North Lamar Boulevard               (US 183 to Howard Lane/I-35) 

Thank you to all who participated in the North Lamar Boulevard virtual public hearing, which was held from May 15 to May 30. The summary report for the public hearing, including responses to comments received, is available for review here.
About the Virtual Public Hearing  
The City of Austin conducted an environmental analysis to understand the potential impacts of the proposed mobility, safety and connectivity improvements for the North Lamar Boulevard corridor. Analyses were conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for North Lamar Boulevard between US 183 and Howard Lane/I-35. The results of the analyses have been used to help refine the improvement projects to reduce impacts. 
From Friday, May 15, 2020 through 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, 2020, you may review information and reports on this web page, watch a presentation about the results of the environmental analyses, and provide comments. 

Watch the Public Hearing Presentation:
Download a PDF of the presentation or download the transcript
The City makes every reasonable effort to accommodate the needs of the public. The virtual public hearing information is available in English and Spanish.
If you have any general questions or experience any technical difficulties as part of this virtual public hearing experience, please contact the North Lamar Boulevard Communications Liaison in the City of Austin Corridor Program Office at NorthLamar@AustinTexas.gov or 512-974-2615. 
Please note, this public hearing is being conducted virtually in accordance with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order (No. GA-08) prohibiting social gatherings of 10 or more people as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. This public hearing is following Federal Highway Administration-approved guidelines for conducting virtual meetings when an in-person public meeting should not be held out of concerns for public health or safety. If social distancing orders are lifted and large gatherings are again permitted at any time during the public hearing comment period, in-person materials will be made available at City offices. For the most up to date information on COVID-19 from the City of Austin, please visit AustinTexas.gov/COVID19

Comment Themes  
We greatly appreciate that so many community members participated in the virtual public hearing, taking time to review the mobility and safety improvements for the North Lamar Boulevard corridor, funded for construction through the 2016 Mobility Bond. See the Mobility and Safety Improvements section below for more information about the funded and unfunded improvements. 
We recorded more than 3,900 English and Spanish-language web page views and received 114 public comments. Responses to each comment are included in the public hearing summary report, and the common comment themes are summarized below.  

Support for safe pedestrian and bicycle facilities along North Lamar Boulevard. 
The Corridor Program Office will be constructing fundamental solutions to the lack of safe bicyclist and pedestrian infrastructure along North Lamar Boulevard by installing approximately 12 miles of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The implementation of these facilities funded as part of the near-term improvements varies.  

In some areas, such as near the North Lamar Transit Center (northbound and southbound) and between the Thurmond and Rundberg intersection (southbound), the Corridor Construction Program will construct protected, behind-the-curb bike lanes. Those protected bike lanes (and the ADA-compliant sidewalks that they will parallel) will be connected to a continuous system of shared-use paths on both sides of North Lamar Boulevard within the corridor limits (US 183 to Howard Lane).  

Desire that the near-term, funded improvements include protected, separated bike lanes, which are currently part of the unfunded improvement plans. 
Due to cost and feasibility constraints related to factors such as right-of-way and drainage, the City is unable to provide continuous separated facilities as part of the near-term, funded improvements for North Lamar Blvd. However, we are still doing our best to integrate enhanced facilities where possible, which is why they are planned in a few segments as part of the near-term corridor project. 

Separated facilities for bike lanes and additional buffer landscaping are included within the ultimate, (currently) un-funded corridor vision for North Lamar Blvd. Improvements included in the ultimate corridor vision will be pursued once funding is procured to cover the advanced design, construction, additional right-of-way and drainage needs. 

Desire for bicycle and pedestrian connections to Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park. 
As part of the near-term, funded improvements, cyclist connections to Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park will be included at the park road. Additionally, as part of the Northern Walnut Creek Trail Phase 2 project, trail connections will be provided in between the Northern Walnut Creek Trail and the bicycle and pedestrian facilities on both sides of North Lamar Boulevard. 

Desire for landscaping and streetscaping along North Lamar Boulevard. 
Enhanced streetscaping and landscaping for North Lamar Boulevard are included within the ultimate, unfunded corridor plans; however, as part of the near-term, funded improvements, the Corridor Program Office (CPO) is evaluating the opportunity to plant street trees and other streetscape elements with this first investment. Our team is actively seeking additional funds and partnerships that will help us deliver near-term improvements that work toward the ultimate corridor vision for North Lamar Blvd.  

What's Next? 
FUNDED IMPROVEMENTS 
The segment of North Lamar Boulevard from US 183 to Rundberg Lane is the first major segment of this corridor scheduled to break ground. This project is anticipated to begin late 2021 and includes upgraded traffic signals, pavement rehabilitation, shared-use paths and protected bike lanes.  

UNFUNDED IMPROVEMENTS 
If the City of Austin secures funding for the unfunded improvements, we will initiate a full design process to refine the projects and prepare them for construction. Full design would include community engagement, as well as coordination with various city departments and partner agencies, including Capital Metro, as well as the Texas Department of Transportation (North Lamar Boulevard from US 183 to Howard Lane/I-35 is owned and operated by the State of Texas). We would strive to be consistent with policies outlined in the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan. 

