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Mayor Adler announces 'Austin, Don't Rush Day' to alleviate traffic

Austin Mayor Steve Adler is looking to replicate the light traffic that the city saw on March 11, the day President Obama visited SXSW, by announcing May 11 as Austin, Don't Rush Day (Photo KEYE-TV)

Remember what I-35 looked like when President Obama was in Austin for SXSW?

The city expected gridlock of "carpocalypse" proportions, but instead found light traffic on Austin's highways.

On Thursday, Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced plans to replicate those results on Wednesday, May 11 by conducting an experiment to alleviate Austin's traffic trouble, and it's success is up to you.

This is video of the light traffic during the president's visit last month:

Mayor Adler says that light traffic was a result of people choosing to stay off the road, working from home, coming in early or late, or taking public transit.

On March 11, travel times were down 22% in downtown Austin, 50% on 183 and 60% on MoPac.

Now Adler is challenging Austinites to do it again, this time on a regular day. Dubbed "Austin, Don't Rush Day," May 11 will be the next day for Austinites to try to find alternatives to their typical rush-hour commute. As an incentive, rides on all CapMetro buses and trains will be free on that day.

"My sense is that if people saw that we could actually impact congestion during peak hours by working together as a community in a way that costs us nothing, if we can do it for a day, maybe we'll try to do it for two days" says Adler.

The mayor adds if it works for two days, maybe they'll try a week, and so on. Adler says if just one out of every five people stays off the roads during peak travel times, we would have free-flowing traffic.

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