DOWNTOWN AUSTIN: East Fifth is now two-way for a stretch. Here’s why.


Highlights

City turns stretch of Fifth Street between Brazos Street and Interstate 35 to two-way.

Move is intended to help traffic flow when Sixth Street is closed for festivals and other events.

Don’t freak out when you see oncoming traffic on East Fifth Street.

City crews recently converted a stretch of the street, from Brazos Street to Interstate 35, to two-way. Here are five things to know about the change.

1. What’s there now: That segment of East Fifth, once eastbound only, now has two eastbound lanes and one westbound lane. The rest of Fifth, from Brazos to MoPac Boulevard, remains eastbound only.

2. The goal is to improve traffic: Now drivers have another westbound option when East Sixth Street is closed for weekend revelry and other festivities.

3. And there’s another consideration: At some point in the not too distant future, drivers will lose a section of the westbound lane on East Fourth Street. Capital Metro plans to expand its downtown MetroRail station and create a pedestrian plaza between Trinity and Red River streets, though no construction date has been set.

4. Here’s the trade-off: By losing an eastbound lane, drivers on East Fifth will see a few seconds added to their afternoon commute, a city traffic analysis found. The eventual loss of the westbound lane on East Fourth will set those drivers back about two minutes, the study found. But adding the westbound lane on East Fifth will dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, the downtown gridlock that currently happens during East Sixth closures, the analysis said.

5. What did the East Fifth conversion cost? Final figures weren’t available Tuesday, but the City Council approved up to $500,000 for the project back in May, a cost that includes installing new signals, updating signs and re-striping the street, among other expenses.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Update: Suspect accused of killing trooper captured in Waller County
Update: Suspect accused of killing trooper captured in Waller County

A man accused of killing a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper on Thanksgiving was taken into custody Thursday evening after gunfire in Waller County, west of Houston, authorities said. Texas DPS said via Twitter that the trooper stopped a Chevrolet Malibu on Interstate 45 in Freestone County, east of Waco, around 3:45 p.m. After talking to the...
Man detains car burglary suspect with fire poker until police arrived
Man detains car burglary suspect with fire poker until police arrived

A North Austin resident subdued a man he reportedly found breaking into his car, utilizing a fire poker to detain the suspect until Austin police arrived early Tuesday morning, according to a police report. From his backyard in the 8400 block of Stillwood Lane, the man could hear someone opening the door to his BMW around 2 a.m. The resident confronted...
POLICE: Woman dons wig, tries to cash forged check in North Austin
POLICE: Woman dons wig, tries to cash forged check in North Austin

Police arrested two women who twice tried to cash a forged check for $3,300 at a Wells Fargo branch in North Austin when one of the women tried to fool bank employees by wearing a wig in an attempt to look more like the person pictured on a stolen ID, according to Austin police reports. Theresa Frazier, 47, and Regan Reichenau, 22, first attempted...
Thanksgiving feasts around the state cater to refugees, homeless
Thanksgiving feasts around the state cater to refugees, homeless

Seven years ago, Samira Page and a small group of fellow refugees sat around her table where the guests experienced their first traditional American Thanksgiving Day feast. This year, the Iranian native invited about 400 refugees for the meal that has outgrown her home and become an annual event. “For some of these people, this is their first...
Rep. Barton says he’ll go mum over nude photo, citing investigation
Rep. Barton says he’ll go mum over nude photo, citing investigation

Suggesting he’s a victim of revenge porn from a jilted lover, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, says he plans to go silent about the release of a nude photo of him online because police are investigating the disclosure as a possible crime against him. Authorities have not confirmed an investigation. The 68-year-old Barton, who joined the House in...
More Stories