2020 Active Mobility Bond Proposal

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Paige Ellis
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:37 pm

2020 Active Mobility Bond Proposal

Post by Paige Ellis » Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:07 pm

Colleagues -

This November, we have a historic and potentially singular opportunity to make significant progress on our stated mobility goals. I and my cosponsors could not be more excited about moving forward with our citywide transit plan, Project Connect, and we believe we can push even further toward the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan's 50/50 mode share goal by augmenting Project Connect with a substantial 2020 Active Mobility Bond.

We want to express our gratitude and appreciation to city staff for their speedy and diligent turnaround of recommendations in response to City Council Resolution No. 20200729-090. We ask much of staff, whose jobs are particularly tough during budget season, and without their work, we wouldn't be able to maximize the opportunity before us this November.

We believe we can go even further than the staff recommendation, understanding the difficulties of capacity and workload. If we want to achieve our stated goals in the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, the Austin Community Climate Plan, and our own Strategic Direction 2023, we need to put forth a significant proposal to the voters this fall.

To that end, we have constructed a $450M package that we believe will move us forward toward our ASMP 50/50 mode share goal by 2039 and our Bicycle Master Plan goal of 80% of the All Ages and Ability network constructed by 2025.

Please find a spreadsheet of our proposal here: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 81738.xlsx

Our proposal builds on the staff recommendation and includes the basic elements of the staff recommendation, plus some additional investments:

-- Funding for Very High and High Priority sidewalks throughout the city.
-- Funding for Tier 1 Urban Trails that are also part of the AAA Bicycle Network.
-- Fully funding the remaining on-street bikeways that are part of the AAA Bicycle Network.
-- Increased funding for Vision Zero and Safety programs throughout the city.
-- Increased funding for Safe Routes to School to give more kids safe options to walk and bike to school.
-- Local Transit Enhancement funding to augment transit lines not included in the Project Connect spending plan.
-- Funding for the Neighborhood Partnering Program.
-- Funding for large multimodal Capital Improvement Projects, including the construction of the Longhorn Dam Wishbone Bridge, Phase 1 of Congress Avenue improvements, replacement of the Barton Springs Road bridge over Barton Creek, and South Pleasant Valley Corridor multimodal improvements.
-- Significant investments in multimodal improvements on substandard streets in the Eastern Crescent, primarily Ross Road, Johnny Morris Road, and Walnut Creek Trail connections.

We are suggesting the $450M package strikes the right balance between overall size and transformational progress towards our City’s stated mode shift, climate change, Vision Zero, and mobility equity goals:

-- Bike infrastructure (urban trails + bikeways) and sidewalks are our workhorses on achieving mode shift and climate change mitigation, so those are boosted upwards the most compared to the staff recommendation.
-- The Safety / Vision Zero bucket covers a variety of critical programs and types of improvements, so this bucket is boosted substantially too.
-- The Multimodal Improvements to Substandard Streets bucket will advance mobility equity by focusing on improvements in the Eastern Crescent, so this bucket is boosted as well.
-- The bond election presents a unique opportunity to fund key large capital infrastructure projects that address major multimodal connectivity and safety problems, so we boost this bucket too, to add the Barton Springs Road Bridge and South Pleasant Valley Corridor Multimodal Improvements, in addition to the Congress Ave Urban Design Initiative Phase 1 and the Longhorn Dam Bridge.

We applaud the efforts that our Public Works and Transportation staff have undertaken to accelerate the deployment of the 2016 and 2018 mobility bond dollars. With our significant corridor improvements beginning next year, and the implementation of Project Connect, we have a chance to live up to our aspiration of becoming the most progressive city in the United States when it comes to non-automobile infrastructure. We also have a chance to build on the behavior change that has resulted from the pandemic, where more people are walking and riding bicycles in our city than ever before.

It's also important to consider that, in order for our transit system to be successful, we need to ensure that residents can access the main system points on safe and comfortable sidewalks, bikeways, and trails. By building out these networks, we can double or even triple the number of residents within a half-mile walk or a two-mile bike ride from a high-capacity transit stop.

I hope you'll join us in supporting a significant investment in our mobility future. The opportunity we have before is historic, and we can't let it pass us by.

Thank you,
CM Ellis, Mayor Adler, CM Harper-Madison, and CM Casar
Paige Ellis
Council Member, District 8

Ann Kitchen
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: 2020 Active Mobility Bond Proposal

Post by Ann Kitchen » Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:02 pm

All

I appreciate CM Ellis and her co-sponsor's proposal and appreciate the efforts of advocates in bringing this work forward. I have long been a supporter of all of these type projects which are important for offering mobility options, addressing equity, and ensuring safety.

I do want to offer another option - which I think is just as beneficial and is more balanced given community needs at this time. Attached are amendments to the Active Mobility Bond Proposal which I am offering as an option for Council's consideration. I am proposing that approving a $300 million bond now much better aligns with the current economic environment of our city, and would suggest these considerations:

1). There remains significant uncertainties and concerns around affordability in our city and I want to be mindful about overburdening folks and adding to the affordability challenges we have as a city.

2). The City has significant active transportation funds that have yet to be spent (over $100 Million) and we will not be ready for the next infusion for a couple of years. A less costly amount now still allows for significant work prior to the next bond cycle of 2022 or 24. There is no need for this large a package at this time.

