Imagine Austin priority program 1: Invest in a compact, connected Austin

This post is part of a series on Imagine Austin's priority programs, in light of Austin's current CodeNEXT rewrite process. View the entire series here. Prior to Imagine Austin, it was clear that this city had a long way to go before it could be considered to be even a little bit "compact and connected." Outside of the few square miles of old Austin, much of this city had been laid out as though it was one massive suburban subdivision—with low-density housing and disconnected streets dominating the landscape. Continue reading

An Imagine Austin Primer

  On the fourth anniversary of the adoption of Austin’s comprehensive plan, Imagine Austin, let’s take a moment to review what the plan is, how it came to be, how it relates to the CodeNEXT effort to revise the land development code, and how we measure success in implementing it. Continue reading

Why does Capital Metro prioritize suburban park and rides over bus shelters in the core?

The most significant transportation news of the last two weeks has been Mayor Steve Adler’s $720 million dollar bond proposal, as well as the June 1st staff presentation on bond possibilities. Both the mayor and the staff are very focused on funding “smart corridors” that will mostly benefit car mobility with limited provisions for bikes, pedestrians, and transit. Possibly overshadowed by this, was, two weeks ago, the dedication of a much smaller amount of money, which also signified a strike in favor of continued car dependence. At the May 23, 2016 Capital Metro Board Meeting, the board gave final approval to the expansion of the parking lot at the Lakeline Park and Ride. The $1.8 million dollar expansion will add an additional 460 spaces at the suburban P&R, which is also the site of one of the red line train stations.  Continue reading

How Bicycles Helped My Family

This is the first in a series of posts showing real life examples of how the proposals in AURA's Transit City report can benefit Austinites. I advocate for better transit and mobility options so that all Austinites have choices to go “car lite” and reap the benefits of a healthier, greener, and more affordable lifestyle. This is my family’s story of how we have saved money, gotten healthier, and had less impact on the environment through our transportation choices. Continue reading

AURA Endorses Re-Election of Austin City Council Member Greg Casar

Members of AURA have voted overwhelmingly to endorse Austin City Council member Gregorio Casar, who represents District 4, for re-election in November. Continue reading

AURA calls on Austin City Council and Capital Metro to Transform Austin for Transit

For Immediate Release AURA calls on Austin City Council and Capital Metro to Transform Austin for Transit May 16, 2016 Austin, Texas AURA today calls on Austin City Council and Capital Metro to enact the critical next steps needed to make Austin a transit-oriented city. If adopted, these steps would move us well toward a key AURA goal: that Austinites will take over half their trips via public transportation, walking, or bicycling by 2040. AURA’s new report “Transit City: A Vision for a Multimodal Austin” argues for implementation of a high-frequency bus network, permitting of abundant housing near existing transit, full funding of the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, construction of missing sidewalks already identified by the city as High Priority needs, liberalization of parking requirements throughout the city, and more. Continue reading

Democratic Candidates for Texas House District 49 respond to AURA's questionnaire

AURA submitted a questionnaire to all Democratic Party candidates running for Texas House District 49. Long time representative Elliott Naishtat has announced he will not seek another term; the Democratic Party primary is expected to serve as a de facto election. Since HD-49 is the only Texas House seat entirely within the city limits of Austin, AURA asked candidates for their views on state issues that affect Austin's land use, transit, and urban living. We received responses from three candidates: Huey Fischer, Gina Hinojosa, and Heather Way. We present their responses below. We have not received answers from Aspen Dunaway, Kenton Johnson, Blake Rocap, and Matthew Shrum. We will publish them if they answer later. UPDATE, 2/9/2016: We have received responses from Aspen Dunaway and have posted them below.   Continue reading

Relocation Assistance

As Austin’s housing market tightens, our low-income renters continue to be the most impacted. Austin has lost thousands of market-rate affordable housing and continues to see affordability disappear. Many Austinites have abruptly lost their homes and are subsequently pushed out of the city altogether. AURA recognizes the need to help displaced families find homes in Austin, which is why it endorses a Tenant Relocation Assistance ordinance. Continue reading

AURA commends City Council for allowing more backyard cottages in Austin

For Immediate Release AURA commends City Council for allowing more backyard cottages in Austin November 19, 2015 Austin, Texas AURA, an urbanist grassroots non-profit that works toward an Austin for Everyone, commends City Council for taking action to allow more Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) – known colloquially as granny flats, garage apartments, or backyard cottages – to be built in Austin. Continue reading

AURA urges City Council: After 18 months of public input, it is time to legalize backyard cottages citywide

For Immediate Release AURA will host a press conference Tuesday, November 17 at 8:30 am at City Hall November 17, 2015 Austin, Texas AURA, an urbanist grassroots non-profit that works toward an Austin for Everyone, along with a diverse coalition of organizations strongly urge Austin City Council to adopt the draft ordinance on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)—known colloquially as granny flats, garage apartments, or backyard cottages. Continue reading