The Austin Chronicle

Proposition B: Getting Behind Active Transportation

Voters also have the chance to approve a record investment in pedestrian, bike infrastructure, and traffic safety improvements

By Jack Craver, September 25, 2020, News

Project Connect isn't the only way that this year's ballot could help transform transportation. Voters also have the chance to approve a record investment in pedestrian and bike infrastructure and traffic safety improvements via Proposition B.

The $460 million bond goes hand in hand with Project Connect's goal of providing alternatives to cars that are safer, healthier, more equitable, and more climate-friendly. $120 million will go toward urban trails and protected bike lanes, both of which make biking much safer and therefore much more appealing. (These are elements of what the city's mobility plans call the All Ages and Abilities Bicycle Network.) The goal is to emulate the likes of Portland, Ore., and Seville, Spain, both of which saw dramatic increases in bike use after relatively modest (compared to roads spending) investments in protected bike infrastructure.

The bond includes money for several major projects, including a new pedestrian and bike bridge over Lady Bird Lake at Longhorn Dam; a better and safer bridge over Barton Creek entering Zilker Park; much-needed improvements on South Pleasant Valley Road; and the first phase of improvements to the Congress Avenue Urban Design Initiative, which includes wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and other changes to Congress; plus about 80 miles of Very High and High Priority sidewalks; Vision Zero street improvements aimed at reducing car crashes; improvements to substandard streets; and safety improvements near schools.

$102 million: Large Multimodal Capital Improvements: Barton Springs Road bridge, Longhorn Dam bike/pedestrian bridge, Congress Avenue Urban Design Initiative, South Pleasant Valley Road multimodal connectivity

$80 million: Sidewalks (new/rehab, about 80 miles)

$80 million: Urban trails: transportation-related Tier 1 urban trails that are also a part of the All Ages and Abilities Bicycle Network

$65 million: Comprehensive mobility safety/Vision Zero street improvements

$53 million: Substandard street multimodal improvements, primarily in the Eastern Crescent (e.g., Ross Road, Johnny Morris Road, and Walnut Creek Trail connections)

$40 million: Protected bikeways

$20 million: Safe Routes to School improvements

$19 million: Local transit enhancement to augment transit lines, such as bus turnouts

$1 million: Neighborhood Partnering Program (small-scale projects with a neighborhood match)

Copyright © 2022 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.