Transportation

transportation
1:53 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Secret Shopper Reports Expose Austin’s Taxi Problems

Photo by I-Hwa Cheng for KUT News

Taxis that never arrive, cabbies who won’t take a credit card payment for short trips, rude drivers. Those are some of the experiences reported by secret shoppers in a new study on taxi service conducted for the City of Austin.

In one secret shopper report, the dispatcher told the passenger to call back if the cab didn’t arrive on time. This was on a Friday morning.

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Transportation
11:57 am
Wed September 28, 2011

How Would You Fix I-35?

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

It’s one of Austin’s favorite things to complain about: gridlock on the interstate. Just yesterday, we learned how the average person wastes 38 hours a year stuck in traffic in Austin.  A good percentage of that is spent idling on that north-south thoroughfare.

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Transportation
2:56 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Recession May Have Eased Traffic Congestion in Austin

Austinites are spending less time stuck in traffic, according to a new study from the Texas Transportation Institute.
Photo by KUT News

You might have lost your job and your home in the economic downturn, but at least you’re not spending as much time in traffic. The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) at Texas A&M University released its annual Urban Mobility Report today. While it might seem hard to believe to those stuck in traffic, TTI found that congestion is lower in Austin than it was five years ago.

In 2010, the average Austinite wasted 38 hours – almost an entire work week in traffic – according to TTI. In 2005, the number was 52 hours.  Over the same period of time, Travis County's unemployment rate rose from about 4.5 percent in 2005 to around 7 percent in 2010.

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Transportation
12:53 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

New Parking Meter Hours Take Effect Today

You now have to plug the meter until midnight if you want to visit Austin's downtown entertainment district on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
Photo by Jessie Wang for KUT News

If you like to frequent downtown businesses on the evenings of Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights, you’ll now have to pay until midnight for street parking. That's one of the changes to parking meter hours taking effect today.

The old schedule had people paying during weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Here are the new meter hours:

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Transportation
3:44 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

Harsher DWI Penalties For “No Refusal” Labor Day Weekend

Photo by Renee Silverman http://www.flickr.com/photos/reneesilverman/

People pulled over for suspected drunk driving over the Labor Day weekend may have their blood forcibly withdrawn by Austin police officers. It’s part of the so-called “No Refusal” policy that APD conducts over long weekends.

But this weekend, a new law will increase penalties for first-time offenders with a blood alcohol level of 0.15, almost double the legal limit of 0.08.

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traffic
4:15 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

TxDOT Considering 75 MPH Speed Limits in Central Texas

Night time speed limits will be eliminated and some 70 mph zones could be increased to 75 mph under HB 1353.
Photo by Novasource https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/User:Novasource

A new law takes effect on Thursday that allows the Texas Department of Transportation to raise speed limits from 70 mph to 75 mph on any highway, as long as doing so would be “reasonable and safe.” And while the limits won’t be increased on September 1, a TxDOT spokesman says several roads in the Austin-area are likely to see their limits increased in the near future.

“I wouldn’t say that it’s firm yet, but I would say that it’s a reasonable expectation that those are the areas we will convert, especially the interstate,” TxDOT spokesman John Hurt told KUT News. “Our speed studies indicate that people are already driving that speed limit now.”

Hurt said these Central Texas roads are among those under consideration for higher speed limits:

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Transportation
12:11 pm
Mon August 29, 2011

TxDOT Names Interim Head

John Barton will temporarily take over the reins at TxDOT on September 1.
Photo Courtesy by Texas Department of Transportation

The Texas Transportation Commission announced John Barton to be TxDOT's interim executive director. Barton's appointment takes into effect on September 1.

Barton also serves as Assistant Executive Director for Engineering Operations and currently have over 25 years of experience from TxDOT.  He was responsible for the management and control of several projects and programs including Aviation, Bridge, Design, Environmental Affairs, Rail and Research & Technology Implementation Office.

traffic
4:09 pm
Thu August 18, 2011

Weekend Closure: Medical Pkwy. and 40th St. Intersection

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The city says it's closing the intersection of Medical Parkway and 40th Street from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Detours will get people around the area.

