Sign 1: RM2222, Airport Blvd, and I-35 NB
US 290 becomes RM2222 at I-35. The first sign you’ll see tells you what lane you want to be in. This is far more descriptive than most of the road signs in Austin already, but the logic is still flawed. Go up a little and the I-35 northbound ramp branches off, but that particular lane continues. The next sign comes up.
Sign 2: Airport Blvd
Oh snap! If you were in the middle lane and you weren’t paying attention, you would have missed your exit. The middle lane was clearly not an “Exit Only” lane. The left two lanes actually continue to RM2222 which after the interchange becomes a 4-lane city street called Koenig (pronounced KAY-nig) Lane. If you missed the Airport Blvd exit, you will have a helluva time getting back unless you pull a U-Turn when the road becomes undivided. An overhead view shows that there is a rail line that runs parallel to Airport Blvd and there’s no way to cross it until you get to a major street. Good job, guys!
Barton Springs Road is a thoroughfare that runs through Zilker Park. On very nice days, everyone and their dogs can be found at Zilker Park. Unfortunately, everyone is driving there due to the poor public transit which means Barton Springs Road is a major fustercluck, especially at Stratford Drive which branches off into several parking areas. If you’re trying to make a left turn out of the park at Stratford Drive onto Barton Springs Road, good luck to you! You’ll have to deal with those super-cautious and afraid-to-drive motorists who shouldn’t be driving that will block traffic for twenty minutes because their Prius isn’t powerful enough to play Frogger! If you give up, make a U-turn, and try and go around MoPac on Stratford you’ll just end up lost in the hills because it doesn’t go around MoPac at all. Barton Springs Road would really benefit from having roundabouts installed in Zilker Park since there’s so much traffic coming and going at a constant rate.
Unmarked exit on MoPac
Every time I drive north on MoPac I pass this unmarked exit just south of US183. The exit only puts traffic on the frontage road, but the frontage road doesn’t intersect any other road until it passes US183 and gets to Loop 360. Both US183 and Loop 360 have dedicated marked exits so I’m not sure what this exit is for. The exit lane from MoPac becomes the left-most lane on the frontage road, which then becomes an on-ramp for US183 (for northbound traffic coming from Steck Avenue/Anderson Lane/Spicewood Springs Drive). Once on the on-ramp and flyover, the two left lanes are for US183 northbound and a single right lane (the on-ramp lane) becomes the US183 southbound exit lane.
I believe it would be in good intentions if this unmarked exit was marked as the US183 southbound exit from MoPac since it pretty much puts traffic into the US183 southbound exit lane on the flyover anyways. That way there isn’t a giant kerfuffle at the actual US183 exit (people just don’t understand how to maintain their speeds at that point).
I hope y’all aren’t going to try and cross the river or try to get downtown on Wednesday evenings this summer because if you are plan to take about 45 minutes to accomplish this goal. The Long Center has free events (Sound and Cinema/Blues on the Green) on Wednesday night between June 5 and August 21, 2013. I was heading down to South Congress last week and MoPac, Lamar, and Cesar Chavez were a sea of red. There were thousands of people descending to the Long Center. It was an amazing sight.
Going south in the evening isn’t just the only thing. At night they’re doing construction on MoPac for the upcoming expansion and they’ve got lanes closures. Very fun when EVERYONE is leaving the Long Center. Couple the lane closures with everyone’s inability to merge and we might as well be driving bumper cars. There needs to be better public transportation to alleviate the traffic.