Knowledge Center

A New Future for I-35: Urban Land Institute Panel

The New Future for I-35 project, undertaken by the Downtown Austin Alliance, builds on the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) preliminary plans to reconstruct Interstate 35 (I-35) through Central Austin, including the downtown core. I-35 is an immense highway with a deep and complicated history; a structural barrier that has caused division in our community for decades. Our project aims to enhance TxDOT’s investment, making the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity by creating a shared community vision that will improve the quality of life for all Austinites. 

The Downtown Alliance engaged the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) National Advisory Services to bring a panel of diverse experts to Austin in February 2020. We asked the panel, while focusing on a three-mile stretch of the highway, and to develop:  2-3 design concepts that could be integrated into the project design; an engagement process roadmap; and an actionable implementation, phasing and funding strategy for advancing the adopted I-35 Cap & Stitch concept. 

Months of preparation went into making the panel week successful. A leadership group and a task force of local experts and community leaders were convened to determine the scope of the ULI panel’s recommendations (see PowerPoint). Representatives from TxDOT were included in both groups. For the panelists in advance of their visit, the Downtown Alliance prepared a 90-page briefing book that provided relevant economic, social and transportation opportunities and challenges facing I-35. During their week-long visit, the panelists took a day-long tour of the corridor and interviewed 99 community members, local leaders and technical experts.  

The panel presented preliminary recommendations for the future of I-35 at Huston-Tillotson University, a historically black college on the east side of I-35, on February 28 to 250 people. We will release their final report of recommendations in May 2020.

Project Details

A New Future for I-35: Urban Land Institute Panel

Downtown Austin Alliance


Planning, Design and Infrastructure
$7500001 and over