No Mixed Signals Here: Downtown Gets New Transit Queue Jump Signal

Downtown commuters may have noticed some changes at the Lavaca Street and W. MLK, Jr. Boulevard intersection. In an effort to help keep buses moving, the Austin Transportation Department (ATD) recently extended the transit priority lane and installed a transit queue jump signal on Lavaca Street at its intersection with MLK. This is good news for all the commuters turning from Lavaca onto MLK.

Transit riders who take the MetroRapid or any of the other 10 bus routes through GuadaLavaca (the Guadalupe and Lavaca corridor) will have less time stuck in traffic; drivers won’t have to get caught between buses; and cyclists will be much less likely to have impatient drivers cutting across the bike lane.

How? The signal allows up to two northbound buses in the Lavaca Street transit priority lane to proceed through the intersection in advance of other traffic, and makes it easier and safer for the buses to merge into the main traffic lanes. The new signal should eliminate a chokepoint that caused congestion for automobiles and buses alike.Screen shot 2016-04-06 at 11.24.52 AM

There is still a bike lane for left turns located between the transit-only lane and the right-turn lane.

The Queue jumping should make the intersection safer and transit work a little better. “Applying the right strategies like this Queue Jump to make transit more reliable helps generate greater ridership,” said Austin Transportation Department Director Robert Spillar. “This ultimately helps to reduce congestion and increase mobility for all Austinites.” Hopefully this approach will will be used at other intersections on The Drag and then transit will really move faster.

The new transit queue jump is the third to be installed in Austin. The other two improve traffic flow on North Lamar Boulevard at the Crestview MetroRail Station, and on Guadalupe Street at the Republic Square transit station.

Screen shot 2016-04-06 at 1.10.53 PM


images via City of Austin

One Response to No Mixed Signals Here: Downtown Gets New Transit Queue Jump Signal

  1. M1EK says:

    So far, this isn’t working. Multiple reports from people on the scene that buses aren’t able to turn any quicker. In my one live trip northbound during PM rush, it was worse than ever as right turns backed up to about 17th; several cars decided to break the law by turning right out of the queue jump lane, but there was no room for them, so one was in front of an 801 and one was behind an 801 leaving it trapped for several light cycles.

    Half-*ssed infrastructure is often worse than doing nothing.