City of Austin Resolution 20140306-025 Regarding I-35 and East-West Connectivity

WHEREAS, the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan calls for “the alignment of land use and transportation planning and decision-making to achieve a compact and connected city”; and        

WHEREAS, I-35 has historically been a barrier between east Austin and the rest of the city; and

WHEREAS, the 2010 Bond afforded $1 million for the development of innovative solutions to address congestion on I-35; and

WHEREAS, in November of 2013, I-35 was declared the most congested corridor in Texas by the Texas Transportation Institute; and

WHEREAS, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in coordination with the local Rider 42 Local Working Group and other transportation partners, worked for most of 2012 and 2013 as the I-35 Capital Area Improvement Program (CAIP) and published the I-35 CAIP Corridor Implementation Plan in August 2013; and

WHEREAS, the CAIP’s goals include improving east-west connectivity, improving compatibility with neighborhoods, and enhancing bicycle, pedestrian, and transit options; and

WHEREAS, TxDOT’s I-35 CAIP Corridor Implementation Plan calls for the closure of the east-west vehicular bridges and underpasses that provide current east-west access across I-35 at:  St. John’s Avenue, 38 1/2 St., 32nd St., Manor Road, 6th St., and Woodland Ave; and

WHEREAS, TxDOT’s I-35 CAIP Corridor Implementation Plan calls for increased vehicular use of existing frontage roads with operational improvements that call for the removal of a number of left turns from frontage roads, necessitating a series of new turn-around bridges and removal of existing east-west bridges; and

WHEREAS, decreasing east-west connectivity necessitates traveling much longer distances to cross the corridor, and increases per capita vehicle miles traveled (VMT) significantly; and

WHEREAS, existing east-west access across the I-35 corridor should be maintained, or improved, recognizing the important role frontage roads, bridges, and over and underpasses provide for the local population in accommodating Austin’s future growth in a compact and connected land use pattern; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF AUSTIN the City Manager is directed to consider the tenets of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan and support I-35 alternatives that are in keeping with the compact and connected vision set forth in that plan.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the City Manager is directed to preserve improved east-west connectivity as a priority when discussing the potential alternatives for I-35 corridor improvements.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the City Manager is directed to keep the community actively informed and engaged in discussing the alternatives, potential impacts of the alternatives, and the timelines associated with the CAIP Corridor Implementation Plan.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the City Manager is directed to report on these efforts to City Council on a monthly basis and to include neighborhood area and community engagement activities, the issues identified and discussed through the engagement process, and an outline of proposed changes, associated timelines, and alternative strategies under consideration for each area.

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