The rationale proposed for a universal 3% wage increase for city employees (to remain competitive with private employers) only applies during periods of rapid employment growth. Private companies do not offer the luxury of guaranteed employment, and even the most financially secure companies (e.g. IBM) periodically trim their budgets through layoffs. In the current economic downturn the majority of city employees should consider themselves lucky to be employed by a stable employer!
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Basic GPS tracking devices are cheap and could affordably be installed on all city buses. Once this technology is installed and GPS data made public, someone could then develop a smart-phone application capable of tracking buses on specified routes in real-time. Riders would then be able to see how many miles/blocks away the bus is and could more easily anticipate how long it will take before the bus will arrive at their stop.
This idea came about because this morning I missed my bus due to it arriving earlier than scheduled and then the following bus arrived late, in the mean time I no idea how long it would be until the next bus would arrive. What good are paper-based time schedules if the buses can't / don't stick to designated arrival times?
Members of the Car2Go network can track the location of any Car2Go vehicle in the city on a smart-phone device (using the free ‘Find2Car’ android app. or Get2Car iPhone app), it seems that Capital Metro could do the same thing with their bus network.
This technology already exists in other cities, but the same thing could be done here without proprietary software or expensive hardware:
Add a GOTO number to each of these suggestion listings so we can refer each other to find a specific one and jump to it. What happens when there are hundreds of these? ANd allow me to seach through these by category also. How can anyone easily go through them all?
Are there other options on the table for the way we charge for downtown parking? In public places (streets, garages) I find it strange that we charge for public parking during the daytime, when it's more likely for an Austin resident to park to go to work, council, court house, etc. while we do not charge for parking at night time when it's more likely that someone from outside of Austin will be parking to go to Sixth Street. Someone who lives outside of Austin obviously doesn't pay Austin city taxes and in some cases doesn't pay utility contributions through AE. So wouldn't it make sense for us to at least charge for parking at night and not during the day?
To be clear, I truly advocate free parking in public spaces at all times. As I see it, the residents of Austin pay for the maintenance and construction of public parking through their taxes. So why should they be double charged if they park in a space downtown? I understand that downtown is busy during the day and if not enforced cars will park in spaces for days at a time. But the city currently charges user fees for places like Zilker, Barton Springs, etc. because it knows people from outside of Austin attends those attractions. The user fees are a revenue source. Why for downtown parking, can't we come up with a "Austin Resident" ID card or something similar to validate parking downtown. The way I see it, we pay for it through out taxes. Why should we "double pay" every time we try to park downtown? Plus charging to park downtown discourages shoppers and customers to businesses downtown. And we all know those businesses are already paying higher rents than those at shopping malls and are having a hard time competing as it its.
Sure you can commute by bike or other means to downtown and avoid paying to park. But for some people, biking or walking is not an option, and they pay for the infrastructure through their taxes.
Please contribute to this topic as I need suggestions and clarity as to why the city does this. Thanks
Currently the level of service from this industry is poor. Wait times are too long and fares are too high. During high demand it's nearly impossible to get a cab in a reasonable amount of time because demand exceeds supply by a very high margin.
Entry into the taxi market in this city is substantially restricted through anti-competitive regulations that control the number of taxis on the road. The number of taxi certificates available is simply too low. End these restrictive policies that have led to such a poor level of service so that the number of taxis on the road can keep pace with demand.
Any qualified person should be able to obtain a taxi license without sponsorship from an existing taxi franchise. We have in place an entrenched cartel system that is anti-free market. This cartel system violates the civil rights of taxi entrepreneurs who should be allowed the ability to compete without being "independent contractors". Drivers who lease taxis from entrenched franchises can barely make a living due to high fees charged by a very small number of cab companies. The anti-competitive barriers to entry into this market need to be eliminated by removing the cap on the number of cabs. Allow entrepreneurs the ability to own their own cabs and compete fairly through full liberalization of the taxi market. This will lead to more independent taxi entrepreneurship, increased competition, a significant reduction in waiting times, and a lowering of cab fares for all Austin consumers.
The alleyways north and south of 6th street smell terrible 365 days a year. According to the COA solid waste services website these alleys are "inspected and flushed with water on a daily basis", but despite this fact they continue to smell like a zoo.
Let’s provide some accommodation for this basic human need. Public urinals are superior to drunken people discharging waste every night of the week behind dumpsters, stairwells, and doorways in and around the city's most popular entertainment district.
Punishing people for their waste by writing tickets for public urination is a waste of APD and municipal court resources and does nothing as far as dealing with this ongoing problem. No amount of citations will stop it from occurring and the APD will never catch the majority of offenders.
These are very common in Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, etc. There's no reason why they couldn't be installed here as well and it would be an improvement over the disgusting environment that currently exists around 6th street.
Highways are a near-constant source of potential wind energy due to the high volume of fast moving vehicles. Let's recapture some of this wind energy by installing small-scale vertical wind turbines along our highways. One turbine doesn't produce much power, but the cumulative effect of a high volume of smaller turbines along our highways has enormous potential for energy generation.
Countdown crosswalk signals have been installed in various spots downtown and I find them to be extremely useful whether I'm driving, cycling, or walking. All road users benefit from signal predictability.
They should be installed at as many intersections as possible and top priority given to any intersection with a known history of auto-pedestrian accidents/deaths.
Move the Water Conservation Division out of the Austin Water Utility. It makes no sense to have one division say "save water" while the entire Austin Water Utility wants to sell water. The Water Conservation Division has only been in the Utility for six years and it's been disastrous. Move it under the Office of Sustainability where it belongs.