Austin Mayor Steve Adler is asking people to mark their calendars on Wednesday, May 11th, as “Austin, Don't Rush" Day!
It's inspired by the day that President Obama came to Austin for South by Southwest, when everyone was encouraged to work from home. However, this time, the Austin Mayor is asking for commuters to use any means to avoid the rush hour traffic.
Adler spoke at Austin's Traffic Management Center on Thursday, asking for people to change their habits by adjusting their work schedules or by trying other modes of transportation, such as taking the bus or riding their bike to work. Another option is to work from home.
The city is providing incentives to participate in this one day challenge.
Austin's Capitol Metro is providing free transportation on that starting from all of its buses to trains and even MetroAccess.
“Capital Metro will make it as easy as possible to try transit on May 11th by offering its services for free that day, so that's all of our bus service,” said Francine Pares, Capital Metro.
Other city programs and organizations are also providing incentives in support for this one day challenge, including Metropia, Car2Go, Movability, ZipCar, CARTS and SPLT.
During President Obama's arrival, Adler said the travel time was reduced by 60 percent on Mopac, along with significant decreases on other major roads.
"On May 11, we're going to see if what we did for the President, is something we can do for ourselves,” said Mayor Adler.
He said the traffic congestion in Austin continues to be a big problem in our city and having less cars on the road is the most cost-effective way to solve this problem.
The Austin Mayor said he hopes May 11th will be the start of something new, like a shift of habits, where more people start avoiding the peak traffic times permanently on a daily or at least weekly basis.
Mayor Adler said the city is working on other ways to relieve the congestion, including bonds on I-35 and corridor plans for Lamar and MLK. However, he said he wants to encourage everyone to support this one-day challenge first, to see if it can make a difference for traffic in Austin.
May 11 will act as part of Adler's new initiative to reduce traffic particularly during rush hour.