Bus lanes, eliminating street parking proposed for The Drag
Some traffic changes could be in store for Guadalupe Street near the University of Texas at Austin campus. The City of Austin is looking at ways to make Guadalupe a less congested corridor. One of the biggest challenges there is not being able to expand the heavily traveled street.
Between 21st and 29th Streets, Guadalupe Street is wedged between the UT campus and a row of churches and businesses. The city estimates 7,000 people cross Guadalupe every hour so they're looking for new recommendations to help things flow smoother.
One recommendation would add a bicycle lane on 24th Street starting at Lamar Boulevard. Cyclist Nick Gonzalez, who is a UT senior, likes the thought but hates the idea of another cone-zone.
"There's like perpetual construction all over this campus and if it just extended here it would just be a pain," Gonzalez says.
Lee Austin, Central Area Transportation Engineer for the City of Austin Transportation Department explains the bike lane would only be partially present.
"The suggestion there is just to add the bike lane for the uphill-- when people are going slower. It would be 'sharrows' -- people sharing the lane -- on the down-hill," Austin explains.
Another recommendation includes eliminating street parking on Guadalupe so narrow sidewalks on the east-side of Guadalupe can be expanded. A third recommendation would be to create bus-only lanes on Guadalupe -- for either all or part of the day.
"Those outside lanes already have very considerable bus traffic, so they are not functioning as full vehicle lanes currently," says Austin. She adds, the outside lanes only carry about 1/3 of the private vehicle traffic on Guadalupe with most people utilizing the inside lanes as a thoroughfare. Lee says there's not much that can be done for personal vehicles in that particular corridor so speeding up bus service is recommended to help the most people and reduce transit delays.
"Nothing you can do can make it better for single-passenger cars. We simply cannot get more cars through there," says Austin.
Next the projects will be ranked by priority for funding and presented to Austin City Council in the spring. It could be months or even years before these recommendations become completed projects. The main source of funding for the projects will be bond money approved by voters in the 2016 Mobility Bond.