Improve US-183 and US-290/Hwy-71 to the east as a true interstate without intersections / interruption to traffic flow. Reroute I-35 to follow this new improved path thereby reducing the amount of "through" traffic that travels on the downtown portion of I-35. Toll the current I-35 downtown section between the area where US-183 and US-290/Hwy-71 connects to incentivize the use of the new route. If traffic reduces to a point that they are no longer necessary, either remove the upper decks on I-35 or convert them to elevated parks and bike lanes like NYC's Highline project.
Most City and State employees work a 8am-5pm schedule. If their schedules were changed to avoid rush hour traffic; this could be a solution to the congestion on IH35. Not all city or state workers would be able to modify their schedules, but many probably could. They could work a 7am-6pm or a 10am to 6pm shift. This could be a quicker solution to the problem until something more substantial is put into place.
Both of these would give people a way to get out of Downtown thus taking cars off of IH 35.
How do you get people off of IH35 through Downtown Austin? By giving them a way to get off of IH35 in downtown. Create a new road that runs to Sh130 in Downtown and this gives people an option to get away from IH35.
The REAL bottleneck on this freeway is when the upper and lower deck merge back together going towards downtown and reduces back to three lanes again, on top of vehicles trying to exit off into downtown from the lower deck. I think the signage before the split needs to say that all downtown traffic must use the upper deck (that dumps traffic onto the right side of the freeway where the exits are), and traffic traveling through Austin must stay on the lower. That way instead of trying to figure out how to reinvent the wheel, we can use the upper and lower deck to our advantage to organize traffic better, and in a cost efficient way. Mass transit is a must for a city like Austin, so a bus/carpool lane down the center of I-35 will encourage commuters to save some gas money and hop on the bus to get to work (Park and Ride).
Driving too close causes the stop and go effect. A person brakes suddenly, so the the person following behind and so on and 3 miles back becomes gridlock. This is also caused by people cutting in and out of lanes quickly. We all share the road and our current driving habits are a contributing factor to the problems we face. If we had a one day planned effort to not follow so closely (leave 3 car lengths between our car and the one ahead of us) and maintain a single lane (not dart in and out of lanes), I think we would be surprised at the results.
intersections at IH-35 always seem to make long delays to cross the highway, sitting thru 3 or so light rotations (e.g. Wm Cannon! ugh!) I wonder if some intersections could be such that to cross IH-35 you turn right (with dedicated lane) merge left and go down 1/8 mile to a U-turn under/over highway. Come back to the desired road and turn right. If you need to turn left you too would get on the frontage road and make the U-turn. Limitation would be it would require space to give dedicated lanes to thru traffic and to turning traffic to keep all moving. Might it work in some places?
There are many commuters who drive alone. Creating an HOV lane for 2+ would allow those who carpool or ride-share an easier/faster commute, as it does in Houston.
I have witnessed and been a part of the traffic jam at Parmer. There are a large number of motorists who are only wanting turn around at least on the southbound feeder side, like those who are exiting the strip mall area of Walmart and Lowes.
A u-turn would help this congestion.
Construct a 4-lane elevated deck in between the existing upper decks to allow for 8 total lanes of thru-traffic on the upper deck. This new structure would be supported by single columns going down the median of the lower deck and tied to the beams on the upper decks. The lower deck could then be converted to downtown access express lanes from the north starting at Airport Blvd and the entrance going north would begin at the feeders at MLK. Along with this, eliminate ramps downtown and have one set of ramps from the north and from the south between Riverside and MLK to access the business district.
Example: turning right from southbound I-35 feeder onto Oltorf.