MoPac

Transportation
3:35 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Cutting Down on Traffic With an App: Austin Introduces Carma Carpooling

To find fellow carpoolers, Carma users input their route and commute times and the app connects them to people in their area with similar schedules and destinations.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Disclosure: Carma is a sponsor of KUT. 

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority cut the ribbon today on a new project that could reduce traffic congestion while saving drivers money.

The project is a public-private partnership between the city and state transportation officials, the CTRMA, Texas A&M and a ride-sharing app: Carma.

Carma is based on the concept of "casual carpooling." Paul Steinberg, vice president of business operations for Carma, calls it a mutually beneficial model that affords people rides and grants drivers access to cheaper toll roads and high occupancy vehicle lanes.

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Austin City Council
10:13 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Austin City Council Votes to Lower Occupancy Limits

The Austin City Council passed regulations to limit occupants in single-family homes from six to four last night on first reading.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The Austin City Council had a long day at the dais yesterday, with a meeting that sputtered along for the better part of 15 hours.

"Stealth dorms," fee waivers, economic incentives, an officer-involved shooting, the MoPac sound wall and  even a proclamation for KUT's own Cactus Cafe. 

With that in mind, here's a rundown of the council action, and inaction, from yesterday.

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Austin
8:16 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Even An 85 MPH Highway Can't Fix Austin's Traffic Tangle

Texas Highway 130, a new Austin bypass toll road, is so far east of the city that it sees little traffic. The state recently raised the speed limit there to 85 mph in hopes of boosting its use.
Wikipedia

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:30 pm

Four decades ago, Austin, Texas, had a population of 250,000 and a reputation as a laid-back oasis of liberal politics and live music. Today, the Austin metro area is home to 1.8 million people and has some of the nation's worst traffic congestion.

For years, the city has done little to address the growing problem. But most in the Texas capital now agree something has to change if Austin is to save what's left of its quirky character.

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Mopac Improvement Project
10:37 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Construction Crews to 'Light and Stripe' MoPac From Parmer to Cesar Chavez

Construction crews will install lighting along MoPac between Parmer and Cesar Chavez
Courtesy of CTRMA

 

Construction crews will install temporary highway lighting along MoPac tonight, and will also remove existing light poles that in the way of the construction of the forthcoming MoPac express lanes. A full map of construction is available online.

The project will add North and Southbound express lanes between Parmer Lane and Cesar Chavez.  

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Mopac Improvement Project
12:05 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Weather Postpones New MoPac Construction (Update)

Construction work this week on MoPac includes restriping lanes.
Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Update: Austin's latest surge of winter weather means postponement of lane restriping work on MoPac.

While lane closures continue, lane restriping  probably won't begin until after Friday's expected rains, and possible freezing precipitation on Saturday. See the tweet below:

Original story (Dec. 9): Construction work on MoPac is about to get underway. Overnight lane closures begin tonight as crews install construction signs in preparation for restriping portions of the road.

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Mopac Improvement Project
1:30 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

In Austin, Toll Lanes May Give Bus Service a Boost

View from one of Capital Metro's 1M northbound busses at the intersection of 4th and Congress in Austin.
Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson

In 2015, an 11-mile stretch of Austin’s MoPac Boulevard will expand to eight lanes from six. The two new lanes will be tolled, giving drivers the chance to pay a premium to avoid the road’s frequent congestion. 

While the toll lanes will help ease traffic on the free lanes, neither the Texas Department of Transportation nor any of the local entities involved in the $200 million project are predicting it will transform MoPac into a free-flowing thoroughfare. With robust population growth projected for the region, MoPac traffic is expected to continue periodically slowing to a crawl for decades. When it does, local officials are optimistic that frustrated commuters will notice that it is not only personal vehicles zipping past them on the toll lanes. 

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Traffic
2:26 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Map: Are These Austin's Worst Intersections?

The intersection around Sixth and Lamar got a nod as one of Austin's worst.
Callie Hernandez for KUT News

In Austin, it's a constant: Traffic.

There’s recent statewide and local efforts to mitigate congestion – which will take substantial investment and extensive construction. So despite proposals in the pipeline, traffic will continue to be a slow-going, fast-growing problem.

So, it got us wondering: What are the worst intersections in Austin? 

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Music
6:00 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Dogs, Trains and a Piano: How Austin Sounds Inspired a New Album

Ben Johnson in his studio. Johnson originally came to Austin to attend The University of Texas at Austin.
Ben Johnson

Many people the world over are inspired by the 'Austin sound.' But Dallas native and composer Ben Johnson found his inspiration in the sounds of Austin. Literally.

