Don't Rush Day

Austin gets a new holiday so that people will slow the hell down

Austin gets a new holiday so that people will slow the hell down

Amplify Austin funraiser woman bike bicycle baloons South Congress Avenue
Austin, take your time on May 11.  I Live Here, I Give Here/Facebook

If you live in Austin, you don't need to see the numbers to know that you spend too much time stuck in traffic. To help combat the city's atrocious congestion, Mayor Steve Adler has launched a new initiative called Austin Don't Rush, and you're going to want to participate. 

On May 11, Austinites are encouraged to switch up their commutes to see how it will affect rush hour. You can change your work schedule, work from home, use a bike, or take city transit. In honor of this "holiday," Capital Metro will offer free rides.

The initiative is an experiment sparked by the success seen when Adler asked Austinites to work from home on March 11, the day President Obama rolled into town for a SXSW keynote speech. According to the mayor's statement, travel times during rush hour on MoPac that day decreased by 60 percent, while Highway 183 decreased by about 50 percent. Six major downtown streets experienced a 22 percent decrease in travel time too.

"Last time I asked you to work from home. This time I'm just saying, 'Austin don't rush,'" said Adler. "Figure out a different work schedule. Take the bus or the train. If you can, ride your bike into work. We did it for the president. We can do it for us. If each of us does a little, we can all do a lot."

Austin Don't Rush comes ahead of the final proposal for the Smart City Challenge. Austin is one of seven finalists competing for a $40 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to use towards new technologies, infrastructure, and initiatives to solve traffic issues. Boy, do we need it.