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Which battery is best? We cover rechargeable and alkaline batteries to show you what's hot, what's not, and the best way to charge them. (visit now)

Ben Folds Five

The rise and breakup of the world's greatest piano pop band.

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Getting Around Austin


Map of the Central City
Transportation 

Areas of Austin
Estimating Distance from street names & addresses

Quirks about Street Names
One-Way Streets

 


Geography/Map

The main part of Austin is about 10 miles tall and 3 miles wide, although the city limits extend much farther.

The main north/south thoroughfares, from West to East, are:

  • Mopac/Loop 1
  • Lamar
  • S. 1st/Guadalupe
  • S. Congress / Speedway
  • I-35

The main east/west thoroughfares from North to South, are:

  • Koenig/290
  • 45th St.
  • 38th St. (becomes 35th St. at Shoal Creek)
  • MLK (formerly 19th St.)
  • Cesar Chavez (formerly 1st St.)
  • Oltorf
  • Ben White (called 360 west of Mopac, and called Hwy. 71 east of I-35)

Here's an extremely rough map of Austin depicting those streets:

Or check out our deluxe map of Austin.


Transportation

Airport. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport opened in 1999 in Southeast Austin. It's the former Bergstrom Airforce Base. The old airport (Mueller Airport) was just a few miles east of UT, and the City is currently studying plans for redeveloping the area (homes and businesses). A bus runs from the airport to the downtown area and to UT.

Buses. Most bus routes run until around 11:00pm most nights. The buses are cheap (50, and you can ask for a transfer pass to ride the next connecting bus free) but the routes are brain-damaged and the maps are impossible to read for most newcomers. You'd expect there to be lots of north/south routes criscrossed with lots of east/west routes. Think again. Our bus system uses downtown as a central hub, with most routes emanating from downtown in various directions. If there's no bus that goes directly from where you're at to where you want to go, you'll likely get on a bus to go downtown, and then get on the bus that goes where you want.

The maps for the individual bus routes only show the streets the bus actually travels on, and show only a tiny part of a few selected cross streets. That's why it's hard to tell where the bus is actually going. It'll be much easier if you get one of the big fold-out maps that show all the routes, which comes in the complete schedule booklet.

The most useful bus is the #1, which runs from N. Lamar, through the University of Texas (26th-21st), downtown, (15th-2nd), and then S. Congress (or the opposite when it's going North instead of South).

Trains. Sorry, Travis County voters, apparently preferring a gridlocked central city, narrowly defeated a light rail ballot proposal in 11-2000. Austin has no other public transportation besides buses.

Taxis. American Yellow Taxi Cabs:452-9999.

Bicycles. You can rent bicycles from many local bike shops. Austin is relatively flat when going north & south, but you'll run into hills when going east & west. Cyclists should check out the Bicycling in Austin website.


Areas of Austin

Downtown. Numbered streets from Cesar Chavez to MLK (1st to 19th), between I-35 and Guadalupe. Most of the music is on 6th Street, between I-35 and Congress.

Central Austin. Bordered by 51st St. (North), I-35 (East), Oltorf (South), and Mopac (West). Includes the University of Texas.

North Austin. North of the 6100 block (or so) of any north/south street.

South Austin. South of the river. (Downtown ends just north of the river, so it's also South of downtown.)

East Austin. East of I-35. Austin is largely segregated, with most of the Black and Hispanic population living East of I-35 (the "Great Wall of Austin"). The airport is in Southeast Austin.

West Austin. West of Mopac (some say West of Lamar). This is where the rich folks live.


Estimating Distance with Street Names & Addresses

Numbered streets (1st through 53rd) are north of the river, and each run east/west. You go to higher-numbered streets as you go north from, and lower-numbered streets as you go south.

Ten numbered streets is usually just under of a mile. So, for example, 2nd St. to 12th St. is nearly a mile.

Addresses on north/south streets correspond to the numbered streets they cross. For example, the address at 7th & Lavaca is 700 Lavaca. The address at 26th & Rio Grande is 2600 Rio Grande. The address 3415 Guadalupe is on Guadalupe, between 34th & 35th Streets.

With that knowledge, traveling from the 4500 block of Guadalupe to the 500 block of Guadalupe would be a bit under 4 miles. And 100 E. 7th to 3100 E. 7th is nearly three miles.

Any street marked "North" is north of the river (like N. Lamar). Any street marked "South" is south of the river (like S. Congress).

Street numbering for North/South streets starts at the river. Street numbers increase going North from the river, and increase going South from the river. For example, traveling North to South, you would encounter these addresses: 2500 N. Lamar, 1100 N. Lamar, the river, 1100 S. Lamar, 2500 S. Lamar.

Street numbering begins at Congress for East/West streets. Using 6th Street as an example, a few blocks east of Congress it's 300 E. 6th St., and a few blocks west of Congress it's 300 W. 6th St.


Quirks about Street Names

The City Council has an annoying habit of renaming numbered streets after famous people, destroying the usefulness of the numbering system which would otherwise help new folks understand where they are. (We support renaming streets after worthy people, but lay off the NUMBERED streets!) Here are the renamed streets:

  • Dean Keeton (formerly 26th Street)
  • MLK (formerly 19th Street)
  • Cesar Chavez (formerly 1st Street)

Austin streets often suddenly change names as you're traveling along them. Watch out for these:

  • Speedway becomes Congress south of MLK, and then S. Congress south of the river
  • Guadalupe becomes S. 1st south of the river
  • Mopac is also called Loop 1
  • Koenig is also called Hwy. 290

One-Way Streets

Most streets downtown are one-way, except Congress. Most of the rest of Austin is two-way. In downtown, even-numbered streets are Westbound only (e.g., 6th St.), and odd-numbered streets are Eastbound only (e.g., 5th). Guadalupe is two-way for most of its length, except for downtown between MLK and Cesar Chavez, where it's Southbound only. (If you're going north through the downtown area, take Lavaca, which runs parallel and immediately to the East of Guadalupe.)


How to Buy a House
How to
Buy a House

Step-by-step guide for first-time homebuyers.

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The Military Budget as Cookies

This excellent animation from TrueMajority shows in graphic detail (using Oreo cookies) how ridiculously, large the military budget is, and how we could solve many domestic problems with a modest 12% cut. A must-see. (watch it now)

How to Not Get
Hit by Cars

An illustrated guide for bicyclists. Might save your life.

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