Get with the Movement: Mobility Priorities in District 9

Written by Meaghan Bludau

Maplewood sidewalk. Photo by Brendan Wittstruck.On Friday, October 2, City Council Member Kathie Tovo hosted neighborhood representatives from District 9 at City Hall to solicit feedback on how to spend funds available for transportation projects aimed at increasing mobility.

In 2001, Cap Metro agreed to share 25 percent of annual revenue that had been dedicated for light rail with the City to fund transportation projects. Approximately $21.8 million in “Quarter Cent Funding” remains and will be distributed among the 10 districts. It is not yet clear how the money will be allocated; however, each City Council member agreed to reach out to their constituents to gather input on how it should be spent.

Transportation staff plan to take this feedback into account as they draft a list of recommendations for consideration at the Mobility Committee meeting on November 4. City Council is expected to make final decisions about project funding by the end of the year.

Gordon Derr of the City of Austin Transportation Department explained that the projects eligible for this funding are within a quarter mile of a school and a bus stop, with the quarter mile distance measured by actual walking distance. City staff plan to prioritize projects that address multiple transportation needs at once.

Girard Kinney and Meaghan Bludau attended on behalf of Cherrywood Neighborhood Association and commented that four items shown on the map were of particular importance to the neighborhood:

  1. Installation of the long-awaited signal at 38th 1/2 Street and Lafayette,
  2. Construction of sidewalks between Manor Road and 38th 1/2 Street on the east side of Lafayette,
  3. Construction of a sidewalk between 38th 1/2 Street and Patterson Park on the east side of Cherrywood Road, and
  4. Installation of a signal at Walnut and Manor Road.

The two sidewalk projects have long been listed as projects eligible for Capital Improvement Project funds, a separate bucket of money, and were again approved as part of the top five priorities by the Cherrywood General Assembly at the August 2015 meeting. The sidewalk on Lafayette is also on the final list of the top ten recommendations developed by the Upper Boggy Creek Contact Team in the summer, which may increase the likelihood that it will be accomplished.

Share Your Two Cents on the Quarter Cent Funds.  Council Member Tovo is interested in additional comments from neighborhood residents. Comments can be sent by email to District9@austintexas.gov, or residents can call Council Member Tovo’s office directly.

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