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Austin's downtown core is bordered on the west by two highways running in a roughly north–south direction: MoPac (Loop 1) to the west, and I–35 to the east. Other major arteries are Highway 183, which snakes north from the airport, crossing I–35 and MoPac in north Austin, and continuing to the northwest suburbs; and Loop 360 (Capital of Texas Highway) runs from the Arboretum area in the northwest, through the upscale West Lake area, crosses MoPac and becomes Highway 71 (aka Ben White Blvd.), and runs through South Austin to Austin's airport (ABIA).

Main drags within Austin include the mighty Lamar Blvd., which runs south from Ben White all the way up to Parmer Lane and I–35 in the far north. Many major roads run in an east–west direction: in general, you'll find a good horizontal artery every five to ten blocks.

Speed limits in Austin are strictly enforced, and fines can be stiff. Depending on the area, speed limits range from 20–25 mph in residential and downtown areas, 30–45 mph on larger streets and boulevards, and 75mph on local highways. Texas Highway 130 has become the nation’s fastest highway with an 85-mile-per-hour speed limit

Seat belts are mandatory. Right turns (and left turns on one-way streets) are permitted on red lights after a full stop.

Both street and garage parking are plentiful in downtown Austin. At this writing, metered parking costs $1 an hour (and is generally limited to 3 hours. Parking lots and garages will charge anywhere from $5 to $15 a day (prices increase during special events). For visits to the State Capitol, parking is available in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 1201 San Jacinto located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and 13th streets. Parking is free for the first two hours and $1.00 for each half hour thereafter (maximum daily charge: $8.00).

If you don't expect to travel outside of downtown, no need to have a car at all. Bike share terminals are plentiful and lots of bus routes that will take you from place to place with relative ease.