Austin releases first Safe Routes to School report in City Council District 10

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School children throughout the city of Austin may soon have an easier time getting to and from school thanks to $27.5 million from the 2016 Mobility Bond.

On Feb. 13, the city released its first City Council district report of recommended projects in District 10 for the Safe Routes to School program. The city’s 2016 bond is allocating $27.5 million for the Safe Routes to School program, and funds are being split evenly among the 10 council districts.

“These reports look at concerns and issues through the eyes of our school communities to ensure that the most vulnerable road users, the students of Austin, have a safe route to school,” said Amir Emanian, Safe Routes to School program manager, in a news release.

District 10’s plan outlines recommended projects for Bridge Point, Bryker Woods, Casis, Doss, Highland Park, Hill, Kathy Caraway and Laurel Mountain elementary schools and for Murchison and O. Henry middle schools.

The report proposes adding sidewalks, bike lanes, pedestrian crossing signals, raised crosswalks and traffic-calming devices, such as speed cushions. Other improvements could include reconfiguring intersections, repairing sidewalks, removing obstructions to sidewalks and adding pedestrian islands in streets, according to the report.

Each proposed project in the report includes a benefit and cost ranking that will help the city determine which projects to implement, according to the news release.

“I am proud of the investments our city voted for in the 2016 Mobility Bond,” District 10 Council Member Alison Alter said in the news release. “Thanks to work between city staff, City Council offices and the community, the Safe Routes to School program will leverage bond dollars to better protect students traveling to and from school and help ease parents’ worries about their children’s safety.”

To prepare the plans, the city conducted walk audits at schools in each district and consulted with school officials and parents on the needs of accessing the school, Emamian said.

The city also completed 17 projects by the end of 2018 that were considered easier projects that could move forward quickly, such as pedestrian crossing signals and new sidewalks.

Emamian said the goal is to begin construction on recommended improvements in the spring.

“We’re actually a little bit ahead of where we thought we would be,” he previously told Community Impact Newspaper.

The city will next release its Safe Routes to School report for District 1 and will release reports for the remaining districts in the next six months.

To view the full District 10 report, click here.

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Amy Denney
Amy has been reporting in community journalism since 2007. She worked in the Chicago suburbs for three years before migrating south and joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2010. Amy has been editor of the Northwest Austin publication since August 2012 and she is also the transportation beat reporter for the Austin area.
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