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Congress Avenue improvements completed

Friday, December 18, 2020 by Tai Moses

Pedestrians, cyclists and scooter riders will be glad to learn that a 1.3-mile section of Congress Avenue, between Riverside Drive and 11th Street, now boasts new mobility and safety improvements that were just completed by the Austin Transportation Department. According to a news release from the department, “The new design improves safety and comfort for everyone traveling in the area, and addresses documented crash patterns on the street.” There are new left-turn lanes at Cesar Chavez Street and Fifth and Sixth streets, and new dedicated right-turn lanes at northbound Cesar Chavez Street, Barton Springs Road and northbound Riverside Drive. Perhaps best of all are the new protected bicycle lanes that create a physical separation between cars and bikes. The changes were inspired after city staffers observed the results of the temporary bike lanes that were installed on Congress Avenue over the summer, after City Council passed a resolution urging the city “to facilitate safe, socially distanced outdoor exercise and active transportation on neighborhood streets.” Transportation Department Director Robert Spillar explained in the release, “Our team moved quickly over the last few months to transition to a street design that works better for everyone using Congress Avenue. The improvements are expected to reduce crashes, improve intersection operations for people driving, offer a protected space for people on bicycle or scooters and create a more comfortable environment for people walking, dining or shopping along the sidewalk.”

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