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What's 'Plan B' to solve Austin's transportation issues? City leaders weigh in

What's 'Plan B' to solve Austin's transportation issues?

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Leaders discuss "Plan B" for Austin transportation. Capital Metro/ Facebook

KVUE — Voters said "no" to a plan to bring urban rail to Austin, so now city leaders and transportation experts are working hard to come up with a "Plan B."

One Austin-based CEO created a "mobile conference room" of sorts downtown to spark some ideas about what to do next to improve Austin's traffic problems. All the talks are taking place on board the Cap Metro Rapid 803 bus. Everyone involved — from Austin's mayoral candidates on down — said bus service is just one option the city can use to tackle transportation woes.

CultureMap's reporting partners at KVUE rode along with Austin City Council candidate Ed Scruggs as he talked with RideScout CEO Joseph Kopser. They discussed how varying the workday hours could help cut back on the number of cars on the road at any given time and what should be done about the "transportation desert" that is Southwest Austin.

Kopser said he organized the event to strike while the iron is hot.

"In my opinion, there's extreme urgency for this while we have the attention of the field ballot initiative for Prop One and all the debate that had facts and facts muddled. I want to just bring up the options that we have now for the city of Austin, and we can begin implementing these immediately."

Kopser's app RideScout allows users to put in where they are and where they're going and it displays transportation options from transit to ride sharing to walking, and how long it will take. He obviously has something to gain as the options get more popular, because so will his app, but he said for him the focus is improving the quality of life for Austinites by addressing transportation issues.

Mayoral candidate, council member and Capital Metro board member Mike Martinez said the city's "Plan B" is bus service. "Capital Metro and the bus system is the single biggest tool that we have right now. Getting people, giving people the opportunities to get out of their vehicles and onto mass transit," said Martinez.

He added that Capital Metro is looking for ways to increase ridership.

His opponent in the mayoral race, Steve Adler, said improving the bus system is important, but the city also has to improve infrastructure. "We have to increase the capacity on the roads we have. We have to look at the highly congested intersections. We need to take a look at continuous movement intersections," Adler said.


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