We are awarding 2 free tickets ($44 value) to 1 lucky DAB reader for this AWESOME bike tour happening this Saturday, April 23rd, beginning at 9:30AM. MEET UP AT WHOLE FOODS ON LAMAR. Winner will also receive 2 FREE Downtown Austin Blog t-shirts (priceless?)! [Read more...]
We’ve got some momentum on this: improving last-mile and recreational transit by installing bike share hubs throughout Austin’s urban core. DAB readers know this is something I’ve been passionate about for years. The idea has the attention of multiple Austin City Council members. Take five seconds and **VOTE NOW**!
In the latest draft of possible urban- and light-rail alignments, we generally see the same routes we’ve been looking at for the past year. Alas, it’s important to understand that rail will not simply be delivered, it will evolve over decades to serve more and more people. The Statesman has a nice graphic that shows the heart of the system being envisioned. [Read more...]
My friend Zeke had a vision. He had a vision to make workouts fun and accessible to guys who don’t usually work out and who generally don’t really like working out. He had a vision to blend exercise with exploring. Zeke (and the other founding members of the group) made his vision into reality with a small (but growing) bike club call “Fat Guy Cycling Club.” The group does weekly (weather permitting) bike rides around central and downtown Austin, usually followed by a pretty manly lunch. Downtown Austin Blog loves his concept, and asked him to write a very short blurb on his group….
Six months after the opening of the MetroRail… Downtown Austin Blog contributor, Nicole Sanseverino, hops on board the Red Line with an update on just how well the $110 million dollar project is doing.
The MetroRail makes its way from Leander to Downtown Austin on 32-miles of existing freight tracks. It’s a commuter rail that runs only during peak traffic hours in the morning and evening. UT students ride for free using their IDs. But, some students don’t even know it exists…
“The MetroRail… I don’t know anyone who takes it,” said one UT student.
According to Cap Metro, less than one percent of the UT community take advantage of the rail. One student who lives in Round Rock says the rail is a convenient way to get to class.
“It’s quick, it’s calm, sometimes I can sleep on it. I don’t get sick like on the bus,” said UT student Anke Sanders. But, she does wish the rail operated at other times during the day. “If it could ran more often especially during weekends maybe to go downtown for dinner or something that’d be ideal,” Sanders said.
If the City’s proposed Mobility Bond passes in November, it will launch an effort to expand the rail. CapMetro approved mid-day service beginning in January, but doesn’t have any concrete plans to increase the actual infrastructure of the rail.
“We don’t have any immediate plans for building more. I think what people would see first would be maybe purchasing more vehicles, expanding these rail stations,” Cap Metro spokesperson Misty Whited said.
After its first six months, the MetroRail is averaging 800 riders per day, but the city of Austin and CapMetro hope that as the population increases, so will ridership.
“We think it’s a great success,” Whited said. “We’re operating very well and efficiently, we just would like to see some more riders of course, but with any new service it takes time to develop that ongoing ridership patterns that you would like to see.”
Despite some bumpy tracks near its beginning, the rail chugs along.
Nine months after the plan was announced, this week they begin the parking improvements to 6th Street that will result in angles “back in” style parking. This is a shift from parallel parking found on most of W 6th. This has been espoused as a safer method of parking when trying to facilitate a major east-west artery, bike lane, and retail parking.
There’s a new way to be heard and see what others are saying about transportation in Austin. Since the urban core of a large and fast growing city like Austin needs effective transportation, every Downtown Austin Blog reader should also get snapping.
SNAPPatx – Social Networking and Planning Project in Austin, TX – began with UT students sitting around a table talking about how to give students a better way get involved in transportation decisions that mean so much for the their lives in Austin. These students, the City of Austin’s Department of Transportation, and Alliance for Public Transportation coordinated with Texas Citizen Fund to applied for and won a Federal Transit Administration PTP grant to innovate the use of social media as an easier and more convenient option for engaging Austin’s Strategic Mobility Planning (ASMP).
SNAPP focuses communications specifically toward some of the population segments least likely to show up to traditional planning meetings, e.g., younger adults/students, adults with young families, and seniors.
How SNAPPatx functions
SNAPP coordinates with the City of Austin, and other information resources, to develop and push out timely information about issues and decisions related to Strategic Mobility Planning.
SNAPP actively encourages discussion by:
- Capturing comments related to transportation in Austin.
- Communication specialists who ask questions to ensure each commenter is providing clear input related to Strategic Mobility Planning.
- Hosting surveys and other unique activities.
- To promote even more conversation, all of this is displayed as transparently as possible in aggregate on the SNAPPatx website and separately, Facebook fans see Facebook comments, Twitter followers see tweets, etc.
Finally, SNAPP analyzes all of these comments for type of comment, themes, topics, trends and sentiment. Specific “gaps” identified are sent directly to the City to become part of their gaps database. A detailed report on trends, topics, and themes is provided to the Strategic Mobility Plan staff and contractors as additional input into the planning process. And, the analysis of trends, themes, and topic is pushed back out into the SNAPP conversation as well.
Start snapping today
The clock is ticking. SNAPPatx has only months to show the world that Austin figure out how to use social media as a handy way to make a difference in planning – Austin Strategic Mobility Plan to be specific. So we need you to connect with us by:
Follow us on Twitter
Become a fan on Facebook
Connecting is the easiest way for you to see information as well as things your neighbors are saying about transportation, and then to contribute your own ideas and thoughts.