Austin City Council Urges TxDOT to Reconsider I-35 Expansion

In a letter to the department, the city called for an increased focus on shifting demand away from single-occupancy vehicles and boosting other forms of transportation.

Read Time: 2 minutes

April 1, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock

The city of Austin is criticizing a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) plan to expand Interstate 35 through the city's center, which local officials feel does not "sufficiently respond to the needs identified by the City of Austin," as reported by Bryce Newberry for KVUE. In a letter to the department, assistant city manager Gina Fiandaca "outlined concerns over safety, connecting East and Central Austin, and how well the plan would address congestion in the region." Last Thursday, "the city council approved a resolution urging TxDOT to take 'positive action' on the City’s comments and directing the city manager’s office to launch an independent public input process on the project."

The letter said "TxDOT’s proposal does not meet Austin’s Strategic Mobility Plan, approved by the council in 2019, which addresses the next 20 years of transportation in the capital city. It forecasts that by 2039, 50% of Austinites will drive alone, while the other 50% will use other forms of transportation, such as bikes or transit." Fiandaca went on to write, "we cannot build ourselves out of congestion by expanding unmanaged capacity for single occupancy vehicles" through expanded freeways, but "must do everything possible to shift travel demand from driving alone to other forms of transportation." Austin "is urging TxDOT to account for things like high-capacity transit or bicycle systems with the expansion project." Other critics have called the project, as originally proposed, a "generational failure" that fails to look to the future of transportation.

TxDOT has faced similar pushback from Houston, where a controversial project to expand I-45 has drawn concerns from local activists, as well as a lawsuit

Monday, March 29, 2021 in KVUE

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

Aerial view from directly overhead of buses parked in large asphalt lot

U.S. Transit Agencies Face a Financial Crisis

Transit providers around the country are scrambling to find new sources of revenue to replace lagging ridership and reorienting their systems to a future less dependent on daily commuters.

5 hours ago - Smart Cities Dive

Water SUpply

California Rejects Six-State Colorado River Plan, Proposes Its Own

State officials claim a proposal agreed upon by the other six states using Colorado River water disproportionately impacts California farmers.

6 hours ago - Los Angeles Times

Pedestrians in zebra crosswalk with green bike lane in downtown Seattle, Washington with three-story brick building in background

Washington Focuses Road Safety Efforts on Individuals, Neglecting Design

Legislative efforts to reduce traffic deaths could move the needle toward Vision Zero, but state leaders failed to commit infrastructure funds to making structural improvements.

7 hours ago - The Urbanist