The northbound MoPac express lane has been opened for about a month now. It has provided a new rush hour bypass but the only access to it is Cesar Chavez.
That has created a new traffic problem, trapping commuters like Kimberly Michael Dillard. "It’s just gridlock, there is just no relief. I'm just trying to figure it out, what I’m looking at," said Dillard.
For the past few weeks, during the afternoon, downtown is in lockdown.
The backup is so bad, some drivers have sat through a dozen cycles of a single traffic light before getting through an intersection.
City transportation managers tell FOX 7 that adjusting the timing of traffic signals is a possible solution to improve flow but there is no guarantee that will actually work and help people like Dillard get out of town any faster. "Challenged, let’s say challenged, I want to be positive, optimistic right, this is Austin Texas,” said Dillard.
A new variable is being added to this gridlock equation.
Starting Monday, Cap Metro is going to start putting express buses on to the expressway.
Promotional material promises a faster commute on the MoPac toll lane without having to pay an extra fare. Only the 980 Express, which runs from Round Rock to downtown, will be used the MoPac route.
Navigating buses on the route out of downtown, just like those using their own vehicle, will be the problem. As a result, getting to the expressway on the 980 Express bus - or out of downtown any CapMetro bus - may be a fast track to nowhere.
“It’s a true epidemic here in Austin, it’s becoming like California where the traffic is out of this world,” said Jonathan Bakhshian who moved out of Austin 4 years ago.
Bakhshian is not surprised to see traffic remains a problem.
“I don’t know if there is a way to fix this thing, there are so many people in a densely populated area, I know the expressways are helping but there are only two highways, between 35 and MoPac running North South, so I really don’t know if there is a temporary fix outside of these express lanes, especially for downtown what can they really do,” said Bakhshian.
The push back and gridlock in downtown is also being aggravated by drivers who block the box. APD has done enforcement campaigns in the past the keep intersections open.
It’s not known if APD will have officers at downtown intersections Monday afternoon.