The Express Lanes are coming, and as it stands travelers who want to use them to go northbound will have to use Cesar Chavez. To get to Cesar Chavez, people will either drive through the Lamar Boulevard/5th Street intersection, or from the west drivers will loop around the high school on Veterans Boulevard or go under the overpass on Cesar Chavez to access the Express Lanes. Pressler would allow for drivers to use 5th or 6th Streets to access the Express Lanes, rather than adding congestion to the Lamar Boulevard/5th Street intersection or looping around the high school.
Yes. There are more conflict points in an intersection, or opportunities for cars to collide, than there are in a roundabout. Roundabouts reduced crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Studies by the IIHS and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have shown that roundabouts typically achieve:
- A 37 percent reduction in overall collisions
- A 75 percent reduction in injury collisions
- A 90 percent reduction in fatality collisions
- A 40 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions
No, this project is being proposed for the good of the community, but it would have a significant benefit for nearby neighborhoods. There are homes, businesses and facilities along 5th and 6th Street that have parkland and a lake in their backyards, but they currently do not have direct access to them; the Pressler extension would provide direct access. Additionally, the project provides sidewalks for pedestrians, additional parking for park users.
Primarily the project is proposed because it provides for an additional connection within the city grid, which creates resiliency in the travel system. The more connected the City is, the more choices people have which leads to disbursing cars more evenly on our already congested roadways. The alternate route will allow drivers to vary their route as traffic patterns/congestion forms throughout the system.
This is an opportunity to create a connection for everyone regardless of age and ability. To meet the most needs, a road is needed in addition to bicycle and pedestrian access. Aside from personal vehicles, this link would provide access to the MoPac Express Lanes for transit and potentially open up more transit opportunities for West Austin.
This is the hardest question to answer because when the roadway would open (2018 at the earliest) we do foresee more cars in the area irrespective of this project, due to Austin’s growth rate. Regardless, yes – we do anticipate that this connection would bring some more vehicles into the area, but the intent is to better direct those vehicles onto their connections (to MoPac or Cesar Chavez) rather than their current choices which involve indirect routes and looping around the high school. Building the connection is estimated to save people, on average in the study area, 4 minutes during their evening commutes.