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Author Topic: Austin, TX  (Read 54612 times)

Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #400 on: October 04, 2022, 06:44:55 PM »

It's clear the US-290 corridor already needs to be upgraded to Interstate quality out past Dripping Springs near the US-281 corridor. Living costs within the Austin metro are rising ever higher. As the whole Austin-San Antonio region continues to gain population that will force more people to outer towns, Johnson City. Fredericksburg is about 30 miles farther West. Like Johnson City, any heavy truck traffic will run right down Main Street. Traffic levels might not be all that bad now, but they could get quite a bit worse.
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Alps

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #401 on: October 04, 2022, 06:57:49 PM »

Yeah, Austin needs a freeway for some distance west of the city. How far, study existing and projected traffic counts and get back to me.

J N Winkler

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #402 on: October 04, 2022, 07:14:23 PM »

In terms of present-day traffic, I think one could justify four-laning US 290 all the way from Austin to Fredericksburg on the basis that rolling terrain and truck percentages justify reducing the usual warrant (AADT of 10,000 VPD) to about 7000 VPD or so.  In actual fact, US 290 is poor-boy (four-lane undivided) or better pretty much all the way from Austin to Harper (west of Fredericksburg).

I was on US 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg in October 2016 as part of a visit to San Antonio that also included the LBJ Ranch.  I found it to be uncomfortably busy, not just because of the traffic volumes but also because of the limited provision of speed change facilities for vehicles turning in and out of abutting properties.

Long lengths of SH 29 and SH 71, which function to some degree as western accesses to Austin, are also poor-boy with AADTs comfortably above the 10,000 VPD threshold.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #403 on: October 27, 2022, 10:56:02 AM »

Work on the two new overpasses on SH 71 east of SH 130 is progressing well. The photo is at the Ross Rd overpass. The work at Kellam Road has about the same progress.

http://dallasfreeways.com/dfwfreeways/AARoads/20221026-austin_075-1600.JPG


texaskdog

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #404 on: October 27, 2022, 02:46:39 PM »

In terms of present-day traffic, I think one could justify four-laning US 290 all the way from Austin to Fredericksburg on the basis that rolling terrain and truck percentages justify reducing the usual warrant (AADT of 10,000 VPD) to about 7000 VPD or so.  In actual fact, US 290 is poor-boy (four-lane undivided) or better pretty much all the way from Austin to Harper (west of Fredericksburg).

I was on US 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg in October 2016 as part of a visit to San Antonio that also included the LBJ Ranch.  I found it to be uncomfortably busy, not just because of the traffic volumes but also because of the limited provision of speed change facilities for vehicles turning in and out of abutting properties.

Long lengths of SH 29 and SH 71, which function to some degree as western accesses to Austin, are also poor-boy with AADTs comfortably above the 10,000 VPD threshold.

I know they are starting the Fredericksburg bypass soon.  A lot of locals don't like it but it makes sense since it's a destination itself i.e. not many people are just going to be passing through and say "oh look at this cool town I'll stop"

And thus will be more walkable. Too busy now.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #405 on: October 27, 2022, 04:57:56 PM »

In terms of present-day traffic, I think one could justify four-laning US 290 all the way from Austin to Fredericksburg on the basis that rolling terrain and truck percentages justify reducing the usual warrant (AADT of 10,000 VPD) to about 7000 VPD or so.  In actual fact, US 290 is poor-boy (four-lane undivided) or better pretty much all the way from Austin to Harper (west of Fredericksburg).

I was on US 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg in October 2016 as part of a visit to San Antonio that also included the LBJ Ranch.  I found it to be uncomfortably busy, not just because of the traffic volumes but also because of the limited provision of speed change facilities for vehicles turning in and out of abutting properties.

Long lengths of SH 29 and SH 71, which function to some degree as western accesses to Austin, are also poor-boy with AADTs comfortably above the 10,000 VPD threshold.

I know they are starting the Fredericksburg bypass soon.  A lot of locals don't like it but it makes sense since it's a destination itself i.e. not many people are just going to be passing through and say "oh look at this cool town I'll stop"

And thus will be more walkable. Too busy now.

