Protesters question managing traffic near McKalla Place soccer stadium

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the process to build a soccer stadium at McKalla Place moves forward, some people protested in front of Austin FC’s office Wednesday morning, questioning why a traffic impact analysis hasn’t been completed. 

Precourt Sports Ventures is building Austin FC’s soccer stadium at 10414 McKalla Place. They completed a lease agreement with the City of Austin in December 2018, so they can use the city-owned land. 

Last week, the City of Austin’s Planning Commission approved a zone change request that will allow the developers to build a multifamily residential unit, cocktail lounge and transportation terminal at that site. 

“22,000 people can fill the stadium, and they have granted them the zoning without having the traffic study,” said Craig Nazor who lives near the stadium site. 

The protesters said a traffic impact analysis should’ve been done when they submitted the zone change application. 

“We wonder if it’s in the best interest of the neighborhood, and we can’t make a complete judgment unless we see more of what they’re planning on doing,” Nazor said. 

Austin’s Planning and Zoning Department’s assistant director Jerry Rusthoven explained, “Traffic impact analysis typically studies the intersection for large projects. It analyzes the traffic at nearby intersections during the morning and evening rush hour. It looks at any improvements they need to mitigate the effect of whatever development is occurring.”

He said, “In this situation, the soccer stadium is not going to be generating what we would see typically from a large development. Rather, it’s going to have quite a few days where there’s almost no traffic and then when there’s an event, such as a soccer game, there’s going to be a lot of traffic.”

Rusthoven said because the stadium is different, they agreed to let Austin FC conduct the traffic study as it works on its site plan. 

The site plan will allow the city to see where the entrances and exits will be, how many driveways the stadium will have and where the parking lots will be. 

Rusthoven said having that information will allow the city to better assess the traffic impact.

“They’re definitely looking at transit stop relocations. Adjacent to the red line of course,” he said. “There’s also talk about possibly a new bus stop along Burnet Road. We’re looking at things like the possibilities of having off duty officers directing traffic in and out [and] maybe adjusting traffic signal timing if needed during games.”

Anthony Precourt, President and CEO of Austin FC and Precourt Sports Ventures, said the traffic studies are being done. 

They hope to complete the site plan and the traffic plan over the summer, so they can obtain their building permit by September.

Their goal is break ground before the end of 2019. 

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