As the central spine of downtown Austin and the connection between Lady Bird Lake and the Texas State Capitol, Congress Avenue is arguably Austin’s most prominent street. Despite this, the Avenue lacks the vitality and identity of a great people-centric place. The goal of this effort was to develop an urban design and implementation strategy that results in a human-centric, multi-functional complete street with a clear and attractive identity.
Improving Congress Avenue as the ‘Main Street of Texas’ is called for in the Council adopted Downtown Austin Plan, and the project is made possible with funding from the City’s 2012 bond program as well as the 2020 bond program. In partnership with the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and community stakeholders, the City contracted with an Urban Design consultant team to help refine and realize the vision for the Congress Avenue from the Capitol to Riverside Drive.
The Vision Plan will be incorporated into the update to the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan as well as be a part of an update of the Downtown Austin Plan in the future.
Project Updates | Spring 2022
The Congress Urban Design Initiative Vision Plan (PDF) has been finalized and updated to reflect the funding voters approved in November of 2020. Detailed design is expected to begin in early Summer 2022.
Project Updates | September 2020
Following open house #4, the new draft vision for the Avenue was presented to Boards and Commissions. Feedback from these boards and commissions is being incorporated before taking the final recommendations to Council for adoption.
- Open House #4 | March 5, 2019
The City of Austin, in partnership with the Downtown Alliance, hosted two open house events to present the recommendations for the future of downtown Congress Avenue. At our last meeting, "Imagine!" we presented a number of options for improving Congress Avenue as a place for people. During this public engagement we shared a draft of the new vision for the Avenue.
View the presentation slides (PDF)
- Open House #3 | May 15, 2018
The City of Austin, in partnership with the Downtown Austin Alliance, is continuing the planning effort for Congress Avenue between 11th Street and Riverside Drive. We want to share with you what we heard, what we found, and some initial ideas about the future of the main street of Texas.
On May 15th, 2018, City Staff and the Downtown Alliance hosted an open house for Our Congress Avenue – Imagine! Attendees learned about the history of the avenue and provided input that will inform the final design.
Open House Presentation Boards
Insights & Observations (PDF), Common Elements (PDF), Balance the Avenue (PDF), Design Character (PDF)
- Launch | April 5, 2017
The Congress Initiative launched in early April with an open house on the Avenue. Over 150 people joined the City, the DAA, and the design team to “walk the Avenue” (laid out in colorful tape across the floor) and discuss the future of Congress. The design team gathered comments on subjects ranging from economic development and ecology to social equity.
Introductory Presentation (PDF)
- Transform | June, 2017
For two days Austinites took walking tours, biked along mocked-up streets, tested material performance, and built street sections with strips of paper. With the help of organizations and volunteers, a wide range of ideas poured forth from young and old. The fun culminated with a marching band making its way up the entirely of Congress Avenue.
Image courtesy of Michael Knox
For questions about the project, please email the Mobility Bond Team. For media inquiries, call 512-974-8000.