Mayor Adler declared 2016 as the “year of mobility,” and the Austin City Council has been looking at different ways of alleviating mobility issue that we see in Austin. Council Resolution No. 20160211-017 directed the City Manager to get feedback from a diverse group of people all across this city about their mobility priorities. As a part of the City’s Mobility Talks initiative, Conversation Corps led small discussions throughout Austin to help inform the larger dialogue. The conversations focused on four general priority categories, which were created based on previous public input:
- manage congestion
- improve safety
- improve connections in my neighborhood
- improve the quality of my streets
Participants were asked:
- When considering these four categories,
- What kinds of tradeoffs would you be willing to accept in exchange for those improvements?
- What sorts of improvements would you be willing to spend more of your own money on, in taxes or fees, and why?
Manage Congestion - Across the various priorities, the majority of conversations viewed this aspect as the most valuable.
- Diverting trucks off I-35 was a way many proposed how to manage congestion on the highways. HOV and toll lanes were also discussed.
- Getting cars off the road through public transportation and carpooling/ride sharing systems was consistently addressed.
- Several discussed a rail system, although the opinion on the value of rail varied significantly from conversation to conversation.
- Most notably, investing in better bus service was discussed in nearly every conversation
Improve Connections in my Neighborhood - Participants in most conversations believed that this priority category was not only important but also aids in supporting other priorities, primarily congestion.
- Again, we saw a focus on public transportation. Many across Austin shared their view that if it was possible to get access to the location they wanted via public transit they would use that option, yet because the public transit in their region does not provide them with that option, they drive.
- Sidewalks and cycling accessibility were also mentioned across many conversations.
Improve Safety - Although to a lesser degree, many of the conversation participants touched on the subject of improving safety. We saw more prevalence of this priority in Districts 1 and 2. The following safety issues were addressed:
- Stops signs, lights and turn signals
- Bike lanes
- Sidewalks and crosswalks
- Traffic violation enforcement
- Education and awareness
Improve the Quality of My Streets - While addressed a few times, this priority was discussed far less than any of the others.
Other notable themes that you’ll see throughout the full feedback report include:
- Interconnectedness of priorities
- Transparency in how money is used
- Shift of mobility discussion away from cars and roads and toward public transportation, land use and data driven decisions
How feedback is being used
Feedback will be presented to the Austin City Council’s Mobility Committee on June 8, 2016. The meeting will take place at 3 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Following this presentation, City Council may consider potential funding options for those needs.
Additionally, this input will feed into the upcoming Austin Strategic Mobility Plan (ASMP) update. The ASMP update will involve extensive communication engagement and will guide transportation development and investment for the next 10+ years.
Who will be reviewing the feedback? (names and project roles included)
- Austin City Council
- Capital Planning Office
- Susan Daniels – Capital Program Manager
- Ashley Parsons – Data Analyst
- Austin Transportation Department
- Annick Beaudet – Manager, System Development Division
- Liane Miller – Planner
- Cole Kitten – Transportation Planner
- Public Works Department
- Annie Van Zant – Capital Improvement Program Asset Manager
- Karen Villatoro – Data Analyst