Policy Hacking: Texas cities updating street design standards

Policy Hacking with Farm&City is a monthly virtual gathering designed to engage and support citizen advocacy in local communities. Farm&City is committed to building these networking opportunities and facilitating dialogue that will shift the paradigm of growth and development toward greater sustainability and equity in Texas.

Held the first Thursday of every month, Policy Hacking with Farm&City is free and open to the public. Sign up for our Meetup group or email newsletter to make sure you don’t miss the next discussion.

Reinventing Street Design for a Better Tomorrow:
Making it Safer and Easier for People to Walk, Bike, take Transit, and even Drive (just not so much)
Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 4-5:30pm

Texas cities are upgrading design standards to make it safer for all of us to walk, bike, ride in cars, get to the bus, and enjoy public life, regardless of age or ability.

The Austin Transportation Department (ATD) has proposed a major overhaul of its Transportation Criteria Manual currently out for final public comment, and may be adopted in December 2021. Hear from Mike Schofield with ATD on what this could mean for people being able to safely, comfortably walk, bike, and use personal mobility devices in the future, and from Dan Hennessey with ATD on how this will change the rules and procedures for how new developments will play a role in making healthy, safe spaces for existing and future residents.

In El Paso, the City is working to adopt more inclusive streets designs, including incorporating the National Association of City Transportation Official’s (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Standards into their street design guide. Joaquin Rodriguez will explain how these changes will help make El Paso streets safer and more efficient for all modes.

In Houston, the city is changing the way it designs streets, including iterative, lower cost approaches to bring safer intersections to more people citywide, while changing their own development regulations aimed at having the city’s growth provide healthier, more walkable, inclusive street networks for all. David Fields and Ian Hlavacek will provide an overview of how Houston has transformed its approach and is now actively transforming its streets.

We were lucky to have presentations from Mike Schofield and Dan Hennessey with Austin Transportation Department, Joaquin Rodriguez with El Paso Streets & Maintenance, David Fields with Houston Planning & Development Department, and Ian Hlavacek with Houston Public Works.

The update to the City of Austin Transportation Criteria Manual partially explained in this video is open for final public comment until November 1, 2021. You can learn more about the updates and submit your own comments by visiting Speak Up Austin.