,  Austin Chamber of Commerce View All Reponses >>

How will you coordinate with regional partners to meaningfully address our increasing traffic level? What is your long-term vision for addressing traffic in Austin, and what would be the immediate first actions you would champion as a City Council Member to address the crisis?

Todd Phelps


In the City’s 2017-2018 Approved Budget Document “traffic flow was consistently rated as the top issue confronting the city regardless of geographic location or demographic differences.” Traffic is definitely a regional issue, but it is also a city issue. The city refused to deal with roads and traffic with the often quoted adage that if roads were not built, people would not come. So, infrastructure planning including forward thinking strategies and smart right of way acquisitions did not occur. It is fair to say the results of this strategy are catastrophic. One common sense solution is the expeditious coordination of the timing of traffic lights. Many solutions will be painful. MoPac is an example. It is incredibly difficult to shut down lanes, build overpasses and sound walls not to speak of costly when traffic is already at crisis levels. Tolls are not popular but will likely be necessary in some instances. Whereas walking and biking are solutions for some, they clearly are not for the majority of our population. It is unrealistic to think that a majority of our population would ride bicycles as their major mode of transportation or ride public transit as it exists today. Tradespeople, musicians, etc. need vehicles to commute to work. Many working families have to transport their children to day care centers and schools. Busses need lanes on which to drive and on which to stop. Ignoring the need for additional lanes is ignoring the traffic crisis. As lack of affordability is driving Austin residents out of the city, their need for regional transportation solutions increase. I would enter active discussions with CTRMA, CAMPO members, TXDoT, and Travis County. Coordination with the County is important in having initiatives that provide seamless solutions.