Looks like the bypass is dead as of March, which is unfortunate:

https://www.fredericksburgstandard.com/news/txdot-relief-route-put-bed
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armadillo speedbump

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #406 on: October 27, 2022, 08:36:26 PM »

Reads like a mix of NIMBY's, we don't want to pay for it, and TXDOT wanting 400' of ROW killed it.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #407 on: October 27, 2022, 09:55:31 PM »

I couldn't read the details in the article due to what looked like a pay-wall. But 400 feet for ROW? Why? Not every freeway bypass needs continuous frontage roads. Even with frontage roads the ROW doesn't need to be that friggin' wide.

A US-290 freeway bypass around Fredericksburg, TX would have to be on an all new terrain alignment, probably well around the South side of town. Such a thing could be built without frontage roads and with a limited number of exits, all to make the bypass fit on a slim ROW.
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texaskdog

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #408 on: October 28, 2022, 12:42:20 AM »

Voting no to a project with nine years of work and consideration requires much discussion.

That is what occurred Tuesday morning, before Fredericksburg City Council members and Gillespie County Commissioners eventually voted to approve a resolution halting additional work on the proposed relief route.

The consensus was that in the past nine years since discussion of a bypass — which has come up many times since the late 1960s — the people aren’t willing to pay for a $40 million, 294-acre road that could come through their property.

“This issue is not going away. I don’t know how often it’s been dealt with since I’ve been judge for the past 27 years,” said Gillespie County Judge Mark Stroeher, whose father was on a committee that Judge Mark Wieser appointed back in the 1980s. “The design that we have now is basically the same thing we dealt with 15 years ago, when the public said it’s not going to fly here.”

For the most part, county commissioners and councilmembers reiterated this statement. Commissioners Donnie Schuch and Keith Kramer both said they’ve heard multiple times from the constituents in their precincts that they don’t want this type of project.

Tom Musselman, a city councilmember who can remember the efforts on this bypass from the 1970s, believes this resolution to halt work on the project is “in the best interest of our community across the county.”

“The city’s transportation projects, if we can get those going, would do a lot to alleviate traffic on Main Street,” he said.

The city has been working on projects with Kimley-Horn, a planning and engineering consulting firm that conducted a Traffic Impact Study for the city in 2019.

These projects are made up of short-term minor traffic improvements, as well as four possible extensions of:

• Post Oak Road and Cherry Street (completing the gap from Bowie Street to Main Street;

• Mulberry Street (connecting Mulberry at Llano to Main and Eagle streets;

• Frederick Road (Texas 16 South to U.S. 290 East); and

• The inner loop (formerly Friendship Lane or the ‘Interim Relief Route’ from Texas 16 South to U.S. 87 North).

 

Musselman also said the work on this project over the past nine years won’t just be thrown away.

“The City of Fredericksburg had a plan for Cross Mountain Park that sat on the shelf for 20 years,” Musselman said. “I don’t think all the effort that has gone into this plan is wasted.”

“This is a plan that’s going on the shelf,” he added. “In the future, (the Texas Department of Transportation) might say, ‘we really don’t need a 400-foot right-of-way, we really don’t need an extension of U.S. 290 going around town.’”

He added his belief that if the city would’ve discussed a Texas Highway-16-type of road several years ago, this might have gone a different way.

Even with years of workshops, public comment sessions, news articles and calls to commissioners, councilmember Kathy Sanford O’Neill felt strongly about tweaking the resolution and bringing this to a vote of the citizens.

“If I were going to be in charge, I would think we would want to know for sure whether the citizens of the community want this or not,” she said.

Kramer said he feels confident that if a vote came before residents, his constituents would vote it down.

Stroeher also made the point about the land of people along TxDOT’s technically-preferred route being “in limbo” for the past nine years.

“It’s not fair to keep it in limbo any longer. They haven’t been able to do anything with their property,” he said. “To me, we’ve had almost nine years to get input from the public, and I’m satisfied that I know how most of the public feels at this point.”

 

Public comment

Ahead of the elected officials’ discussion, members of the public came out one last time to speak on this issue.

Cord Switzer, a local businessowner, said he’s been involved with these discussions as a committee member and under other hats for several years, said he feels confident it will come back up again.

He also said the concept of the design and the cost has become extensive over the years.

