AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin wants to help Austinites get around town easier.
On Friday, a new ATX Walk Bike Roll Public Input Map launched, which helps Austin residents show the city exactly where they’d like to see improvements made to its pedestrian and bicycle network.
Using the mapping tool, residents can pinpoint where they’d like to see improved street crossings, new bikeway and urban trail routes and where barriers need to be addressed.
“Together we can bring the safety and connectivity that everybody deserves,” said Laura Dierenfield with the Austin Transportation Department. “It’s very interactive. You can also upvote where you can say, ‘Hey, this person found the one I was thinking about.'”
The City of Austin first broadly started its outreach the summer of 2021 by looking at themes around Austin, like how do you get to where you need to go. Its next step narrows in on the residents who are the neighborhood experts.
“We are also looking at ways to address the disparities to nature and parkland,” said Dierenfield.
Much of the parkland access is found in central Austin along the Lady Bird Lake nature trail, which can be a problem for some experiencing unaffordability issues.
“Central Austin is getting so expensive, and people are getting displaced to the outer areas that traditionally have less walkability, less connectivity,” said Katie Wettick, Urban Trail Programs Manager. “Now, they also have to have a car to get where they need to go. How do we create connections and find ways for people to walk who are displaced from the central part of the city?”
Residents who are unable to use the online mapping tool can request a physical feedback form by calling (512) 974-7182 or emailing ATXWalkBikeRoll@AustinTexas.gov.
This geographic input will be used to update and improve Austin’s Urban Trails, Bikeways and Sidewalk Plans through the ATX Walk Bike Roll project.
The plan updates will take two years to develop and are expected to be finalized in 2023. The updated plans will influence where and how people walk, bike and roll in the future.
Many steps have now been completed in the ATX Walk Bike Roll planning process, including:
- Performing an equity analysis and creating an equity framework to guide how the project team will make decisions through an equity lens.
- Launching a community ambassador program to collect feedback and build relationships with residents from communities that have been historically underrepresented in City of Austin planning processes.
- Conducting a trip potential analysis to identify where people are expected to walk or bike.
- Analyzing where crashes involving people walking or biking occur, and which populations are most impacted by traffic crashes.
- Gathering public input on how people currently walk, bike, and roll through the city and how their experiences could be improved.
Currently, the project team is analyzing Austin’s existing pedestrian and bicycle networks and evaluating if they provide effective access to key destinations, including transit stops, employment centers, grocery stores, schools and parks.
The project team is continuing to analyze all public input received to date and plans to publish a summary of this feedback by spring of 2022.