[Update: Discussion continues Monday, Feb 25 at 6:30 at North Austin Commmunity Center, 1000 W Rundberg.]
Alan Hughes, the project manager for the corridor design study last year gave the Austin Transportation department presentation. Demira Wyatt, who will be the project manager going forward for the detailed design and construction also spoke briefly and answered questions.
They started by looking at the community’s vision, from the North Lamar and the North Austin Civic Association neighborhood plans and community surveys and open houses. We see ourselves as a vibrant place, with distinctive neighborhoods and businesses. We want North Lamar Boulevard to be a multimodal corridor with access provisions for all users to travel safely.
Crash rates on North Lamar north of 183 are higher than the state average. The transportation improvements should take care of vehicles, but not at the expense of every other mode of travel. The community said it wanted a balanced approach.
The City intends to work with businesses, property owners and the neighborhoods on the details of the final design. The recommended short-term ( in the next five years) improvements include bus shelters, bike lanes, signal timing, and street lighting. A complete street reconstruction could include raised medians, trees, bike lanes, and sidewalks. Pedestrian crossings could include signal beacons, lighted at night, and a zigzag design for accessibility and safety. Improvements at the Rundberg intersection could include additional left turn lanes, and safer right turns.
The bike lane could be a cycle track, with some sort of curbing or physical separation from vehicles, or a painted lane. Cycle tracks could be safer and feel more comfortable on an uninterrupted stretch of road, but may not be appropriate in an area with lots of driveways and turning across the bike route.
Branding for the “international district” from the latino HEB at Rundberg to Chinatown/Lotus Village could include gateway treatments such as banners or landscaping and artwork on buses and the MetroRapid stations.
The 2012 transportation bonds included $15 million for North Lamar and Burnet combined. The cost estimate for North Lamar and Burnet totals $52 million, so there will have to be decisions about priorities. One approach is to do a smaller segment of “complete street” with all the recommended improvements. Another approach is to pick and choose spots for specific improvements that will have the most impact.