Austin City Council to consider restructuring traffic lanes on Guadalupe Street

Guadalupe Street is one of the most congested roads in Austin and now the city will consider removing two lanes of traffic there and designating them for buses. 
                
The Guadalupe Street Corridor and West Campus Development report details the $33.7 million proposal, which will be presented to City Council next spring.

That report was put together by the City's Transportation Department. It said there is no way to widen the road along the drag, so instead they hope to encourage people to use other forms of transportation.

“Of course it's not an easy thing for people who are used to driving their cars to hear,” said Todd Hemingson, vice president of planning and development for Capital Metro. 

Before releasing the report, the transportation department studied how other cities dealt with a similar problem. 
                
“If you look at cities that have been successful in keeping mobility working in their communities as they continue to grow, these are the kind of solutions that are being put into place and these are cities that we're competing with economically,” Hemingson said.  

The proposal could mean some big changes to lanes of traffic along Guadalupe. Including, reducing lanes for cars from two in each direction to one in each direction, adding a bus-only lane in each direction from Martin Luther King Jr Blvd to 29th Street and converting on-street parking on that stretch of road to bike lanes. 

Capital Metro hopes the city will eventually roll out the new plan.

“We know that today our buses are carrying about half of all the people that move through the drag in the morning and afternoon periods, so we feel like it makes sense to give more priority to our buses so they're not stuck in traffic and we can provide better quality service and be more reliable,” said Hemingson.  

Some people who frequent Guadalupe Street say it's a bad idea. 

“That to me is wasting a whole lane because that's suggesting there would be a bus right after a bus, behind a bus, behind a bus, behind a bus. That would be horrible. That would be too many buses,” said Daniel Coral who does not approve of the proposal.  

The transportation department hopes the changes will encourage people to bike, walk and take public transportation more often. 
                
Cap Metro said they believe the designated bus lanes could save commuters about three minutes per trip, but getting everybody on board could be a challenge. 

“There's too many buses as it is on Guadalupe. They're suffocating the students,” Coral said. 

If City Council does approve the changes along Guadalupe, they could use mobility bond money for construction.

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