past Riverside because a semi truck is on fire. 

Austin Police and Fire crews have moved southbound traffic to the access road.

AFD spokesperson Palmer Buck estimated the closures may be in effect until rush hour. Northbound traffic is also backed up because of onlookers.

Sinclair Black & Andrew Vernooy

Update (June 20): This morning Austin City Council members decided to go ahead and approve a resolution supporting a I-35 National Environmental Policy Act study for a plan to reconnect East & West Austin by submerging it from approximately River Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

Council also directed the City Manager to develop an economic impact study and look at associated financing options.

flickr.com/carlos

Paying for transportation infrastructure is big part of the special session underway now at the Texas Capitol. But, for some lawmakers, it's not a big enough part.

Senate Joint Resolution 2 would send some oil and gas tax money into a new fund, but everyone agrees that much more money is needed.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: Cesar Chavez Street is now open to eastbound traffic, but one westbound lane is still closed as crews finish work on a sinkhole found this morning.

The cement used to fill the hole has very little water and dries quickly, but is not expected to be fully dry until after rush hour.

Original post (12:17 p.m.): Westbound Cesar Chavez Street is closed from I-35 to Red River after a sinkhole formed near Sabine Street.

flickr.com/joshmaz

Expect traffic congestion around the Frank Erwin Center to pick up over the next couple of days as area schools celebrate high school graduations.

Westlake High School students will get their diplomas at the Erwin Center tonight. Three other high schools have graduations scheduled there on Saturday: Hendrickson High School (9 a.m.), Pflugerville High School (11 a.m.) and Connally High School (1 p.m.).

Daniel Reese

 

Last year’s Memorial Day weekend saw 191 car crashes, one death and 99 injuries, said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. 

This year, APD, state police, and nearby counties are collaborating to counter hazardous driving, in an effort to make holiday weekends less destructive on Central Texas roads.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: Austin police say the suspect is in custody and that roadways will open soon. Eastbound U.S. Hwy 290 is open now, but the service road near Berkman is still closed.

The situation started early this morning when police responded to a call of a shot fired at the Capitol Village Apartments. When officers arrived, police say the suspect pointed a weapon at them and police fired back – but no one was injured. The suspect then went back inside of an apartment and police have been trying to make contact. They’re also trying to evacuate the apartment complex.

Emily Donahue, KUT News

The City of Austin says the number of vehicle crashes involving bikes and pedestrians has gone up over recent years.

In 2012, there were a total of 78 fatal crashes in Austin – a 42 percent increase from 2011. A third of those 78 crashes killed pedestrians. Three were fatal crashes involving bikes.

flickr.com/rabski

Road closures this weekend will keep drivers away from city hall and a few roads surrounding the University of Texas at Austin. Art City Austin and the Longhorn Run are both this weekend.

Art City Austin is pitched as a hybrid of an art festival and a block party. The festival features an outdoor art fair, local food trailers, live music and more. Volunteers are still needed.

Callie Hernandez, KUT News

Reducing morning traffic congestion is just one of many ideas that will be discussed Friday at the Texas Lyceum conference in Austin. The non-profit, non-partisan statewide group is hosting a summit on transportation.

Among the featured speakers is Dennis Christiansen. He’s director of the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University. Christiansen says more roads aren’t the only answer.

Map Data @2013 Google

Update: The frontage road to the west of I-35 in Kyle will begin transitioning to one-way this morning and continue through Friday, April 12. 

The I-35 frontage road's repainting and repaving is expected to take only one day. and will be changed to handle only southbound traffic.

flickr.com/tina_kolesnik

The Austin-American Statesman's Capitol 10k run will result in many road closures downtown and around the Capitol this Sunday. 

Some road closures will begin at 3 a.m. and last at late as 12 p.m. and include part of Congress Avenue. For a more details, check out this map by the Statesman.

Wikimedia Commons, bit.ly/173mBPJ

Traffic just got a little faster on some highway roads outside of Austin.

The Texas Department of Transportation announced Thursday the increase of speed limits on a few segments of U.S. Highway 183 and State Highway 130 frontage roads.