Work crews will be installing about 70 feet of storm drain piping across Medical Parkway that is intended to reduce the possibility of flooding if it rains heavily. It's part of a city project called the Rosedale Storm Drain Improvement.

transportation
1:45 pm
Fri August 12, 2011

Gas Prices Down Seven Cents

Just time for summer road trips, gas prices are trending downward.
Photo by Jessie Wang for KUT News

Both the wallets and the gas tanks of Austinites might be a little more full this weekend. Gas prices are down by more than seven cents since last Friday.   

A gallon of regular unleaded is now selling for an average of $3.521 in Austin, according to AAA.  The national average is $3.606 a gallon.

Transportation
11:23 am
Fri August 12, 2011

Urban Rail Prototype Displayed

 

People got a chance to climb aboard the possible future of Austin's mass transit system on Thursday. Kinkisharyo, a Japanese-based streetcar manufacturer, is taking its new prototype on an American tour.

The streetcar runs on a combination of power from batteries and overhead wires, storing energy when the train brakes and eliminating the need for overhead wires in parts of the route, Kinkisharyo project manager Bill Kleppinger said.

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traffic
12:21 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Report: Red Light Cameras Stop Crashes

Photo by mirsasha http://www.flickr.com/photos/mirsasha/

Red light cameras can cause traffic accidents at intersections to drop by 25 percent, according to a new study by the traffic scientists at Texas A&M’s Texas Transportation Institute.

Red light cameras are installed at 275 intersections across Texas. They automatically snap photos of cars that run red lights. The drivers are sent a ticket in the mail.

The traffic-ologists at TTI examined 11,000 crash records from all those red light camera intersections. They found that red light crashes dropped by a quarter, and right-angle or “T-bone” crashes plummeted by 32 percent.

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Transportation
11:15 am
Fri July 29, 2011

Gas Price Surge Slows As Oil Firms Announce Big Profits

Erik Reyna, KUT News

For the past few weeks, gas prices have been ticking up by between a nickel and a dime a gallon. But the latest price report from AAA shows the rate of increase may be slowing. The average price of regular unleaded rose by only 1.7 cents last week.

A gallon of gas in Austin is an average of $3.602 today. A week ago it was selling at $3.585. Still a lot more than what we were paying a year ago, when regular unleaded was $2.563 per gallon.

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Transportation
12:05 pm
Tue July 26, 2011

Public Comments on Travis County Bond Proposal

The Travis County roads and parks bond proposal includes money to build more sidewalks and road improvements. Photo by KUT News.

Travis County residents are giving County Commissioners their two cents at a public hearing on the county bond package proposal. The proposal, unveiled last week, is a $206 million bond of 36 various transportation, park and utility line projects. This bond is an abbreviated list from an earlier proposal that of about $638 million.

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Traffic
12:46 pm
Wed July 20, 2011

Extension of Downtown Parking Meter Hours Could Be Further Delayed

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The extension of downtown parking meters was already delayed once, from August 1 to September 6, because of delays in equipment orders. But now politics could push that date back even further.

The new rules would extend downtown parking meter hours to run from 8 am until midnight from Monday through Saturday. Currently, meters run from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm.

The extension would also affect meters throughout Austin. Outside the downtown core, meters would run from 8 am until 6 pm.

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Transportation
10:44 am
Mon July 18, 2011

Bankruptcy Halts Construction on MoPac/US 290 Flyovers

Two flyover ramps were being constructed to complete this interchange in southwest Austin.

Drivers looking forward to the completion of two flyover bridges linking MoPac and US 290 will have to wait a few extra months. The contractor building the bridges, Las Vegas-based Wiser Construction, has declared bankruptcy.

“I think they just realized they were in over their head,” Texas Department of Transportation spokesman John Hurt told KUT News.

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