2nd Street is great but could be truly magnificient if made a pedestrian only street from Congress all the way to the Seaholm Power Plant (once 2nd street is extended all the way through of course). Denver has done this very successfully with the 16th Street mall (see photo) and created a wonderful pedtestrian shopping and dining environment free of cars. Austin has a very unique opportunity to do the same thing!  

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Coapdrd Coapdrd about 6 years ago


The Downtown Austin Plan (DAP) provides recommendations to develop a multi-modal transportation system that improves access to and mobility within Downtown while fostering a high-quality, pedestrian environment.  The Plan calls for all streets to be improved as multi-modal corridors with enhanced pedestrian facilities, but also establishes a classification system defining priority roles for each street (e.g., pedestrian, bicycle, transit and vehicular).

The intent of the recommendations is to encourage a mix of activities (including retail) along Downtown streets that will encourage pedestrian circulation while maintaining a level of vehicular access that will allow businesses to flourish along street frontages.  The DAP does not recommend car-free zones, but does not rule them out.  City staff recommends that sufficient vehicular access be provided along all Downtown streets at least until ground-level businesses and other activities have taken hold and are on a sustainable footing prior to considering specific streets as car-free zones.

 Other cites have incrementally developed car-free zones that started by allowing various modes of transportation including buses and cars.  It was not until such streets were able to substantially maintain a constant flow of pedestrian circulation that car-free zones were considered.  Existing businesses along those future car-free zones wanted to be sure of a constant flow of pedestrian circulation before endorsing car-free streets.

The City Council will conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of the DAP at its August 28th meeting.  The public hearing will be held at 4:00 p.m., at Austin City Hall, 301 West Second Street.

Sylvia Arzola, Planning and Development Review Department