“The bottom line always comes back to cost,” he said. “When you’re looking at this in the future, the first thing to ask is, ‘Is this going to pass in a bond?’ If you don’t believe that and you don’t have good research on it, don’t bother to do this thing again.”

Gary Saucier, the founder of Citizens for an Informed Relief Route, said while the intent of a bypass is to address a problem, the solution currently on the books is not the right type of road.

“Yes, someday maybe an interstate-type road might come through here and the world will be very different, but most people want that to happen at a slower pace, not at a flip of a switch,” he said. “I want to thank you for all of your interest, support and all of what you guys listened to from our organization that tried to bring the voice of the people to you.”

Eric Hammersen, a city resident, urged city and county staff to focus on improving the roads in place today before looking at an interstate type of road.

 

The vote

After all was said and done, the city council voted 4-1 and commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the resolution to discontinue efforts to design and construct the relief route. Councilmember Sanford O’Neill opposed.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #409 on: October 28, 2022, 07:35:28 PM »

The need for an Interstate-class route going West out of Austin to I-10 is not going to disappear. The need is only going to intensify as that region of Texas continues adding more residents. The Fredericksburg City Council can vote "no" on a bypass built within the city's limits. But they would have far less power to stop a new Interstate-quality road getting built farther to the South well outside of the city limits.

One possible alternative (and one that looks much better now) is bypassing both Johnson City and Fredericksburg by making a more direct Austin to Kerrville route. From the Miller Creek junction of US-290 and US-281 a new highway could get built on a new terrain path pretty much straight due West to Kerrville.
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texaskdog

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #410 on: October 28, 2022, 08:33:49 PM »

The need for an Interstate-class route going West out of Austin to I-10 is not going to disappear. The need is only going to intensify as that region of Texas continues adding more residents. The Fredericksburg City Council can vote "no" on a bypass built within the city's limits. But they would have far less power to stop a new Interstate-quality road getting built farther to the South well outside of the city limits.

One possible alternative (and one that looks much better now) is bypassing both Johnson City and Fredericksburg by making a more direct Austin to Kerrville route. From the Miller Creek junction of US-290 and US-281 a new highway could get built on a new terrain path pretty much straight due West to Kerrville.

Yeah sounds like they are going to let the land go and then have a dilemma in the future.  I'd bet due to this the eventual bypass goes far south of Fredericksburg.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #411 on: October 29, 2022, 09:16:17 PM »

I think all TX DOT needs to do is make an announcement for a new corridor study between 5-10 miles South of existing US-290. Johnson City and Fredericksburg would both be bypassed in favor of a more direct East-West route between Kerrville and Austin. It would be interesting to see how residents in Fredericksburg might react to that news.

An upgrade of US-290 to Interstate quality would require re-building all of the existing roadway and/or building significant portions on a new alignment. It might actually be a little less costly to build a new freeway from Kerrville to the US-281/US-290 junction by Miller Creek RV Park. There wouldn't be as many homes or businesses to displace by expanding US-290 thru Johnson City and Fredericksburg.

There might be a pretty good argument for making an Interstate quality freeway from Austin direct to Kerrville. It's a shorter distance to I-10 than the junction of US-290 West of Fredericksburg. Kerrville is due West of Austin. And Kerrville (pop 24,477) has more residents than the combined populations of Fredericksburg (pop 11,072) and Johnson City (pop 1717).
« Last Edit: October 29, 2022, 09:18:37 PM by Bobby5280 »
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texaskdog

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #412 on: October 29, 2022, 09:22:27 PM »

I think all TX DOT needs to do is make an announcement for a new corridor study between 5-10 miles South of existing US-290. Johnson City and Fredericksburg would both be bypassed in favor of a more direct East-West route between Kerrville and Austin. It would be interesting to see how residents in Fredericksburg might react to that news.

An upgrade of US-290 to Interstate quality would require re-building all of the existing roadway and/or building significant portions on a new alignment. It might actually be a little less costly to build a new freeway from Kerrville to the US-281/US-290 junction by Miller Creek RV Park. There wouldn't be as many homes or businesses to displace by expanding US-290 thru Johnson City and Fredericksburg.

