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East-West travel in Austin: Barton Springs/Riverside Street

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Created and last updated August 9, 2001

The Barton Springs/Riverside corridor is the only east-west route south of the Colorado River (the Ben White Freeway about 4 miles to the south.) It certainly has its problems as an east-west crossing. Connections to northbound Loop 1 are very poor and inconvenient. Drivers must pass through the Zilker Park and "restarant row", which can be congested, especially on weekends. Drivers must also negotiate congested intersections at South 1st, Congress, and Riverside. Finally, getting through the intersection at Interstate 35 can take a long time.

The east section of Riverside, from just east of Congress to Pleasant Valley, was once planned to be a freeway. In fact, the only evidence of plans for any of Austin's cancelled freeways can be found on Riverside at Pleasant Valley, where there is a wide right-of-way set aside on Riverside. It appears that the plans for the Riverside Freeway were cancelled by 1969, since The 1969 Expressway and Major Arterial Plan was amended to designate this section of the Riverside Expressway as "remove". See details of the 1969 freeway plan.

Downtown area freeways in the 1962 plan, which was re-approved in 1969. However, the Riverside freeway appears to have been deleted in 1969.

1st/Chavez location map

Barton Springs in Zilker park
A. Barton Springs in Zilker park, parched by the usual summer dry season. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

B. Just east of Zilker Park is restaurant row, which includes the original Chuys, an Austin institution. Recently (about May 2001), this was the location of one of the underage alcohol consumption incidents involving the Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara. I think they were sentenced to the usual counseling and community service. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

Barton Springs east of Lamar
C. Looking east at the railroad undercrossing just east of Lamar. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

Barton Springs near Palmer Auditorium
D. This view looks eastward near Palmer Auditorium. The road has 4 lanes and a center turn lane. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

Barton Springs near Palmer Auditorium
E. Barton Springs intersects Riverside, where you need to turn right to continue eastward. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

Barton Springs near Palmer Auditorium
F. Barton Springs near Congress, a highly congested area most of the time, but not on the Sunday afternoon of this photo. The office structure on the left is the TxDOT Riverside Campus. The TxDOT archive library, source of all the great historic photos on texasfreeway.com, is located in that building. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

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