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Politics

What's At Stake In 2020? Grad Student Wants To See Better Transit Options For Austin Neighborhoods

Graduate student Ryan Natividad rides a Capital Metro bus from his apartment in Hyde Park to the UT Austin campus.
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
Graduate student Ryan Natividad rides a Capital Metro bus from his apartment in Hyde Park to the UT Austin campus.

As Austin’s population continues to grow, graduate student Ryan Natividad sees transportation as a key issue for the city’s future.

“We're expecting reasonably close to 4 million people by the year 2040,” Natividad said. “I don't want to see our public transportation system and our streets and our pedestrian and cycling facilities in the condition they are now with that many more people forced to be on our roads all the time.”

Natividad said transportation affects a city’s mobility on its roadways but also pedestrian safety, the choices residents make in deciding where to live and overall quality of life. 

Natividad has a background in architecture as well as urban design and community and regional planning, which he is studying at UT Austin. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Natividad came to Austin without a personal vehicle, and he relies on public transit.

“When I first came to Austin … what really surprised me was the amount of traffic for a city this size,” he said. “And I found it extremely difficult to find a neighborhood that would allow me to get to school and to get to work on time.” 

Natividad eventually found a housing solution in the Hyde Park neighborhood north of the university where he can bus to and from campus.

With two major transportation items on the city’s ballot this year, Proposition A and Proposition B, Natividad urges voters to think about the long-term effect of measures like these that impact mobility and urban growth for decades to come. 

A supporter of both propositions, Natividad hopes voters “think about the city that we want tomorrow and the quality of life, and how that has a potential to degrade if we don't make decisions today.”

Leading up to Election Day, KUT is showcasing different perspectives from Central Texans on what’s driving them to vote. Keep coming back to KUT.org for more stories about issues affecting local voters.

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