There might be a pretty good argument for making an Interstate quality freeway from Austin direct to Kerrville. It's a shorter distance to I-10 than the junction of US-290 West of Fredericksburg. Kerrville is due West of Austin. And Kerrville (pop 24,477) has more residents than the combined populations of Fredericksburg (pop 11,072) and Johnson City (pop 1717).

Great idea.  Just route the traffic far from Fred and watch them cry.  And my last "trip" of any kind was spending the night in Fredericksburg.
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rte66man

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #413 on: November 14, 2022, 08:21:41 AM »

https://www.kxan.com/traffic/traffic-projects/i-35-capital-project-kicks-off-in-south-austin/

Quote
I-35 Capital Project kicks off in south Austin; groups file lawsuit, demand project halts
by: Erica Brennes, Abigail Jones

Posted: Nov 11, 2022 / 10:29 AM CST
Updated: Nov 11, 2022 / 09:27 PM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In the near future, Interstate 35 through downtown Austin will undergo a complete transformation, but for now, the Texas Department of Transportation is starting in south Austin.

Here are the changes coming for I-35 from State Highway 45 southwest to Highway 71. TxDOT will begin construction on Tuesday. It will be putting in two non-tolled high-occupancy vehicle lanes in each direction along I-35. Plus you’ll see improvements to the east/west connections, and TxDOT will add about 13 miles of new shared-use paths. Though the interim will be rough as any major construction project is, when it’s all said and done it will help keep traffic moving.

The I-35 Capital Project South will cost $548 million and is expected to wrap up in late 2028. The I-35 Capital Project overall includes downtown Austin, where we could see the removal of the upper/lower deck split, more lanes, buried lanes and a huge undertaking expected to start in 2025. This includes the north side of Austin from Highway 290 to SH 45, which should start next year.

Lawsuit filed against TxDOT

Three groups on Friday called for an immediate halt to the project plan. The Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG), Environment Texas, and Rethink35 filed a lawsuit in June against TxDOT over its broad plan of expanding a portion of I-35 that stretches from north of Buda to Round Rock.

“TxDOT must immediately pause the I-35 Capital Express South widening project while the judge considering our lawsuit decides whether or not this project can legally proceed,” says Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas. “Proceeding nonetheless will be a bad faith act that will further diminish the community’s trust in TxDOT.”

The groups say that the environmental impacts of expanding the interstate are expected to be considerable. The entire expansion is expected to generate 255 million to 382 million additional vehicle miles traveled per year, according to an estimation by Grist. That would result in 1.2 to 2.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 2050, “roughly equal to the annual greenhouse gases generated by a small coal-fired power plant.”

The lawsuit alleges that splitting its massive I-35 Capital Express expansion project into three parts is an unlawful attempt to skirt public engagement and environmental impact assessment requirements. The plaintiffs are calling for TxDOT to restart the entire project and build a proposal from the ground up with community members at the center of discussions.

KXAN reached out to TxDOT to ask if they had a statement, and they said they do not comment on pending litigation.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #414 on: November 14, 2022, 09:54:22 AM »

Quote from: KXAN News Article
The groups say that the environmental impacts of expanding the interstate are expected to be considerable. The entire expansion is expected to generate 255 million to 382 million additional vehicle miles traveled per year, according to an estimation by Grist. That would result in 1.2 to 2.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 2050, “roughly equal to the annual greenhouse gases generated by a small coal-fired power plant.”

Traffic levels along I-35 in central Austin will continue to increase regardless if the highway is expanded or not. Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the US. If I-35 in central Austin continues to be a choke-point for traffic movement as those VPD numbers continue to increase that will equate to vehicles being stuck in traffic for ever longer amounts of time which means they'll be belching greater amounts of pollution into the atmosphere.

If vehicles are able to move through a city's highway network more efficiently that means they're going to get from point A to point B faster and not be on the highway for nearly as much time. Vehicles stuck in traffic jams are going to burn a lot more fuel and produce a lot more pollution than vehicles that are moving freely.
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ski-man

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #415 on: November 14, 2022, 12:09:08 PM »

Quote from: KXAN News Article
The groups say that the environmental impacts of expanding the interstate are expected to be considerable. The entire expansion is expected to generate 255 million to 382 million additional vehicle miles traveled per year, according to an estimation by Grist. That would result in 1.2 to 2.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 2050, “roughly equal to the annual greenhouse gases generated by a small coal-fired power plant.”

