NO I-35 expansion! YES to studying alternatives, including rerouting non-local traffic around town and rethinking I-35 as a boulevard!

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Texas Transportation Commission, Austin City Council

The Texas Dept. of Transportation has terrible plans to widen I-35 through Austin.

Instead, we should study community-driven alternatives, including rerouting non-local traffic around town and replacing I-35 with an urban boulevard.


Sign the Rethink35 petition to help make this happen.

(Note: This is not Reconnect Austin, which proposes burying and covering I-35 with a boulevard.)



Get your Rethink35 yard sign / t-shirt!




I-35 through Austin has harmed countless Texans for decades. Noise, pollution, fatal crashes, blocking access to opportunities for low-income communities of color, and overall unpleasantness are just some of I-35 immense impacts.

And yet, TxDOT plans to widen I-35 to 20+ lanes

Widening I-35 through Austin would be a disaster. It would waste over $7 billion of public money to worsen noise and air pollution, increase crashes, and hasten climate change, while doing little or nothing to improve alternatives to driving.

And it wouldn't even fix congestion! Any short term congestion gains would encourage more people to drive until congestion was as bad or worse before. When TxDOT widened Houston's Katy Freeway to 23 lanes, average peak congestion times rose by 40%. Expect a similar result in Austin.


We deserve community-created alternatives to expansion

That includes considering this common-sense option:


1. Reroute non-local traffic around town

Let's get the non-local traffic out of town! I-35 goes around, not through, downtown in at least 14 other Texas towns and cities. It could do that in Austin. In fact, SH-130 was explicitly built for this purpose!

Once that happens...

2. Turn I-35 into a boulevard

Converting I-35 through Austin into a boulevard would create more transportation choices, shorter commutes, more housing and local businesses, and a new world-class public space.


Imagine:

  • A BEAUTIFUL, world-class promenade in the heart of Austin with wide sidewalks, outdoor cafes, and local businesses
  • A HIGHER quality of life with cleaner air, less noise, increased safety, and a real response to climate change
  • Transportation CHOICE and SHORTER commute times with dedicated space for congestion-free mobility such as walking, bicycling, buses, and trains
  • PERMANENTLY affordable housing and PREVENTING gentrification with new housing put into community land trusts and tax revenues channeled into anti-displacement programs

What would happen to all the traffic that's on today's I-35? It's simple:

  • Many people would gladly take alternatives to driving, including the 55% of Austinites who don't want to drive and would prefer to walk, bike, or take the bus or train
  • Non-local traffic could take other highways, such as SH-130 to the East, which was explicitly designed for this very purpose; in many other Texas cities, I-35 does exactly that: It goes around town and the road through town becomes a boulevard or business route
  • Those who still want to drive could still do so or travel at other times


Other cities have removed their highways.
And people have loved the results every time.

San Francisco before and after removing the Embarcadero Freeway

For decades, cities including San Francisco, Portland, and Rochester have removed their central city freeways. EVERY highway removal has greatly improved quality of life. And yes, congestion actually improved. That's why there are currently over 30 grassroots highway removal campaigns nationwide, including in Dallas. Look out for more highway to boulevard projects across the US in the near future.

Sign this petition and make this happen in Austin.


This will require a BIG community push. Please sign this petition and then ask at least 10 friends to do the same. Spread the word as far as you can. We can and WILL win this!

For more information, visit the Rethink35 website.

Click here to make a donation to Rethink35.

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To: Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Texas Transportation Commission, Austin City Council
From: [Your Name]

I call on you to convert I-35 through Austin into a boulevard, as proposed by Rethink35. I also oppose expanding I-35 to 20 or more lanes, as TxDOT is currently proposing.

For decades, I-35 through Austin has inflicted pollution, noise, crashes, and a lack of transportation options upon countless Texans. Now that I-35 is aging and needs to be rebuilt, now is the time to undo past mistakes by converting I-35 through Austin into an urban boulevard with local businesses, 100% permanently affordable housing, and dedicated space for wide sidewalks, protected bicycle lanes, buses, and trains. This would result in a significant quality of life increase for Austin and central Texas.

By providing congestion-free transportation options such as walking, bicycling, and public transportation and by restoring east-west street connections, the boulevard would actually improve travel times over today. In contrast TxDOT's proposed expansion would encourage more people to drive, therefore having no or even harmful impacts on travel times.

Highway to boulevard conversions have happened in many other cities, including San Francisco, Portland, and Rochester, and over 30 grassroots highway removal campaigns exist nationwide. This is a sensible idea whose time has come. Please choose and implement a boulevard as the solution to an aging I-35.