Transportation

Traffic, public transit, congestion, road construction and closures, I-35, MoPac, US 290, US 183, Ben White Blvd, and policy and planning issues related to transportation and mobility in Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The city of Austin has a long-running dispute with the various ride-sharing groups -- people who say they are in their cars anyway, so through mobile apps they offer to “share” their ride in exchange for some money. The city has said that’s an illegal taxi, but today it made a truce with Sidecar.

San Francisco-based Sidecar says it’ll disable its mobile app until the Austin City Council meets again in August. Conversations and negotiations will take place in the meantime, because ride-sharing services found loopholes that they say allow them to operate legally in the city.

www.flickr.com/jczart

The 85 mile-per-hour toll road that connects Austin with San Antonio is getting less traffic than planners hoped for.

In turn, Moody’s Investor Service lowered the credit rating of Cintra, the company that operates SH 130 toll road, by four grades. Moody’s says unless traffic increases significantly, the credit rating will continue to fall.

flickr.com/xiaozhuli

The federal government is mulling a possible entry fee to cross the border into the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security wants to study if, and how much, it could charge people on the millions of trains, buses, personal vehicles and even pedestrians crossing the U.S. border every year.

The idea would be to use the money for infrastructure repairs and maintenance at the ports of entry.

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.

flickr.com/EnvironmentBlog

Austin is full of bike lovers. But not everyone has the wheels with which to whip around town. Enter: bike sharing. 

Just not yet.

Annick Beaudet of the Public Works department tells KUT News that the program has seen “complications,” and that a launch planned for this spring – which would’ve coincided with May as National Bike Month – will be delayed.

CAMPO

Starting tomorrow, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization – better known as CAMPO – begins asking for the public’s ideas on a series of projects.

Some projects are being dropped, while others are being picked up for consideration. 

flickr.com/austintx

This weekend, parts of downtown Austin will be closed Saturday and Sunday for different events.

The March for Babies will start at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Registration for those who want to march starts at 8 a.m. at Auditorium Shores. The march raises money for children who are born too early. As a result of the march, Congress Avenue and a few other streets will be closed in the morning on Saturday.

Austin Feldman for KUT News

The Austin Police Department is launching the first phase of a bike safety initiative today.

As Austin’s bicycling community grows – two percent of commuters are getting to work by bike – so does the need for increased education and awareness. Especially after a record year of traffic deaths.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin’s taxi drivers association is affiliating with the largest federation of unions in the United States, the AFL-CIO.

At a press conference today, the Taxi Drivers Association of Austin announced a partnership with the AFL-CIO’s National Taxi Workers Alliance.

Emily Donahue, KUT News

The City of Austin says the number of vehicle crashes involving bikes and pedestrians has gone up over recent years.

In 2012, there were a total of 78 fatal crashes in Austin – a 42 percent increase from 2011. A third of those 78 crashes killed pedestrians. Three were fatal crashes involving bikes.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Yesterday, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute released results of its study that suggests voice-to-text phone apps or voice devices used in the car are as dangerous as texting and driving. 

Today, lawmakers in the Senate Transportation Committee heard testimony related to a bill by State Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, that would make it a statewide offense to text and drive.

Flickr, David Barrie http://www.flickr.com/photos/addictive_picasso/80085483/

Remember the Sequester? The across-the-board federal budget cuts? Get ready to start feeling the effects the next time you fly. Delays at the Austin airport could become noticeable as soon as Tuesday.

For air traffic controllers employed by the Federal Aviation Administration, mandatory furloughs are in effect: a forced day off for every pay period. That means fewer controllers working airport control towers.

A computer glitch in the reservations system at American Airlines caused all of the carrier's flights to be grounded for at least two hours on Tuesday.

"American's reservation and booking tool, Sabre is offline," American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan told Reuters in an email. "We're working to resolve the issue as quickly as we can. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience."

NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports that the outage was announced about 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Governor Rick Perry says that he would support using a portion of the sales tax from car sales on roads, highways and other transportation infrastructure.

“With the rapid growth of our population and our healthy economy, the amount we take in on those sales are increasing steadily,” Perry said during the Texas Lyceum Conference on Transportation in Austin.  “I propose that we dedicate the future growth in sales tax collected on motor vehicles to transportation infrastructure.”

flickr.com/rabski

Road closures this weekend will keep drivers away from city hall and a few roads surrounding the University of Texas at Austin. Art City Austin and the Longhorn Run are both this weekend.

Art City Austin is pitched as a hybrid of an art festival and a block party. The festival features an outdoor art fair, local food trailers, live music and more. Volunteers are still needed.

Callie Hernandez, KUT News

Reducing morning traffic congestion is just one of many ideas that will be discussed Friday at the Texas Lyceum conference in Austin. The non-profit, non-partisan statewide group is hosting a summit on transportation.

Among the featured speakers is Dennis Christiansen. He’s director of the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University. Christiansen says more roads aren’t the only answer.

Map Data @2013 Google

Update: The frontage road to the west of I-35 in Kyle will begin transitioning to one-way this morning and continue through Friday, April 12. 

The I-35 frontage road's repainting and repaving is expected to take only one day. and will be changed to handle only southbound traffic.

City of Georgetown https://airport.georgetown.org

The federal government is delaying the closure of 149 airport control towers to deal with a lawsuit filed by companies that operate the towers under contract.

The first closures had been scheduled for Sunday.

In Texas, towers at smaller airports, including those in San Marcos and Georgetown, got emergency funding this week from the Texas Transportation Commission to stay open for 90 days.

flickr.com/tina_kolesnik

The Austin-American Statesman's Capitol 10k run will result in many road closures downtown and around the Capitol this Sunday. 

Some road closures will begin at 3 a.m. and last at late as 12 p.m. and include part of Congress Avenue. For a more details, check out this map by the Statesman.

KUT News

Update: Capital Metro says MetroRail service is back up and running as normal this morning – all the way from Leander to downtown Austin.

Derailed freight cars have been removed from the tracks.

Original Story (April 4, 2013): CapMetro has resumed MetroRail service to the MLK station from their Kramer, Howard and Leander Stations. Trains will run as schedule for the foreseeable future while buses will shuttle passengers between MLK and downtown.

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