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

It’s no secret Interstate 35 congestion takes a toll on Austinites.

Out of a list of Texas’ 100 most congested roadways, the portion of I-35 running through central Austin is the fourth most congested in the state. Meanwhile, State Highway 130, out east of I-35, is open for business.

Matt Largey, KUT News

Austin is keeping busy this weekend — which means there are a few road closures event and non-event goers alike should look out for.

The Austin Urban Music Festival is coming back to Auditorium Shores this weekend. This year, the two-day festival is featuring musical guests such as Brandy and Anthony Hamilton. Tickets are still available online.

Wikimedia Commons, bit.ly/173mBPJ

Traffic just got a little faster on some highway roads outside of Austin.

The Texas Department of Transportation announced Thursday the increase of speed limits on a few segments of U.S. Highway 183 and State Highway 130 frontage roads.

Joy Diaz, KUT News

More than a dozen streets in Austin are about to be invaded with bulldozers whose mission is to re-shape them. Once the streets are re-worked, the hope is they will in turn help slow down the drivers who use them. On the first week of April, the city will unveil which so-called “traffic calming” projects it will fund.

Twice a year, Austin’s Transportation Renee Orr reviews dozens of applications from Austinites who believe their streets would be safer if there were a way to make drivers slow down.

courtesy city of San Marcos

With Georgetown and San Marcos losing their air traffic control towers due to sequestration-related budget cuts, one private aviation business owner is concerned the impact could be harmful to Austin and Central Texas.

Last week, the FAA announced 149 air traffic control towers across the country would be closed down. This does not mean entire airport closures. But Jay Carpenter, secretary of the Texas Aviation Association, told KUT News last week that the closures just make the airports less safe. 

Joy Diaz, KUT News

On any given day, thousands of bicyclists ride through and park their bikes at the congested UT Austin campus. Some people choose to ride their bikes because finding parking for a car when there are more than 50,000 students plus faculty and staff competing for limited space is tough - so tough in fact, that even some visitors choose to bike to campus.

But many are unaware of a new restriction on visiting cyclists.

Daniel Reese

The capital area’s transportation planning authority, known as CAMPO, is made up of representatives from Austin and five counties of Central Texas. Now CAMPO is considering bringing on a seventh member, Burnet County.

The Austin City Council will vote today on whether it wants to approve Burnet County’s request to join (PDF). The equation might seem simple: As part of the region, Burnet County should have a say in the region’s transportation needs. But with a cacophony of voices speaking for CAMPO, no decision is straightforward.

KUT News

Some airline passengers at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will soon be able to move through security lines faster. The Transportation Security Administration's pre-screening program starts Tuesday at ABIA.

Pre-check allows qualified, pre-screened passengers benefits, such as keeping their shoes and light jackets on when going through security.

flickr.com/atmtx

Hopefully you're wearing green tomorrow – and not planning to drive along 4th Street.

All day on Sunday, West Fourth Street from Colorado to Lavaca is fully closed to car traffic for a St. Patrick's Day Festival. Fado's Irish Pub is hosting the festival, and attendees will enjoy music, food, some liquor and a lot of beer.

For the past month, management at Carnival Cruise Lines has been in a nearly constant state of damage control.

In the past week alone, three of the cruise line's giant floating playgrounds have experienced embarrassing malfunctions that have at least inconvenienced, if not angered, many passengers.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Capital Metro is reporting more record high ridership numbers from this year's South by Southwest Festival.

Capital Metro says boardings were up from last year by almost 7,000 on MetroRail for the first several days of SXSW. Capital Metro even had to operate an additional train after hours to carry more than 100 passengers still waiting on the platform. The trains on Saturday are starting at 10 a.m. – a few hours earlier than usual.

Marble Falls EDC/Texas Highways

The Texas Department of Transportation is planning to demolish an old bridge over the Colorado River in Marble Falls.

The span will be replaced by a new one over Lake Marble Falls in that area.

flickr.com/mirsasha

It’s no secret that traffic is terrible in Austin. A study from Texas A&M ranked the area 17th worst in the nation – finding the average driver here spent 44 hours of their life stuck in traffic in 2011. 

Daniel Reese

The Texas Department of Public Safety is increasing patrols March 8-17 for Spring Break.

More DPS troopers will be on the roads watching for speeders, seat belt violations and especially drunk drivers.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect on Friday are already causing headaches at the nation's airports.

"Now that we are having to reduce or eliminate basically overtime both for TSA and for customs, now that we have instituted a hiring freeze... we will begin today sending out furlough notices," Napolitano said, according to Politico.

Texas Department of Transportation

Change is on the way for a stretch of State Highway 71 in Southeast Austin.

The Texas Department of Transportation is moving ahead with plans to build tolled express lanes from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport east to the SH 130 toll road.

Rachel Wilcox

Capital Metro proposing a new bus route to the Circle C and Western Oaks neighborhoods of Southwest Austin. The rush-hour route would run parallel to MoPac and provide service to downtown and University of Texas areas.

If adopted, the new route would be called the "111 South MoPac Flyer" and would begin service on June 9.

It’s just one of several service changes being considered by CapMetro. The public transit agency has scheduled several public meetings on the proposals. The first one is Tuesday, March 5 at noon. That meeting will also be streamed online. 

flickr.com/atmtx

Police may begin impounding the vehicles of unlicensed drivers who offer rides for money – and that includes drivers using online apps like SideCar.

Item 30 on this week’s Austin City Council agenda would allow police to impound “a ground transportation service vehicle operated in violation” of the city code governing transportation franchise agreements, like the ones in place with Austin taxi companies.

flickr.com/leelefever

Austin doesn’t have urban rail – but it’s already suffering from an identity crisis.

That was one big takeaway from a presentation by urban planning experts on how Austin can get a rail project up and running.

Austin is one of four U.S. cities chosen as part of an Urban Land Institute fellowship focusing on urban issues. The participating cities each chose a focus issue for a year-long study – and Austin chose rail.

KUT News

Some travelers at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will soon be able to get through security faster.

A Transportation Safety Administration spokesman tells KUT News this morning that ABIA is being added to the TSA’s “Pre Check” Program.

Pre Check allows frequent fliers who’ve met certain requirements to pass through a designated security check point where they may not have to take off their shoes, jackets and belts. They also may not have to remove laptops or liquids from carry-on items.

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