Corridor mobility plans move ahead in South Austin for Slaughter Lane and William Cannon Drive

The city's 2016 mobility bond includes $482 million for projects along nine corridors throughout Austin. Further design will focus on street reconstruction on the nine roads.

The city's 2016 mobility bond includes $482 million for projects along nine corridors throughout Austin. Further design will focus on street reconstruction on the nine roads.

Image description
Plans for improvement
Image description
Breaking down the bond
Updated 11:36 a.m. June 4

About $95.1 million from the city’s 2016 Mobility Bond will be funneled toward improving safety and mobility along Slaughter Lane and William Cannon Drive in South Austin.

Voters approved the $720 million transportation bond in November 2016, and city staffers have been working with a consultant since then to craft a plan on how  to divvy up $482 million of those bond funds earmarked for projects on nine key corridors throughout Austin and chip away at the full $1.4 billion Corridor Construction Program that Austin City Council approved April 26.

“We will be seeking additional funding and leveraging opportunities for all the projects in the program—the full $1.4 billion program—regardless of whether they are getting 2016 bond funding or not,” said Mike Trimble, director of the Corridor Program Office at the April 10 council work session.

Approval of the program is a key step that gives staff the green light to move forward on preliminary engineering on the nine corridors. This process differs from work the city completed as part of the corridor studies in years prior.

“[The corridor study process] really was like a visioning process and really set the foundation for the overall vision for the next 20 years of what the corridor should become,” said Sara Behunek, communications manager for the city’s Corridor Program Office. “Preliminary engineering is more of a technical analysis.”

Preliminary engineering work is already underway and will continue through the end of 2018. This work will include surveying the land, mapping the right of way, testing soil and holding public meetings, Behunek said.

Investing in the future

The corridor plan outlines 34 packages of projects on the nine corridors. The bond will be able to fund design and construction of what the city is calling corridorwide mobility improvements that include rehabbing pavement, improving intersections, replacing traffic signals and adding bike lanes, sidewalks or pedestrian crossing signals.

New traffic signals will provide enhanced technology to better detect vehicles, Behunek said, and intersections will also have bicycle facilities

“A lot of the things a bicyclist wants is the same thing that a driver wants in many cases,” she said. “A lot of them want improved intersections and that’s where a lot of the delay is happening.”

Full design could take 12-36 months depending on the complexity of projects on each corridor, Behunek said, but the city anticipates doing most construction from 2021 to 2024, which is the last year of the eight-year bond.

The bond will also provide about $38.3 million for starting design of enhance multimodal improvements that include full street reconstruction. However, the city would need to seek additional dollars for construction.

“Those build on top of the corridorwide [improvements],” Behunek said. “With those that’s when we kind of reach that full vision the community had in the corridor mobility plan.”

The bond will also provide about $5 million for creating corridor mobility reports on five new roadways—Manchaca Road from South Lamar Boulevard to FM 1626; South Congress Avenue from Lady Bird Lake to Slaughter Lane; and South Pleasant Valley Road from Oltorf Street to Slaughter—and preliminary engineering and design work on three new roads.

Corridor Program Office spokesperson Mandy McClendon said proposed future Manchaca improvements will include increased safety for pedestrians and bikers. A shared-use path with a buffer will run along the entirety of the road, pedestrian signals will be installed at various points and bike parking areas are being explored.

She said the Corridor Program Office is using public feedback to optimize public transit locations as well.

Paul Roussos, a resident who lives on West Gate Boulevard and frequently travels on William Cannon and Manchaca, said he is glad improvements are being made that will help transportation in the future.

“I came to Austin in 1963 and have seen the city change,” he said. “Some of the issues come up when [the city] doesn’t plan for the future. The [Corridor Program Office] is tying to look at the overall picture.”

Although improvements to sidewalks and bike paths along the major thoroughfares are necessary, Roussos said he believes more needs to be done to help residents access the new pedestrian accommodations from area neighborhoods. Residents who live along West Gate, for example, will have trouble biking to William Cannon because of the high speeds, congestion and safety concerns present on smaller roads that he said have not yet been addressed.

