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Frequently Asked Questions

City of Austin code states that a person may ride a bicycle on the sidewalk, however sidewalks are slower than streets, and are not always as safe as they seem. Crossing motorists may not expect such fast-moving sidewalk traffic. Ride carefully, checking before crossing streets and driveways. Slow down for pedestrians, and give an audible signal well before passing them.

Remember: sidewalk riding is illegal in certain parts of central Austin. Click here for a map of areas that prohibit sidewalk riding.

You can make longer trips more bikeable by taking a bus or train part-way. Every full size Capital Metro bus has bike accommodations, as does the Red Line. View more information on biking by bus.

Sharrows are shared lane markings used on roads that are too narrow for bike lanes. Use them by riding straight through the arrow. Sometimes this means taking the full lane, and faster-moving traffic must change lanes to pass safely.

On roads with one lane in each direction, move over (when it is safe) to help approaching cars pass you safely. In wider lanes, sharrows give you a good distance from parked cars on one side and traffic on the other. In both cases, stay visible and alert! Be ready to safely and predictably stop, slow, or change lanes – just like you would do if you were in any other vehicle.

 

Cycle tracks, also called "green lanes," are separated bicycle facilities that run alongside a roadway. Unlike regular bike lanes, cycle tracks are typically separated from auto traffic by a physical barrier, such as parked cars, bollards, a landscaped buffer, or a curb. Here are a couple of examples:

Cycle Track on 3rd Street.Bluebonnett Lane cycle track.

 

 

 

 

 

Additional information about cycle tracks can be found on Bike Austin's website.

The purpose of the Bicycle Advisory Council (BAC) is to advise the City of Austin and other jurisdictions on all matters relating to the use of the bicycle. Meetings are held every third Tuesday of each month at City Hall. All members of the public are welcome to attend and provide input on agenda items. View more information on the BAC.

For your convenience, our map is sold at various bicycle shops around town, but our Bicycle Program staff would also be happy to provide you with a map! Simply visit our office at 3701 Lake Austin Blvd to get your very own copy. Contact bicycleprogram@austintexas.gov for additional info.

Ground Transportation Regulation

To report an issue with a vehicle for hire such as a taxi, limosine, pedicab, shuttle, charter service, etc, visit the online Ground Transportation Complaint Form. You may complete an online form or print, complete and mail-in a paper copy of the form.

Local Area Traffic Management

You may submit an electronic copy in PDF format to Mario.porras@austintexas.gov.

The types and locations of devices are based on engineering principles and judgment.  Only in unique or special circumstances will location or selection of devices be reconsidered.

Periodically throughout the review process, a list will be posted of projects that are eligible for the program and projects that are funded. These lists will be posted on the Local Area Traffic Management website.

You may also submit your status question to Mario.porras@austintexas.gov. Please include your name, the name of the requested street and the request number, if available.

This is a two-part answer:

This first part is that the street must be eligible.  For a street to be eligible, it must meet several criteria, including:

• It must be a City of Austin street

 • It is not a major arterial

• If a minor arterial, it must have 60% front facing residential, schools or parkland

• The measured 85 percentile of traffic exceeds the posted speed by 3 miles per hour or more

• The requester must live along street/segment

• It has a speed limit of 40 mph or less

• It must be paved

• It can not be a duplicate request

• Any previously installed devices have been in place for at least 2 years

• It is not an alley

• It has no more than one lane of moving traffic in each direction.  A continuous center turn lane is not considered a travel lane for this evaluation.

The second part of the answer is that not all eligible requests will be funded.  All eligible requests will be compared to identify the most needy cases.  This comparison is based on the following weighted criteria:

• Speed Factor – number of cars exceeding speed limit +5, and not less than 35 mph

• Truck Traffic

• Number of auto crashes in the last 12 months

• Institutional (school or park) proximity

• Number of Auto/Pedestrian and Auto/Bicycle Crashes in the past 12 months

• Absences of sidewalks

• Residential Land Use

• Bicycle Route

• Front Facing Residential

• Evidence of Support (petition)

• Whether the street is within an Environmental Justice area

• Diversion of traffic

Each eligible request will be ranked for funding according to the criteria above.  The higher the ranking for funding number, the more likely a request is to be funded.

If a request is eligible but not funded, it gets put back into consideration with the new and older unfunded projects, and ranked according to its ranking for funding score.  An unfunded project will be reconsidered for funding for up to 4 more funding cycles, or for an additional 2 years.

