AUSTIN, Texas - A petition is calling on the City of Austin to create a Living Streets program. The idea behind the program is to turn streets into more than just uses for cars by encouraging neighbors and kids to get outside and enjoy their community safely.
"We need safe, shared streets for everyone - for the community, kids, walking and bicycling, and for beauty - not just driving through," the petition said in part. "And the community should lead the way."
The petition is asking the City of Austin to work with the community to create a Living Streets program to allow the following on neighborhood streets:
- Neighbor-led traffic-calming and placemaking: Neighbors use their own creative materials, such as benches, plants, and street murals, to slow traffic and create gathering spaces
- Resident-led Healthy Streets: Neighbors use City of Austin equipment to create their own Healthy Street for one block or longer
- Play Streets for kids: Residents block off their street to through-traffic for a few hours up to several days a week to allow children to play
- Block parties: Allow neighbors to more easily organize block parties to build community
The petition is also asking Austin City Council and the City Manager to launch a one-stop-shop website where residents can learn about and apply for these Living Streets activations.
"The Living Streets effort will create a simple process that empowers residents to take the lead on imagining fun and unique spaces for their neighborhood," said Austin City Council Member Paige Ellis, lead sponsor of the Living Streets resolution. "It has become clear that Austinites want to get to know their neighbors in a more meaningful way - from the ongoing pandemic to looking out for each other during the winter storm. Outdoor spaces for public gathering and entertainment is the perfect way to continue building community relationships."
Adam Greenfield, Board President of Walk Austin said, "Living Streets would be a profound step forward for Austin. By allowing communities to reshape their own streets, our city will become safer and more beautiful and socially connected than ever before."
For more information on the Living Streets concept, click here.