Metropolis Council final Thursday made clear what the town’s objectives are for the Texas Division of Transportation’s Interstate 35 growth, passing a decision critiquing – although not outright opposing – the preliminary plans offered to this point. 

The resolution along with letters from the mayor, Council members and metropolis workers urge TxDOT to prioritize security and transferring as many individuals – not simply automobiles – as doable.

TxDOT’s multibillion-dollar I-35 Capital Express Central project would add two new HOV lanes in every path between State Freeway 71 and U.S. Freeway 290, making a 20-lane freeway that the company says would assist deal with present and future demand. TxDOT is requesting public suggestions on a spread of doable designs, the primary of a number of steps earlier than a remaining design is chosen. 

The decision additionally says that the venture ought to align with the principle aim of the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan – a 50/50 mode break up between single-occupancy autos and all different types of transportation – by prioritizing pedestrians, cyclists and transit customers, and managing demand for the street.

The town requested for a number of particular design parts to be included. As an alternative of the proposed HOV lanes, the town prefers tolled lanes, which it says enhance transit reliability. The town additionally hopes TxDOT will embrace unique bus connections from key streets to the managed lanes, in addition to integration with deliberate Undertaking Join park-and-ride services. 

TxDOT should additionally create hospitable areas for individuals strolling or biking, and design the frontage roads as protected, sluggish, interesting city boulevards. To lower visitors on the frontage roads, the town floated offering direct ramps from some commuter-heavy streets onto the freeway. 

The decision additionally referred to as for “eradicating I-35 as a bodily and social barrier and as an alternative offering a method to reconnect Austin’s floor avenue grid and East Austin communities to downtown and Central Austin.”

The town response talked about the potential of freeway caps, which TxDOT plans to accommodate ought to the town select to fund them.

The response comes amidst sturdy backlash to TxDOT’s I-45 growth in Houston, as Harris County and the U.S. Division of Transportation halted the project, which was in remaining design.

Although Austin’s imaginative and prescient for I-35 differs considerably from TxDOT’s early plans, the town has to this point struck a conciliatory method, calling the decision a part of an “ongoing collaborative course of” between the town and state.

The town’s response, nevertheless, just isn’t solely unified. Utilizing extra forceful language, Council Member Greg Casar and Mayor Professional Tem Natasha Harper-Madison have come out in opposition to growth altogether. 

In his letter to TxDOT, Casar stated, “I can not help a venture that conflicts with the town’s connectivity objectives and that would widen the freeway unnecessarily with out addressing the actual visitors wants inside the town.” Harper-Madison tweeted that the venture is utilizing a “Nineteen Fifties playbook,” and that “merely including extra lanes for extra automobiles received’t get us the place we have to go to make Austin a safer, extra sustainable and extra linked metropolis.”

TxDOT is accepting public suggestions on its preliminary plans till April 9 by means of a virtual scoping open house. Council’s decision talked about plans to launch a city-led public engagement course of separate from TxDOT’s.

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