AUSTIN, Texas - Austin's latest attempt to bust up rush hour gridlock is wrapping up its first month. Thousands of tickets have been issued since the "Don't Block the Box" campaign was launched on April 6th.
Warning signs were placed at four intersections along Cesar Chavez between Congress and Guadalupe. Apparently drivers are starting to pay attention.
"There's an obvious difference now than when we first started," said Sgt. Leslie Kyle with APD's Traffic Division.
Patrol officers, according to Kyle, have been busy since city officials announced the "Don't Block the Box" campaign.
"It was surprising, it was definitely surprising, they were writing, a handful of officers, for just a few hours a day, were writing a hundred citations a day on average," said Sgt. Kyle.
In the first week, 360 tickets were issued. By mid- April the numbers were still high; above the 300 mark. This past week, there has been a noticeable drop off to just under 170 citations.
Police and city traffic managers are now doing a reassessment. The "Don't Block the Box" campaign will continue but the locations that will be monitored will change. Up to 20 different intersections have been identified as problem spots. Video feeds into the city's traffic management center will help determine where and when patrol officers will be sent.
"I think Austin, they're on the right track, trying to fix the problem, not sitting back, and they're trying to be progressive with it. It's just a matter of time, getting people educated that this, is how you are supposed to drive."
That's lesson may require a long term commitment for police to be on box patrol.