Austin City Council discusses signal lights and traffic signs in downtown area, speeds on Oakland Avenue West at Monday work session

The Austin City Council discussed signal lights and traffic signs in the downtown area with Public Works Director Steven Lang at a work session following their regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening, as Lang stated to the council that WHKS recently completed a traffic study to help the city determine the best options for traffic control at the intersections of 1st St. and 1st Drive NW, and at 1st St. and 4th Avenue NW.  The City of Austin has 1st Street NW from Oakland Ave W to 1st Drive NW scheduled for reconstruction in 2023, and Lang stated that the current method of traffic control at the intersection of 1st St. and 4th Avenue NW is signal lights.  Options being considered for traffic control at that intersection for traffic control include signal lights at a cost of $300,000, or a 4-way stop for $1,200, and Lang stated to the council that based on the results of a warrant analysis, cost analysis, and public survey results, engineering data indicates that a 4-way stop would be a suitable traffic control option for the 1st Street and 4th Avenue NW intersection, and the council agreed unanimously on that option as well.  At the intersection of 1st St. and 1st Drive NW, the current method of traffic control is a two-way stop for traffic on 1st Drive NW, and other options considered for traffic control at that intersection included a 4-way stop at a cost of $1,200, and a mini-roundabout for $260,000.  Lang stated that based on the results of a warrant analysis, cost analysis, and public survey results, the Public Works Department would recommend that the intersection become a mini-roundabout during the reconstruction of 1st Street NW. A mini roundabout, Lang stated, would improve traffic flow and improve the geometry of the intersection, but the council opted to keep a two-way stop at the intersection on a vote of 5-1, with councilmember Mike Postma voting in favor of a roundabout.  Lang also discussed work to take place in 2024 at the intersections of North Main St. and 4th Avenue NW, which is currently controlled by signal lights, and at North Main St. and 2nd Avenue NW, which is also controlled by signal lights.  The council moved unanimously to convert traffic control  at the intersection of North Main St. and 4th Avenue NW to a 4-way stop, which was one of the options available and the one recommended by the Public Works Department, and the council also moved unanimously to go with the recommended option of a two-way stop at the intersection of North Main St. and 2nd Avenue NW.  

In other business at their work session Monday evening, the Austin City Council reviewed speed signs for Oakland Avenue West, as Public Works Director Steven Lang stated to the council that a request was received from a resident in the 2200 block of Oakland Avenue West for review of the speeds on Oakland Avenue.  After asking the council if they thought driver speeds on Oakland Avenue West were excessive, Lang discussed various options to address the situation including doing nothing, more police speed enforcement, lowering the speed limit, installing speed indicator signage at a cost of approximately $10,000 per sign, and purchasing multiple speed indicator signs to be used in other areas of the city, or updating the speed trailer the city currently owns for an estimated cost of $10,000 to make it mobile for use around town.  After hearing the various options, it was the consensus of the council to keep the current posted speeds where they currently are for eastbound traffic entering the City of Austin. 

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