Austin’s missing sidewalks

Here’s a look at the sidewalks we got (barely visible green) and the ones we don’t got (orange). Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 12.44.30 AM.png

This map is included in the draft of the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, the long-range transportation vision that City Council is poised to approve in the coming months.

What’s most striking about the map is how it shows that a lack of sidewalks is an issue in nearly every area of the city, rich and poor, north, south, east, west.

Here’s a closeup of tony West Austin neighborhoods on both sides of MoPac, many of which lack sidewalks.

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Here is a glimpse of East Austin.

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Here’s my neck of the woods in South Central Austin.

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However, not all absent sidewalks are created equal. The city has put a big emphasis on addressing missing sidewalks on the east side. Here’s a look at the priority matrix from the 2016 Sidewalk Master Plan.

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The more likely that residents of an area are to be transit-dependent, the more important sidewalks are in their neighborhood. Sidewalks are a key part of facilitating transit. Making the trip to the bus stop as safe and as comfortable as possible is key.

The city’s ten-year plan calls for adding a whopping 97 miles of sidewalks to East Austin’s District 1, compared to just 5 miles in the far northwest burbs of District 6 and 14 miles to the wealthy West Austin neighborhoods in District 10. Despite this, former CM Ora Houston accidentally voted to give away a bunch of her district’s sidewalk money at the behest of former D10 CM Sheri Gallo back in 2016.

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