Leveraging dollars

Besides receiving funding from the 2016 Mobility Bond, both South Austin roadways will receive funding from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization for design and construction of specific projects.

CAMPO oversees doling out federal and state funds and regional transportation planning efforts in Central Texas. Its board, which comprises area elected officials, including District 5 Council Member Ann Kitchen, approved the funding May 7.

The city will receive about $12.58 million in funding through CAMPO to put toward the design of expanding Slaughter Lane to six lanes as well as adding a shared-use path and improving intersections. About $11.75 million from CAMPO will go toward expanding William Cannon Drive to four lanes between Running Water Drive and McKinney Falls Parkway.

Editor's note: This post was updated to correct and clarify information regarding new corridor mobility reports and future preliminary engineering work.

By Amy Denney

Managing Editor, Austin metro

Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and later senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition as well as covering transportation in the Austin metro. She is now managing editor for the 10 publications in the Central Texas area from Georgetown to New Braunfels.


Photo of people attending ACL Fest
City of Austin approves ACL health and safety plan, holds off on final permit

Austin Public Health gave ACL the go-ahead to allow proof of vaccination in lieu of a negative COVID-19 test, but asked organizers to require masking in some areas.

Hundreds of complaints were logged against the Austin Police Department last year related to protests against police brutality and systemic racism. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Police oversight office challenges APD handling of most 2020 protest complaints

Austin's Office of Police Oversight objected to several aspects of the police department's approach to classifying and investigating protest-related grievances.

Photo of ACL Fest
Zilker Park closes in preparation for Austin City Limits Music Festival

Zilker Park closes in preparation for Austin City Limits Music Festival

Austin city staff and officials are pursuing additional protections related to mold issues in rental housing. (Courtesy city of Austin)
City pursuing improvements to handling of Austin renters' mold complaints

New recommendations from a report launched in the wake of Winter Storm Uri detail adjustments Austin could make to its mold response.

Students at O. Henry Middle School in Austin head in for their first day of school Aug. 17. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD's COVID-19 rate lower than nearby districts after first month of school

Austin ISD recorded more cases in the first month of this school year than in all of the 2020-2021 school year. Still, Austin ISD saw a lower percentage of cases in students than surrounding school districts.

Wayback Burgers specializes in cooked-to-order burgers and hand-dipped milkshakes. (Courtesy Wayback Burgers)
Wayback Burgers coming to Leander; fire kills 75 dogs in Georgetown and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Screen shot of Dr. Desmar Walkes speaking
Austin ICUs remain crowded with COVID-19 patients, delaying some critical care

Within the past week, there was a waiting list of patients to be transferred into Austin-area ICUs, Austin Public Health leaders said.

A drone image shows the Dripping Springs Distilling property where a new event hall opened in August. (Courtesy HLK Fotos)
A bar, a food truck and two other new businesses open in Dripping Springs

A new food truck and distillery event hall, plus two other new businesses are now open in Dripping Springs.

The city of Austin this summer cleared four unregulated homeless encampments and shifted dozens of residents into shelters. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plan to house thousands of Austin's homeless people taking shape, but outlook for local success, project funding still unclear

The strategy's first housing benchmark fell short in June, and updates on how the estimated $515 million needed for housing and services will be spent are overdue.

A rendering shows the new Deep Eddy Psychotherapy office coming to Southwest Austin. (Courtesy of Deep Eddy Psychotherapy)
Bubble tea, therapy and three other new businesses coming to Southwest Austin

A new salon, day care, therapy office and other businesses are coming soon to Southwest Austin.

The city is looking for feedback on its cap and stitch proposal, which is in the preliminary stages. (Benton Graham/Community Impact)
City seeks input on proposals to add decks and widened bridges over I-35 in Central Austin

The proposal is in the preliminary stages, and the city is still reviewing the feasibility of locations and project funding.