Sep 22, 2022 - News

Residents to weigh in on the future of trails, bikeways and sidewalks

Photo: Sergio Flores/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Austin residents have a month to submit feedback on the ATX Walk Bike Roll project, an update to the city's trails, bikeways and sidewalks.

Why it matters: Updates to infrastructure can keep pedestrians and cyclists safer, while making it easier to access the city without a car.

Yes, but: It's a tricky balance.

  • Large investments in transportation projects can make homes less affordable and members of underrepresented communities have expressed concern that updates could lead to displacement and gentrification.

Driving the news: Residents can give their input on options for bikeways, urban trails and shared streets through Oct. 23. The items respondents will be asked to weigh in on include:

  • Three ways urban trails and bikeways can be built in the future, including one scenario that would focus on making it easier to get across the city, another that would create better access to neighborhood destinations and a final scenario that prioritizes access to nature.
  • A "shared streets" concept, which would use traffic calming devices to make residential streets more comfortable for pedestrians and bikes.
  • How to best prioritize street crossings, including how important crossings are at certain locations and where to build first.
  • Policy questions on how to lower the cost of getting around and address current routes that favor cars over other transportation options.

The bottom line: In a June mobility committee meeting, project leaders said they're committed to equal access to safe paths and hope to give residents more options than cars or buses, the Austin Monitor reported.

  • "The city of Austin recognizes that past plans and investments have not met the needs of all Austinites or have actively harmed communities, especially low income communities and communities of color," Kate Wettick, program manager of Austin's Urban Trails, told the committee.
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