Austin City Council discusses city’s Complete Streets Policy at Monday work session

The Austin City Council discussed the city’s Complete Streets Policy with Public Works Director Steven Lang at a work session following their regularly scheduled meeting at the city council chambers Monday evening.  

Lang stated at the work session that the council first adopted the policy in 2012 following recommendations from the Sustainability Task Force.  Lang stated that the policy enhanced and memorialized work, related to the transportation system, that was already being completed all around the community.  Lang stated to the council that the policy places an emphasis on providing a transportation network that services all types of users and abilities whether they are pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, or vehicle motorists, and he added that today, the policy assists the Engineering design team for the city with creating neighborhood connectivity, easier access for those with disabilities and safety by creating separate zones within the right-of-way for vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Lang indicated that the policy is utilized when applying for state and federal grants, as he noted that often it is required or the applicant will receive additional points, when providing confirmation that the community has a complete streets policy. Lang went on to state that the policy has also been used in reference to the city’s development standards to ensure that developers are also providing infrastructure to meet the needs of all users.  Lang added that the policy is a tool that is used in planning and design to ensure that the infrastructure that is built today will serve the community for the 65-year life of the roadway.  

Discussion at the work session centered around whether there should be features modified, added or removed from the policy, especially concerning the far western and southwestern portions of the city of Austin in particular, where there are currently no sidewalks located in a part of the city where some of the roads are getting to the end of their service life.  After also taking comments from members of the public on hand, the council decided to continue the policy as-is.

In items of business on their regular agenda, the Austin City Council moved to accept just over $120,000 in statewide affordable housing aid, and to allocate the funds to the Austin HRA to rehabilitate properties at 1004 11th Ave. SW, and at 907 13th Ave. SW.  The council also moved to set health insurance plans, qualifications and rates for city employees for 2024, and they also approved memorandums of agreement from bargaining groups including Law Enforcement Labor Services, the International Association of Firefighters, UAW Streets and Sewer Maintenance, UAW Wastewater Treatment Plant, UAW Parks, and the Austin Associates Organization.  

The next regularly scheduled meeting for the Austin City Council will be held on Monday, November 6th at 5:30 p.m. at the Austin City Council chambers.