'Don't Block the Box' campaign expands throughout Austin

Unknown Object Austin's Transportation Department monitors congestion at various intersections. They have noticed a significant decrease in congestion at Don't Block the Box intersections, said Jim Dale, acting assistant director.[/caption]

Traffic congestion dropped during the first six weeks of the "Don't Block the Box" campaign in which Austin Police Department officers ticketed motorists that blocked intersections during peak periods, according to APD. The campaign's success has resulted in four additional intersections being monitored, law enforcement officials announced.

Starting May 18, Austin Police Department officers will now be stationed at the four intersections along Cesar Chavez between Brazos and Red River streets. Before the campaign expansion, officers were previously stationed between Guadalupe and Congress streets along downtown Cesar Chavez Street during morning and evening rush hours.

“We’re improving mobility into and out of downtown and making it easier for folks to get around,” said Jim Dale, Austin Transportation Department acting assistant director. “Where we may have three or fours cars backed into the intersection, we’re seeing that reduced to where maybe it’s one or two [cars stacked up] or if we are having those three and four cars [stacked up], it’s not happening as often.”

Although officers are positioned at only four intersections from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 6:30 p.m., 18 Austin intersections now have "Don’t Block the Box" signs. However, the laws behind the campaign apply to every intersection, Dale said, and violating motorists should still expect a ticket.

“We want to make sure that the serious injury and fatal crashes are reduced. That’s really what our goal is—not just to get congestion relieved,” APD Lt. Robert Richman said. “The behavior of blocking that box, the behavior of being a discourteous driver is slowing everybody down. This is what’s causing the congestion.”

APD has issued 1,570 moving violations at "Don’t Block the Box" intersections since April 6. Officers are issuing citations to drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists for the following behaviors:

  • Red light violations

  • Blocking intersections

  • Failure to stop at the proper place

  • Failure to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk

  • Failure to yield to the pedestrian control device

  • Driving in bus lanes

  • Reckless driving

  • Unsafe movements

  • Delivery trucks stopping during peak times that block or interfere with traffic


Drivers who pull into the intersection to make a left-hand turn may sometimes not be able to complete their turn until the light turns red. Richman said officers are not citing those drivers.

The Transportation Department and APD are working together on what intersections to closely monitor next and for how long concentrated enforcement in those areas should last, Dale said.


MOST RECENT

Photo of school supples
Parents weigh in: What are your considerations heading into the 2021-22 school year?

Community Impact Newspaper seeks parent feedback as we prepare for our annual education edition.

Photo of the Austin Police Department
City of Austin certifies Save Austin Now's petition to increase police staffing, adding it to fall ballot

The measure would require two police officers for every 1,000 area residents, among other provisions.

Photo of a doctor with a pregnant woman
Austin health experts warn delta variant could pose higher risk for pregnant women

Maternal medicine doctors across Central Texas have seen increasing numbers of pregnant women coming to the hospital with breathing issues and pregnancy complications as a result of COVID-19.

Wayback Burgers makes cooked-to-order burgers and hand-dipped milkshakes. (Courtesy Wayback Burgers)
6 eateries open or coming to Cedar Park, Leander; Trudy's North Star reopens in Northwest Austin and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area, including Tiff's Treats opening in Hutto.

Trudy's Tex-Mex courtesy photo
Trudy’s North Star reopens with renovated restaurant, new menu

The restaurant underwent recent renovations to its dining rooms, exterior dining spaces and bar areas.

Road closure updates graphic
TxDOT to close I-35 main lanes in North Austin late Aug. 2 and 3

Southbound and northbound I-35 lanes will close late at night Aug. 2 and 3 as the state works on new flyovers.

Austin ISD will offer virtual learning, expecting about 5% of students to apply. (Courtesy Unsplash)
Austin public schools release virtual learning plan

Austin ISD will offer virtual learning, expecting about 5% of students to apply.

student writing on paper
Texas Legislature allows parents to opt for students to repeat grade levels or courses

Senate Bill 1697 is effective for the 2021-22 school year.

Photo of a cupcake trailer
Austin bakery Hey Cupcake relaunches at Native Hostel

The long-time Austin cupcake trailer is making camp near downtown.

Photo of medical professions in a hospital
Health officials warn ICU space is critically low as Travis County sees its 900th COVID-19 death

As the delta variant drives transmission rates up, local hospital systems warn that ICUs are strained.

At Blue Gecko, a Texas Taco comes with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, cheese and bacon. (Courtesy Blue Gecko)
New taco spot opens in Four Points; roadwork for Austin's Zilker Eagle continues and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area, including news on when Lou Neff Road will open in Central Austin.

The long-vacant St. John Site moved one step closer to its community-oriented redevelopment July 29. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Negotiations for St. John Site project move forward with focus on expanded affordable housing, community uses

Austin staff will now seek to finalize a plan for the 19-acre, city-owned St. John Site with its chosen developers based on City Council direction approved July 29.