Traffic levels along I-35 in central Austin will continue to increase regardless if the highway is expanded or not. Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the US. If I-35 in central Austin continues to be a choke-point for traffic movement as those VPD numbers continue to increase that will equate to vehicles being stuck in traffic for ever longer amounts of time which means they'll be belching greater amounts of pollution into the atmosphere.

If vehicles are able to move through a city's highway network more efficiently that means they're going to get from point A to point B faster and not be on the highway for nearly as much time. Vehicles stuck in traffic jams are going to burn a lot more fuel and produce a lot more pollution than vehicles that are moving freely.

Bingo. It is like they ignore important fact since it counters their claims and thoughts.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #416 on: November 14, 2022, 04:52:32 PM »

I guess they're leaning into the whole induced demand trope -as if the expanded highway itself is suddenly going to cause even more cars to appear once the construction project is complete.

The growing traffic counts are happening due to population growth locally and in that general region. That's it. VPD numbers on major highways and surface arterials will steadily increase regardless if there are any efforts to deal with those increases or not. The smart thing is to expand highways (and surface streets) in advance of that growth. Walk-ability and bike access is important on the surface street level. Improvements to surface streets needs to take pedestrians and bicyclists into account with the designs. However, they can promote mass transit, walking and bicycling til they're blue in the face yet most people are still going to drive their own personal vehicles. Especially on a day like this here in Oklahoma where it's cold, rainy and trying to change over to snow. No one wants to stand out at a bus stop in that kind of weather. But that's the "ideal" some people in Austin are promoting. It's not realistic.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #417 on: November 14, 2022, 06:28:55 PM »

Different topic but Austin related:

Has there ever been any plans to upgrade US183 from the SH45/130 split (south of the airport) to SH71?

Seems like a logical corridor to convert to limited-access at some point.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #418 on: November 14, 2022, 08:17:35 PM »

Has there ever been any plans to upgrade US183 from the SH45/130 split (south of the airport) to SH71?

Seems like a logical corridor to convert to limited-access at some point.

According to the official CAMPO long-range plan, that section is designated to be improved to a 4-lane divided. No mention of a freeway or more lanes.
See page 4 https://campotx.wpenginepowered.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2045RTP_6.1.2022-Project-List-Only.pdf

US 183
SH 71 TO SH 130
RECONSTRUCT EXISTING 4-LANE ROADWAY TO 4-LANE DIVIDED 
2031
$273,776,509

Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #419 on: November 14, 2022, 10:45:30 PM »

I think where TX-71 passes North of Austin-Bergstrom Int'l Airport is a more pressing concern than US-183 to the West of the airport. The problem is TX-71 is already in a very tight squeeze there. That segment of TX-71 is technically free flowing (no stop lights), but there is a slew of driveways and side streets connecting to the TX-71 main lanes between the US-183 interchange and the freeway exit for FM-973. That does pose a safety issue for a thoroughfare trying to act like it is a 6 to 8 lane freeway.
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texaskdog

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #420 on: November 15, 2022, 01:33:15 AM »

Different topic but Austin related:

Has there ever been any plans to upgrade US183 from the SH45/130 split (south of the airport) to SH71?

Seems like a logical corridor to convert to limited-access at some point.

wont happen because the alternate is 71 to 130 on the toll road.  The slower 183 is the more people who use the toll road. 
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kernals12

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #421 on: November 16, 2022, 08:08:41 AM »



Womp Womp
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #422 on: November 16, 2022, 12:09:09 PM »

Real great turnout of protestors for the let's turn I-35 into a slow-ass urban street with lots and lots of stop lights grass roots cause. Maybe some of the protestors stayed away because they thought the effort was let's convert I-35 into a bicycle path!
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #423 on: November 16, 2022, 12:11:09 PM »



Womp Womp

I love more lanes = more traffic guy......where do I start?
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ski-man

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #424 on: November 16, 2022, 02:29:40 PM »

I'd be embarrassed to be apart of that protest if that was all that showed up. I would have just stayed in my car I drove to it in....... :-D :-D
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