Area leaders and residents plan for future transportation needs

Easing future traffic congestion woes

AUSTIN - Members of the public helped transportation advocates brainstorm ideas on how to ease traffic congestion in the future for the growing Austin and surrounding areas.

The mobility workshop was held at the Bullock Texas State Museum, located at 1800 Congress Avenue. "Traffic Jam" was sponsored by the Austin Transportation Department and Capital Metro.

State Representative Celia Israel was part of a panel discussion.

She described traffic as a "dilemma."

"It's harming our economy, it's harming our way of life, it's harming our good name," said Israel.

Israel sits on the Texas Legislature's Transportation Committee.

She isn't thrilled that current transportation advocates inherited a mess.

"I get so frustrated when I think about the lost time that we didn't take action on a bold and visionary project," said Israel, who represents parts of Austin, Pflugerville and Travis County.

The state representative said they're not making that mistake again. So they're planning for transportation needs years down the line, right now.

Resident David Orr used custom-made cardboard tiles to plan his perfect street.

"With only one lane for vehicles and no parking," explained Orr on how he would improve the Drag or Guadalupe Street.

He would use one lane each way for cars and the other two for buses and light rail. Orr also wants to eliminate all parking on Guadalupe.

Then there's Laura Eldredge, who wants gondolas on South First and Lavaca Streets.

"You would have that whole corridor with overhead cable," explained Eldredge.

Those visual ideas end up on a wall for all to consider.

They will be considered as part of a new Austin Strategic Mobility Plan. An ATD information sheet describes the plan as "an important  community-driven step to help the city absorb new growth in a balanced way and create true choices among Austin's mobility options."

The hand-out also explained that Austin's current transportation plan was adopted in 1995 and "needs to be updated to reflect the vision established in Imagine Austin."

Imagine Austin is a 30-year plan that lays out a vision for how the city can grow in a compact and connected way.

Attendees also learned about the regional approach to tackling transportation issues.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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