Austin (KXAN) - Already spend too much time stuck in traffic on Guadalupe or Lavaca Street downtown? The city has decided to eliminate one lane of traffic on each.
From Cesar Chavez Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard--about 20 blocks--the right-most lane will be designated for public transit use only.
"It will be convenient," said bus rider Lynnette Bentley. "There are some people who have disabilities, so it will be easier for them to get on the bus."
The Austin Transportation Department says engineers have determined transit priority lanes will allow the safest and most efficient way to roll out the new MetroRapid buses, which Capital Metro will introduce at the turn of the year.
The designated lanes will be for public transit use 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Cars needing to turn right from Guadalupe and Lavaca will be able to enter the restricted lane at certain points.
The city also decided to eliminate parking on the right hand side of Guadalupe and Lavaca Streets--again, in the blocks between Cesar Chavez and MLK. For bus riders, they feel it will be safer.
"There's parking [near some bus stops], so a lot of times we have to go in the street to catch the bus," Bentley said.
Some businesses in the area worry there isn't enough parking as is.
"It already does limit us," said Halcyon Coffee Shop and Bar manager Keith Batton. "We already don't have a lot of parking around here."
However, he thinks the bus-only lane will help relieve traffic backups.
"I think it might help with the traffic flow," Batton said. "Already, with buses stopping, there's always cars behind, they have to weave around which causes more traffic jams."
A bicycle lane will be provided.
Construction work started mid-September. The city's Transportation Department and Public Works Department are working together. They say re-striping will take place in October.
CapMetro will test out the new MetroRapid buses in November before their 2014 launch.
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