Transformative infrastructure improvements like the multiple planned transit lines of Project Connect and the controversial expansion of I-35 through downtown don’t get built in a vacuum — they’re potentially highly disruptive during their construction, but the physical placement and accommodation of these projects in the limited space of downtown also implies more permanent changes to some parts of the street grid and the general flow of traffic through the region.
That’s going to require some coordinated effort to ensure changes to these streets are actually improvements, and that’s the goal of the Austin Transportation Department’s new study of mobility in the downtown area, known as the Austin Core Transportation (ACT) Plan. Here’s the department’s own explanation of what that’s all about:
Why do we need the ACT Plan and how will this plan help?
A lot has changed since the last time we set our mobility vision for Downtown Austin. Since then, there have been big changes:
- Project Connect (Proposition A, November 2020) passed
- Additional information is available regarding TxDOT plans for the I-35 Capital Express Central project
- Development activity continues to densify the Downtown area
- The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan (ASMP) was adopted in 2019 with goals around commute mode share and improved safety on our streets
The plan intends to identify priorities for the design of different streets downtown, coordinating with the adjustments needed for Project Connect, the highway expansion, and other changes — and public feedback is essential in this early stage, particularly from downtown stakeholders who live and work in the area and have lots of experience with the challenges of our current street network.
If you’re a TOWERS reader who hasn’t bailed out by the first paragraph, there’s a good chance you’re the kind of person the ACT Plan wants to hear from. It’s dangerously close to tooting our own horn, but in the past our readers have done a lot to shape the results of these surveys — and that’s coming directly from folks at the city, not us. ATD staff would like to hear about “different transportation elements you would like to see in downtown streets, how you travel to and within downtown now, and how you would like to do so in the future,” and we have a feeling some of y’all have thoughts. The roughly ten-minute survey will close at the end of September, giving you nearly two full months to knock this thing out. Of course, we’d prefer if you did it now.