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Safety improvements coming to Austin's popular Rainey Street

In a meeting on Tuesday, leaders looked at the Rainey Street Safety Pilot, which will close the street to vehicles on weekend nights.

AUSTIN, Texas — As concerns for safety continue to grow on Rainey Street, on Tuesday, the City of Austin's Mobility Commission discussed its plan to reduce traffic on the weekends in this neighborhood by blocking off the street to vehicles.

On their meeting agenda, committee members held a briefing on the Rainey Street Shared Streets Pilot.

According to the City's resolution, the pilot will run similar to the road closures happening on certain blocks of Sixth Street during weekend nights.

Currently, Sixth Street is closed Thursday through Saturday evenings from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.

However, during the pilot, "the City Manager is directed to determine the appropriate dates, times and duration of this pilot in consultation with the Rainey Business Association, area neighborhood associations and the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center Board," according to the resolution.

RELATED: Rainey Street may follow 6th Street's lead, shut down traffic during peak times

Data collected for the project found that, on a single Saturday, more than 1,500 pedestrians cross the intersection of Rainey and River Street between 9:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.

Both the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan and Congress Avenue Initiative recommended piloting a plan that uses "traffic calming and streetscape features" that will easily allow streets to be converted to public use during the listed times. 

In addition, the pilot will consider transportation methods to Rainey Street from off-site parking, like electric shuttles, as well as queuing areas for taxis and transportation companies, the resolution stated.


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Over the years, Rainey Street residents and business owners have repeatedly requested that the city develop a strategic plan to manage these mobility challenges as the neighborhood's business and residential growth continues, the resolution stated. 

The pilot is the next step in the Rainey Street Mobility Study, which kicked off in May. 

The pilot is slated to begin on Dec. 5.

Council members will use the results of the study to determine if this solution improved or worsened safety and mobility in the area. 

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