Austin’s Most Urban Week of the Year

You may have noticed a few more people downtown this week… and a few more pedicabs, shuttle buses, oh and a giant ferris wheel, too! We’re right in the thick of SXSW, and many streets downtown look dramatically different.

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Photo by @walkableaustin

We had to look twice at the photo above to make sure it was really Austin, and not some European city! These smart festival-goers have embraced walking, biking, pedicabs, and the train. During SXSW, these options are faster than driving – and much cheaper, too.

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Photo from

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image via Austin Transportation Department

The City made walking easier with these “guerilla wayfinding” signs around downtown, designed to “help people reach their destinations without a lot of hassle,” says Paloma Amayo-Ryan, ATD’s Permit and Licensing Review Analyst. ATD says the signs only contain key information: The distance and direction from the current location and a quick response (QR) code that can be scanned with smartphones for more information.

For 10 days each year, Austinites get a glimpse of a possible future. With so many more people downtown, the city becomes more urban, a place where walking and biking are the easiest ways to get around. Blocks like the one pictured above (4th St., near the Convention Center) provide safe and comfortable space for options users, and these spaces thrive during SXSW. This isn’t the case for all downtown streets yet, but more are coming soon. And this MetroRail station in particular is on its way to being completely redesigned and enlarged with a better platform as well as pedestrian designs. So the photo above will soon become a snapshot of a moment in time when Austin began to transform its mobility.

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MetroRail ridership during SXSW is going up and up and up

Image courtesy of Capital Metro

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Pedicabs: another great option during SXSW


Photo by @Pedicabguy

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