MAP: Austin closes certain streets to vehicle traffic to promote socially distanced outdoor exercise

The first batch of streets closed to traffic May 21. City staff said more streets will be added to the program in the future. ( Community Impact staff)
The first batch of streets closed to traffic May 21. City staff said more streets will be added to the program in the future. ( Community Impact staff)

The first batch of streets closed to traffic May 21. City staff said more streets will be added to the program in the future. ( Community Impact staff)

Streets in three stretches of Austin closed to vehicle through traffic May 21 in a program Austin City Council hopes will encourage more residents to get outside and keep social distance.

The Healthy Streets pilot program was authorized by City Council on May 7. Vehicle traffic is still allowed for residents, deliveries and emergency vehicles. Otherwise, the streets are for the use of bicyclists, walkers, runners and others getting outdoor exercise, giving them more space to keep 6 feet of distance from others.

The first three streets to close down as part of the program are located in East Austin and South Austin neighborhoods. According to the resolution City Council passed, this is just the first phase, and the program is designed to expand in batches over time.

On the project’s website, residents can provide comments on the current streets that are part of the project, suggest new streets and submit comments on the recommendations of others. Individuals can also fill out a survey to give general feedback.

According to the Healthy Streets website, on-street parking will still be allowed everywhere it was before, and the Austin Transportation Department will be monitoring the routes for enforcement. In addition, residents can volunteer as block captains to help enforce the vehicle traffic rules on the selected streets.


Prior to the start of the pilot program, ATD had already closed portions of two streets to help pedestrians and bikers maintain social distancing. Those lane and road closures on Riverside Drive and Pleasant Valley Road remain in place.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at jflagler@communityimpact.com


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