USGP organizers seek to ease concerns over traffic

The Formula 1 United States Grand Prix organization has released more detail on the site today via their website. The new rendering shows the circuit layout including buildings, parking and key features on seating and grand stands. The details were accompanied by the press release here:

AUSTIN, Texas – September 21, 2010 – Full Throttle Productions LP released today the conceptual master plan for the Formula 1 United States Grand PrixTM venue. The conceptual master plan features the development of the United States’ first purpose-built F1 racetrack complemented by additional visitor attractions including a proposed Driving/Riding Experience and Seminar Building, Motorsports Driving Club, Kart Track and Welcome Center.

With a complete length of 3.4 miles, the track combines modern features with details reminiscent of traditional races from the 1960’s. The surrounding landscape will allow for a maximum elevation change of 133 feet, a feature that is sure to please drivers as well as fans. In addition, the circuit includes a strategic combination of over 20 turns, including variations of classic corners such as Istanbul Turn 8, Maggots–Becketts-Chapel and Hockenheimring’s Stadium Section.

The multifunctional facility is ideally situated on a 900-acre site in southeast Austin along the SH 130 corridor near FM 812. The proposed grandstands, semi-permanent stands and natural seating areas created by integrating natural grass berms and picnic areas for families will enable over 120,000 to attend the venue’s first event: the Formula 1 United States Grand PrixTM 2012. To address the traffic impact and provide a great guest experience during a specific event, leading domestic and international transportation and traffic-engineering experts, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. and Graham Lake-Grange respectively, have been retained.

Kimley-Horn brings tremendous experience to the project having developed traffic management plans for Texas Motor Speedway, the new Cowboys Stadium, Lone Star Park, and Houston’s Dynamo Park. Graham Lake-Grange, based in the UK, has developed successful traffic management plans for 13 F1 Grand PrixTM events at Silverstone as well as over 100 large-scale public events.
The multifunctional facility is being designed with year-round functionality and attractions. Proposed attractions within the development include:

Driving/Riding Experience and Seminar Building: The facility and racetrack will provide the ideal location for manufacturers to test, launch and educate dealers as well as consumers. The facility will feature classroom settings, virtual driving experiences and will provide the opportunity for test-driving on the racetrack.

Motorsports Driving Club: The membership-only club will serve as a luxury destination featuring an array of hospitality services and amenities focused on the motorsports enthusiast. The club will offer its members professional instruction, customized driving courses, premium car storage and concierge level services.
Kart Track: The outdoor karting track will be designed to provide an experience for youth and adults of all ages. The track, open to the public, will specialize in orchestrating custom group events, team building programs, celebratory events, fund-raisers as well as individual experiences.

FTP attorney, Richard Suttle, faced stiff questioning by the Travis County Commission regarding infrastructure, environment and traffic issues in his first meeting with the board a fortnight ago. The second informational meeting between Suttle and the commission was to relay the plan details as well as announce that FTP has moved forward with an environmental study and hired two traffic engineering firms — one of which worked on the Grand Prix site in Silverstone, England — to conduct studies of the 900-acre location.

Here is a larger view of the new site rendering with additional detail: USGP site detail

The press release does mention natural seating areas or grassy hill locations for viewing and family entertainment. The expected attendance has been often rumored at 150,000 but today’s release seems to suggest that they are looking for 120,000 as a first-year total. This may be a nod to manageable traffic expectations as a previous story last week placed exiting the circuit in hours instead of minutes after the grand prix. The concern is certainly valid and FTP have taken the opportunity to announce the retaining of Graham Lake-Grange and Kimley-Horn as traffic engineering firms.

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