The Right Kind of Traffic Jam

Two of Movability Austin’s founding partners, The City of Austin and Capital Metro, recently hosted an event to educate and engage the community on Project Connect and the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan (ASMP). That event, called Traffic Jam, drew 230 attendees! Here are some of the key comments and takeaways Traffic Jam organizers heard from those who took part in the event:

  • Affordability, travel choice (a balanced transportation network), and safety were ranked as top priorities.
  • Economic prosperity – defined as promoting future growth through strategic investments in transportation networks that meet the needs of the 21st century – was the least-reported priority.
  • At the street-builder activity participants got to design their own street segments, and the features that showed up most often were multi-story buildings, wide sidewalks, and transit facilities.

“This confirms that participants are in line with what the City generally hears from the community the most: we have limited choices to efficiently get around our community, and the cost of living and cost of commuting are of grave concern,” the Austin Transportation Department said in a summary of the event. “Additionally, it was not surprising to hear that residents feel less concerned about our region’s economic prosperity, as Austin has been rapidly growing for decades. However, from staff’s perspective, helping the community understand that our region’s limited travel choices and growing cost of living could impact our economic success in the future is critical; all these considerations are connect and impact one another.”

Both the ASMP team and Capital Metro are going to continue to seek feedback from the community, so even if you missed Traffic Jam, there will be opportunities to make your voice heard in how to shape Austin’s mobility future!

The City’s ATD says: “The ASMP team is going out to the community to get feedback on priorities and mobility considerations through the end of May 2017. The ASMP Public Engagement Plan includes focus groups, employer-based engagement and other opportunities to ensure we hear from historically underserved communities. Additionally, if you represent a group or organization that would like to receive more information about the ASMP or facilitate a small-group feedback session, please email ASMP@AustinTexas.gov with the request. We’re happy to make “house calls”.”

Capital Metro is in the process of developing the Project Connect regional high-capacity transit plan, and is asking for riders to take a two-part survey. The survey lets you weigh in on where you’d like to see high-capacity transit and what enhancements you’d like to see on Capital Metro’s existing high-capacity services like MetroRail, MetroExpress, and MetroRapid.

A Road By Any Other Name…

People get creative when it comes to dealing with Austin gridlock, but this might be a first: a book of poetry dedicated to Austin traffic. Traffickwocky, authored by TexMoPac, offers a humorous and lyrical take on the congestion woes most Austin drivers feel.

While TexMoPac gets bonus points for creativity, we can think of a few other ways to cast off the albatross of Austin traffic.

Trying transit, carpooling, ridesharing, or biking – even if it’s only one or two times a week – may open your eyes to some of the perks that come with using options, like getting time to read or type as someone else is driving you, or getting a workout in on your way to work. And when it comes to MoPac, the bane of TexMoPac’s travels, take heart: once the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s (CTRMA) new express lanes open it will be even easier to take Capital Metro’s express buses from suburban areas. Those buses will enjoy a smooth, fast ride down the new lanes, bypassing congestion on the highway. And for commuters that means one more time- and money-saving way to get downtown!

Becoming Air Aware

Earth Day may take place in April, but there are plenty of year-round opportunities to work for a healthy environment – and there’s a great one coming up on May 1.

Join Austin Councilmember Alison Alter, Tim Jones with Environmental Health and safety Compliance and Policy at Samsung, Dr. Elena Craft, Senior Health Scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund, and Anton Cox, Air Quality Program Specialist with the Capital Area Council of Governments at the Air Quality Awareness Week Breakfast. The event takes place from 1am to 10am on May 1 at Mattie’s at Green Pastures, 811 W. Live Oak Street.

Breakfast is free, and you’ll get a chance to learn about regional clean air efforts.

To learn more about the event or RSVP, contact info@cleanairforce.org.

Can’t make the breakfast, but interested in how you can help improve air quality in Central Texas? One of the biggest actions individuals can take is to reduce the miles we drive alone. Using options like transit, carpooling, flex hours, teleworking, biking, or ridesharing can make a difference! Contact us to learn more about how you and your employer or employees can find the right mobility options.