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East-West travel in Austin: Enfield/15th Street

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Created and last updated August 8, 2001

The Enfield/15th street corridor was the approximate location of the planned Crosstown Freeway, which would have begun on at Loop 1/Mopac near 12th Street, veered northward just west of Lamar and then followed 16th Street to Interstate 35, and then continued into east Austin. I don't think plans for the Crosstown Freeway ever advanced very far. Today, there is no evidence that it ever was in the plans. However, I did find one tantalizing photo of what could have been. A 1968 model of Loop 1/Mopac at Town Lake included direct connectors to the Crosstown Freeway.

Downtown area freeways in the 1962 plan, which was re-approved in 1969.

Today, Enfield street is a narrow four-lane undivided roadway, and it has been falling apart for several years. Repairs are made, but there are always bumps or potholes in the roadway. The deteriorated roadway may actually be a good thing if it slows down traffic, since the road is very narrow and has a couple sharp curves.

Enfield passes through the Old Enfield neighborhood. Old Enfield is a very trendy inner city neighborhood which has some obscene housing prices. Of course, this is just the kind of neighborhood where you find rapid NIMBYism. Even though Enfield desperately needs a center turning lane, I don't expect it to ever get one.

The big advantage of the Enfield/15th Street route is that it crosses over Lamar, thereby avoiding what would be a severely congested intersection. At the crossing, Enfield turns into 15th Street. 15th Street is actually one of the best urban streets in Austin. It actually has six lanes and a median. (Really, I'm not kidding!). I can think of only one other street in central Austin that has six lanes - East Riverside. 15th Street was recently reconstructed with new pavement, so it should be in good condition for a long time.

Enfield_15th location map

Enfield east of Loop 1
A. This is what Enfield looks like just east of Loop 1. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

Enfield east of Loop 1
B. About 2 blocks away from the Loop 1 freeway and about 3 houses away from Enfield is this house for sale. Welcome to the Silicon Valley real estate market. Uh, I mean the Austin real estate market. Even with the high-tech bust, asking prices are still obscenely high. I doubt this property will sell for anywhere near the asking price of $379,000. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

Enfield east of Loop 1
C. Another view east of Loop 1. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

Enfield curve
D. Sharp curve in the roadway. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

Enfield curve
E. Coming through the sharp curve. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

Enfield canopy
F. A nice oak tree canopy covers much of Enfield. This is why I don't expect the road to ever be widened. There will be too much protest about the loss of trees.

Enfield over 15th
G. This view shows the overpass over Lamar Boulevard and Shoal Creek. On the other side of the bridge, 15th Street begins. The state Capitol can be seen on the right. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

15th near West street
H. This view shows 15th near West Street. This high-quality street is a rarity in Austin. Photo taken 29-July-2001.

15th near West street
J. 15th Street as it approaches Interstate 35.

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