Imagine turning Austin’s greatest barrier—I-35—into Austin’s greatest connector. Great Streets connecting across the freeway, on bridges so wide you hardly notice the traffic underneath. Frontage roads that function as city streets, comfortable for bicyclists and pedestrians. A reconstituted grid that breaks through downtown’s ring of congestion, providing transit facilities and options for all needs.
We present: Great Streets. Great Bridges. Great Connections.
When the main lanes are depressed, structures will be put in place to support a future cap over the freeway. As a City initiative, Phase 2 will entail a full cap, with even better connections and amenities.
March 6, 2014—This morning, the Austin City Council approved on consent (6-0) a resolution to re-focus the City’s I-35 efforts to follow the tenets of Imagine Austin and preserve crucial east-west connections across the freeway. The resolution—penned by CM Chris Riley and co-sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and CM Laura Morrison—follows neighborhood push-back against TxDOT’s proposal to close the Woodland Avenue underpass. This closure is part of the larger Capital Area Improvement Program, a Texas Department of Transportation plan to improve the I-35 corridor from SH-45N to SH-45SE. In central Austin, these improvements could include the closure of six cross-streets, as well as all entrance and exit ramps through the lower decks.
The City Council has received letters of support for this resolution from the Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) and the Design Commission, as well as residents of central Austin neighborhoods. The PAC expressed concern for pedestrian access, comfort, and safety in a corridor that already holds Austin’s record for most pedestrian fatalities.
Reconnect Austin is a group of volunteers encouraging TxDOT to consider local needs as a priority in freeway improvement projects. Reconnect Austin educates Austin residents about these possibilities, and provides support for community advocacy.