Austinites invited on 'walkabout' to give input on improving Congress Ave.

AUSTIN (KXAN) -- One of Austin's most well-known addresses is having a challenging time keeping up with the resurgence of business coming into Austin. Congress Avenue, from the river to the Texas Capitol, is about to undergo a design change.

City planners are working with the Downtown Austin Alliance on a project called 'TRANSFORM!' The goal is to come up with a plan that will improve the sidewalks, curb appeal, find a better place for bikes and cars to travel and ultimately attract more businesses to move into the vacant buildings.

The city has been asking for input on how to improve the area for several months.

"We think the street could use an update in terms of being more appropriately designed for how we use downtown today," said Michele van Hyfte, Downtown Austin Alliance's Vice President of Economic Development. "Maybe we need to look at different uses for how we use the spaces, maybe we need to prioritize different types of transit and mobility over others."

Friday and Saturday, city planners want to take Austinites on 'walkabouts.' The idea is to walk up and down the avenue with residents to hear what they like and what can be improved upon. The last design for the street was back in 1970. During that time, it took 15 years to get the plan fully implemented.

"The middle of Congress Avenue over the last 20 years has seen a tremendous number of national and international retail and businesses coming here and property values have rocketed," said Austin's Project Manager, David Taylor. "What we are hoping is to see that happen a letter further north and a little further south on Congress Avenue."

The walkabouts start at either the Royal Blue Grocery or the YETI flagship store Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. All of the feedback will help create a plan for the street that is scheduled to be complete next year. Funding for any future projects is expected to come from bond money.

Kate Weidaw has details about what could happen to Congress Avenue LIVE on KXAN News Today

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