What policies will you advocate to address the increasingly unaffordable housing, transportation, and utility costs that are economically segregating our neighborhoods?

Danielle Skidmore

City Council, District 9

My largest priorities on Council would be Housing and Transportation. In addition to the solutions mentioned above…

Housing: We need more housing of all types and market rates, especially in proximity to our transportation corridors. In addition, reliable, robust public transportation is a key component of a affordability. Since housing costs in central Austin will always be more expensive, providing workers and students with quick transportation connections will dramatically help with family budgets.

But we also need to consider intersectionality of transit with other barriers to quality of life, in order to improve mobility more broadly within the city—such as ensuring childcare options are available at or adjacent to major employment centers or within neighborhoods. This will keep family commutes simpler, by reducing additional trips. One the most significant reasons people give for NOT choosing a transit option is the need to make that additional stop for childcare, so we can solve two major issues facing Austin’s families by thinking about these solutions intersectionally.

Transportation and Utilities: The quality of life for those who live in District 9 and across Austin has diminished as our city becomes less and less affordable. Austinites are forced to move to less expensive housing that is farther from their place of work or school, imposing a large financial strain on their budget as purchasing a car is often the only viable option. Major employment centers (UT, the Capitol, downtown) are more accessible to those who live in central Austin, but youth and folks without unlimited income have been pushed out of these neighborhoods due to rising costs of living. Providing more, faster ways to bring workers to their jobs, or students to their classes, will improve their quality of life. As a civil engineer practicing professionally for almost 25 years, I have used my background to move transportation forward (pun intended) in a variety of ways. I have long been an advocate for more sustainable roadway designs, which enhance safety, reduce unnecessary impervious cover (i.e. reduce the need for new concrete!) and congestion delay. It is through this work that I deeply appreciate the challenges of helping elected officials make the most sustainable decisions about our infrastructure investments, and understand how building new roads—or expanding old ones—is not the answer. We must go big on transit, but for that to happen we need someone with not only the skillset but the political will to make expanding public transportation a priority that Austin is willing to fight for.

Environmentally sustainable developments, which minimize utility consumption are key component of affordability. The most sustainable housing in a urban environment are multifamily structures built to modern ‘green’ building practices. Foundation Communities M Station apartments are a good example of affordble housing built to reduce total costs to the renters.