Have you enjoyed driving both directions on Fifth Street lately? Then you’ll probably be stoked to learn that after some serious delays, the planned two-way conversion of Colorado Street in downtown Austin is nearly upon us. On July 18, the stretch of Colorado Street running north-to-south between Ninth and Cesar Chavez Streets will be adapted to accommodate traffic in both directions, according to info from the Austin Transportation Department and the Downtown Austin Alliance.
This map shows the extent of the Colorado Street conversion, and also highlights the section of Fifth Street adapted for two-way traffic last year:
Here’s the nitty-gritty:
“. . . Austin Transportation anticipates carrying out this conversion on July 18, barring unforeseen circumstances . . . the conversion will take approximately one day, not including preparation.
- Building and garage access will be maintained during lane striping work, though it may be limited at times. Please be careful when traveling through work zones.
- Staff will likely put temporary street parking restrictions into place 48 hours prior to commencing work.
- Workers will implement rolling lane closures with the goal of keeping at least one lane open at any given time. Workers will reopen lanes as they are completed.
- These activities are weather dependent, and may require schedule changes related to weather events oropportunities! [sic] We apologize for any inconveniences during this change.
Colorado Street will be one lane in either direction from Cesar Chavez to Ninth streets. Each intersection will retain signalization, and turn bays will be provided at Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh streets. At the intersection of Cesar Chavez Street, there will be one southbound left, one southbound right, and one northbound lane. To accommodate each turn bay, it will be necessary to remove adjacent parking from one side of Colorado Street, selected in each case with the goal of least impacting area stakeholders.”
— Marissa Monroy, Public Information Manager, City of Austin Transportation Department
Though the conversion won’t take place until later this month, stoplights for northbound traffic have been installed on Colorado Street for nearly a year.
The jury’s still out for some, but many planners believe two-way streets are the proper choice for dense urban environments, with stated benefits including increased safety and ease of navigation — and considering the sheer number of developments in various stages of realization along this central street, the conversion will hopefully address some of the area’s growing traffic volume. Beep beep!