Electrical cars won't save our environment - density can

Electric cars alone will not save us.  Yes, they are much better than regular, fossil fuel-burning cars, but even if we replaced every single car in the world with an electric car, it wouldn’t save us. We must drastically reduce car usage in our daily lives. Continue reading

[Survey due July 10th!] How should Austin make Longhorn Dam more walkable and bikeable?

  Last Sunday, a group of AURA members met to walk across Longhorn Dam and discuss the proposed upgrade options that the city is considering.   Continue reading

How many affordable old houses are there in Central Austin?

As of June 20th, 2019, the Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR) reports that the median price for single-family homes in Austin has hit an all time high of $400,000. We often hear from City Council  that we need to save the “affordable” old housing stock in the urban core from demolition and redevelopment. Typically, they are referring to single family homes. Given this perspective, it’s worth asking how many affordable single homes are there in Central Austin? Continue reading

How Multiple Business Districts Can Hurt Dual-income Families

Activity Centers as described in Imagine Austin are akin to the Multiple Nuclei Model for a city layout created by Chauncy Harris and Edward Ullman in the 1945 article The Nature of Cities.  Harris and Ullman argued that cities do not grow a single nucleus but several separate nuclei. Each nucleus acts as a growth point.  Because of increased car ownership, people can live in less-dense single-family style neighborhoods near the nuclei containing their job and thus avoid unreasonably long commute time. Continue reading

Homes not Handcuffs

AURA continues to call for the decriminalization of homelessness and supports the efforts of the Homes not Handcuffs coalition. In light of the newly released 2019 Point in Time count, it’s more important than ever that Austin provide housing for people experiencing homelessness - not a date with a judge. Eric Goff, an AURA board member, says “The people’s strong endorsement of a historic $250 million housing bond speaks to the community’s strong desire to aid people experiencing homelessness, not put them in handcuffs for merely resting on a sidewalk or in a public place.”

AURA Statement on Rewriting The Land Development Code

As we write a new land development code we are not merely choosing which buildings we’re allowed to build and where we're allowed to build them. We are making a choice about what kind of city we want Austin to be. Do we want to be a city that looks backward to an imagined golden past, while becoming increasingly more expensive, environmentally destructive, and exclusionary? Or do we want to be a city that looks forward to a better future? One that's affordable, environmentally sustainable, and full of opportunities for everyone? Continue reading

AURA Board Elections

AURA will be holding board elections at the end of February to fill five of our eleven board seats.  Continue reading

AURA Response to the Draft Austin Strategic Mobility Plan

AURA sent the letter below to the Austin Transportation Department and members of Austin City Council on January 13, 2019.  AURA, a grassroots organization that believes in an Austin for Everyone, began its existence as a transit advocacy organization. Since then, we have released multiple reports and engaged in continual advocacy around transportation and transit issues. The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan (ASMP) will be a key document in shaping the future of Austin. As it stands, our current mobility policies have largely led to unaffordable, disconnected, unhealthy, unsafe, and environmentally destructive sprawl.  With the ASMP, especially in combination with land use reforms, we can begin charting a new course—one that includes environmental justice and greenhouse gas reductions, economic vitality, effective transit, and safer, more walkable communities everywhere. Continue reading

What is Mobility Justice?

“How can cities, including Austin, use mobility justice to guide future investment in transportation systems? What is Austin doing right now to offer more affordable mobility options for vulnerable populations and communities?”  These important questions were discussed at an Imagine Austin Speaker Series on Mobility Justice on Saturday, January 12th at the Asian American Resource Center Ballroom.  Dr. Adonia E. Lugo presented "Mobility Justice: People Power and the Future of Transportation" and shared her work on “mobility justice, the practice of accounting for the diverse vulnerabilities that individuals carry with them as they travel through shared public spaces.”   Continue reading

AURA Response to the Project Connect Vision Plan

AURA, a grassroots organization that believes in an Austin for Everyone, got our start doing transit advocacy. In 2014, we worked to improve the previous Project Connect plan. Unfortunately, our data-driven input wasn’t accepted, which led us to oppose the overall 2014 bond because it would unsustainably increase the per-rider cost and would lead to an overall reduction in ridership. We’ve hoped that this round of Project Connect goes better, and so far it is. We appreciate the data and analysis that went into the corridor selection, that there has been more transparency in general, and particularly that the Orange Line seems like it could be a transformative high-capacity transit line. Our approach to Project Connect this go-around is to call for strong corridor selection, careful selection of mode, and a focus on more sustainable future for Capital Metro by limiting unproductive and inequitable expenses while increasing the transit agency’s income. A key way to do this is by focusing on reducing the per-rider cost for new investments, which frees up funds to accommodate more riders. A focus on a high-quality transit network for Capital Metro will increase equity, focus the fight on climate change, and improve the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Continue reading