Austin’s voting population has a curmudgeonly history when it comes to considering transportation bond packages, but this year they said “yes” to Prop 1, a $720 million bond package that will address Austin corridors and transit, bike, and pedestrian improvements.
The bond will focus on three categories: $482 million for corridors like Lamar Boulevard and Burnet Road; $137 million that will help fill in some of the city’s missing sidewalks and expand off street trails and bike lanes; and $101 million for regional highway projects, including some work on Loop 360. The projected timeline for bond projects to be completed is eight years from the start of work.
Large as the bond package is, it isn’t large enough to execute all the plans for Austin’s corridors, let alone the full bicycle and sidewalk master plans. But Austin Mayor Steve Adler has said he hopes the improvements that are in the budget will help traffic move more smoothly, and make alternative transportation options more attractive and feasible for more travelers.
Corridor improvements, according to City engineering studies, will include replacing center turn lanes with medians that have left-turn cutouts, improving signal technology; adding bike lanes and wider sidewalks; and perhaps adding bus-only lanes in some corridors.
The City released a memo detailing the first steps now that the bond has passed. Those include finding a Corridor Consultant and beginning design and engineering activities for all projects association with the corridor construction program. Developing a plan to take on the bond projects alone could take one to two year, Adler has said.
For more information on the projects included in the mobility bond, visit http://www.austintexas.gov/2016Bond.