Friday, April 25, 2014

The Latest Absurdity from Austin's Transportation Superiors

Shall I count pure those with the wicked scales,
And with the bag of deceitful weights?"
Micah 6:11

Because, if there's one solution to Austin's traffic challenges, it's to create massive additional disruption for the next 5-10 years:
Crossing the Lake

Project Connect planners are also deciding among three options that would cross Lady Bird Lake to connect an East Riverside Drive route to Trinity Street. The least expensive option, at approximately $175 million, is to build a new bridge over the lake. The bridge could also become a signature structure for the city, including access for cyclists and pedestrians. However, there are issues that would need to be resolved in advance, including traffic interaction on Trinity, diminished parking, special event conflicts, and even a potential conflict with the Waller Creek Boathouse.

The second option, at an estimated cost of $240 million, would be a short tunnel, starting a few hundred yards south of the lake and rising at Fourth and Trinity (thereby avoiding conflict with the boathouse). Furthermore, this would allow future connectivity to South Congress and South Lavaca, as well as future capacity/system expansion. But like the bridge option, the tunnel could also create problems affecting auto capacity, parking, and other issues at the northern portal, and possibly interfere with Convention Center operations. (There is also a question of whether the Federal Transportation Authority, a potential source of funding, would consider a tunnel cost-effective.)

The third option – a long tunnel extending all the way through Downtown and emerging at 15th Street – is by far the most expensive, at an estimated $475 million, and faces the same FTA issue. But it would include underground stations, would be less visible and obstructive, and provide greater reliability and capacity, accommodating higher speeds and higher frequencies, without having to interact with Downtown traffic. The long tunnel would avoid issues with the boathouse and also Sixth Street, and wouldn't interfere with Trinity Street.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a traffic expert, nor an expert on rowing, but it would seem that the Waller Creek Boathouse is a rather trivial matter in the overall scheme of things regarding options to cross the lake. For the additional $65M of the next-least-costly option, I'm sure we could find another location for the rowing community on Ladybird Lake, don't you think? Or am I missing something?