Funding for traffic mgmt, signals program, parking system, more on agenda

On Thursday, the Austin City Council will consider items that, if passed, would make headway in addressing the city’s mobility challenges. Described below, these innovative ideas include funding for a traffic management center operations expansion project, membership in the Lone Star Rail District, a video imaging detection system to improve traffic signals, a dynamic parking system, and mobility improvements all across the city.

“This is the year of mobility,” said Mayor Steve Adler. “People are having a hard time getting to work, so it’s time for us to get to work. On Thursday, we’re going to be doing everything from funding sidewalks to approving innovative systems that will make it easier for you to find a parking place. Great cities do big things, and there is nothing bigger facing Austin right now than our mobility crisis.” On the agenda are:

  • Item 11, a $2 million contract “to provide professional engineering services for the Austin Transportation Department Traffic Management Center Operations Expansion Project” to better manage traffic flow and congestion, improve signal timing, and better respond to emergencies.
  • Item 31, the City’s annual membership dues ($49,500) to the Lone Star Rail District, which ensures us a seat at the table in planning for the implementation of this badly needed commuter rail service connecting Williamson, Travis, and Hays Counties, all the way down to San Antonio
  • Item 41, an $844,150 contract “to provide a video imaging vehicle detection system” to help traffic signals recognize when they should turn green to accommodate cyclists and vehicles outside of the downtown core
  •  Item 42, a $658,164 contract “for the installation of sensors and signage for the implementation of a dynamic parking system” so drivers spend less time driving around looking for downtown parking places
  • Item 50, $21.8 million to pay for mobility improvements in every Council district,  including neighborhood traffic calming, intersection improvements, sidewalks, and safety improvements, such as $3.4 million overall to improve traffic signal operations. Projects prioritized by the Mayor’s Office include:
    • $800,000 to complete the Upper Boggy Creek Trail from 12th Street to MLK to connect neighborhoods to MLK Metrorail Station and key segments of the citywide trail system
    • $750,000 for a preliminary study and near-term improvements for the Pleasant Valley Bridge over Lady Bird Lake
    • $500,000 for traffic cameras on critical arterials to monitor traffic flow in real time so they can better manage signal timing
    • $340,000 for signal communications equipment for all signals on critical arterials to allow better management of traffic flow
    • $300,000 for a Smart Trips Program to help people better understand and use options for commuting, getting cars off the roads at rush hour