AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin could reduce vehicle traffic along Barton Springs Road to one lane in each direction as part of a proposed year-long safety improvements pilot.
City leaders announced the proposal in a memo on Thursday, detailing planned safety upgrades to curtail serious injuries and fatalities along the roadway as a result of traffic crashes.
The proposed pilot project follows a crash along Barton Springs Road in April 2022 that resulted in 10 people being seriously injured, per the memo.
If approved, the pilot’s planned safety improvements include:
- One vehicle lane in each direction between Azie Morton Road and South Lamar Boulevard
- Additional vehicle lanes provided at the intersections of South Lamar Boulevard, Azie Morton Road to “maintain motor vehicle capacity” along Barton Springs
- Widen bicycle lanes and add physical separations from motor vehicle traffic
- Construct “safer and shorter pedestrian crossings on Barton Springs Road and side streets”
- Work to connect a future ADA-accessible, continuous pedestrian route through Zilker Park to the north side of Barton Springs Road
- Relocate bus stops to areas with safer pedestrian crossings
- Maintaining U-turns for local access as means of improving the safety of left-turn movements
In a five-year data collection period between May 2018 and April 2023, city officials noted 240 documented crashes along Barton Springs Road between Stratford Drive and South Lamar Boulevard.
When city leaders lowered the speed limit from 35 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour late last year, data showed more than 70 drivers each day continued to travel through the intersection 15 miles per hour over the posted limit, the memo added.
The safety pilot would run for 12 months, with city staff expected to collect and evaluate data six months into the pilot to compare pre- and post-pilot data trends. Factors to be analyzed include vehicle driver speeds, multimodal access, public feedback and vehicular operations.
The city is gathering public feedback on the proposal and concept design from Thursday through June 30. A project update is expected in July, prior to its implementation, the memo added.
More details on the proposed pilot is available online.