“It will be our new north star for transportation investments, not only for more travel choice, which we desperately need, but also for more affordable transportation and reliable choices,” said Annick Beaudet, assistant director of the Austin Transportation Department.
The city began planning efforts for the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan two years after being charged with creating a new comprehensive transportation plan in 2016, which was dubbed the Year of Mobility by city leaders. The last plan had been adopted in 1995 with minor updates in 2001 and 2004, Beaudet said.
“[The Year of Mobility] was one of the catalysts for taking a comprehensive look at our transportation plan and updating our needs through a 21st century lens,” she said.
Included in the plan are also options for other modes besides vehicular travel, such as bicycle and pedestrian facilities as well as transit options. The city partnered with Capital Metro and the Texas Department of Transportation to ensure the plan does not compete with other agencies’ plans, Beaudet said.
Residents can view the draft plan and map online at www.austintexas.gov/asmp. The map features several informational layers as well as a public comment map that allows users to zoom in on a particular area, select a project and either like the project or provide a comment.
Beaudet said staffers will read each comment and use the feedback to update projects listed in the infrastructure map. All feedback will be catalogued, and the city will indicate how it responded to the input.
“The more comments we get from the community the more the plan reflects the community’s input,” she said.
Feedback is also being sought on the draft plan’s policies, such as on safety and managing demand, that outline how the city anticipates reaching its transportation goals, Beaudet said.
Although the comment period closes Jan. 13, Beaudet said residents will still be able to speak during public comment periods at boards and commissions meetings in February. The final plan is expected to head to Austin City Council for approval in late March.
Once approved the plan will be attached to the city’s comprehensive plan called Imagine Austin. The plan will be used to guide future funding opportunities, operations and maintenance, and prioritizing projects.