Research on Austin community's transportation priorities revealed

Council Member Ann Kitchen, Mayor Steve Adler and Glasshouse Policy Director Thomas Visco unveil Mobility ATX report findings.

Council Member Ann Kitchen, Mayor Steve Adler and Glasshouse Policy Director Thomas Visco unveil Mobility ATX report findings.

Research from the Mobility ATX community engagement process was unveiled by Austin-based crowdsourcing think tank Glasshouse Policy on Oct. 8.

The report shows the five most popular ideas on how to improve Austin's traffic:

  • Fully fund the Bicycle Master Plan.

  • Support Reconnect Austin's position on capping I-35 in certain areas to connect downtown and East Austin.

  • Create dedicated bus lanes in high traffic areas throughout the city.

  • Remove the ability for developers to pay a fee in lieu of adding required sidewalks.

  • Improve Anderson Mill Road between RM 620 and US 183.

Mayor Steve Adler said a bond could be possible to fully fund the Bicycle Master Plan, however he did not say whether or not he would support the idea.

"It is the full intention of this council to move forward on mobility solutions and, I think, as people said, it's going to require a lot of different things," Adler said. "We don't have a mobility plan that works without a strong, integrated multi-method transportation system, and that's going to include a bicycle network. It's also going to include dedicated lanes for I-35 so we have transit that can move more rapidly than cars."

Solving Austin's transportation issues must occur in order to solve affordability issues, Adler said.

"We have a transportation mobility crisis in this city. We had a bond election that was defeated last November but the problem didn't go away—it's gotten worse," Adler said. "The two biggest challenges we have in this community, mobility and affordability, are linked together, and we don't solve affordability in this city without solving [transportation] as well. It's that important."

District 5 Council Member Ann Kitchen, who chairs the council's mobility committee, said the city staff and council members are already taking steps forward in improving mobility throughout the city. Council recently agreed to divide a quarter-cent fund totaling $21.8 million among the 10 City Council districts for various transportation improvements, such as pedestrian safety devices and fixing sidewalk gaps.

Thomas Visco, Glasshouse Policy's director, said the report does not entirely reflect the priorities of the entire Austin community and instead only represents views from those who decided to engage in the process. He encouraged anyone who did not have their ideas included in the Mobility ATX conversation to bring those ideas forward.

"I think this report will serve as a guiding document for council on what public policy priorities look like for a swath of the public," Visco said.