In an effort to enhance mobility at critical intersections in Austin, the City of Austin Transportation and Police Departments are launching a Don’t Block the Box campaign.
The Austin Transportation Department will be posting signage reminding drivers not to block the box at critical intersections around Austin. When a driver enters an intersection and is unable to travel all the way through, they prevent cross traffic movement, and endanger other travelers by blocking crosswalks and bike lanes. In other words, blocking the box is unsafe, illegal and causes traffic congestion.
Check out the new PSA!
What does it mean when I block the box?
When you block the box, you have entered an intersection when cars on the other side prevent you from making it all the way through. In the state of Texas, this is illegal. If your light turns red before you can get out the intersection, you’re blocking cross traffic from moving forward and preventing mobility in crosswalks and bike lanes. In other words, if you block the box, you are traffic!
What should I do to avoid blocking the box?
To avoid blocking the box, you should wait to enter an intersection until you are sure you can make it all the way through, in accordance with Texas law. Wait behind the stop bar, not in the crosswalk, and look to see if the vehicles in front of you on the other side of the intersection have left enough room for you to make it through without stopping in the crosswalk on the other side.
What about if drivers behind me are honking and want me to go?
If you can’t clear an intersection, don’t enter it, period. Entering the intersection may stop those drivers from honking, but if cross traffic can’t get through because of you – those drivers will probably honk too.
Are there any dangers associated with blocking the box?
Yes! When cross traffic cannot get through, neither can emergency vehicles. Additionally, blocking the box can cause pedestrians to weave between cars if the crosswalk is impacted, decreasing their visibility to other travelers.
Well, I just don’t want to wait for another light cycle!
Everyone on Austin roads is trying to get somewhere, whether that is home, work, school, or simply to meet up with friends and family. Be courteous to everyone’s trip, don’t block the box and we will all get to our destinations safely.