TxDOT Responds to Neighborhood Concerns, Requests Feedback

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.”

This I-35 survey is available online: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Mobility35NeighborhoodSurvey

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 at www.mobility35.org/solutions. The revised concepts will be reflected in the planned 2014 update to the Mobility 35 Plan.”


StJohns_revised 3.28.14

TxDOT’s New Proposal for St. John’s Avenue


TxDOT's New Proposal for Woodland Ave

TxDOT’s New Proposal for Woodland Ave


Creating a Vision & Fighting Back

CNU’s March Highways to Boulevards Webinar
(If you are interested in participating, send an email to communications@cnu.org with the subject “March Highways to Boulevards Webinar.”)

It takes time to change perceptions on traffic, vehicle movement, and public infrastructure. And more often than not, it takes a vision.

Two enterprising campaigns currently taking place in car-centric Texas have honed their message with strong arguments for greater street and neighborhood connectivity, aided with sleek visuals and precise numbers. These campaigns offer alternatives to the current thinking of TxDOT. Lessons from these campaigns can be applied to other grassroots efforts nationally and elevate the conversation on how transportation infrastructure should look and function in an urban context. Understand these groups’ motivations from the leaders themselves and learn their strategies in Highways to Boulevards: Creating a Vision & Fighting Back.

Join two distinguished urbanists with experience crafting and articulating a vision for more connected, multimodal street design in a discussion on the importance of creating and selling a vision when fighting for urban highway removal. 2008 Athena Award winner Sinclair Black is the Firm Principal of Black + Vernooy in Austin, TX. A “tireless advocate for urbanism,” Sinclair and his firm are actively advocating for a “cut and cap” alternative to I-35 in Austin. Patrick Kennedy is a partner at Space Between Design Studio, LLC in Dallas, TX; author of the popular urbanism blog: Walkable DFW-Restoring a City to Walkability; and leading the charge to remove I-345 in downtown Dallas. In this webinar, Sinclair and Patrick share their strategies with attendees and stick around for Q&A.

Attendance is limited to the first 100 people to sign up, so email us now to hold your spot. This is the sixth webinar in a 10-part series from CNU on building effective highway removal campaigns. You can expect a new webinar in our series each month.

Council Resolution Prioritizes East/West Connectivity in I-35 Corridor

For immediate release


March 6, 2014—This morning, the Austin City Council approved on consent (6-0) a resolution to re-focus the City’s I-35 efforts to follow the tenets of Imagine Austin and preserve crucial east-west connections across the freeway. The resolution—penned by CM Chris Riley and co-sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and CM Laura Morrison—follows neighborhood push-back against TxDOT’s proposal to close the Woodland Avenue underpass. This closure is part of the larger Capital Area Improvement Program, a Texas Department of Transportation plan to improve the I-35 corridor from SH-45N to SH-45SE. In central Austin, these improvements could include the closure of six cross-streets, as well as all entrance and exit ramps through the lower decks.

The City Council has received letters of support for this resolution from the Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) and the Design Commission, as well as residents of central Austin neighborhoods. The PAC expressed concern for pedestrian access, comfort, and safety in a corridor that already holds Austin’s record for most pedestrian fatalities.

Reconnect Austin is a group of volunteers encouraging TxDOT to consider local needs as a priority in freeway improvement projects. Reconnect Austin educates Austin residents about these possibilities, and provides support for community advocacy.