In fact, "The Sounds of Austin, Texas" is the title of his new album – a collection of impressionistic pieces inspired by his adopted hometown, where he studied music in college. Johnson considers his latest album a collection of love songs to Austin. 

Johnson mixes field audio recordings from sites all over the Austin area with his own custom piano compositions, each dedicated to a particular place.  

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MoPac
3:33 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Learn More About Plan to Bury MoPac's Downtown Exit Ramps

There are few things most drivers despise more than sitting in traffic.  Add the sweltering heat of a Texas summer day, and you’ve introduced even more suffering.

That’s bad news for Austin, a city that was ranked fourth-worst nationally for traffic in 2013.  A good deal of this infamous congestion is born along MoPac.  Designed in 1961 to meet the needs of less than a quarter of a million people, MoPac has been under strain since the beginning of Austin’s demographic boom.  Today, the design is simply incapable of meeting the needs of the city’s burgeoning population.

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Agenda Texas
2:26 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Can MoPac Be 'Fixed?'

New tolled lanes are coming to MoPac - but so are thousands more motorists. Accounting for projected growth, some traffic experts say maintaining MoPac’s current level of congestion would be a success.
Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

About a thousand people a day move to Texas. And if you’re driving on the MoPac expressway at rush hour, it might feel like every one of them is commuting with you.

That's how Sara Robertson feels most days. She's been commuting on MoPac for about eight years. “And every year it gets longer and longer,” Robertson says.

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Transportation
12:50 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

You Can Bike on Austin Highways (And Yes, It’s a Horrible Idea)

The "spaghetti bowl" Mopac exchange in West Austin. Despite confusion, it's technically legal to ride your bike on the highway.
flickr.com/rutlo

Update: A sprawling discussion on the Austin page of Reddit - prompted by a photo of bicyclists on I-35 - has renewed interest in this topic. Read on for more details. 

Original story (April 3, 2013): Despite general public perception – and all standards of common sense – it’s actually legal to ride bicycles on the state highway.

Recently, users on the Austin page of Reddit got into a heated discussion about the legality of riding a bike on Mopac, when one user posted a photo of a couple people doing just that.

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Transportation
6:15 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Work Begins on MoPac Toll Lane Expansion

MoPac will see intermittent closures nightly as workers prepare to add toll lanes.
Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Overnight lane closures on MoPac between Lady Bird Lake and Parmer Lane have begun. They'll last from now until the end of July as roadway designers begin a plan to add toll lanes.

The MoPac Improvement Project will expand the highway by adding one express lane in each direction.

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Transportation
5:35 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

I-35, 290 Among Texas' Top 100 Traffic Problems

There are no quick fixes for traffic problem areas flagged in a recent report.
Callie Hernandez/KUT News

Sections of I-35 and MoPac are singled out in a new report as being among the 100 top traffic challenges in the Texas.

The report (PDF) by TRIP, a national transportation research group, identifies four problem areas here in Austin. The worst and the toughest to fix, they say, is a stretch of U.S. 290 from MoPac to Farm Road 1826. The road offers no access for emergency vehicles during rush hours.

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AM Update: 8/30/12
9:01 am
Thu August 30, 2012

AM Update: MoPac Flyover to Open, E-book Refund for Texans, Fried Cactus at the State Fair

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has announced an antitrust settlement with E-book publishers.
courtesy flickr.com/alienratt

Good morning. Central Texas winds have slowed down today as Isaac has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Traffic Relief for Some Austin Commuters

Some northbound Austin drivers should see traffic relief starting tomorrow.

Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson John Hurt tells KUT News that the flyover from northbound MoPac to eastbound U.S. 290 will open up sometime late tonight or early tomorrow morning – before most commuters head to work.

Right now, those drivers have to go through a traffic light and down a frontage road before getting on Ben While Boulevard.

Hurt says the other part of the project – a flyover from westbound 290 to southbound MoPac – won’t be complete until around Thanksgiving.

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Transportation
2:26 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

One Step Closer to Managed Toll Lanes on MoPac

The plan would put a managed lane - or toll lane - in each direction along MoPac north of Lady Bird Lake and south of Parmer.
flickr.com/mirsasha

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, better known as CAMPO, last night approved its MoPac Improvement Project.

The project will put a managed toll lane in each direction on MoPac, from Cesar Chavez to Parmer Lane. Toll pricing would be adjusted based upon MoPac's level of congestion at the time of use. The hope is to make traffic on the entire freeway move faster.

The $200 million project was put together by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and is being paid for by state and federal funding. The agreement between the mobility authority and CAMPO also creates an infrastructure fund. Basically, $230 million in money collected from tolls on MoPac over the first 25 years of its operation will be used to pay for other transportation projects in the area.

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