ArchGuy1
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Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:20 am

What exactly is traffic congestion in Austin, Texas like currently compared to Dallas or Houston. I have heard in some cases Austin traffic is actually worse than Houston or Dallas. I also know that Austin has expanded from a college town in the 1980's to a world class city today with enormous population growth.
 
zakuivcustom
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:43 pm

Yes, Austin traffic suck. Comparing it to DFW/Houston is apples and oranges, though.

For example, in Houston you got megafreeways with 5-6 lanes each direction and the roads still managed to be congested. Meanwhile, I-35 is congested especially near downtown Austin only b/c it's still 3-4 lanes per direction, and never expanded for 15 years (It's still the same road as it was in 2005...). Congestion in Austin was, and still is, limited to the 10 mile stretch between SR-71 and US-183 anyway - just b/c Austin itself is just a lot more compact (geographically) compare to the infinite sprawl of Houston and DFW.
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flipdewaf
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:12 pm

See how this single mum beats the traffic in Austin and earns $539/hr while working at home!


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mrgrtt123
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:24 am

Back in June it Austin, Texas has been named one of the most traffic congested city in the world. I feel like it will get worst since it is December.
 
TangoandCash
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:58 pm

DFW is more or less predictable in congestion--the major freeways back up in basically the same places and directions during the rush hour(s). Austin is completely unpredictable--complete stop at 2 AM, sailing along at 5 PM. The addition of the toll roads in Austin has helped somewhat, if you're willing to pay. The natives appear to be boycotting them so they're mostly deserted.

Austin is projected to grow to 4.5 million people by 2040. I imagine some people will just live in their cars, stuck in traffic.
 
zakuivcustom
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:50 pm

TangoandCash wrote:
DFW is more or less predictable in congestion--the major freeways back up in basically the same places and directions during the rush hour(s). Austin is completely unpredictable--complete stop at 2 AM, sailing along at 5 PM. The addition of the toll roads in Austin has helped somewhat, if you're willing to pay. The natives appear to be boycotting them so they're mostly deserted.


"Boycott" or not, other than the Mopac Toll Lanes, the toll roads are more or less useless for somebody actually living IN Austin. And unless you're heading out to Manor (on US-290) or up to Leander/Cedar Park (on US-183A) or far north Austin (The fully toll portion of Mopac), those toll roads are irrelevant to the daily life of many people. Then there's TX-130, which is meant to be use by people bypassing Austin anyway. The amount of development around TX-130 is minimal despite the heavy growth of Austin.

Compare this to DFW area. Heading to Addison or Frisco, TX? You use DNT, period. East-West on Northern Suburbs? Bush Turnpike. Both roads are congested for a reason.
Or Houston. The Western leg of BW-8 goes through multiple business district (Westchase, Memorial Area/Energy Corridor), and to no surprise, it's congested during rush hour. On the flip side there's Hardy Toll Road, which was built for years and is still underused b/c people in Woodlands would rather get stuck in traffic on I-45 North instead of paying tolls.
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slider
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:04 pm

No doubt, ATX traffic sucks!

Just meteoric growth that has completely outpaced any ability to build new roads (and even making urban planners difficult to plan and forecast). The tech sector has skyrocketed in one generation and made it damn near impossible to figure out. New airport that, until just recently, was having accessibility issues from 71 too.

Another factor is the geography of Austin; heading west from the city and following the Colorado, the topography makes "throwing up" a new freeway very challenging, not to mention property values. The northside has seen growth and some road construction to match, but any north/south conduit in Austin is just awful. Forget I-35.

Oh, and Evil MoPac is a great Twitter follow, hahaha
 
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cranberrysaus
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:39 pm

History has shown that you can't build your way out of congestion with more highways/toll lanes. Austin should invest in alternative means of transportation much like Dallas has done and Houston is doing right now.
 
slider
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:27 pm

cranberrysaus wrote:
History has shown that you can't build your way out of congestion with more highways/toll lanes. Austin should invest in alternative means of transportation much like Dallas has done and Houston is doing right now.


