Update on traffic mitigation on St. Edwards Drive

Below is an update provided by the Austin Transportation Department on plans for traffic mitigation on St. Edwards Drive:

“As discussed at the SRCC meeting in December, ATD recognized the need for more input from the neighborhood, which is the reason for staff attending said meeting where a two phased approach was proposed. ATD communicated that the first phase is on the higher speed and more dangerous location between IH35 and East Side Drive. This area has very limited front facing residential streets and would benefit the most from rubber cushions. There is only one location of pre-fabricated rubber devices adjacent to residences which would be at 1310 St. Edwards Drive.

The second phase, which may benefit from additional neighborhood input, would be the residential area west of East Side Drive. This stretch of roadway was recorded to have less egregiously speeding vehicles, as well as proposed sidewalk improvements from Public Works. Due to the context of the roadway, it was communicated at the meeting that cushions west of East Side Drive would not be pursued. Given the proposed improvements, neighborhood input would help in identifying the most feasible and desired locations for pedestrian refuge islands to cross the street. ATD may still meet with the neighborhood to discuss the treatment west of East Side Drive, however ATD is still proposing the most effective device to address the safety issues on the street east of East Side Drive. Ms. Mathews cited 27 crashes in the area, however, only 2 speed related crashes within 3 years were included in the evaluation of St. Edwards for speed mitigating devices. Given that the majority of the 600 evaluated streets have no recorded crashes at all, the importance of mitigating unsafe speeds within this section of roadway is of more urgency.

Additionally, volume by itself is not a consideration for speed mitigation. As communicated, speeds are influenced by the street geometry, so as long as the roadway is not modified, driving behavior and high speeds will remain unaffected.

To recap, only the section between East Side Drive and IH35 is moving forward with speed cushions. The second phase which will not include rubber cushions may still be discussed in a future meeting with the neighborhood. As with all other speed mitigating projects, ATD must balance the need for safety improvements with neighborhood concerns. Given what was heard at the SRCC meeting, ATD as has already conceded to not constructing two speed cushion locations and installing pedestrian refuge islands instead. ATD believes this to be a fair and balanced compromise between neighborhood concerns and safety issues.”

–Mario Porras, E.I.T.
Graduate Engineer
Austin Transportation Department

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