Public input sought on regional effort along corridor in Capitol Area
City of Austin Transportation Director Rob Spillar calls Interstate 35 â€œthe transportation backboneâ€ of Austin, the region, the state and the nation. More â€œendearingâ€ terms for the always-congested roadway are used by motorists bogged down in traffic on the busy Capitol Area corridor at rush hour!
Spillar and other city and state officials are out to change that. This week they held a trio of open house meetings in Travis County to review plans and hear public input on proposed mobility solutions for the busy interstate in Hays, Travis and Williamson counties.
These three meetings focused on the part of the interstate in Travis County. Five previous open house sessions have resulted in more than 300 ideas aimed at improving I-35. That information has been used by the city of Austin and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to identify preliminary concepts that could be put in place in three to 10 years to address congestion and connectivity in the Capitol Area corridor. The project addresses not only the motoring public, but also pedestrian, bicycle, transit, truck and emergency vehicle traffic.
Among the goals of the project are improving transit and high-occupancy vehicle opportunities, identifying cost-effective projects, reducing air pollution, improving economic development opportunities, providing better travel information and improving the safety, efficiency and access to the corridor and through it for all users.
This is not the first time for a study of I-35. But, the current process differs because projects being considered will not require significant additional right-of-way acquisition or incur substantial costs.
The bad news is that the proposals will be implemented when funds are available. However, there is speculation that some low-cost proposals could possibly be implemented this year, with others reaching out up to 10 years and likely including a combination of federal, state and local funds.
For those who were unable to attend the local meetings, a virtual open house has been set up http://www.mobility35.org/, where plans can be reviewed and comments can be submitted online.