The optimal length for a street segment to be considered for speeding mitigation is no longer than a half mile.  Please try to limit street segments to that length or less.

After 2 years, an unfunded request expires.  A new request may be submitted at that time. 

1.) You may drop your request off at the Austin Transportation Department office, located at 3701 Lake Austin Boulevard, Austin, TX 78703.

2.) You may submit your request via mail to:

Austin Transportation Department
Attn.: LATM
P.O. Box 1088
Austin, TX 78767

3.) You may submit your request via email to Mario.porras@austintexas.gov.

Parking Enterprise

Yes. If you have a disabled hang tag or license plate, you don’t have to pay the parking meters, and there is no time limit on the time zones for City maintained parking. Private parking lots and garages may have different rules and regulations.

Yes, if you have a disabled hangtag or license plate you don’t have to pay the parking meters and there is no time limit on the time zones.

The answer is yes, however there is a 12 hour time limit. Motorcycles and scooters do not have to pay for parking for the first 12 consecutive hours. After 12 hours, it is possible a driver could receive a citation.

For all questions regarding parking citations, please visit the City’s Municipal Court website. If you get a parking ticket but made the responsible decision of taking a taxi or bus home, we’ll waive the ticket! Bring your ticket and taxi or bus receipt to 1111 Rio Grande Street

To report a malfunctioning parking paystation or single space meter, call 3-1-1 for assistance.

Parking costs $1.20 per hour for City of Austin-owned, on-street, metered parking spaces located downtown (between Lamar Boulevard, I-35, Lady Bird Lake and 10th Street). All other City-owned, on-street, metered parking spaces cost $1 per hour. The University of Texas Campus and meters near the State Capital Complex and State-owned facilities may be managed by the State of Texas or the University of Texas. Read all parking signs carefully.

For every $1 spent, $0.40 goes toward downtown improvement projects including sidewalk improvements, street reconstruction, and other transportation initiatives. To help ensure safety of citizens in the evening, a portion of remaining funds will pay for parking enforcement officers who will provide enhanced security in coordination with the Austin Police Department.

On-street parking is intended for visitors seeking short-term convenient parking. Time limits are set to encourage turnover of these parking spaces in order to allow other visitors an opportunity to find convenient parking.

Drivers are restricted from “feeding” the meters and are encouraged to park off-street if a longer visit is anticipated. Moving long-term parkers into off-street parking allows patrons to enjoy convenient parking for shorter-term trips.  

Public Parking Locations (pdf)

Drivers can buy additional time into the next day the night before by pressing the yellow "next day purchase" button on paystations. Place the pay station receipt on your windshield showing pre-payment.

If you parked at a City of Austin parking meter and left your vehicle overnight to seek a responsible ride home, subsequently receiving a parking ticket for an expired meter, the Austin Transportation Department will waive the ticket. To participate in this program, please read the instructions found on the Ticket Waiver Form, complete the form and bring or send it to the Parking Enterprise Division. Please keep a copy of your Proof of Responsible Ride (ex: time and datestamped taxi or bus receipt) for your records. 

The City has more than 3,000 parking spaces on the street in Downtown Austin (IH-35 to Lamar Boulevard, and Lady Bird Lake to 10th Street) where people can leave their cars parked overnight.  The parking meters in Downtown Austin have yellow “Next Day” buttons that allow people to buy meter time for the next day. What happens if you forget to buy time for the next day and leave your car overnight?  The Austin Transportation Department does not tow vehicles. If you get a parking ticket but made the responsible decision of taking a taxi or bus home, we’ll waive the ticket! Bring your ticket and taxi or bus receipt to 1111 Rio Grande Street.  Remember, meters are not enforced on Sundays.

Always check posted signs and pay stations for enforcement information as enforcement times vary from area to area. City of Austin parking meters are not enforced or turned on the following days: New Year’s Day, Labor Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Additionally, while the meters may remain turned on, the City does not enforce parking meters on days that are official City of Austin holidays.

Parking meters in the downtown area (IH-35 to Lamar Boulevard, and Lady Bird Lake to 10th Street) operate during the following times:

  • Monday and Tuesday - 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday through Friday - 8 a.m. to 12 midnight
  • Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 midnight.