Joy Diaz, KUT News

More than a dozen streets in Austin are about to be invaded with bulldozers whose mission is to re-shape them. Once the streets are re-worked, the hope is they will in turn help slow down the drivers who use them. On the first week of April, the city will unveil which so-called “traffic calming” projects it will fund.

Twice a year, Austin’s Transportation Renee Orr reviews dozens of applications from Austinites who believe their streets would be safer if there were a way to make drivers slow down.

UW Green Futures Lab/Scan Design Foundation/Gehl Architects

The Austin City Council had parking on its mind today. And now Austin is one step closer to eliminating minimum parking requirements for many downtown businesses, and looking at a program could to lessen the number of cars entering downtown. 

Pilot Parking Program

The council heard a briefing on parking program encouraging businesses to reduce car commuting. The program could begin as soon as April, if the council approves a measure next week.

flickr.com/rutlo

The Austin Police Department wants to curb aggressive driving on Interstate 35. Starting Sunday, March 17, APD and other law enforcement agencies will increase their operations along the I-35 corridor. The crackdown will continue until Saturday, March 23.

APD says they’ll be looking for those who speed, tailgate, pass emergency vehicles, and fail to signal or wear a seat belt.

flickr.com/mirsasha

It’s no secret that traffic is terrible in Austin. A study from Texas A&M ranked the area 17th worst in the nation – finding the average driver here spent 44 hours of their life stuck in traffic in 2011. 

Callie Hernandez for KUT News

The Austin area should see mostly sunny skies today with a high near 70. The National Weather Service reports rain chances as high as 40 percent move in tonight.

Lead Story: The City of Austin and area transportation agencies want the public to weigh-in on a transit plan for Central Texas.

The “Project Connect” regional plan includes urban rail, rapid transit and express lanes.

California Rail Map, Alfred Twu

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell has promised a public vote on an urban rail system before he leaves office. Considering Austin was just ranked the fourth worst U.S. city for traffic congestion, that news could make for a lot of happy commuters.

Meanwhile, a California group envisions a national high-speed rail system that could transport a person from any major city to another in hours. And this vision has Austin as major train connection hub.

flickr.com/rutlo

A new study reveals what most Austin drivers could tell you anyway: Traffic here is bad. But the study says Austin’s traffic has grown worse than any large metropolitan region in the last 20 years.

The yearly Urban Mobility Report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute says Austin drivers have wasted the most time in traffic since they began collecting data, more than any other city surveyed in the national study.

flickr.com/glasgows

Update: Austin’s Public Safety Commission voted unanimously Monday to send a resolution to local leaders aimed at reducing gun violence.

The resolution encourages the Austin City Council, Travis County Commissioners, the Austin Independent School Board and Austin Community College to stop leasing facilities for gun shows—or to require those shows to conduct background checks.

The commission also wants local law enforcement to hold gun buyback programs and to collect data on guns used in crimes.

courtesy SH 130 Concession Co.

If you drive on I-35, state transportation officials hope you’ll see fewer big trucks next month than you do today.

The state Transportation Commission approved a substantial toll reduction for 18-wheelers that circumnavigate the city on the Texas 130 and Texas 45 toll roads. Instead of paying $33 to bypass Austin, trucks will pay $11 or less.

Callie Hernandez/KUT News

Sections of I-35 and MoPac are singled out in a new report as being among the 100 top traffic challenges in the Texas.

The report (PDF) by TRIP, a national transportation research group, identifies four problem areas here in Austin. The worst and the toughest to fix, they say, is a stretch of U.S. 290 from MoPac to Farm Road 1826. The road offers no access for emergency vehicles during rush hours.

flickr.com/mirsasha

For almost 10 years, traffic deaths were relatively low in Austin. Then last year they spiked. Now two city council members want a study to look into why so many people died on Austin’s roads in 2012.

Austin City Council Member Laura Morrison is certain that population growth cannot be the reason for so many traffic deaths. At least, not the only reason.  “We got to figure out why,” Morrison says. “That spike and that increase is actually a trend that we are seeing nationwide. So, I suspect there’s something going on much more generally across the nation that our increase might be related to.”

Pages