The City of Austin is looking to create a pedestrian advisory council.
The pedestrian group would look at safety and walkability issues, making recommendations to city staff and the City Council. The proposal comes as city policy prioritizes denser, more walkable development – and also at a time when pedestrian deaths are on people’s minds: There were 78 traffic deaths (including pedestrians) in Austin last year.
“There are things besides just sidewalks that make places people want to walk,” says Leah Bojo, policy aide for city council member Chris Riley. “Like: maybe this a place where we really need to put in a little bit wider sidewalk, or we really need the street trees, or we really need street furniture – things like that that we don’t always necessarily think about.”
The city’s Urban Transportation Commission discussed the idea at its meeting last night. After addressing questions about the group’s bylaws and how it would interface with other groups, like the city’s Bicycle Advisory Council, the group postponed a vote on its final creation.
The proposal’s slated to return to the commission soon for a recommendation, with final approval to come from the City Council.
Correction: This article incorrectly stated that 78 pedestrian deaths occurred last year. In fact, 78 traffic deaths, including pedestrians, occurred in 2012.