- July 11, 2014

Watch Austin’s Old Timers Discuss ‘The Traffic Problem’ in the 1960s

Thought traffic was bad when Obama came to town? Felt like blaming the president for all that backup? Okay, that’s fair. But it’s not entirely accurate.

Sure, Obama’s entourage may roll hundreds of cars deep once you’ve counted up all the APD officers pulling overtime, but even shutting down Highway 290 for a few hours pales in comparison to the delays that Austin’s lacking infrastructure causes local drivers every week. The fact is, Austin’s roads were not built to support this many people, which is why we are the 4th most-gridlocked city in the nation. So we wait, and ponder toll roads.

The City of Austin has temporarily banned public gatherings. Please stay home. The Austin.com calendar is only for live digital events at this time.

If you’ve ever spent two hours trying to make it down MoPac from Cedar Park during the mid-afternoon roadway malaise, take a moment to watch this video from the Texas Archive of the Moving Image and look back at a simpler time, when things were every bit as horrible on the roads but congestion was only just beginning.

Note that “the traffic problem,” as they called it in this 1960s, was more about people from the country coming into the big city with their “liberal” driving habits and plowing into pedestrians. And the tools they used to address this problem? Signs, signals and, of course, hedge clippers. Gosh, they were SO advanced.

This video is from an old Austin news program called “Progress Report Austin,” hosted by Bonner McLane, former director of the Texas Association of Broadcasters. It comes to us by way of Austin Reddit user s810. (Thanks!)

Video not working? Check it out at the source, right here.


Photo: Screenshot via Texas Archive of the Moving Image.