A small step forward for walkers: In my inbox this morning is the monthly newsletter from the Corridor Program Office, which oversees the implementation of voter-approved mobility bonds. It highlighted some recent upgrades on William Cannon, one of the corridors slated for renovations from $720M bond voters approved in 2016.
Pedestrian hybrid beacons can help make our largest roads safer and more pleasant for pedestrians. I don't know exactly how it works, but in my experience, the light changes colors pretty quickly after you push the button. Just as important, the crossing is in the middle of the road, rather than at an intersection. It's much simpler and safer to cross there because you don't have to worry about cars making right or left turns into your path.
Finally, the beacons simply add more crossings on roads where there are very few. One reason so many pedestrians are killed on Austin roads is because there are so few crossings. When it's a half-mile to the next crosswalk, running across a busy road, even a highway, becomes more attractive. This is the tragic end that many homeless people meet.
In sharp contrast...the I-35 North expansion kicks off: TxDOT held a ceremonial groundbreaking yesterday for the I-35 Capital Express North project.
The Capital Express Central project, which stretches between Ben White & U.S. 290 NE, has gotten the lion's share of the attention. That is appropriate, since it is by far the stupidest of the three. But the other two are plenty bad as well.
This is the northern segment –– between U.S. 290 North and SH 45.
While TxDOT has tried to appease critics by dressing up the Central segment with a couple cheap pseudo-urbanist frills (two new crossings!), it hasn't bothered doing any of that for the northern and southern segments because almost nobody is paying attention.