AUSTIN, Texas - The City of Austin says the Don't Block the Box campaign is catching on. According to Austin Police more drivers are complying following two weeks of increased police presence.
The initiative is one of many city hall rolled out in an effort to ease traffic troubles and congestion downtown.
"I think it's rather successful we're seeing a change in people's behavior," explained APD Lt. Robert Richman who works with the highway enforcement unit.
No one fix will solve the growing traffic problem but during morning and evening rush hours crews are monitoring traffic in real time through the traffic management center. APD assigned an officer to the center to work with traffic experts. This officer can direct patrol officers on the ground to any problem spots.
"Just that simple task of not blocking the intersection or crosswalk helps with the traffic flow," said Richman.
Officers started cracking down on violators with many receiving tickets. The specific numbers aren't yet available but people have been issued tickets for running red lights, blocking the intersection and failing to yield to pedestrians. Pedestrians, according to Richman, can also get tickets for failing to yield to drivers who have the right of way.
"What really helps is having a supervisor who is able to sit in the room and work with a transportation expert and figure out what the root cause of the problem is," added Richman.
Downtown drivers notice the increased presence.
"Yes I have it's sad to say but it's a good thing because it slows people down," said Roxanne Krebs.
"No I don't think it is helping. I think it causes more traffic and more problems," said Josh Frey.
Richman says to think twice before blocking the box because if you do you are part of the traffic problem that you complain about.
"It creates such a problem with the delay if you cannot get cross traffic through. For every minute a place is delayed it creates a three minute back up," Richman said.
While downtown is the primary focus with the first wave of the initiative it's very likely this will expand to other parts of the city.