City looking into safety improvements on Rainey Street, where woman was hit by car

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Police are looking for a driver who hit a woman on Rainey Street early Sunday morning, then took off.

According to APD, the woman is still recovering in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Meanwhile, momentum is building to make Rainey Street safer for the thousands of people who visit every week.

“There’s whole blocks on Rainey still without sidewalks at all, and then there’s broken sidewalks, and then there’s disconnected sidewalks and there’s all kinds of problems if you’re trying to walk around Rainey,” said Jay Blazek Crossley of Farm&City, a non-profit working to cut down on traffic deaths.

Blazek Crossley is also chair of a pedestrian advisory council for the city, and he helped with a traffic study of the Rainey neighborhood a few years ago.

“One of the things in that study was that at night, every three seconds, a human crosses Rainey Street,” he said.

A witness who saw the woman crossing the street get hit told KXAN that the car that hit her was going too fast and sped off after the crash.

Blazek Crossley says speed is often an issue on this stretch, because the street is designed in a way that allows people to speed. Over the years, he says he and neighbors have recommended that the city reconfigure the road and put in crosswalks.

“Tons of tax dollars are generated in Rainey, and they are not being spent in the clear need to build sidewalks there, and so we need to get our priorities straight,” Blazek Crossley said.

After looking at the issue and discussing it with stakeholders, Austin’s Transportation Department plans to do a mobility study on the area this summer.

“The City of Austin is moving forward on a Rainey Street Mobility Study to better understand how sustainable infrastructure improvements can better manage congestion and safety in the area,” an ATD spokeswoman said in a statement.

KXAN asked whether Austin Police have considered barricading Rainey Street on the weekends, like they do with 6th Street. A Lieutenant said there usually aren’t enough people on that street to put up barricades. However, APD does assign two officers to watch the street closely at night. Those officers are on hand to put up barricades if it ever gets too busy.

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