Make transit a high priority

Tonight is the first of several public forums this week that will help establish the city’s transportation priorities. The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan will attempt to prioritize the hundreds of requested/identified transportation projects. Here’s the information and list of meetings as posted on the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan site:

National experts say Austin suffers from some of the nation’s worst traffic congestion, which will only get worse with the region’s rapid growth. The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan is turning to the public to help establish the city’s transportation priorities. Six forums held throughout the city Feb. 8-11 will offer citizens a chance to express the community’s values and explore how they can shape near-term and long-term investments in our transportation system.

“Whether one uses roads, bikes, sidewalks, or transit, we all have a stake in an efficient, sustainable transportation system,” said Rob Spillar, director of the Austin Transportation Department. “Citizens who use the transportation system are best suited to tell us what they want and need from that system, and these forums are designed to capture those ideas.”

Since last fall, the City has compiled more than 1,200 needed transportation projects identified by citizens, technical experts, city staff and other government agencies. The City will use the citizen criteria gathered at the forums to help identify the highest priority projects to pursue first — with larger projects considered for a future mobility bond election.

“There is no silver bullet to fix all of our transportation problems; we will have to use a variety of tools to manage our mobility needs,” said Spillar. “The more people participate in the forums and share their ideas and values, the more robust our system plan will become.”

Dates and locations of the Mobility Forums:

Reagan High School: Monday, Feb. 8 from 6-8 p.m.

7104 Berkman Dr., Austin, TX 78752, (512) 414-2523. Map

Mexican American Cultural Center: Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 8-10 a.m.

600 River Street, Austin, TX 78701, (512) 478-6222. Map. Sign Language Interpreter available.

Bowie High School: Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 6-8 p.m.

4103 West Slaughter Lane, Austin, TX 78749, (512) 414-5247. Map

One Texas Center: Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 6-8 p.m.

505 Barton Springs Road, Rm. 325, Austin, TX 78704, (512) 476-2315. Map. Sign Language Interpreter available.

Murchison Middle School: Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 6-8 p.m.

3700 North Hills Dr., Austin, TX 78731, (512) 414-3254. Map

Widen Elementary School: Thursday, Feb. 11 from 6-8 p.m.

5605 Nuckols Crossing Road, Austin, TX 78744, (512) 414-2556. Map

4 thoughts on “Make transit a high priority

  1. While obviously we have to think about getting people in from the suburbs (since they’re already there), perhaps we should think about zoning as a larger part of transportation. Pushing through dense housing along our transit corridors, Lamar, Manchaca, 1st, Congress, and the Domain area, will make it easier to pull residents back into Central Austin and lessen the need for highways and express buses.

    I read a great quote today that I think would be perfect for Austin:

    “If we just changed our zoning so that anywhere you have a single family home you could build a double with a carriage house in back, you would triple the effective residential density of [Austin] without any change to the visual scale of the city.”

  2. What Austin needs most at this point is for control over the capital budget for transit to be taken away from Capital Metro and put in the hands of grown-ups at the city of Austin, or as a last resort, CAMPO. Otherwise, more money will be wasted on the Red Line, which unlike real light rail (the city’s plan), will never be able to be a major part of our transportation mix.

    And there isn’t enough money to do both.

  3. SR

    Hooray for Spillar!
    CapMetro, please sell everything associated with the Red Line and give all the proceed to Spillar to spend on light rail downtown!

    It would be one tiny way to redirect some transportation spending to benefit the people who pay for it instead of the folks who live far from downtown and thereby depend heavily on subsidies from people living in central Austin.

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