Transportation http://kut.org en Austin Calls on TxDOT to Expand Public Comment, Revise Study on SH-45 http://kut.org/post/austin-calls-txdot-expand-public-comment-revise-study-sh-45 <p>Austin City Manager Marc Ott has asked the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to reconsider its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sh45sw.com/environmental/draft-eis.php">environmental impact study</a>&nbsp;on State Highway 45&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Southwest</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The </span>proposed<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;extension would connect South </span>MoPac<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and FM-1626 in northern Hays County.</span></p><p>In a letter to TxDOT, Ott&nbsp;also asked the department to expand the public comment period ahead of <a href="http://www.sh45sw.com/environmental/publicinvolvement.php">tonight's final public input meeting</a> at Bowie High School.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/160798706&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:10:08 +0000 Trey Shaar 10894 at http://kut.org Austin Calls on TxDOT to Expand Public Comment, Revise Study on SH-45 Wreckage Of Air Algerie Flight With 116 Aboard Found In Mali http://kut.org/post/authorities-lose-contact-air-algerie-aircraft <em><strong>Updated at 10:05 p.m. ET.</strong></em><p>The Air Algerie MD-83 en route from the capital of Burkina Faso to Algiers with 116 passengers and crew aboard has been found with no survivors.<p>NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, reporting for our Newscast team, that a presidential aide in neighboring Burkina Faso says the remains of the missing aircraft have been found just across the border in Mali, in an isolated area about 60 miles south of the town of Gao.<p>Gen. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:00:43 +0000 10853 at http://kut.org Austin Recovers From Overnight Rains http://kut.org/post/austin-recovers-overnight-rains <p>Half a foot of rain pelted the city of Austin and the surrounding area last night, with rainfall totals topping out at seven inches in the Walnut Creek area and Downtown Austin receiving a bit less than five inches of rain.</p><p>The National Weather Service’s flash flood warning for Travis and Williamson Counties expired before 5 a.m., but the city’s still tackling flooded roadways in Spicewood Springs. Additionally, Austin-Travis County EMS used a helicopter to evacuate 13 campers stranded on the Colorado River, dropping them safely near Webberville Road. Below, you can view the latest flood updates, and a list of downed trees, delayed public transportation and power outages in Austin. Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:59:45 +0000 Audrey McGlinchy 10810 at http://kut.org Austin Recovers From Overnight Rains An 11,000-Mile Trip, a 1949 Car, and One Big Point About U.S. Infrastructure http://kut.org/post/11000-mile-trip-1949-car-and-one-big-point-about-us-infrastructure <p>Can you compare a 1949 <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_Motor_Car_Company">Hudson car</a> to America’s aging infrastructure?</p><p>Best-selling author and award-winning journalist <a href="http://www.danmcnichol.com/">Dan McNichol</a> thinks so –&nbsp;and says it's time to rebuild.</p><p>McNichol is driving an antique Hudson across the United States for several months, traveling 11,000 miles with stops in cities including Boston, San Diego, Washington and Austin to raise awareness about the state of America’s infrastructure –&nbsp;and what can be done about it.</p><p> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:28:24 +0000 Reynaldo Leanos 10771 at http://kut.org An 11,000-Mile Trip, a 1949 Car, and One Big Point About U.S. Infrastructure Think Traffic is Bad Now? By 2035, It Could Take 3 Hours to Get From Austin to Round Rock http://kut.org/post/think-traffic-bad-now-2035-it-could-take-3-hours-get-austin-round-rock <p>These days Austin is known as much for traffic as it is for live music or five-hour-long barbecue lines.&nbsp;</p><p>If you've been commuting in Austin for a while, you might have noticed the traffic isn't exactly getting better. Despite flirtations with building a six-lane highway, constructing a long overdue urban rail system and even "sequestering" I-35 under concrete, commute times are not only stagnant, they're getting worse. In 2011, the state commissioned a study on major roadways which found — despite all those improvements — it could take Austin commuters up to three hours to get to Round Rock by 2035.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/157857932&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 11:06:00 +0000 Ben Philpott 10753 at http://kut.org Think Traffic is Bad Now? By 2035, It Could Take 3 Hours to Get From Austin to Round Rock Three Ways to Get Home Safely After Toasting Independence Day in Austin http://kut.org/post/three-ways-get-home-safely-after-toasting-independence-day-austin <p>The Austin Police Department will be monitoring the roads extra carefully this weekend, and enforcing a "no refusal" mandate; law enforcement will be able to quickly obtain a warrant to test the blood-alcohol level of any suspected drunk driver who objects to a Breathalyzer or blood test.</p><p>Fourth of July revelers who don’t think they’ll make fit drivers this weekend will have their pick of get-home-safe cards.