Remember that $720 million transportation bond (Prop 1) that voters approved back in November? For a while, it was all anyone could talk about… but now that the election is over and the money has been approved, what’s next?
Today, we have an update.
Earlier this month, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) agreed to spend $204 million in state money towards improvements at nine intersections along Loop 360. That money is being added to the $46 from the mobility bond that has been dedicated to Loop 360, increasing the total investment in that highway to $250 million.
Construction on the first batch of new sidewalks that will be funded by the bond is set to begin this summer. You can look at all the new sidewalks the city plans on building within the next six months with this interactive map.
Why are sidewalks so important?
According to the 2016 Sidewalk Master Plan, Austin has 2,500 miles of missing sidewalks. A strong sidewalk network can help to facilitate public transit by making it easier to walk to the bus stop, facilitate safer routes for kids walking to school, and simply make a community more connected. The mobility bond sets aside $37.5 million in funding for sidewalk infrastructure, which is expected to pay for about 60 miles of new sidewalks in Austin. The work is expected to be be complete in four years.
The $720 million mobility bond also includes about $20 million for bike lanes in order to help fund the Bicycle Master Plan. The plan (which was approved in 2014, but didn’t have all the funding set aside to make it an immediate reality) lays out a path forward for creating a connected and protected active transportation (walking and biking) network for all Austinites. The plan is essentially a biker’s dream, envisioning a 247-mile, $152 million bicycle path network throughout Austin. The plan is expected to remove 20,000 daily car trips from the road, representing a 7 percent reduction in motor vehicle traffic in the densest parts of Austin.
With this new influx of money from the mobility bond, the city is now seeking public input on which bike lanes should receive the highest priority and which projects should be completed first. You can give your input with this online survey.