AUSTIN (KXAN) — In the second phase of Austin’s Healthy Streets Initiative, three new sections of streets will get temporary traffic control devices to promote physical activity and mental health. The city shared this information in a news release Monday morning.
Within the next two weeks, the Austin Transportation Department confirmed it will roll out the following “Healthy Streets” in Hyde Park, Windsor Park and Southwest Austin:
- Avenue G from 38th Street to 56th Street
- Belfast Drive from Broadmoor Drive to Cameron Road
- The street segments including Marsh Drive, Leo Street, Seminary Ridge Drive and Whispering Oaks Drive from West Slaughter Lane to West William Cannon Drive.
The department said the goal is to open up streets to allow more space for walking, running, biking and other activities that benefit physical and mental health. These streets will feature “soft closures,” meaning motor vehicle access will only be available for residents, deliveries and emergency vehicles.
ATD said it selected these three street segments following more than 500 pieces of public input.
Of the 525 public comments for the six streets they considered for this program, the city noted in its release Monday that only 68 were not supportive, and 50 were comments with suggestions. Additionally, the city noted the input from the community factored into its decision to change one Healthy Streets location from Avenue F to Avenue G. Avenue G has more visible street crossing points at major intersections and fewer conflicts with business driveways, the city said.
These three new Healthy Streets will be in addition to the current Healthy Streets segments that include:
- Bouldin Ave. / S 3rd St. / Garden Villa Ln. from Banister Ln. to Barton Springs Rd.
- Comal St. from Manor Rd. to Lady Bird Lake
- Country Club Creek Trail extension (Trail, Wickersham Ln., Oltorf St., Pleasant Valley Rd., Ventura Dr., Madera Dr.) from Mabel Davis Park to Lakeshore Dr.
- Riverside Dr. from Lamar Blvd. to South 1st St.
- Pleasant Valley Rd. from Canterbury St. To S. Lakeshore Blvd.
Some business owners impacted by existing Healthy Streets have expressed frustrations about the program.
In the coming weeks, the transportation department plans to announce a third group of Healthy Streets. These Healthy Streets are expected to remain in effect as long as “resources allow” and physical distancing is recommended as a result of the COVID-19 risk-based guidelines.
The Healthy Streets initiative came after Austin City Council directed the city back in May to create spaces to promote physical and mental health in light of the coronavirus pandemic.