Canyon Creek Traffic and Pedestrian Safety (TAPS) Newsletter – Fall 2020
The Canyon Creek Traffic and Pedestrian Safety (TAPS) Committee completed a survey of city sidewalks that includes sidewalk issues reported by our community residents. This survey resulted in the documentation of 80 significant city sidewalk safety issues with sidewalk mismatches noted up to 4.5 inches. The survey found significant sidewalk issues on 26 different streets in our community. A list of these documented mismatches was submitted to the City of Austin in late 2019. Based on our request, a city crew repaired (considered “temporary repairs”) most of these noted sidewalk mismatches in May 2020. Our goal is to make the use of our neighborhood city sidewalks safe for all pedestrians and to offer a safe alternative to jogging on our city streets, which is not only unsafe but also illegal when a sidewalk is available. We will continue to work with City of Austin staff to further improve our city sidewalks.
The CC HOA board is continuing to utilize off-duty Travis County deputy constables to patrol our neighborhood streets to promote awareness that traffic and pedestrian safety is a high priority in our community. These paid deputy constable patrols are in addition to non-paid patrols by other law enforcement agencies such as APD and Travis County Sheriff’s Department. These patrols are performed at random times every week and have resulted in many citations for traffic violations, primarily speeding. The purpose of these citations is for traffic calming and safer, more cognizant drivers, not monetary punishment.
Austin City Council passed a new speed limit ordinance (# 20200611-045) that was signed by Mayor Steve Adler on June 11, 2020. The new ordinance restricts speed limits on all Austin neighborhood streets to 25 mph max after posting of new speed signs unless a different speed limit is determined by the City of Austin Traffic Engineer. The only basic exception is for larger neighborhood streets and major arterials such as Boulder Lane. New speed limit signs will be placed on hundreds of Austin neighborhood streets starting early next year, but central Austin will get priority on installation of the new speed limit signs. We will advise our residents when we get updated info on when CC may get new speed limit signs.
After reviewing the most recent data from the two radar speed units installed on Boulder, the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Committee finds a couple of stand-out issues. The first is that during the period January 01, 2020 through July 20, 2020 there were 7 vehicles on north Boulder that were recorded traveling between 70 mph and 99 mph. There were an additional 9 vehicles on south Boulder recorded traveling between 70 and 90 mph. This is reckless driving and totally unacceptable behavior! Hopefully most of these egregious speeders are not residents of Canyon Creek. The second observation is that the average number of vehicles recorded traveling daily on Boulder Lane dropped around 40% in mid-March through July 20, 2020 due to Covid-19 related increase in work-from-home and virtual learning. We will continue to monitor this radar speed unit data as it is made available to us from the Austin Transportation Dept.
We have some good news to report! City council member Jimmy Flannigan’s D6 office has awarded funding to our Canyon Creek neighborhood on two different City of Austin mobility/safety fund projects (note: no expenditure or matching funds required by our HOA). Canyon Creek applied for this funding money from this special program, which is called the ¼ Cent Program (city ¼ cent sales tax for mobility improvements), to be used for local neighborhoods. One of the projects is for an additional radar speed unit (“DSDD”) to be installed for traffic calming on Chestnut Ridge Rd in the early December 2020 timeframe (see pic below). The specific location for this radar speed unit is under review. The second project award is for painted white “curb extensions” at the Boulder/Ember Glen intersection (pic of typical curb extensions is shown below) in front of the Canyon Creek Elementary School. We believe these painted curb extensions will offer a visual signal to drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians at the school crossings before stopping at the posted stop sign. This project should be complete by November 2020.
Respect the right-of-way of pedestrians in our neighborhood – Note: it is state law that vehicles must yield the right of way to pedestrians standing at the entrance of or in crosswalks. To yield, vehicles must come to a complete stop and wait while pedestrians enter, cross and exit the crosswalk.
Drive within the posted speed limits for safety (trying to save a few extra seconds by speeding is not safe or smart and it can cost you a lot of money). Note speed limits are set based on ideal driving conditions so wet roads, heavy traffic or pedestrian presence warrants reducing speed below the posted limit.
If you see someone driving recklessly or if you experience “road rage”, call 911 immediately and report as many details of the reckless driving as possible such as the nature of the event, license plate number, make/model/color of vehicle, location, driver description, etc. Please do not chase or confront the driver.