FAN Transit Policy Workshop

Sunday, October 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Pioneer Bank Community Room @ 623 W. 38th St.

Participants

David Conley

Jennifer Houlihan

Alysha Haggerton

Andrew Mayer

Steven Knapp

Roger L. Cauvin

Girard Kinney

John Laycock

Josiah Stevenson

Discussion

David expressed his passion for eliminating minimum parking requirements. To his knowledge, FAN is the only organization that has come out, in its CodeNEXT recommendations, to eliminate off-street parking requirements citywide. This issue spurred his interest in FAN and attending the meeting. He sees eliminating minimum parking requirements as achieving better aesthetics, lower carbon emissions, and more prosperous small and local businesses.

What are the types of recommendations that should come out of FAN regarding mobility? Specific projects and lines, goals, metrics? Perhaps one possible metric is jobs accessible via transit. Perhaps ensuring accessibility to grocery stores and healthy food should be a special focus. Perhaps the original complete communities indicators from Imagine Austin should drive strategic mobility planning.

Possible areas to weigh in:

  1. Convention Center expansion and/or “downtown puzzle”
  2. Reconnect Austin
  3. Rail
  4. Parking requirements (already an official FAN position)
  5. Scenario modeling and testing
  1. Using original complete communities indicators (VMTs, cost-burdened households as measured by H+T costs, greenhouse gas emissions, impervious cover, water quality)
  2. Using measures of accessibility to employment, goods, services, and transit. (Include access to recreation, healthy activities.) (By route or transit corridor?)
  3. Multi-modal split (including trips by a short walk)
  1. Transit priority (e.g. dedicated guideway e.g. on The Drag, queue jumps).
  2. Passenger experience at transit stops and amenities.
  3. Transit funding
  4. Complete streets policies (priority: pedestrian, transit, bicycle, automobiles)
  5. Street widths and designs (taking into consideration emergency vehicle access, adopt NACTO standards regarding such factors as crosswalk visibility, street widths, and turning radii?)
  6. Transit Center (national organization) recommendations
  7. Crosswalks - pedestrian hybrid beacons, rectangular rapid flash beacons, at non-lighted intersections, at lighted intersections
  8. Legalize the Idaho stop?
  9. IH-35 BRT
  10. Capital Metro governance and public input processes - empower transit riders, don’t over-represent entities outside Austin, why is feedback ignored
  11. Suburban transit subsidies
  12. Park and Rides - expense, asphalt, serving riders outside service area
  13. Target transit service where and when there is established transit demand and be skeptical about speculative transit demand (“shaping versus serving”; consider social equity).
  14. Treat transit (and other modes) as a system to ensure it serves as many riders as possible.
  15. Ridership over coverage.
  16. Capital Metro CEO
  17. Route 1 Frequency/801 stop spacing - study ridership changes due to loss of route 1 frequency and add stops based on results of the study.
  18. Use NACTO or other more accurate and meaningful methods for traffic impact analyses (TIAs)

According to Girard, many Cherrywood neighborhood residents are supportive of density, transit, and walkability without going too far in densifying the interior of the neighborhood. Though he agreed with 90% of them, Girard saw some of the FAN CodeNEXT recommendations as not sufficiently embracing the use of transects, and favoring too much change too fast in the interior of neighborhoods. He also expressed concern about completely eliminating minimum parking requirements.

Girard urged that simple radii can be a misleading way of measuring accessibility, and that actual walk sheds are more accurate.

Local amendments to national and international codes do not go through a standard public process in Austin. 25 foot clearance for emergency vehicles has been in the local code (national is 20 feet) for a while, but there are many exceptions. The fire marshall removed all the exceptions in presenting it to City Council.

The group discussed a possible overarching theme of “access”, “accessibility”, or “connectivity” guiding strategic mobility planning.

Aesthetics of transit infrastructure may be an important consideration.

Dedicated guideway is more effective in shaping land use due to its relative permanence.

Prior to the meeting, FAN member Mike Dahmus had offered his thoughts here.