AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin leaders want to know how people get around the city. It’s part of their new initiative ATX Walk Bike Roll that will update three plans — the Urban Trails Plan, Bicycle Plan and Pedestrian/Sidewalk Plan — to address transportation issues.
Since the last time the plans were updated, things in Austin have changed.
“We know it’s getting more expensive in the city tighter in toward downtown and so people are being pushed out and maybe it’s getting harder to get to work, harder to sit in traffic,” are just some of the issues Katie Wettick, the city’s urban trails program manager with the public works department, mentioned.
Through ATX Bike Walk Roll, they aim to address those affordability issues by making it easier for people to get around.
“One of the big focuses on this update to the sidewalk plan is extending that to include pedestrian crossings because it doesn’t do you that much good if you have sidewalks if you get to a busy street and there’s not a safe place to cross,” John Eastman said. He’s the city’s sidewalk and special projects division manager with the public works department.
Another focus could involve the sidewalks around the transit stops and stations ensuring there is a connection. When it comes to bike trails, it’s all about building the connection especially in growing areas like southeast Austin.
“Really, the Eastern Crescent, but connectivity for biking needs to be addressed from a network perspective and that is citywide,” said Laura Dierenfield, the active transportation and street design division manager with the city’s transportation department.
That’s where the urban trails come into play, helping connect the system. They say they want to accomplish this while addressing equity by working with neighborhoods that may not have received as much attention in the past areas such as east Austin.
“By centering equity in our planning efforts to update urban trails sidewalks and bikeways plans, I think we can better align our prioritization selection of projects to better serve everybody and give everybody choices on how they get around the city,” Dierenfield said.
The city has hired 12 community ambassadors to help address equity concerns. They will help with outreach to communities. However, they want to hear from the community and are asking people to fill out a survey.