We encourage the community to remain engaged in future planning efforts for the North Lamar Boulevard corridor. You can stay informed about our progress on the funded improvements and be notified of any new developments regarding the unfunded improvements by signing up to receive updates here

Notice of Availability 
The City of Austin conducted an environmental analysis to understand the potential impacts of the proposed mobility, safety and connectivity improvements for the North Lamar Boulevard corridor. The analysis was conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for North Lamar Boulevard between US 183 and Howard Lane/I-35. The results of the analyses have been used to help refine the improvement projects to reduce impacts. 
As of Thursday, April 30, 2020, the City of Austin is making the environmental reports available for public review, as well as the proposed design of the improvements between US 183 and Howard Lane/I-35. 

You may also review the Notice of Virtual Public Hearing here
The City of Austin is pursuing environmental clearance for all North Lamar Boulevard improvements between US 183 and Howard Lane/I-35 that are recommended in the North Lamar Boulevard/Burnet Road Corridor Mobility Plan, which was completed in December 2013. This includes improvements that have been funded by the 2016 Mobility Bond, as well as improvements that are not yet funded. Achieving environmental clearance for all improvements will enable the City of Austin to construct them when future funding sources are secured. 

This public hearing is a state requirement because the proposed improvements include the addition of bicycle lanes on North Lamar Boulevard (between US 183 and Howard Lane/I-35), which is a state-owned roadway. The bike lane improvements that are prompting this public hearing are part of the unfunded, ultimate corridor vision for North Lamar Boulevard.

Information is also available on near-term funded improvements to North Lamar.

*Improvement plans for North Lamar Boulevard planned through the Corridor Construction Program are currently in the design phase. The available maps show preliminary project plans that are not final. During the current phase, the Corridor Program Office is continuing to refine project plans, while closely coordinating with partner agencies such as TxDOT, Capital Metro and Austin Energy to ensure project alignment. Access management plans and right of way needs are currently being assessed and refined through ongoing evaluation, additional survey data, and partner agency coordination. If you have questions about the project plans or how they may affect your property, contact Kelly Buethe at (512) 974-2615 or Kelly.buethe@austintexas.gov.

Environmental Reports 
When completing the environmental analyses, the City of Austin considered archaeological impacts, biological resources, historical resources, hazardous materials, social and community impacts, air quality and water resources. Click on the links below to review the findings of each report:

Purpose and Need
The purpose of the proposed improvements is to enhance mobility and address safety concerns on North Lamar Boulevard between US 183 and Howard Lane/I-35. 
According to crash data collected by Austin Transportation, nearly 4000 crashes occurred along this segment of North Lamar Boulevard between 2015 ‐ 2020. Those crashes resulted in 9 fatalities, 35 serious injuries, and involved 12 bicyclists and 59 pedestrians.   
37,000 vehicles travel this major Austin roadway each day, and there are approximately 300 access driveways in 6 miles, causing additional safety concerns. 
In addition, there are no bicycle lanes, and existing sidewalks are not connected. The open ditch system for drainage further hinders pedestrian mobility.

Mobility and Safety Improvements  
Once the projects receive environmental clearance, proposed mobility, safety, and connectivity improvements will be constructed using funds from the voter-approved 2016 Mobility Bond. The projects are expected to improve the North Lamar Boulevard corridor for everyone, whether they walk, bike, drive or take transit.  
The funded improvements include: 
  • 12 traffic signal improvements with enhanced technology and 3 new traffic signals
  • 3 new pedestrian hybrid beacons
  • Safety and multi-modal connectivity improvements to all intersections
  • 12 miles of new, shared-use paths to create continuous ADA-compliant sidewalk and bicycle facilities
  • 6 miles of pavement rehabilitation
  • Drainage improvements to upgraded, closed storm system to support mobility improvements
  • Reconstruction and modification of some driveways
  • Bus stop improvements in partnership with Capital Metro
  • Intermittent raised median islands between Rundberg Lane and Braker Lane
The City of Austin has also evaluated the environmental impacts of additional improvements outside the existing right-of-way in this same segment of North Lamar Boulevard between US 183 and Howard Lane/I-35. These currently unfunded improvements could be constructed if funding sources are identified: 
  • Enhanced and separated pedestrian and bicycle facilities
  • Streetscape and trees 
  • Raised medians throughout project limits
  • Street lighting

Tentative Project Schedule 
If the projects receive environmental clearance by August 2020, design and construction could progress according to this tentative schedule:  
Pedestrian Bridge at US 183 (funded)
Funded improvements:
  • Final design plans: Winter 2023 - Pending ongoing coordination with partners
  • Construction start: Spring 2024

US 183 to Rundberg Lane
Funded improvements:
  • Final design plans: Spring 2021
  • Construction start:  Fall 2021
Unfunded improvements: Final design plans and construction start is TBD (dependent on funding availability).

Rundberg Lane to Parmer Lane
Funded improvements:
  • Final design plans: Winter 2022
  • Construction start:  Summer 2022
Unfunded improvements: Final design plans and construction start is TBD (dependent on funding availability).

Parmer Lane to Howard Lane
Funded improvements:
  • Final design plans:  Summer 2021
  • Construction start: Winter 2021
Unfunded improvements: Final design plans and construction start is TBD (dependent on funding availability).

Please note, this public hearing will be conducted virtually in accordance with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order (No. GA-08) prohibiting social gatherings of 10 or more people as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. The public hearing will follow Federal Highway Administration-approved guidelines for conducting virtual meetings when an in-person public meeting should not be held out of concerns for public health or safety.  
If social distancing orders are lifted and large gatherings are again permitted at any time during the public hearing comment period, in-person materials will be made available at City offices. For the most up to date information on COVID-19 from the City of Austin, please visit AustinTexas.gov/COVID19

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