3) This proposal did not go through the city's usual public input processes, which allows the community to weigh in on priorities. At $450 Million, the amount proposed, for example, eclipses our largest Housing Bonds. In light of our housing challenges and other needs, I have got to question whether it is appropriate to earmark this much for transportation at this point in time - particularly since we can make significant progress at a lower amount towards reaching the city's goals.

SUMMARY OF PROPOSAL (Compared to Ellis proposal)
1) Maintains same level of funding for bikeways, and increases funding for local transit enhancements and substandard streets
2) Increases (from staff recommendation) for urban trails and bikeways for a total of $90.9 to get closer to 80% goal
3). Addresses high priority substandard roads and CIP projects, including Longhorn Dam, Pleasant Valley, Ross Road, Nuckols Crossing, and Cooper Lane
4) Reduces amount for Barton Springs Road Bridge to align with appropriate project stage given community concerns and need for further dialogue
5) Recognizes funding for Corridor Program and other placemaking projects associated with active transportation

PLACEMAKING OPPORTUNITIES:
The Corridor Program Office (CPO) is strategically leveraging transportation improvement bond dollars to achieve comprehensive community outcomes and policy initiatives by partnering with other city departments, developers, non-profit organizations and agencies to extend the scope of the corridor transportation improvement projects so that together we can amplify the community, culture, and the mobility experience.
CPO has identified high impact placemaking opportunity areas that fall within districts, gateways or nodes along the nine Corridors in the Corridor Construction Program, including William Cannon, North and South Lamar, East MLK, East Riverside, Guadalupe, Burent and Airport.

BARTON SPRINGS ROAD BRIDGE (funding to complete preliminary engineering)
The Barton Springs Road Bridge has been a highly controversial project that was previously put on hold due to concerns from the community.
Next step should be to provide funding to complete the Preliminary Engineering Report, provide for community input, and bring back to council for more consideration on options and how to proceed. To name this project in the bond package without the opportunity for discussion, will catch the Barton Springs community and Zilker Neighborhood off-guard. Frankly it feels very....unfair, for these communities, considering we’ve had no recent updates or reports on its progress and the late hour of posting it for inclusion in the proposed bond package.

I have posted amendments to the ballot language, contract with the voters, and included a spreadsheet of the proposal.

300 Kitchen proposal: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 173620.pdf
Motion Sheet Item 10- Ballot Ordinance: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 173809.pdf
Motion Sheet Item 11- Contract w Voters: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 173855.pdf

Thank you for your consideration

Best Regards
Ann Kitchen
City Council D5
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5

Paige Ellis
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:37 pm

Re: 2020 Active Mobility Bond Proposal

Post by Paige Ellis » Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:26 pm

Colleagues -

Based on community feedback, this updated Contract with the Voters represents a responsive $450 million bond package for Council’s consideration. It lists capital improvement projects, names substandard streets, and incorporates feedback from the SOS Alliance regarding green infrastructure and handling of Barton Springs Bridge & Road improvements. The proposed Barton Springs Road improvements will be tied to the forthcoming Zilker Park Vision Plan process, including Plan approval by Council, and will not be executed without further community engagement. Overall, this is a balanced package that funds prioritized mobility needs for our community and moves us meaningfully towards our equity, climate, and safety goals. I look forward to tomorrow's discussion.

http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 232357.pdf

Thank you,
Paige Ellis
Paige Ellis
Council Member, District 8

Ann Kitchen
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: 2020 Active Mobility Bond Proposal

Post by Ann Kitchen » Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:59 am

CM Ellis

I appreciate your efforts to address concerns related to the Barton Springs Bridge. In my conversations with the community, there is a concern that the amount included in the $450 M package presupposes a replacement of this historic bridge, which has been an issue of community concern for quite some time.

I am proposing the following amended language, which I think more specifically captures the community involvement and the Council's decision making process. In addition, as you have indicated in the contract with the voters, funding could be used for road improvements that improve multi-modal mobility through the park and are not limited to the bridge itself.

"Funding for Barton Springs Road Improvements shall only be used for improvements between Barton Boulevard and Lou Neff Road after completion of the preliminary engineering study for the Barton Springs Bridge, which shall include a community engagement process, and after presentation of improvement options, a public hearing, and approval of options by City Council. Any improvements shall be aligned with the Zilker Park Vision Plan once approved by Council."

Best Regards
Ann Kitchen
City Council D5
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5

Paige Ellis
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:37 pm

Re: 2020 Active Mobility Bond Proposal

Post by Paige Ellis » Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:34 am

CM Kitchen -

I accept this proposed language and will incorporate it into the document.

Thank you,
Paige Ellis
Paige Ellis
Council Member, District 8

Ann Kitchen
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: 2020 Active Mobility Bond Proposal

Post by Ann Kitchen » Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:24 am

CM Ellis

Thank you for accepting that amendment.

Attached is my revised contract with the voters, which makes amendments to the document you posted last night
- for the $300 million option
- incorporates the language above that you have now included also
- incorporates projects related to Corridor Program Projects, including pedestrian infrastructure projects, and other active transportation projects that create long-term improvements that enhance the multi-modal system and not funded through the Corridor Construction Program (Council Resolution 20180426-028)

See the link below.
http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 01730.docx

Best
Ann Kitchen
City Council D5
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5

Ann Kitchen
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: 2020 Active Mobility Bond Proposal

Post by Ann Kitchen » Thu Aug 13, 2020 4:47 pm

Attached is my updated contract with the voters:
- for the $300 million option

See the link below.
http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 164406.pdf

Best
Ann Kitchen
City Council D5
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5

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