The Reconnect Austin team had a very productive meeting with the Blackland Neighborhood Association and UT representatives on Wednesday evening, where we had an opportunity to discuss our ideas for mutually-beneficial development in the East Austin community. Below are the diagrams that were shared.
Here’s an aerial view of the area as it currently exists:
Here’s the same view with the addition of tennis courts and UT graduate student town homes (housing-wrapped blocks with parking and gardens on the interior) east of I-35:
Finally, here’s the vision for the Blackland Neighborhood and UT with a cap over I-35 and the re-routing of Red River, which opens up land for the development of much-needed parking directly next to the football stadium, a basketball arena, and well-connected surface boulevards that help to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment:
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.
Two crucial press releases came out of the TxDOT offices at the end of last week. Both address East/West connectivity in the I-35 corridor, and show positive movement towards solving neighborhood issues.
“To that end, TxDOT is asking for feedback from stakeholders living in neighborhoods adjacent to the roadway. … Information gathered from the survey will be used by the project team to better understand east/west connectivity issues and other special concerns of the neighborhoods.”
The second major announcement was a direct result of neighborhood feedback on TxDOT’s Implementation Plan over the past few months:
“In response to stakeholder concerns regarding the initial proposals, TxDOT, in partnership with the city of Austin, has worked to develop alternative concepts that address the neighborhoods’ needs for east/west connectivity while also satisfying mobility needs within the corridor. As a result, TxDOT is pleased to announce Woodland Avenue and St. Johns Avenue are to remain open to vehicle traffic and closure is no longer under consideration.
“The refined concepts [for Woodland and St. John’s] can be found atwww.mobility35.org/solutions. The revised concepts will be reflected in the planned 2014 update to the Mobility 35 Plan.”