</p><p>1. Capital Metro has some late-night options, including <a href="https://www.capmetro.org/news-item.aspx?id=3694">year-round Night Owl buses</a> that run until 3 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Night Owl services travel five different routes between popular spots on 6th Street and city neighborhoods. Fri, 04 Jul 2014 17:02:00 +0000 Audrey McGlinchy 10736 at http://kut.org Three Ways to Get Home Safely After Toasting Independence Day in Austin Federal Highway Program Could Run Out Of Money Next Month http://kut.org/post/federal-highway-program-could-run-out-money-next-month Congress has yet another problem it can't solve.<p>For years, the main federal transportation program has been spending more money than it takes in. Thu, 03 Jul 2014 21:39:13 +0000 Alan Greenblatt 10732 at http://kut.org Federal Highway Program Could Run Out Of Money Next Month What is a Diverging Diamond Interchange and How Might it Help Traffic in Round Rock? http://kut.org/post/what-diverging-diamond-interchange-and-how-might-it-help-traffic-round-rock <p>State transportation authorities announced this week that they received the green light to build a $6.7 million "diverging diamond interchange" at I-35 and University Blvd. in Round Rock. That's an area that gets a lot of traffic, partly because it's near the only IKEA in Central Texas and the <a href="http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=73">Round Rock Premium Outlets</a>, among many other retail businesses.</p> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 01:01:06 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10724 at http://kut.org What is a Diverging Diamond Interchange and How Might it Help Traffic in Round Rock? Austin Could Take Hands-On Approach to Distracted Driving by Banning Hands-Free http://kut.org/post/austin-could-take-hands-approach-distracted-driving-banning-hands-free <p class="p1">Austin already has a <a href="https://library.municode.com/HTML/15302/level3/TIT12TRRE_CH12-1TRREAD_ART3TRRE.html#TIT12TRRE_CH12-1TRREAD_ART3TRRE_S12-1-34ELMEWHDR">ban on texting </a>behind the wheel, but phones these days are labeled "smart" for a reason — they can text, tweet,&nbsp; Snapchat and steer drivers toward a plethora other distracting drive-time activities.</p><p class="p1">But now the city is asking for advice on possible changes to its distracted driving ordinance. And it could adopt an all-encompassing ban on mobile phone use behind the wheel, including a ban on hands-free devices.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/156988986&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:51:56 +0000 Joy Diaz 10721 at http://kut.org Austin Could Take Hands-On Approach to Distracted Driving by Banning Hands-Free The $400 Million in I-35 Fixes That Could Be Bundled With Urban Rail http://kut.org/post/400-million-i-35-fixes-could-be-bundled-urban-rail <p>Much attention has been placed on Austin City Council’s <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-city-council-unanimously-backs-urban-rail-proposal">unanimous vote to endorse</a> an <a href="http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail">urban rail plan</a> for Austin. But $400 million of a proposed transportation bond that could reach voters in November is for road improvements as well.</p><p>Here's a breakdown of spending proposals, culled from the <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1211030-amp-report-drupalupload.html">2014 Austin Strategic Mobility Plan</a>:</p><p>The largest chunk of the approved road package is $120 million to improve downtown access from I-35, with new access ramps and separate lanes for local and pass-through traffic. This portion would also cover improvements to an interchange at Riverside &nbsp;Drive.</p><p> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 14:44:14 +0000 Ryan Kailath 10696 at http://kut.org The $400 Million in I-35 Fixes That Could Be Bundled With Urban Rail Austin City Council Unanimously Backs Urban Rail Proposal http://kut.org/post/austin-city-council-unanimously-backs-urban-rail-proposal <p>By a unanimous vote – Austin city council endorsed<a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=212285"> a package of proposed transportation projects</a> Thursday night, including a <a href="http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail">$1.4 billion dollar urban rail line</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>The Austin City Council limited public comment on urban rail to 30 minutes for each side, which angered some public transit advocates who support the concept of urban rail but reject the <a href="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kut/files/201405/LPA_MAP.jpg">proposed route</a> of the plan.&nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 27 Jun 2014 01:02:43 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10690 at http://kut.org Austin City Council Unanimously Backs Urban Rail Proposal Cap Metro Mulls Airport Route for Phase Two of Urban Rail http://kut.org/post/cap-metro-mulls-airport-route-phase-two-urban-rail <p>Capital Metro voted Monday to move forward with recommendations from&nbsp;<a href="http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail" target="_blank">Project Connect</a>. The next steps are deciding who will govern its potential&nbsp;urban &nbsp;rail operations and where some of the funding will come from. The City of Austin and Capital Metro are both major players.</p><p>But while Project Connect moved a step forward, there was a push from the Cap Metro board to take a step back.</p><p>After dozens of public meetings and <a href="http://kut.org/post/urban-rail-supporter-wants-you-reject-austins-current-proposal" target="_blank">no shortage of criticism</a>, Project Connect arrived at a proposed route for its urban rail that would go from Riverside to Highland Mall. On Monday, Capital Metro Board Chair Mike Martinez asked for analysis on a whole new route, from Austin-Bergstrom International to UT.