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Frequently Asked Questions

The City of Austin uses a Pavement Management Information System (PMIS) to track pavement inventory and performance to coordinate, plan, and forecast pavement needs. The PMIS ensures that the sealcoat method is the most cost effective program for long-term pavement maintenance. The decision to maintain a specific street is primarily based on its age and condition.

Read more about street preventative maintenance and the sealcoat process.
 

  • Minor concrete repair and construction
  • Street preventative maintenance
  • Right-of-way maintenance
  • Bridge maintenance
  • Street repairs
  • Tree pruning and trimming

Please call 3-1-1 to find out when a particular street is due for preventative maintenance. To hear which streets are scheduled for the following day, please call the Street Resurfacing Hotline at 974-7878.

Just call 3-1-1 (512-974-2000 outside of Austin) or visit 311's customer service page to make your request.

Capital Improvement Program

Access Standards in pdf, AutoCAD and MicroStation format here. You can use the table of contents to locate details by name. This is a temporary location for the standards while the publisher sets up their site to provide all formats.

To access Specifications, access the publisher's website. All other Criteria Manuals and the City Code are also available on the publisher’s website.

Child Safety Program

The City of Austin Child Safety Program’s team of Safety Trainers is available to provide training free of charge to interested schools in Austin. They are also available to assist with holding a bike rodeo for your school. To schedule a training or rodeo, contact Rhonda Bolick, Education Program Coordinator, at (512) 974-5633.

All requests for crossing guards should be supported by the Campus Advisory Council (CAC) for the school. With CAC approval, call Austin 3-1-1 or submit a request online citing the specific intersection for the proposed crossing guard.

The request will be received by the Child Safety Program, which will conduct a pedestrian and bicycle count on an unannounced, fair-weather day to determine an accurate average count. A minimum of twenty children crossing during school zone hours is the usual standard to warrant a crossing guard.

To be considered by the Austin Transportation Department, all requests for infrastructure or engineering changes near a school, such as school zones, must be coordinated and approved by the Campus Advisory Council (CAC) for the school. If the CAC is supportive of changes, the first step is to submit a 311 request with the specific location of the desired school zone.

This request will be received by the Child Safety Program, which will evaluate the request, seek additional information if necessary, and pass it along to the appropriate ATD Traffic Engineer with a recommendation. The Traffic Engineer will then make an assessment, and if the engineer believes a new school zone or change to the existing school zone is necessary, he or she will seek appropriate approval for the changes.

Requests for traffic calming for speed mitigation issues are handled through the Local Area Traffic Management Program. You will find additional information and an application form on their website.

Safe Routes to School is an international movement with two basic goals: improve the safety conditions of routes to school and encourage more children and families to bike or walk to school. Locally, Safe Routes to School is an initiative of the Child Safety Program. Our goal: To enable and encourage all children to choose a health-enhancing, physically-active mode of transportation to and from school.
 
The Child Safety Program partners with schools to help them develop their own individualized Safe Routes to School Program and Plan. Program elements can include Walking School Buses, Bike Rodeos, classroom walking contests, and much more. Contact our Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator, Chelsea Donahue, to see how to get your school involved, or check out our quick-start guide.

BOW WOW (Bike on Wednesday – Walk on Wednesday) is an encouragement program promoted by the Child Safety Program to motivate more children to bike or walk to school. The month-long program runs each Wednesday, when children who bike or walk are able to enter their names into a raffle. At the end of the month, two bicycles (one for a boy, one for a girl) and ten pedometers are distributed to raffle winners.

To learn when your school will be scheduled or for assistance in starting your own BOW WOW encouragement campaign, contact Rhonda Bolick, Education Program Coordinator, at (512) 974-5633.

Neighborhood Partnering Program

The Neighborhood Partnering Program (NPP) allows citizens to partner with the City to propose small to medium scale projects on City-owned property to improve the places in which they live, work and play.  