On-street parking meters in the area near Barton Springs Road and South Lamar, including Toomey Road, Lee Barton Drive and others, are enforced Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to midnight.

IH-35 to Chicon from East 4th Street to East 7th Street is enforced Tuesday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight with the exception of East 5th Street from IH-35 to Waller, Brushy Street, San Marcos Street, and Waller Street which are enforced during the following times:

  • Monday - 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday through Friday – 8 a.m. to midnight
  • Saturday – 11 a.m. to midnight

While there are about 3,000 on-street parking spaces downtown, there are over 14,000 off-street parking spaces in surface lots and garages, as indicated in this map. On-street parking spaces north of 10th Street will remain free to the public after 6 p.m. Or view the map for those with colorblindness.

Over the last ten years, drivers have expressed a lack of available on-street parking, especially in the downtown area. On-street parking is meant for convenience of drivers making shorter visits. When parking hours are not limited, on-street parking becomes crowded with long-term parkers, spaces are harder to find, and traffic congestion occurs as drivers circle to find parking.

Pressler Extension Project

The Express Lanes are coming, and as it stands travelers who want to use them to go northbound will have to use Cesar Chavez. To get to Cesar Chavez, people will either drive through the Lamar Boulevard/5th Street intersection, or from the west drivers will loop around the high school on Veterans Boulevard or go under the overpass on Cesar Chavez to access the Express Lanes. Pressler would allow for drivers to use 5th or 6th Streets to access the Express Lanes, rather than adding congestion to the Lamar Boulevard/5th Street intersection or looping around the high school.

Yes. There are more conflict points in an intersection, or opportunities for cars to collide, than there are in a roundabout. Roundabouts reduced crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Studies by the IIHS and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have shown that roundabouts typically achieve:

  • A 37 percent reduction in overall collisions
  • A 75 percent reduction in injury collisions
  • A 90 percent reduction in fatality collisions
  • A 40 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions

 

No, this project is being proposed for the good of the community, but it would have a significant benefit for nearby neighborhoods. There are homes, businesses and facilities along 5th and 6th Street that have parkland and a lake in their backyards, but they currently do not have direct access to them; the Pressler extension would provide direct access. Additionally, the project provides sidewalks for pedestrians, additional parking for park users. 

Primarily the project is proposed because it provides for an additional connection within the city grid, which creates resiliency in the travel system. The more connected the City is, the more choices people have which leads to disbursing cars more evenly on our already congested roadways. The alternate route will allow drivers to vary their route as traffic patterns/congestion forms throughout the system.

This is an opportunity to create a connection for everyone regardless of age and ability. To meet the most needs, a road is needed in addition to bicycle and pedestrian access. Aside from personal vehicles, this link would provide access to the MoPac Express Lanes for transit and potentially open up more transit opportunities for West Austin.

This is the hardest question to answer because when the roadway would open (2018 at the earliest) we do foresee more cars in the area irrespective of this project, due to Austin’s growth rate. Regardless, yes – we do anticipate that this connection would bring some more vehicles into the area, but the intent is to better direct those vehicles onto their connections (to MoPac or Cesar Chavez) rather than their current choices which involve indirect routes and looping around the high school. Building the connection is estimated to save people, on average in the study area, 4 minutes during their evening commutes. 

Street Banners

Unfortunately we are unable to fill requests for new locations at this time. That said, please contact us with your request and we'll see if it would be a location to consider in the future.

We encourage your creative freedom but do have some requirements and guidelines that must be followed, relating to font size, location of sponsor logos, etc. This information is detailed out for both lamppost banners and over-the-street banners. Technical specifications (size of banners, location of grommets or fasteners, material, etc.) must be followed exactly or banners will not be installed.

Lamppost Banner Technical Specifications & Design Requirements

Over-the-Street Banner Technical Specifications & Design Requirements

See the Vendor List of local companies experienced in fabricating banners to City of Austin specifications. It is the responsibility of the Banner customer to ensure that the fabricator has the current specifications and that banners are made to spec. Banners not made to spec will not be installed.
(Please note: the list of local companies have been provided to us by customers of the City of Austin Street Banner Program. The city does not endorse or make recommendations for banner vendors.)

 

Event organizers, nonprofit groups, public and governmental agencies, and public information campaigns may display street banners on City lampposts to promote charitable, educational, arts, community, and public interest activities and events.

*City code prohibits the use of banners for commercial advertising or political campaigns*