Have you experienced the car-free version of Rainey Street? If not, you’ve got about a month left to check out the City of Austin pilot program closing the street to all motor vehicle traffic from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays between December 5, 2019 and March 8, 2020. It’s part of a larger effort to address the mobility and safety issues in this growing downtown Austin neighborhood, though perhaps not the one its residents were expecting.
In fact, we heard for years that this exact option wasn’t even on the table, which made its announcement kind of a big surprise. Though we’re typically in favor of kicking out cars in favor of vastly safer pedestrian promenades, in the case of Rainey we’re slightly concerned that continuing this program might encourage the district to become less like itself, and more like the similarly-pedestrianized-on-weekends region of “Dirty Sixth” — needless to say, that’s not the type of entertainment district we hope to emulate here, so we’re keeping an eye on the program’s results.
Austin Resident, Adam Greenfield, is loving the new "Rainey Street, Shared Streets" pilot program. Can you tell? If you haven't heard, a big chunk of Rainey Street will be closed to cars on the weekends.
Are you fan of the program?
— Mari Salazar (@MariSalazarTV) December 9, 2019
To that end, the Austin Transportation Department could use your feedback, assuming you’ve already checked out the carless Rainey — click here to fill out their extremely short survey. Still, don’t hesitate to tell us in the comments what you think of the street’s new weekend experience as well. Have you noticed a big change?