Oakey Weighs in on S Lamar

There are many falsehoods in this article but in the interest of time I should point out the primary premise is completely incorrect, that the South Lamar plan calls for a reduction in car lanes from 4 to 2 and its clear that is not in the plan. Unfortunately, fear mongering seems to be the go-to political stance for those fearful of a changing world.

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Yup - also I’m in full support of Lamar being more of a boulevard style like Barton Springs. People don’t need to be making left turns into the so called suicide lane. They should make a right and do a U-turn at designated spots. I’m also in full support of a protected bike lane. Not sure we’ll get that, but would be nice. And also WIDE side walks up and down for pedestrians.

Yeah, I’m for all that - and a monorail. I think Oakey lives in North Austin so he should have to pay a toll to drive down S Lamar.

You sure about that? The quote below is from a Statesman article last year about the bond proposition approved last fall (copied at the bottom of the page Rod linked):

South Lamar Boulevard (Riverside Drive to Ben White Boulevard, 3.3 miles): One lane in each direction becomes bus-only during rush hours.

I know this isn’t literally what the blog piece stated, but assuming there’s a center median down the middle of S. Lamar, this would nonetheless mean only one lane of vehicular traffic during rush hour.

In an ideal world I’d support that, too, but the difference between BSR and S. Lamar is that the latter is one of only three north-south arterials (aside from freeways) leading out of downtown, and thus sustains traffic levels that are an order of magnitude larger than BSR’s. Not only do I oppose the idea of adding medians along it, I think the city should do what they do in Houston and convert the center lane into a full-on traffic lane during rush hour (one leading towards downtown in the morning and away from it in the evening, with only a tiny number of left turns permitted at major intersections). That way they could maintain two full lanes of vehicular traffic and have a dedicated bus lane and/or bike lane.

To be clear, I do not support this plan existing in perpetuity or something, but until we either have a better public-transit grid (including actual rapid bus service instead of the half-assed system CapMetro put in a few years ago, and ideally light rail as well) and/or widespread adoption of non-fixed-route shuttles like Chariot and Lyft Shuttle – which are admittedly running along fixed routes for the time being, but will ultimately offer last-mile/last-block pickup service – we need to acknowledge the reality that South Lamar’s already-bad traffic will go totally FUBAR if vehicular traffic is reduced to a single lane at any time of day. (Hell, it was backed up all weekend solely because of a single lane-closure spot near Collier!)

And when the bus is flying past the stopped cars it might make people consider taking the bus into downtown. You can’t just keep accommodating cars if you want to see any sort of real mass transit adopted. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg - while it would be nice if the city was more proactive in this area it seems reactive is the only way we’ll get there.

It’s possible plans are evolving but as of last year, the recommendations were clearly showing two lanes in either direction. The below link shares a lot of information. I am keeping my fingers crossed this will come to fruition before I am dead.

South Lamar Boulevard

South Lamar Boulevard

Landing page for the South Lamar Boulevard corridor.