North Lamar residents say it’s time for safer streets

N. Lamar Blvd. (KXAN File Photo)
N. Lamar Blvd. (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — People who live and work around North Lamar say pedestrian accidents happen far too much, and that these tragedies can be prevented. The 1.5-mile stretch of Lamar between Rundberg and Braker lanes is one of Austin’s most dangerous pedestrian areas. The stretch of land has long gaps between sidewalks and does not meet ADA standards.

For Dagen Hall, even the simplest of tasks can be nearly impossible. He’s on crutches, after recently breaking his femur during a construction job.

“When I came out to cross the street, I noticed there was no pavement,” said Hall. “I usually don’t frequent this area that much but I had to take care of business today. I noticed that it’s dangerous.”

Dangerous and hard to get around. He pointed to various areas along the road where he quickly noticed missing sidewalks.

“We have 20 yards of sidewalks and then you have ground, so you have to walk on the side of the street by the cars,” said Victor Williams, a longtime resident of the North Lamar area. “And there’s nothing to protect you from cars jumping the curb, because there’s no curb.”

In 2011, KXAN reported that a Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board approved $1.5 million in funding for sidewalk improvements. On Wednesday, A CAMPO representative was not able to provide details of what work has been done in the corridor.

“My niece and nephew, I don’t let them walk by themselves,” said Williams. “When we do walk to the store, I make sure they’re to my right and they’re to my left, so if a car does swerve by, they hit me and not the kids.”

Williams says he would also like to see more crosswalks, as well as better lighting throughout the corridor.

“You’re not sure about the people driving and how safe they are going to be,” said Pamela Shores, a longtime North Austin resident.

“When kids start getting run over, that’s when they’ll say ‘OK, now we need sidewalks,'” Williams believes.

Austin Public Works officials were not able to provide the status of the sidewalks on Wednesday.

As for the North Lamar/Burnet Corridor Program, we’re told the project manager and city staff are currently working with the consultant, CDM Smith, to discuss the Draft Evaluation Matrix this month. Once the matrix is finalized, recommendations for design and construction location will be made, and the City will begin presenting the recommendations to the public.

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