What We Learned
Before the November 2014 election, Austinites received grave signals from city leaders about the lack of options should Proposition 1 fail. And, sure enough, when Proposition 1 did fail, those leaders didn’t have a Plan B to address Austin’s traffic challenges.
As policy strategists and members of this community, we know Austin always has a Plan B. The extraordinary results of the November 2014 election, and the substantive nature of constituent feedback, were clear indicators of an Austin electorate more committed to citizen engagement and inclusion than ever before.
While the results outlined in this report represent an important new perspective on Austin’s evolving mobility constituency, we learned quite a bit about our city during this process.
Priorities need to be collaborated.
In the last election, we were told that light rail was our number one priority and only hope. Austin didn’t see it that way or didn’t like the proposed light rail route, depending on how you cut the pie.
New models of government require time to breathe.
Our new City Council, both structurally and substantively, needed time to consider new methods of district and citywide engagement, assess the evolving transportation landscape, and determine new constituent priorities.
New constituencies require new approaches.
Austin’s growth requires public and private commitment to ensuring all voices and communities impact the policymaking process. Simply talking about Austin’s community engagement challenges is not enough.
There’s no silver bullet.
Transportation policy creation is complex. However, rather than focus on the complexity, policymakers should see our transportation landscape as an opportunity to leverage effective, visionary leadership to focus our shared intellectual and experiential capital on solving these problems.
With the new City Council structure, the relationships between City Council, City departments, Capital Metro, and other stakeholders are developing very quickly. This evolving policy landscape provides Austinites the opportunity to advocate for the issues that are most important to them through multiple channels. Follow the contact links in each section to let them know what you think!
Successful community engagement requires a multi-modal approach.
It’s important that all viewpoints and all voices have a chance to inform the policymaking process. MobilityATX partnered with a number of public and private outreach vehicles, both online and in person, to ensure broad community participation. We were more successful in some communities than others. City officials, civic leaders and the public must develop working models to engage all stakeholders.
There’s always a Plan B.
And, maybe more importantly, there’s always a reason to engage a community in developing Plan A.
Part of the MobilityCity umbrella initiative, MobilityATX is a privately-funded online and in-person platform for all Austinites to explore discrete topics that impact Austin mobility. Lasting from April to July, MobilityATX curated a conversation by inviting the public, Austin community leaders, regional transportation brands, mobility influencers and regional employers to join this effort to turn citizen-sourced priorities into effective policy solutions.
- Step 1 : Community Engagement
MobilityATX was divided into five topics, commuting, growth, impaired driving, parking, and what works for Austin. Each of these topics were introduced on the forum by community leaders every two weeks and discussed by the greater MobilityATX community. In addition, through a partnership with Leadership Austin and Conversation Corps, Austinites could join the discussion in-person through the twenty conversations, two in every City Council district, hosted throughout Austin during the month of June.
- Step 2 : Town Hall Discussion
On June 23rd, we presented the preliminary MobiliyATX findings to the Austin community through a town hall conversation. Hosting the Mayor, mobility leaders and professionals, this town hall was a collaborative event, allowing the public to interact directly with policymakers.
- Step 3 : Collect Data & Publish Results
The final step in the MobilityATX process is this report. Produced by Glasshouse Policy in conjunction with community partners and stakeholders, this report is a glimpse inside the MobilityATX process, detailing its participation, findings and priorities, as generated by the community.
How to read this report:
This report just scratches the surface of the wide array of conversations that took place on MobilityATX.com. It is a look inside the community and its priorities. Of the 4119 upvotes on MobilityATX.com, only 1143 are covered in this report across the 10 most popular user-generated ideas. To get a fuller, richer sense of the community conversation, spend some time browsing MobilityATX.com.
Top ten most popular ideas from MobilityATX.com & corresponding number of upvotes.
- Fully fund the Bicycle Master Plan.
- Support Reconnect Austin’s vision of an I-35 that’s buried through the center of downtown.
- Dedicated bus lanes in high traffic corridors throughout the city.
- Remove all sidewalk exemptions.
- Fix Anderson Mill Road from HWY 630 – HWY 183.
- We need to allow for small scale apartments all over the city, especially in central city neighborhoods.
- Restore the original frequency on the 1 and 3 local routes.
- It’s time to reboot the Dillo!
- We need to get rid of parking minimums and consider parking maximums all over town.
- We must get cracking on planning a light-rail line that will serve the greatest number of riders on day one, and going forward. 70 Upvotes
About Glasshouse Policy
Glasshouse Policy removes the gap between citizens and policymakers, creating a more engaged citizenry and a more responsive and representative government. By acting as a forum for the general public, policymakers, academics, and all other interested stakeholders to debate, compromise, and ultimately craft crowdsourced policy solutions to the major issues the public faces today, Glasshouse Policy engages new ideas, new voices, and new constituencies on critical community issues.