Tomorrow, the Austin City Council may vote to increase traffic around the Rosedale neighborhood (Mopac, 45th Street, and Bull Creek) by 17,000 to 19,000 car trips per day, depending on which way the Council votes on approval of the controversial Grove at Shoal Creek Development. The Grove at Shoal Creek is a "mixed use" development that proposes to construct up to 110 single family residences, 600 apartments, 425 condominium units, 600 congregate care units, approximately 225,000 square feet of office space, and 90,000 square feet of retail facilities. All of this will be constructed and developed in a 75 acre tract between Bull Creek Road and 45th Street, in the heart of Austin's beautiful Rosedale Neighborhood.
At least one traffic study has indicated that the proposed development will result in an additional 17,000-19,000 daily car trips in and around 45th Street and Bull Creek Road. Current estimates of the average number of vehicles traveling daily on Bull Creek Road are as high as 7,000, far in excess of the 2,000 vehicles Bull Creek was designed to accommodate, according to City Council member Leslie Pool. Imagine doubling that number, or almost tripling it! Here is a recent photograph of Bull Creek road before an additional 17,000 car trips are added:
If you are thinking this doesn't impact your commute because you don't live in the Rosedale neighborhood, think again. What roadways will absorb the Bull Creek and 45th street traffic overflow? Northbound Mopac and the Mopac Service Road. Think of the last time you were stuck in traffic on northbound Mopac. Did you think there was room for more cars?
Increasing traffic congestion in this area is not only a matter of inconvenience in the form of longer commutes, it is also a safety issue. Our blog has continuously featured articles on the growing traffic congestion issues in Austin, and the correlation between increasing congestion and injurious motor vehicle collisions. For example, in 2015, Austin posted the highest number of fatal motor vehicle collisions in its history. The 102 traffic fatalities in 2015 were "like nothing we've ever seen before," according to Austin Police Cpl. Chad Martinka. When asked the reason behind this increase in traffic fatalities, Officer Martinka pointed to increased traffic congestion:
"The numbers are extraordinarily high compared to any previous year we've ever had," he said. "Part of that, I believe, is more traffic congestion. We've got this many people moving into the city every day that we're going to have more crashes and, unfortunately, more fatalities."
Simply put, more congestion on our roadways equates to more injury accidents, including fatalities. Just over three months ago Mayor Steve Adler told the Austin Chamber of Commerce that Austin's traffic congestion has never been worse and our streets have never been more dangerous. Let's take Mayor Adler and the Austin Police Department's warnings seriously: our roads have never been more congested and have never been more dangerous. Contact your Austin City Council Member immediately and let them know what you think! If you want to email the entire Council, you can do so here. You can also sign this petition letting the Council know that our roadways are congested enough already. Voting takes place tomorrow, so make your voice heard today!