What alternative means in Houston would those be, precisely?

Light rail? No one rides it, and it connects little insofar as eliminating commuting traffic. Metro's Park & Ride system has existed for years (and does a damn good job, I might add). But Houston has no other alternatives that have shrunk traffic.

Given that DFW, Houston, and Austin are in the top 15 for nationwide population growth, there's little to do to proactively plan for traffic. You *can* grow your way out of it, but it does also take mass transit options, etc.
 
Pi7472000
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:45 pm

Austin is not managing development well. When I visited I saw few bike lanes and was shocked there was no rail option from the airport to the city.

It felt very outdated in Austin. Houston and Dallas are not much better when it comes to roads and traffic though. Texas is not known for smart, green development. Eventually it will have an impact on the economy as climate change worsens.
 
B777LRF
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:45 pm

mrgrtt123 wrote:
Back in June it Austin, Texas has been named one of the most traffic congested city in the world. I feel like it will get worst since it is December.


Same definition of 'world' as in the 'world series of baseball'? Or does this one only cover Texas?
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DIRECTFLT
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Thu Dec 12, 2019 6:24 am

Back in 2001, I saw a film at a Dallas Film Festival that covered the drive in Austin, by advocates, to have more bike lanes. They even speculated as to some kind of bike nirvana that could be achieved there if bike lanes were fully incorporated city-wide.

In the Q&A with the film's director after the showing, I put it to him, that if we eliminated cars, that you would still have massive traffic jams, just with bicycles, as they already had back then in areas of China, for example.

But, I love bikes, and encourage cities to incorporate as many bike lanes as possible.

Austin... a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live in Austin.
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ParkFSI
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:15 pm

I wouldn’t want ride a bike to work when it’s 100 degrees
 
zakuivcustom
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:49 pm

B777LRF wrote:
mrgrtt123 wrote:
Back in June it Austin, Texas has been named one of the most traffic congested city in the world. I feel like it will get worst since it is December.


Same definition of 'world' as in the 'world series of baseball'? Or does this one only cover Texas?


Indeed...go to places like Moscow or Mexico City or even Bangkok if you want to know what "congestion" is.

And quite frankly, ATX doesn't even make Top 10 most congested city in US. The only place where it did made the ranking was from a study back in 2015:
https://www.highways.org/wp-content/upl ... hi-res.pdf

That stretch does stand out compare to its peer (Mostly in LA, Chicago, or NYC), though.

slider wrote:
cranberrysaus wrote:
History has shown that you can't build your way out of congestion with more highways/toll lanes. Austin should invest in alternative means of transportation much like Dallas has done and Houston is doing right now.


What alternative means in Houston would those be, precisely?

Light rail? No one rides it, and it connects little insofar as eliminating commuting traffic. Metro's Park & Ride system has existed for years (and does a damn good job, I might add). But Houston has no other alternatives that have shrunk traffic.

Given that DFW, Houston, and Austin are in the top 15 for nationwide population growth, there's little to do to proactively plan for traffic. You *can* grow your way out of it, but it does also take mass transit options, etc.


The problem with Houston is that you simply cannot cover every single commute pattern - there are simply way too many employment centers. The Park & Ride works for somebody that works in Downtown Houston (and does do a damn good job at it as you said...people do ride them for a reason) and maybe TMC, but definitely not anybody that work in Westchase, Energy Corridor, or even Uptown/Galleria area.

The Light Rail simply face too many NIMBY opposition anyway alongside funding issue. No different than the semi-useless (although getting better by day) LA Metro system.
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EstherLouise
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:33 pm

Just got back from there. Been travelling there regularly for the past 20 years. Austin certainly isn't doing ANYTHING productive to improve their escalating traffic problems.
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DfwRevolution
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:19 pm

Pi7472000 wrote:
Austin is not managing development well. When I visited I saw few bike lanes and was shocked there was no rail option from the airport to the city.