Examples of projects that qualify:

  • Beautification/landscaping, including adopting a City median
  • Pedestrian and bicycling enhancements
  • Community gardens
  • Pocket parks
  • Trails, trailheads, and gateways
  • Curb, gutter, and green streets
  • Street furniture
  • Park improvements

All proposed projects must be on City-owned property, have a community benefit and be publicly accessible. They must also come from a community group such as a:

  • Neighborhood Association registered with the City of Austin
  • Neighborhood Plan Contact Team
  • Community service associations
  • Educational, ethnic, cultural, or religious organizations
  • Neighborhood Cost-Share is when you apply to the City to have your project funded.
  • Grant Assistance is when you apply to the City for funding to meet a cash portion of a grant you have received or for which you are applying.
  • Parking Benefit Project Proposal is when you apply to the City to develop a project proposal to expend public improvement funds earned by a Parking Benefit District.
  • Adopt-A-Median is when you apply to the City to enter into an agreement to beautify and maintain a median or other rights of way.

Yes! For cost-sharing programs, completed applications are due June 1st and October 1st of each year; or the first business day thereafter. You can submit your application early, however, all applications will be considered for funding at the same time. Grant Assistance applications can be accepted at any time in order to meet grant deadlines, however, only 1-2 of these are awarded per year. Adopt-A-Median, Neighborhood Watch Signs and Parking Benefit District project proposals are processed on a rolling basis.

First, you need:

  • A great idea!
  • A simple sketch of your idea, with the location identified
  • An idea of the project budget
  • A plan to meet your cost-share through fundraisers, in-kind labor, cash donations, etc. 

Second, talk to your neighbors: show them the sketch, tell them about the cost-share, earn their support! The City requires:

  • The endorsement of the commonly recognized neighborhood association or the homeowner’s association for your area (City staff can help you to identify this).
  • The endorsement of at least 60% of the area bounding the project. (City staff can assist in identifying the affected residents).
  • An agreement to maintaining the project for the life of the project.

Third, send an email to the Neighborhood Partnering Program. Please include in your email:

  • Your name, phone number, and organization you are representing.
  • A project location, a simple sketch, and a brief description of your idea.

*Projects that are determined to be eligible for the Neighborhood Partnering Program will be sent a formal application. 

Fourth, work with the Neighborhood Partnering Program staff to submit the full Neighborhood Partnering Program application and requested back-up materials. Please note that prior to receiving Neighborhood Partnering Program funding, Community garden proposals must receive City endorsement from the Parks and Recreation Department.

Your organization will be responsible for maintaining the project for the life of the project. This means that you must be prepared to replace or repair certain aspects of the project if need-be, and must be able to do ongoing maintenance. For landscaping projects, you should be prepared to do maintenance on regular intervals as determined by a project agreement, which is developed with each awarded project.

Cost-share is calculated as a combination of any of the following:

  • Cash is directly applied to the project cost-share.
    • Grants can also be used as a cash match under the cost-share program as long as the granting organization authorizes that use.  
    • Parking revenue earned by a Parking Benefit District may be used for up to one-half of a neighborhood’s cost share proposal.
  • In-kind labor is credited at the same rate non-profits utilize to calculate the value of volunteer hours. That rate is set each year by Independent Sector, and the rate is approved by the Government Accounting Standards Board. The rate is typically around $21/hour.
  • Professional and other in-kind services are credited at fair market value. To receive this credit, the service provider must provide an invoice for services, which will be credited to the project.
  • Donations of materials and equipment are credited at fair market value. 
  • Maintenance such as paying water bills estimated for credit over a 2-year period. Projects are required to be maintained for the life of the project by the successful applicant, and credit for maintenance is given for a 3-year period.

Application tips

Want to submit a strong application? Below, you can find some pointers.

