Healthy Streets Initiative

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Kathie Tovo
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:18 am

Healthy Streets Initiative

Post by Kathie Tovo » Wed May 06, 2020 3:28 pm

Dear Council Member Ellis,

Thank you for bringing this forward for Council consideration. I am not sure if you have room for a fifth co-sponsor, but if so, I would welcome the opportunity to work together on this resolution.

I’d like to suggest the following additions/amendments, including two Whereas statements connected to resolutions I’ve led on in the past that relate to pedestrian-oriented street activations:

"WHEREAS, Austin has hosted Ciclovias in the Mueller and Dove Springs neighborhoods and on Congress Avenue to encourage multi-modal transportation and the activation of public space and to achieve the lasting benefits of promoting individual health as well as neighborhood pride and civic engagement; and

WHEREAS, the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan and the Congress Avenue Initiative both recommend piloting neighborhood shared streets programs that use traffic calming and streetscape features that enable streets to be converted easily to public use on weekends or during special events; and

WHEREAS, in 2019 the City Council initiated a shared streets pilot on Rainey Street in coordination with the Rainey local mobility study with the intent to create safe and inclusive spaces for both neighbors and visitors; and"

Lastly, line 104-105 of your resolution directs the City Manager to return to Council to consider initiative wind-down when social distancing is no longer needed in our community.

We have heard a great deal of support from our community about safe streets efforts, and cities such as Milan and Paris are committing to long-term investments in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure post-pandemic to continue to reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion. I also think this time presents a remarkable opportunity to change the way we consider deploying our workforce. Broad commitments to teleworking by the City, County, and regional large businesses could carry us a long way toward the 50/50 mode shift to which we have committed.

That said, I would ask that this language be amended to direct the City Manager to return to Council to document learnings from this initiative and to bring forward recommendations when social distancing is no longer needed in our community:

I would suggest replacing this line:
"Return to Council to consider initiative wind-down when social distancing is no longer needed in our community."

With:
"When social distancing is no longer needed in our community, return to Council with recommendations for instituting -long-term investments in “slow streets” programs citywide to prioritize certain neighborhood streets for walking and bicycling while still allowing local vehicular traffic."

Rather than wind down this initiative as contemplated in the resolution, I believe that it is worthwhile to retain appropriate components of permanence as informed by the learnings in the pilot.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of these additions and amendments.

Best,
Kathie
Council District 9

Paige Ellis
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:37 pm

Re: Healthy Streets Initiative

Post by Paige Ellis » Thu May 07, 2020 10:02 am

CM Tovo -

I appreciate your input and accept them as friendly amendments. We have already added a 5th cosponsor so I am unable to add another. Thanks also for your participation in our last Mobility Committee meeting regarding the Rainey Street Pilot Program.

Thank You!
Paige Ellis
Paige Ellis
Council Member, District 8

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