It felt very outdated in Austin. Houston and Dallas are not much better when it comes to roads and traffic though. Texas is not known for smart, green development. Eventually it will have an impact on the economy as climate change worsens.


It’s a symptom of Austin’s attitude from the 1990s: “If we don’t build it, they won’t come.”

Plenty of locals did not want the tech/population boom and opposed the infrastructure investments that should have been made steadily as Austin grew.
I have a three post per topic limit. You're welcome to have the last word.
 
ParkFSI
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:36 pm

I’m 58 and have lived in the Austin area all my life. I live just 10 air miles south of the Capital building, in the country. Other forms of transportation and more roads could help and they are being built, but the problem is no more real estate.
Lake Travis and the Edwards plateau is to the west that is solid rock and very hilly. To the east, well there is already roads and homes.
Without looking at a map Austin is only about 10 miles long and wide. So if you want to live in Austin it’s just going to take you awhile to get anywhere. I avoid Austin like the plague, I have only been to Austin two times this year. I work in San Antonio and we do our shopping in Lockhart, Kyle, Buda and San Marcos. But some day they will have traffic problems too.
 
Western727
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:53 pm

ParkFSI wrote:
I’m 58 and have lived in the Austin area all my life. I live just 10 air miles south of the Capital building, in the country. Other forms of transportation and more roads could help and they are being built, but the problem is no more real estate.
Lake Travis and the Edwards plateau is to the west that is solid rock and very hilly. To the east, well there is already roads and homes.
Without looking at a map Austin is only about 10 miles long and wide. So if you want to live in Austin it’s just going to take you awhile to get anywhere. I avoid Austin like the plague, I have only been to Austin two times this year. I work in San Antonio and we do our shopping in Lockhart, Kyle, Buda and San Marcos. But some day they will have traffic problems too.


ParkFSI's description is pretty much spot-on. I've only been here 12.5 years and live in the Circle C area (SW Austin), a suburban area about 9 air miles SW of the capitol. I work at UT (just north of the capitol) and leave home at 6:15 in order to be able to cruise to work and get there by 6:35, so the only traffic I have to deal with is in the afternoons, and I work from home on Fridays. A bit extreme, perhaps, but I appreciate only having to deal with traffic 4x/week. And yes, it can get bad outside of rush hour, seemingly randomly at times.

The one advantage? The 60+% jump in our home's value...my way of finding a silver lining, I guess.
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DIRECTFLT
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Re: Traffic Congestion in Austin, Texas

Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:21 am

Western727 wrote:
ParkFSI wrote:
I’m 58 and have lived in the Austin area all my life. I live just 10 air miles south of the Capital building, in the country. Other forms of transportation and more roads could help and they are being built, but the problem is no more real estate.
Lake Travis and the Edwards plateau is to the west that is solid rock and very hilly. To the east, well there is already roads and homes.
Without looking at a map Austin is only about 10 miles long and wide. So if you want to live in Austin it’s just going to take you awhile to get anywhere. I avoid Austin like the plague, I have only been to Austin two times this year. I work in San Antonio and we do our shopping in Lockhart, Kyle, Buda and San Marcos. But some day they will have traffic problems too.


ParkFSI's description is pretty much spot-on. I've only been here 12.5 years and live in the Circle C area (SW Austin), a suburban area about 9 air miles SW of the capitol. I work at UT (just north of the capitol) and leave home at 6:15 in order to be able to cruise to work and get there by 6:35, so the only traffic I have to deal with is in the afternoons, and I work from home on Fridays. A bit extreme, perhaps, but I appreciate only having to deal with traffic 4x/week. And yes, it can get bad outside of rush hour, seemingly randomly at times.

The one advantage? The 60+% jump in our home's value...my way of finding a silver lining, I guess.


I made the mistake of driving on I-35 coming in from the south headed north through Austin on a Sunday afternoon in August in 2008. Bumper-to-bumper. There was no construction or accident. I'll never do that again. I'll gladly take a toll road instead. I already have a NTTA toll tag I use in the Metroplex.
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