AUSTIN, Texas - City staff presented their plans for mobility improvements along Manor Road and dozens of residents were all ears.
“I want what’s best for my property and my neighborhood and for the general community,” said resident Jonathan Van Ness.
The improvements are part of the 2016 mobility bond which has three major components: corridor, regional and local mobility.
The local mobility component set aside $137 million for improvements. Within that single component exists several different programs. Those include: bikeways, urban trails, safe routes to schools, sidewalk, substandard streets, intersection safety and vision zero.
“We have a number of different planning documents that have articulated an approach to addressing bikeways or addressing urban trails for example,” said Laura Dierenfield of the Austin Transportation Department.
Planners decide which projects make it onto a laundry list of doable projects based on their research “combined with the priorities that the community has articulated—in this case for bikeways,” said Dierenfield.
The final list is called the Local Mobility Annual Plan. Among the targets: mobility along Manor road.
“We are working with TxDOT to make crossing I-35 safer from Manor road to Clyde Littlefield,” said Mike Schofield of the Austin Transportation Department.
The plan takes a closer look at bicycle traffic in the area.
“We will be adding protected bicycle lanes on each side of the road,” says Schofield.
Right now, cyclists share the road with cars because a section of Manor road, between Comal and Dean Keeton, allows street parking. The solution?
“This project would eliminate close to 50 parking spaces,” said Schofield.
Those spaces, used by UT staff and students, would be offset by a parking garage on MLK Boulevard and the interstate access road, which currently has a capacity for 2,000 vehicles.
Some locals say the plans are acceptable. Still, they say city staff should consider going green.
“Similar to the solar bike lanes that you see across Europe,” said Van Ness.
Their argument is what’s Austin if not innovative?
“If we do any amount of building, I think it’s important to think about all ways that it could be beneficial to a neighborhood or to a region,” he said.
The project is still in the proposal and feedback gathering stage.