In north central Austin, the intersection of Morrow and Lamar has been an ongoing safety issue since the 1980s. At that time traffic on Morrow was open to cars heading west on Morrow from the Highland neighborhood and from northbound traffic taking a left off of Lamar onto Morrow. This residential street with a City assigned maximum capacity of 1800 vehicles a day, carried more than 8,000 vehicles a day creating a dangerous environment for neighborhood pedestrians and cyclists.
The tragic death of a young child at the Lamar and Morrow intersection highlighted how imperative it was for action to be taken on this urgent safety issue. Through an alliance between the Highland and Crestview Neighborhoods, the City installed a traffic barrier known as the "pork chop" that prevented westbound traffic on Morrow from crossing Lamar and entering Crestview. In addition, the City blocked all northbound traffic on Lamar from turning left onto Morrow. The pork chop was meant to alleviate the excessive number of cars using Morrow as a convenient, yet hazardous cut-through, instead of Anderson Lane, thereby making this residential street safer for all.
According to traffic studies at the time, the majority of cars using Morrow rather than Anderson came from zip codes all over Austin, and drivers took advantage of the convenience of the narrow, yet direct neighborhood street. Morrow Street was never designed to handle 8,000 cars a day, as it is lined with homes, churches, and youth ball fields.
The pork chop's installation had the desired effect. It made Crestview a safer environment and helped to protect the residences, pedestrians and cyclists on Morrow (Morrow is listed as part of the City of Austin's bike route). Unfortunately, this hard-earned safety is now at risk . . .