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/155793692&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 13:21:00 +0000 Joy Diaz 10663 at http://kut.org Cap Metro Mulls Airport Route for Phase Two of Urban Rail Ahead of Key Vote, City Council and Capital Metro Meet to Hear Austin Rail Proposal http://kut.org/post/ahead-key-vote-city-council-and-capital-metro-meet-hear-austin-rail-proposal <p>The Austin City Council and the Capital Metro Board met today to learn more about a proposed urban rail route that needs approval from the council –&nbsp;and ultimately, Austin voters. There are still concerns about how to pay for the project.</p><p>Project Connect is looking at adding rail, buses and other options to the transit system in Central Texas. But the project's proposed plan for downtown Austin is still contentious because it favors a route that would bring urban rail through East Riverside and up to Highland Mall at a cost of almost $1.4 billion.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/154811115&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 21:36:49 +0000 Joy Diaz 10625 at http://kut.org Ahead of Key Vote, City Council and Capital Metro Meet to Hear Austin Rail Proposal Advisory Group Gives Urban Rail Green Light http://kut.org/post/advisory-group-gives-urban-rail-green-light <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A proposed urban rail line is one small step closer to becoming a reality after a panel of local officials, business leaders and citizens voted overwhelmingly to recommend the <a href="http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail">$1.38 billion proposal</a>. The <a href="https://austintexas.gov/department/project-connect-central-corridor-advisory-group">Central Corridor Advisory Group</a> voted 13-1 in favor of&nbsp;<a href="http://projectconnect.com/">Project Connect</a>'s 9.5 mile plan. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"The last time we put this option before voters was 14 years ago," Mayor Lee Leffingwell said. "I've been conscious all along that we had to put a good and appealing project before the voters. I think this recommendation will do that."</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The lone dissenting vote was from public transit advocate Julie Montgomery of <a href="http://aura-atx.org/">AURA</a>. </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Among her concerns is that parts of the proposed route are not in areas where urban rail is in high demand.&nbsp;</span></p><p></p><p> Sat, 14 Jun 2014 00:14:13 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10608 at http://kut.org Advisory Group Gives Urban Rail Green Light Searching for More Specifics on Austin's Urban Rail Proposal http://kut.org/post/searching-more-specifics-austins-urban-rail-proposal <p><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Disclosure: Project Connect is a sponsor of&nbsp;KUT.</em></p><p>When was the last time you were at Highland Mall? For many&nbsp;Austinites, the retail ghost town isn’t on their hot list of places to hang out. But city planners are counting on that to change, and they’re willing to place a bet on it, to the tune of $1.4 billion.</p><p>That’s the estimated price tag for the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.projectconnect.com/sites/default/files/Central%20Corridor%20Urban%20Rail%20Recommendation%20050214.pdf">urban rail line</a>&nbsp;recommended by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.projectconnect.com/">Project Connect</a>, a group of regional transit agencies working on mass transportation. To justify it, Project Connect has&nbsp;<a href="http://keepaustinwonky.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/letter-to-council-on-project-connects-transparency/">projected explosive growth around Highland Mall</a>, at a rate much faster than the city of Austin as a whole is projected to grow over the coming decades.</p><p>How did Project Connect come up with these numbers?&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/154123230&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 16:30:20 +0000 Terrence Henry 10590 at http://kut.org Searching for More Specifics on Austin's Urban Rail Proposal Uber's Rapid Growth Pits Innovation Against Existing Laws http://kut.org/post/ubers-rapid-growth-pits-innovation-against-existing-laws To see the speed of technological innovation, look no further than a street corner. Hailing a cab from the street is less common in cities with Uber, a service that lets you request a ride with the simple tap of a mobile phone app.<p>The 5-year-old company — <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/06/06/319527353/uber-car-service-company-is-now-valued-at-17-billion">now valued at $17 billion</a> — is growing so fast that it's operating in 128 cities globally, on every continent except Antarctica. Thu, 12 Jun 2014 11:34:16 +0000 Elise Hu 10584 at http://kut.org Uber's Rapid Growth Pits Innovation Against Existing Laws Why is Project Connect Handing Out This Inaccurate Urban Rail Map? http://kut.org/post/why-project-connect-handing-out-inaccurate-urban-rail-map <p><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Disclosure: Project Connect is a sponsor of&nbsp;KUT.&nbsp;</em></p><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;">Update</strong><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px;">: Project Connect has issued a new flyer. Scroll to the bottom of this post to read it.