When you look at a map of Texas, you will find Austin has a large star indicating where it is located in the state. That star indicates Austin as the capital of Texas, but it also is indicative of what a shining star our city is – from a strong and growing economy to one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.
However, with all of these fabulous honors, Austin has grown fast and furious without having an infrastructure to withstand the profound expansion.
Therefore, traffic is one of the most serious issues that our great city faces.
In fact, according to the Austin Transportation Department, Austin is approximately 20 years behind the transportation curve.
The good news is that city, county and state officials are working diligently to design solutions that will help residents get from Point A to Point B without the headache they now face and in as timely of a manner as possible.
The traffic issues include:
- 70 vehicles are added to Austin roads every day.
- 200,000 vehicles travel I35 each day in the most congested area of I35 in the nation (between Austin and San Antonio).
- Most Austin roads do not have room to expand as neighborhoods and commercial areas are already established.
- Austin’s core area around downtown includes local businesses, the University of Texas and the Texas Capital; all which holds 18 percent of the jobs, according to an article in Texas Monthly. The article went on to say this is the fourth-highest percentage in the country, behind New York, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans.
- Only two main roads service Austin – I35 and Mopac.
There isn’t an area in the nation that doesn’t have issues of some form or another. Thankfully, we live in an amazing city where innovative thinking is the norm and ‘out of the box’ is common. Therefore, the solutions are ongoing and fluid.
Some of the solutions include:
- An Express Lane is being built in each direction on MoPac from Lady Bird Lake to Parmer Lane. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2015.
- Proposition 1 was passed in November which allocates $150 million towards local highway improvement projects. $102 million of this will go specifically to improving the traffic congestion on I35.
- MetroRail provides service Monday through Saturday between Leander and downtown Austin. Ridership has jumped 258% from 2010 to 2014. This high capacity transit helps local residents get around without getting on the highway.
- MetroRapid allows convenient bus service with 43 stations located along Route 801 and 34 stations along Route 803 in the downtown Austin area.
- B-Cycle has broken national records for bicycle sharing in a city that has had an affinity with bicyclists for years. Currently with 40 bike stands, B-Cycle plans to expand to over 120 stations throughout the downtown area.
- Along with road improvement projects, Austin is adding bike lane infrastructure to many existing roads and those to be built.
- Lone Star Rail Project proposes a rail service from Georgetown to San Antonio with stops in between. The project also has plans for a 75-minute express service from downtown Austin to San Antonio. Lone Star Rail anticipates the project to begin construction in 2016-2017.
Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes when it comes to traffic in Austin. However, with some patience, creativity and innovation there is no telling what the future of Austin can hold. We are just that kind of city where great things happen!
If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling real estate in the Austin area, please contact Kathleen Bucher at 512.794.6644 or KathleenBucher@mac.com. It would be an honor to earn your business.