Residents evaluate ideas to reduce speeds and calm local traffic on Lost Creek Blvd.

Some commuters have learned to use Lost Creek Boulevard as a cut-through from Barton Creek Boulevard to Capital of Texas Highway, area homeowners say.

Some commuters have learned to use Lost Creek Boulevard as a cut-through from Barton Creek Boulevard to Capital of Texas Highway, area homeowners say.

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Some commuters have learned to use Lost Creek Boulevard as a cut-through from Barton Creek Boulevard to Capital of Texas Highway, area homeowners say.
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West Austin neighborhood Lost Creek is working with the city of Austin to determine if traffic-calming measures may be appropriate to improve safety on Lost Creek Boulevard, which has seen 70 reported accidents since 2010 and two pedestrian deaths over the past 15 years, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Paul Schumann, president of the Lost Creek Civic Organization, said results of an online survey sent to residents over the summer showed that safety on Lost Creek Boulevard was one of the community’s top concerns.

A thoroughfare through Lost Creek and the Barton Creek neighborhood, Lost Creek Boulevard takes traffic from Capital of Texas Hwy. to Barton Creek Boulevard. This at times allows motorists to avoid congestion on Capital of Texas Hwy. and Bee Caves Road. In recent years, GPS routing apps have brought more traffic, including commercial truck traffic, through the community, Schumann said.

Threat To safety

Sandy Kerr, a 24-year resident of Lost Creek who lives on Lost Creek Boulevard, said she has witnessed countless accidents related to speed.

“I think the people that experience it first hand know the problem,” she said.

About 15 years ago a boy died near Kerr’s property when a motorist struck him, she said. In 2015, a bicyclist was also struck and killed by a driver.

Motorists frequently take turns too quickly and drive over the curb onto residential properties, damaging landscaping or mailboxes before speeding away, she said.

“There are people running, pushing strollers and biking on the road,” Kerr said. “Not all speeding results in an accident or incident that is reported [to police], but all speeding is dangerous.”

The road also includes a number of school bus stops with a lack of designated crosswalks, Schumann said.

“There’s the threat,” he said. “When you see tiny kids getting off the bus and walking in front of these trucks.”

Representatives from Lost Creek met with Austin officials and heard possible solutions. The community is waiting to hear official suggestions, he said.

“We realized we can’t do anything to stop traffic into Lost Creek,” he said. “The only thing we can do is to depend on the city to tell us how we can calm the traffic down so the likelihood of accidents occurring will go down.”

 

Street marking improvements

Schumann  said one of the most likely solutions would be to improve street markings on Lost Creek Boulevard. This would include creating designated parking lanes, bike lanes and pedestrian crossings where appropriate along the road.

“Anything that you can do that gives the appearance of narrowing the roadway causes people to dive a little slower,” he said.

A more defined or widened shoulder would also give pedestrians a safer space along the side of the road where sidewalks are not present, he said.

Improved street signage

Increasing the number of speed limit and pedestrian signs could make drivers more alert, Schumann said.

More expensive speed limit signs that include a radar system to display a motorist’s speed would show drivers when they need to slow down, he said.

Increased police presence

Increasing the police presence in Lost Creek as a whole could also deter drivers from speeding.

Although the Travis County Sheriff’s Office previously patrolled Lost Creek, since being annexed by Austin in 2015, Schumann said Austin Police have not had much of a presence. He said he feels speeding and traffic have both increased since annexation.

Other options

In the long term Schumann said he would like to see sidewalks along most of Lost Creek Boulevard. Restricting through truck traffic on the road would also improve safety, although he said it may not be seen as a feasible solution.

Adding speed bumps is something Schumann said he believes the community would like to avoid. However, Kerr said she would take the slight nuisance that could come with speed bumps if it meant improving safety.

“If it would slow people down and maybe decrease the amount of traffic, it would be worth the inconvenience,” she said. “The problem is so critical.”
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


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