&nbsp;</span></p><p><strong>Original story:</strong> If you were out and about in Austin this weekend, you may have met someone from the outreach team of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.projectconnect.com/">Project Connect</a>, a multi-agency group working on mass transit options for the region. In an effort to promote a series of meetings regarding <a href="http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail">an urban rail proposal</a> that will likely end up before voters this fall, the outreach team was passing out flyers showing the proposed first rail line in Hyde Park.&nbsp;But those flyers don’t accurately show what that proposed line is, and now one neighborhood advocate is accusing Project Connect of misleading the public.</p><p>A few hundred Austinites got a flyer (above) from a Project Connect outreach team this weekend showing its overall long-term transit vision for the city. At the bottom right corner of the flyer, a big orange bubble screams, “Let’s Get Moving!” The flyer shows rail to the airport, rail along the major corridors of Lamar and Congress, and along the MoPac freeway. In essence, rail lines that have the potential to replace lots of cars on the road. The map is titled "Proposed First Line of Urban Rail." There is no legend indicating what the various routes depicted are.&nbsp;</p><p>But if you were to actually pass out an accurate map of the proposed first line that voters may decide on this fall – which in its latest iteration would run along East Riverside, through downtown and&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">tunneling under and then paralleling a portion of&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.capmetro.org/metrorail/" style="line-height: 1.5;">the existing&nbsp;MetroRail&nbsp;line</a>&nbsp;up to Highland Mall – it would actually look very different.</p><p> Tue, 10 Jun 2014 19:37:15 +0000 Terrence Henry 10570 at http://kut.org Why is Project Connect Handing Out This Inaccurate Urban Rail Map? Use a Self-Driving Car With No Wheel? Google Bets You Will http://kut.org/post/use-self-driving-car-no-wheel-google-bets-you-will <p>Google is taking the wheel –&nbsp;taking it literally out of the car.</p><p>The company is set to launch <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2014/05/just-press-go-designing-self-driving.html">a test fleet of driverless cars</a> in the near future. It's completely reimagining the automobile, removing fundamental features like the gas pedal and the steering wheel.&nbsp;The work raises a fundamental question: is there a market for such automated vehicles?</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Texas Standard’s David Brown spoke with University of Texas engineering professor </span><a href="http://www.caee.utexas.edu/prof/kockelman/home.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">Kara Kockelman</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, who has analyzed how driverless cars may impact our society.&nbsp;“We’re all incredibly busy, we’d love to have that time to be getting things done … legally … in our vehicle,” she says.</span><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/152830230&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 20:44:11 +0000 David Brown & Alain Stephens 10541 at http://kut.org Use a Self-Driving Car With No Wheel? Google Bets You Will TxDOT Backs Plans to Bury I-35 – Just Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting http://kut.org/post/txdot-backs-plans-bury-i-35-just-don-t-hold-your-breath-waiting <p>Sorry, Austin – there's no money to improve the Interstate 35 corridor. At least not enough for a full face-lift, according to the <a href="http://www.txdot.gov/">Texas Department of Transportation</a>.</p><p>But as money becomes available, TxDOT says it will continue working on portions of the highway. At <a href="http://www.mobility35openhouse.com/">a media workshop today</a>, the state agency said that by the end of the year it should move from the planning stages of I-35 improvements and into studying their environmental impact. That should take about two years. And then – if funding is available – it will be time to start implementing changes.</p><p> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 21:20:21 +0000 Joy Diaz 10535 at http://kut.org TxDOT Backs Plans to Bury I-35 – Just Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting Austin's Rapid Bus Struggles After a Slow Start http://kut.org/post/austins-rapid-bus-struggles-after-slow-start <p><strong><a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2014/06/03/austins-rapid-bus-struggles-after-a-slow-start/">From StateImpact&nbsp;Texas</a>:</strong></p><p>Standing on Guadalupe Street in Austin facing the tower at the University of Texas, 26-year-old Emily Mandell waits at the bus stop with a scowl on her face. She’s not looking forward to this ride.</p><p>“It’s the same as sitting in traffic, but now you’re sitting in traffic stopping at a lot of places with a lot of other people,” Mandell says.</p><p>Along Guadalupe and Lavaca, two major north-south arteries through downtown Austin, long, bendy buses labeled “MetroRapid” have recently joined the chaos that is Austin traffic. The city of Austin’s transportation agency, Capital Metro, <a href="http://www.capmetro.org/metrorapid-what.aspx">rolled out this new line in January</a>*&nbsp;in an effort to get more people out of cars and using public transportation. But the rollout hasn't gone as expected, calling into question how the agency will handle expanding transportation to meet the fast-growing city's needs.</p><p> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 14:57:21 +0000 SHAWNA REDING 10533 at http://kut.org Austin's Rapid Bus Struggles After a Slow Start