Austin passes $720 million mobility bond, will turn Guadalupe into city activity corridor

Sarah Philips

The city of Austin has voted to pass Proposition 1, a $720 million mobility bond, that will turn Guadalupe Street, a well-traversed street for students, into a city activity corridor and provide funds for city-wide transportation improvements.

“This is a magical place, but we’re only going to be able to maintain that if we actually do what needs to be done to deal with the challenges that we have and they are mobility and they are affordability and they’re linked,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said at the Move Austin Forward election night party, the Austin-American Statesman reported. “Now, the work begins.”

The proposition was proclaimed as victory by Adler, a major proponent of the bond, at about 9 p.m. Tuesday night at the Lavaca Street Bar in downtown Austin. 59 percent of voters were in favor of the proposition. 

“The numbers are really great, it’s a solid win,” Jim Wick, spokesperson for the Move Austin Forward campaign, said. “We’re glad that the city is ready to invest in our mobility problem. It’s something that’s going to be great for the city.”

The bond divides the money into $482 million for corridors, $101 million for regional mobility and $137 million for local mobility and active transportation. 

Within the local mobility and active transportation portion of the bond, $11 million will be provided for planning, design, engineering and road repairs, $37.5 million for sidewalks, $27.5 million for school routes, $26 million for urban trails, $20 million for biking infrastructure and $15 million for intersection improvements, according to the Move Austin Forward campaign. 

The City Relations Agency of Student Government recently endorsed Proposition 1 as a good plan to decrease traffic congestion and improve transportation safety. 

“From early voting numbers, it looks like campus is in support of it which is great because it has the potential to positively impact students by providing greater transport safety if we live off campus and or frequently go to other parts of Austin,” Allie Runas, spokesperson for the city relations agency said.

The bond also turns Guadalupe Street into an activity corridor, which could possibly direct money to implementing more bike lanes and bus lanes. Runas said SG would be working with city government to voice student input in the changes.

“The city relations agency wanted to work closely to see if we could maximize student output on student areas,” Runas said. “We’re meeting with the mayor’s office frequently to try and discuss things like that.”

Wick said proponents of the bond and city government will be working with statewide agencies to implement the plan.

“In the next 90 days the city manager needs to come back with a plan to implement it,” Wick said. “The city wants action. We’re going to get to work talking to [the Texas Department of Transportation], with the Texas government, to get as much money to help us with this. It’s kind of like a poker game, we put our ante in, now it’s time to get to work.”