Mobility ATX just posted the #YearOfMobility section of the State of our City address. I love Mobility ATX. It’s like Reddit for Austin public policy nerds, and it encourages productive discussion which is exactly what we need to have right now. As I said in the speech on Tuesday, we need to do big things on I-35, transit, bikes and rail, or we’re just going to end up like Los Angeles. (In fact, traffic on I-35 has gotten so bad that people in Houston feel sorry for us now.) And while work is ongoing on sidewalks, street lights, and crossing signals, we need to get a lot of public input now before we consider what projects we put before the voters as soon as November. So read up and spout off.
Here are four things I know for sure:
First, Austin is safer with ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft because they take drunk drivers off the streets and provide more transportation options, and I’m certainly not trying to get them to leave town.
Second, fingerprinting drivers enhances safety for passengers.
Third, the City Council voted to create safety incentives to increase the number of fingerprinted ridesharing drivers in Austin. On January 28, 2016, the City Council will discuss what those safety incentives and disincentives will be.
Fourth, this is Austin, the city that reinvented the assembly line, country music, dinner-and-a-movie, and grocery stores. This is not an either/or city. We can find a creative solution that both allows Uber and Lyft to stay in Austin while at the same time protects women from sexual assault. Within the framework of safety incentives and benchmarks that the City Council approved on Thursday, I believe we can accomplish these goals.