A new Austin growth plan will be voted on by city council Thursday. The plan, called Imagine Austin, is a map for where city planners would like to see growth happen in the coming years. But a process fraught with compromise has left a plan that has something for everyone to hate, Statesman.com reports.
The 197-page document is the result of two years of hard work and is mostly an aspirational draft that will hopefully guide all city policy for the next 30 years. It covers what should be built, what industries should be encouraged, and where people should be guided to live.
The plan centers around the phrase “invest in a compact, connected Austin.” However, many business groups are unhappy with the plan’s discouragement of suburban growth and inner-city neighborhood activists are unhappy and afraid that the plan will cause a lot of building in quiet central-city areas. Due to the strong opposition from many west side neighborhoods, growth is not as dense in those areas. East side activists point to this as yet another example of their area of town being forced to shoulder much of the burden of city initiatives while “excus(ing) the wealthiest and most stable West Austin neighborhood(s) from accommodating increased density and connectivity.”
Imagine Austin tried to tackle the forecast that 700,000 more people are expected to move into Austin in the next three decades and think about where they will work, live, recreate and how they will travel around. The solution was to center growth for both residences and businesses around corridors with great bus and rail lines, including Airport and North Lamar. It would also encourage growth in the north and south areas of the city to be in groupings of apartments and houses and retail rather than separating where you live from where you work or shop. The goal is to cut down traffic congestion by reducing commutes.