City wants feedback on road project through east Austin neighborhood

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin transportation officials say they’re working to connect neighborhoods and have some proposed plans for an east Austin neighborhood, but they want the community’s feedback before moving forward. 

“The changes we’re proposing are going to connect to both existing urban trails and in progress urban trails so it will provide significant connectivity,” Alison Mills, an engineer for the transportation department, said. 

The Alexander Avenue, Clarkson Avenue, East 34th Street project propose the following changes:

  • Clarkson Avenue and E 34th Street (Cherrywood Road to Randolph Road): Extension of the existing Red Line Trail through the Elan East Apartments north to Cherrywood Road via a shared use path adjacent to the railroad tracks. Parking would be removed on the east side of the street, with the exception of several parking pockets near residences that would retain their existing use. This segment would also include a neighborhood bikeway, which includes new signage and markings integrated with existing speed cushions.
  • Alexander Avenue and Manor Road: High-visibility crosswalk, shorter crossing distance for bicyclists and pedestrians, and improved signage.
     
  • Alexander Avenue (Manor Road to MLK Jr. Boulevard): A two-way protected bikeway. Parking would be removed on the east side of the street. Parking would remain on the west side, except for minor restrictions at the intersections.
     
  • Alexander Avenue (East 17th Street to MLK Jr. Boulevard): A relocated bicycle facility to a raised two-way protected bikeway on the east side of the street, connecting to the Upper Boggy Creek Trail at MLK Station. Conversion of the existing painted bicycle lanes to on-street parking on both sides of the street, adding about 20 parking spaces. 

Residents say the rise in traffic due to growth in the area is causing issues. 

“We’ve seen more parked cars, we’ve seen more people cutting through the neighborhood,” Sarah Dooling said. 

Dooling, who has lived in the Cherrywood area for nearly 10 years, says safety is a priority as her activities keep her outside, “I walk a lot, I bike,” she said. 

But, she has her reservations about the project. Dooling wants the city to work with residents to come up with a better plan.

“Maybe take a more collaborative approach to trail connectivity design,” she said. 

City transportation officials say these are just proposed changes but want to hear from the people who actually live in the area. Since the project is still in early stages of planning officials don’t have an estimate for how much the project will cost. But part of the funds will come from a bond that voters approved in 2016.

An open house will be held at Maplewood Elementary at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

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