Manchaca recommendations focus on pedestrians, traffic and transit

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Recommended mobility improvements for the 8-mile Manchaca Road corridor were outlined May 9 at an open house about Austin’s corridor construction program.

The Manchaca Road corridor is one of five funded for preliminary engineering through Austin’s 2016 Mobility Bond, corridor project spokesperson Mandy McClendon said. Primary engineering outlines potential recommendations that could be implemented in the future with additional funding, she said. Other South Austin corridors are also being evaluated for improvements.

A main goal of the recommendations, which are partially based on community feedback, is to make the corridor safer and more accessible to pedestrians and bikers, McClendon said. Proposed sidewalks would fill in gaps currently present south of Slaughter Lane. Sidewalks along the entire corridor will be made compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards, McClendon said.

Pedestrian hybrid beacons, which are signals that flash and turn red at crosswalks when pedestrians are crossing, will be placed at nine high-volume areas near schools and bus stops.

Bike lanes will be separated from vehicular traffic in many areas with landscaping or divisions, and other bike accommodations will be added.

“Interestingly bicycle parking is a big thing that came up during the first public engagement process,” she said. “We’re looking at a few different locations where we can add bicycle parking, like Joslin [Elementary School], so kids can ride to school and store bikes safely.”

A center median with designated turn locations will be installed along much of the road. The median will serve as a buffer for traffic traveling in opposite directions and reduce traffic currently caused by cars that are stopped in the road waiting to make a left turn.

While only one new traffic light will be added, many current lights will be replaced with signals that can better adjust light cycles for current traffic patterns, McClendon said.

The project will also optimize the location of Capital Metro transit stops, McClendon said. The majority of existing bus stops on Manchaca Road will be relocated slightly to better allow pedestrian access and to limit traffic created by stopped buses. Five new bus stops will open, while three existing stops will be closed.

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Nicholas Cicale
Nick was born in Long Island, New York and grew up in South Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in writing and a minor in music. Nick was a journalist for three years at the St. James Plaindealer in Minnesota before moving to Austin to join Community Impact Newspaper in 2016.
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