  • Have a complete project description in mind. This part, called the “scope,” is the most important part of your application. In order to evaluate the projects, staff must understand the full breadth of the request. You should be able to describe each item requested with respect to location and size, but you do not have to provide overly detailed specifications. Here are some examples:  
  • For landscaping, a location and general size is fine. Landscaping type can be described as  “native plants and xeriscape,” or an installation pattern can be described. 
  • For parks improvements, describe the location and the type of improvement. For example, a map might be marked with the notation, “install play equipment in areas marked with a red dot.” 
  • When describing your project, it is helpful to list some of your goals so that staff can better assist with technical issues related to the scope. Examples are:
    • Create a safer place for people to walk
    • Add play elements to the park that are attractive and fun
    • Make our street look more residential and attractive
  • Estimate a budget. This will help you with developing the cost-share. 
  • Know your cost-share! In order to be fair to all projects, City staff must calculate the in-kind contributions as accurately as possible. Talk to your neighbors and develop a solid plan so that staff can approve the cost-share.

Staff will review your application to ensure that all the minimum requirements are met, as well as:

  • Ensuring the requested land/area is available for use
  • Ensuring the requested amenity is suitable for the area
  • Reviewing the appropriateness of the scope, budget, cost-share and demonstration of support

If the above criteria cannot be met, the application will not be allowed to proceed. If minor corrections can be made that will allow the application to move forward, staff will give the applicant one week to resubmit. 

Applications that do proceed will go through a technical review committee, if needed, to understand everything that is required to install the project. That committee will determine whether or not the project is feasible from both technical and cost perspectives. If the project is not feasible owing to technical, budgetary, or logistical issues, your organization will be notified.   

Requests that make it through the feasibility assessment will be reviewed, scored, and ranked with awards being made based on available funding.

There are six main evaluation criteria for the Neighborhood Partnering Cost Share Proposals:

  • Community Participation (20 points) – Points are awarded based upon the active participation of the responsible entity in the project. 
  • Cost Share Proposal (20 points) – Points are awarded to projects that assume a greater percentage of the project cost.
  • Quality of Life Enhancement (20 points) - Points are awarded to projects based upon the degree that they contribute to physical environment improvement, neighborhood quality of life and neighborhood identity.
  • Incorporates or Meets City Initiatives (20 points) -Points are awarded for projects that address an existing but under-funded requirement, implement adopted neighborhood plans or incorporate City sustainability initiatives.
  • Geographic Equity (15 points) - Additional points will be awarded to neighborhoods from underrepresented areas based upon previous NPP project awards.
  • Reconsidering Qualifying Applications (5 points)- Qualifying applications that have been previously presented but were unfunded, are eligible for 10 extra points when funding is available at staff discretion.

Sidewalk Program

New sidewalks are funded both by private development and through City of Austin Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects. When a new private development project is constructed, the developer is required to provide sidewalks. This requirement also applies to most redevelopment projects. City CIP projects that involve full street reconstruction also generally include pedestrian & sidewalk improvements.

In addition the City CIP program, there are also standalone Sidewalk construction and rehabilitation projects. These projects are typically funded through voter-approved bonds, but also receive funding from state and federal grants and from the City of Austin sidewalk fee-in-lieu program.

The City of Austin Sidewalk Master Plan has a prioritization matrix for new sidewalk projects that includes the following factors:

  • How far are the nearby schools, major employers, transit stops, government offices, public accommodations and public housing?
  • How many people live in the area?
  • Are there already existing sidewalks in the area?
  • How busy is the street?
  • Has a request been made? (Has the request been made by the ADA task force, as part of an Adopted Neighborhood Plan, or by a neighborhood resident?)
  • Have there been reported pedestrian safety concerns?

Using this decision matrix, the Pedestrian Program’s limited budget is used to achieve maximum benefits.

Submit your reqest by calling Austin 3-1-1 or by entering it online. Please provide the location and extent of the requested improvements. If you provide your contact information, City of Austin staff will follow up and provide feedback about funding availability.

Not currently, but the City is working to include sidewalk projects as part of the new CIVIC website which provides a map-based display of City of Austin Capital Improvement Projects.

View the approved Sidewalk Master Plan here (pdf).  For additional resources and information about City of Austin sidewalks, visit our Pedestrian Program page.