Transportation

Texas State Capitol Building
Image courtesy Dave Wilson Photography http://www.flickr.com/photos/dawilson/

Two weeks to go in the Texas Legislative session folks. And there’s even less time than that for lawmakers to pass bills before constitutional deadlines make it nearly impossible to get things done.

KUT News

When the Texas legislative session started in January, lawmakers came to Austin with money to spend and a specific set of priorities. House Speaker Joe Straus laid out those goals during an opening press conference with Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Erik Reyna, KUT News

If you’re happy to see lower gas prices lately, you’ll be happier to hear that there’s no sign in the short term that prices will rise.

Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service says it’s a matter of supply and demand. “We certainly are on an upward ramp with supply and supply of crude, particularly oil shale crude, like the stuff that’s coming out of the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas,” Kloza says.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin’s taxi drivers association is affiliating with the largest federation of unions in the United States, the AFL-CIO.

At a press conference today, the Taxi Drivers Association of Austin announced a partnership with the AFL-CIO’s National Taxi Workers Alliance.

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.

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Governor Rick Perry says that he would support using a portion of the sales tax from car sales on roads, highways and other transportation infrastructure.

“With the rapid growth of our population and our healthy economy, the amount we take in on those sales are increasing steadily,” Perry said during the Texas Lyceum Conference on Transportation in Austin.  “I propose that we dedicate the future growth in sales tax collected on motor vehicles to transportation infrastructure.”

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.

Amendment Would Provide Money for Roads and Water

Apr 11, 2013
Daniel Reese

A plan approved today by the Texas Senate Finance Committee would spend a lot of money on water and road projects if Texas voters give the go-ahead.

A constitutional amendment proposed by committee chair Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, would tap into the Rainy Day Fund, which is money mostly from the state’s gas and oil tax revenues, for transportation and water projects.

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.

KUT News

Update: Capital Metro says MetroRail service is back up and running as normal this morning – all the way from Leander to downtown Austin.

Derailed freight cars have been removed from the tracks.

Original Story (April 4, 2013): CapMetro has resumed MetroRail service to the MLK station from their Kramer, Howard and Leander Stations. Trains will run as schedule for the foreseeable future while buses will shuttle passengers between MLK and downtown.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

It’s no secret Interstate 35 congestion takes a toll on Austinites.

Out of a list of Texas’ 100 most congested roadways, the portion of I-35 running through central Austin is the fourth most congested in the state. Meanwhile, State Highway 130, out east of I-35, is open for business.

dontmesswithtexas.org

The Texas Department of Transportation is reinvigorating its perennial “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign this year to reduce littering among younger Texans.

A 2009 survey from the agency showed that over half of all “active litterers” in Texas were between the ages of 16 and 34, despite 95 percent levels of campaign awareness across all Texas drivers.

Low/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/24831034@N08/

If you see a vehicle belching smoke, there’s a way to report it.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality encourages drivers to report vehicles they see that are emitting dirty smoke for more than 10 consecutive seconds.

The TCEQ then sends a letter to the owner suggesting an inspection. Compliance is voluntary.

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

On any given day, thousands of bicyclists ride through and park their bikes at the congested UT Austin campus. Some people choose to ride their bikes because finding parking for a car when there are more than 50,000 students plus faculty and staff competing for limited space is tough - so tough in fact, that even some visitors choose to bike to campus.

But many are unaware of a new restriction on visiting cyclists.

Daniel Reese

The capital area’s transportation planning authority, known as CAMPO, is made up of representatives from Austin and five counties of Central Texas. Now CAMPO is considering bringing on a seventh member, Burnet County.

The Austin City Council will vote today on whether it wants to approve Burnet County’s request to join (PDF). The equation might seem simple: As part of the region, Burnet County should have a say in the region’s transportation needs. But with a cacophony of voices speaking for CAMPO, no decision is straightforward.

flickr.com/atmtx

Hopefully you're wearing green tomorrow – and not planning to drive along 4th Street.

All day on Sunday, West Fourth Street from Colorado to Lavaca is fully closed to car traffic for a St. Patrick's Day Festival. Fado's Irish Pub is hosting the festival, and attendees will enjoy music, food, some liquor and a lot of beer.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Capital Metro is reporting more record high ridership numbers from this year's South by Southwest Festival.

Capital Metro says boardings were up from last year by almost 7,000 on MetroRail for the first several days of SXSW. Capital Metro even had to operate an additional train after hours to carry more than 100 passengers still waiting on the platform. The trains on Saturday are starting at 10 a.m. – a few hours earlier than usual.

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. 

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect on Friday are already causing headaches at the nation's airports.

"Now that we are having to reduce or eliminate basically overtime both for TSA and for customs, now that we have instituted a hiring freeze... we will begin today sending out furlough notices," Napolitano said, according to Politico.

Texas Department of Transportation

Change is on the way for a stretch of State Highway 71 in Southeast Austin.

The Texas Department of Transportation is moving ahead with plans to build tolled express lanes from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport east to the SH 130 toll road.

flickr.com/atmtx

Police may begin impounding the vehicles of unlicensed drivers who offer rides for money – and that includes drivers using online apps like SideCar.

Item 30 on this week’s Austin City Council agenda would allow police to impound “a ground transportation service vehicle operated in violation” of the city code governing transportation franchise agreements, like the ones in place with Austin taxi companies.

flickr.com/leelefever

Austin doesn’t have urban rail – but it’s already suffering from an identity crisis.

That was one big takeaway from a presentation by urban planning experts on how Austin can get a rail project up and running.

Austin is one of four U.S. cities chosen as part of an Urban Land Institute fellowship focusing on urban issues. The participating cities each chose a focus issue for a year-long study – and Austin chose rail.

Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition

Austin drivers can expect traffic delays later this morning because of an immigration reform march downtown.

The Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition is putting on what it calls the "first Texas statewide march in 2013 for Humane Immigration Reform." The coalition promotes human rights and economic justices for immigrants.

Partner organizations from El Paso, Dallas, Houston and other cities will be in attendance. According to a Facebook event, more than 400 people are coming to the march.

KUT News

Some travelers at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will soon be able to get through security faster.

A Transportation Safety Administration spokesman tells KUT News this morning that ABIA is being added to the TSA’s “Pre Check” Program.

Pre Check allows frequent fliers who’ve met certain requirements to pass through a designated security check point where they may not have to take off their shoes, jackets and belts. They also may not have to remove laptops or liquids from carry-on items.

Wells Dunbar, KUT News

A Texas Department of Transportation conference wouldn’t normally attract much attention. But invite a robot car to your meeting, and everything changes.

Google and its self-driving car were on hand at the Texas Transportation Forum today. The car – which relies on technology like radar and cameras to pilot itself – was the star of a panel on transportation and technology this morning.

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.

Photo by KUT News

The 83rd Texas Legislature has already called for spending to improve the state’s water infrastructure. Now, Governor Rick Perry’s saying the economy depends on another major investment:

“We’ll have to deal with our transportation needs if we want to keep our winning streak going," Perry said. "I mean that is just the facts.”

flickr.com/gratapictures

A construction crane, half-nude cupids and thousands of beads are resulting in several full and partial road closures in Austin this weekend.

The placement of a construction crane will close part of Congress Avenue Friday evening. Northbound Congress Avenue will be closed between Cesar Chavez and Third Streets from 7 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11. Southbound traffic on Congress Avenue in the area will be reduced to two lanes.

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