Here's what happening next with Austin's mobility bond

Widening Anderson Mill Road is one project that is in the city's $720 million bond approved by voters Nov. 8.

Widening Anderson Mill Road is one project that is in the city's $720 million bond approved by voters Nov. 8.

On Nov. 8, Austin voters approved the city’s $720 million mobility bond proposition, paving the way for more road construction, planning and congestion relief.

About $482 million of that bond will go toward implementing projects in seven completed corridor studies of Burnet Road; East Riverside Drive; Guadalupe Street; and North and South Lamar, Airport and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards. Funds would also go toward studying an eighth corridor on either Slaughter Lane or William Cannon Drive or both.

In a Nov. 9 memo, Assistant City Manager Robert Goode outlined to city staffers the next steps for creating a corridor implementation plan and coordinating oversight of the bond.

Staffers will come to the council by the end of the year with a midyear budget amendment to hire additional staff and resources as well as fund construction of the first few projects, such as sidewalks and bikeways, according to the memo.

“I would anticipate in the first year we’re going to see a lot of sidewalks and safe passages for kids to school because those will be the most shovel-ready,” Mayor Steve Adler said. “While that work is being done, I see the community being involved in the discussion in how we best spend this [bond] money in the six- to eight-year period of time so it’s a decision we make together as a community.”

In 2012, voters also approved a bond that included $15 million to study Burnet and North Lamar. The city is hosting meetings Dec. 7-8 to provide residents with an update on recommended projects in those corridor plans.

“This [bond] is now the next stage for that,” Adler said. “I would see us pulling all of the resources and pointing all in the same direction in us developing this master plan for executing the bond. We’re expected to take that into account, too.”

Jimmy Flannigan, who unseated Council Member Don Zimmerman in the District 6 race, said he wants to start having public meetings as soon as possible to engage residents.

“We know to do everything will be more than the resources we have,” he said. “… The actual details [of projects] will be a balance of what we think we can do and the money to actually do it.”

He said there might be an opportunity to pool resources among bond categories. Flannigan, who founded the community group Northwest Austin Coalition, took the lead on a study of Anderson Mill Road and said he plans to use the existing public input and additional meetings to prioritize improvements.

“We have to have a very broad engagement effort in District 6,” Flannigan said. “We need to make sure folks feel their voices are being heard.”
By Amy Denney

Managing Editor, Austin metro

Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition as well as covering transportation in the Austin metro. She is now managing editor for the 10 publications in the Central Texas area from Georgetown to New Braunfels. She enjoys spending time with her husband, son and two cats.