Tag Archives: austin

US290 to RM2222

Sign 1: RM2222, Airport Blvd, and I-35 NB

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

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

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.


Turn on your lights in bad weather

Use your lights

Use your lights

Since people aren’t turning on their lights at night, they also don’t turn on their lights in inclement weather. A neutral colored car in the fog or pouring rain is going to blend right in. Maybe if the car was a wild color such as ruby red or emerald green then it’d probably stand out. But using your headlights when it’s foggy, raining, or snowing makes you more visible to other motorists. Yeah, turn on the lights manually so the taillights are lit, too. I’ve come into some close encounters with some of these morons that aren’t turning on their lights. Automatic headlights should be a standard feature since it’s starting to become common in most cars. Since the lights are computer controlled, it can also be turned on with the wipers. Brilliant! Until then, flash your lights at these motorists that aren’t using common sense.


Like-minded drivers

Look how nice this drive is!

Look how nice this drive is!

I went home for the holidays and driving around I felt like I was around courteous drivers. When I was growing up I thought everyone around me were terrible drivers cutting people off or speeding. It wasn’t until I moved to Austin that I realized I was terribly wrong and haven’t seen bad driving up to that point. Austin traffic is a mix of drivers from metropolitan cities that have to be somewhere fast, laid-back hypermiling hippies, and new residents who have never driven before. This complete chaos results in people who can’t merge properly, can’t maintain the speed limit, don’t care about other drivers, etc. Whenever I go out I put on my battle helmet to prepare for the onslaught of slow drivers. It doesn’t seem right when I’m doing the speed limit and I’m passing cars like they were standing still! It was a breath of fresh air when I realized how much nicer people were on the roads back home. I would be going 5 over the speed limit and still get passed. People would move over if you were coming up the on-ramp to merge. People would move over to the right lane when you came up behind them in the left lane. People would accelerate from the stop light quickly because they knew the green light was a finite resource. It was just so pleasant to drive again! I seriously want good public transportation in Austin only to take people who don’t want to drive off the roads.


No parking

You can't park there!

You can’t park there!

The other day I went to a meetup and I parked at this corner (pictured above). There was an opening where the Jeep was parked and I was thinking to myself “Sweet! I’ll have an easy escape route when I leave!” After the event was over, I walked back to my car to see a car parked where the Camry was parked. Seriously? The “No parking” sign indicating no parking from the sign to the street corner wasn’t your first clue that you shouldn’t be parking there? Now my easy escape route has been foiled! I hate people.


Why must you slow down?

MoPac between 360 and 71

MoPac between 360 and 71

The section of MoPac between TX360 and TX71 has to be a mini Bermuda Triangle. For some reason traffic just slows the hell down to 55 or 60 MPH from 65 MPH. The speed limit is still 65 MPH, but everyone just slows down. It’s just incredible every time I drive down this stretch of MoPac that the slowness happens. It’s not a very confusing area except for a left-hand exit, which is clearly marked way in advance (unlike other interchanges). It’s quite the mystery.


This sign big enough for you?

Left lane US183

Left lane US183

You’d think something as important as trying to get on the highway would require a large sign to get your attention. Nope! Why waste something like that on an overhead sign when a 3 foot sign in the median would work just fine like this one at US183 and Braker Lane? That’s a nice big FU from the transportation department.


Unmarked exit on MoPac

Unmarked exit on MoPac

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-35 On-Ramps

Downtown Austin has the shortest on-ramps.

Downtown Austin has the shortest on-ramps.

The on-ramps on I-35 through downtown Austin are relics of a time past when interstate travel was sparse and leisurely. Today, it’s a total fustercluck. The short on and off ramps are antiquated with so much traffic. Even with sparse traffic you just hope some inattentive moron isn’t going to block you from getting on the highway.

So short!

So short!

The above view is another shot from Google Street View showing the on-ramp at Cesar Chavez. Google Street View usually have a wide angle which makes things look farther away than they actually are. The on-ramp lane in the image shows it being really short. If it looks short in an image that’s suppose to make it look longer, then it must be short in real-life!

It’s so short that if you go up to highway speed, you need to get off the damn freeway immediately! And if someone doesn’t move over for you, then you’re getting off the highway and getting back on again at the next on-ramp (after a couple traffic lights). You could be one of those entitled weenies who just stop on the on-ramp and wait it out. At that point I hope some truck passes you while on the upper deck and the wake causes your stupid car to fly off. No, I’m not bitter at all.

There has been plans of burying I-35 through downtown and having a wide boulevard run on top of it with just one set of on and off ramps at both ends of the zone. What would be cheaper is to just build these endzone on and off ramps with a long lead and close off all the exits between Cesar Chavez and MLK. Six access ramps within a mile is overkill. It would totally be a lot cheaper to accomplish these end-zone access ramps as well. But what do I know, I’m not a civil engineer.


Dumb Traffic Lights on 360

Stupid traffic light on 360

Stupid traffic light on 360

The Capital of Texas Highway also known as Loop 360 stretches from North Austin to South Austin. It would be a great alternative to MoPac and I-35 if it weren’t for the bloody traffic lights! It’s designed to be a big highway to allow a lot of traffic through, but the traffic lights make it as useless as the city streets for getting across town easily.

There is a traffic light at the southern terminus of 360 that is super-idiotic. It runs on a timer instead of a sensor so it stops traffic for no good reason. The stretch that this light is on connect MoPac with US270/TX71 and is on an incline. Going south from MoPac you’d have to accelerate to go uphill. It’s a waste of gas if you have to come to a stop mid-way up the hill. On the other side coming from US290/TX71 the incline goes downhill. So at the light you’d burn up your brakes coming to an unnecessary stop.

I could understand access to the office building there is important during morning and evening rush, but why the hell is the light still operating after hours and on weekends? Especially if there is a hidden side-street that goes to a different intersection. The issue needs to be addressed!