On October 21st, 2021, Austin City Council adopted Resolution No. 20211021-027. The resolution outlined a Living Streets vision of a suite of street activations that are easily accessible to all Austinites for safe and joyful community-building in all neighborhoods.
The resolution directed the City Manager to evaluate and return to Council with resource requirements, policy change and code amendments necessary to implement three distinct programs, described as follows:
- An improved, easily accessible, and more equitable Neighborhood Block Party Program;
- A new Play Streets Program intended to be a permit-based, complete street closure occurring for several hours, multiple times per week;
- A new resident-led, one-block Healthy Streets Program similar to the existing Healthy Streets program established under Resolution 20200507-062; and
- Creation of a public-facing Living Streets webpage to easily connect the public to these programs.
Below is information on the status of current Living Streets-encompassed programming and steps the City is taking to evaluate how existing and new efforts can evolve to meet the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan's goal to "support streets as places where non-mobility community functions can take place; Recognize the diverse and expanding civic needs within our right of way and promote adaptive uses of the street."
- Neighborhood Block Parties
The Neighborhood Block Party program is an existing program managed by Austin Transportation. The program allows residents to temporarily close a street and hold events to connect with their neighbors.
Austin Transportation is working to modify requirements to the Neighborhood Block Party program to make it more inclusive and easier for neighbors to access. Residents can learn more about the current neighborhood block party program and request an event at the current program website.
- Play Streets
Play Streets are intended to be recurring, complete street closures that may occur for several hours, multiple times per week. Play Streets don't currently exist in Austin but do in other cities.
Austin Transportation and Austin Public Works will engage key stakeholders to discuss modeling the Play Streets Program after the Neighborhood Block Party Program, with criteria informed in part by comparable peer-city programs.
- Healthy Streets
Healthy Streets are intended to be resident-led, one-block partial street closures, like the existing Healthy Streets Program established in May of 2020 to provide street space for physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic when many other options for physical activity were limited. Like Play Streets, a resident-led Healthy Streets Program does not currently exist.
Austin Transportation and Austin Public Works will engage key stakeholders to discuss options for establishing a resident-led Healthy Streets Program that borrows strategies from the existing Healthy Streets Program and is built using best practices from other peer city programs.