City Council, District 8
The next City Council will be the body to adopt the updated Strategic Mobility Plan. While we have yet to see the final recommendations from staff or had the opportunity for our boards and commissions to weigh in, I have been tracking its progress and am generally excited about its holistic vision for a multi-modal and interlinked system. With the new district-based system, it would be too easy for us to think only of our area’s needs, without an understanding of how the pieces fit together. But, I hope with the Strategic Mobility Plan will allow us to convey to residents how an improvement in one part of town may ultimately help reduce commute times in another. For the denser parts of town (central & downtown), the only realistic solutions for improving mobility are not reliant on single-occupancy vehicles. Obviously, land use plays a role, as we need to permit and support neighborhood-scale services (retail, restaurants, etc.) that provide residents options within walking distances (which would also necessitate the safe sidewalks to support that). But, we also need dedicated right-of-way for mass transit to make transit more realistic and beneficial for people, by improving speed and reliability. For other parts of town, improvements to intersections, signal timing and overall lane management will continue to be important for lessening travel delays for the average commuter. For District 8, in particular, I would say our number one priority will be to move forward with a context-sensitive solution for the Y (convergence of 71 and 290) as promptly as possible. TxDOT recently re-laid out its proposal for an elevated highway through Oak Hill, but it is an enormously expensive project that will take many, many years to build. I believe, with City and Travis County participation, there’s an opportunity to study a parkway concept that isn’t reliant on service roads and, thus, would save time, space and money.