Mayor announces ‘Don’t Rush Day’ aimed at curbing rush hour traffic

Mayor Adler asking drivers to ditch their cars and avoid rush hour (KXAN Photo/Alicia Inns)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — You won’t have to think of an excuse to call in sick. Mayor Steve Adler is announcing May 11 as the next date drivers will be encouraged to avoid rush hour traffic.

The idea stems from the success of the March 11 citywide call to work from home during President Obama’s SXSW visit.

Mayor Adler asking drivers to ditch their cars and avoid rush hour (KXAN Photo/Alicia Inns)
Mayor Adler asking drivers to ditch their cars and avoid rush hour (KXAN Photo/Alicia Inns)

“This time we’re simply asking people to avoid rush hour. Take a train, a bus, or a bike. Talk to your boss about changing your hours to avoid rush hour,” said Mayor Adler. “Maybe work from home and come in at noon. You have a lot of options, and this time we have a lot of support. The message last time was to work from home. This time it’s even easier: Austin, don’t rush.”

Adler said there are millions of dollars being funneled into plans to improve traffic by “bringing in new technologies.” He said bots could be coming to I-35 by November to monitor traffic conditions.

Resources for commuters:

City leaders were expecting a “carpolcalypse” during the President’s visit, but were pleasantly surprised to find roadways clearer than ever. KXAN received TxDOT data from the Mayor’s office breaking down the day by numbers.

Travel time on MoPac from Windsor Road to Loop 360 dropped 60 percent during peak hours, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. There was also a 50 percent reduction in travel time on US 183 from Loyola Lane to the Colorado River. Additionally, a 22 percent reduction was seen on Cesar Chavez, Congress, Guadalupe, Lamar, Lavaca, and South 1st.

Engineers say the reduction in drivers on the road would create free-flowing traffic, which may seem like a dream for commuters use to sitting in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic.

“I’m not sure that anything I’ve been involved with as mayor was as popular as that,” Mayor Adler laughed, noting the positive feedback his office received.

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