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City staff to cyclists on Bike Blvd: We don’t want to hear from you anymore

Posted Jun 07 2010 8:49am

UPDATE: An A2W reader sent me an e-mail asking me to clarify a point in this post. The decision to put items on the City Council agenda is done at a managerial level above the City of Austin Bicycle and Pedestrian Program.

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In a move reminiscent of some of the slimier actions taken by legislators up the street under the pink dome, city staff is playing calendar games with the final briefing to City Council on the Downtown Bicycle Boulevard Plan . This can only can be assumed to be a move to limit outside pressure for possible changes in the final plan.

After moving the date of the staff briefing to our elected officials several times, the date of Thursday, June 24 was settled upon a couple weeks ago. All those involved were basing this date to schedule further meetings to lobby for or against the recommendations. Yet, in my inbox this morning I found the following message from staff:

The Downtown Bicycle Boulevard Capital Improvement Project will be presented to City Council as a Briefing this Thursday, June 10, 2010.  The briefing was moved from June 24th, back to its originally scheduled date of June 10th, 2010.

Add to this the fact that no one from the public will be allowed to comment on this briefing, and you start getting the feeling our public servants don’t want more input from their citizens.

This is an unfortunate development in a process that while contentious has been very open to public input up until this point. To cut out the citizenry during the end game shows that either everything until now was just for show or a desperate attempt at expedience from a staff weary of hearing from citizens unhappy with their recommendations. While I sympathize with staff having to deal with vocal opposition to their actions, an active citizenry is a cornerstone of our democracy and part of the job. Suck it up.

I hope everyone will contact our City Council and ask that 1) staff stop playing with the calendar and return the briefing to its previously scheduled later date and 2) allow public input on a staff decision that will effectively change the Master Bike Plan, a document voted on by our elected official and carrying the force of law.

You may contact the entire City Council at once via their group e-mail here: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/council/groupemail.htm OR contact them individually here:

Mayor Lee Leffingwell- (512) 974-2250

Place 1 Councilmember Chris Riley- (512) 974-2260

Place 2 Councilmember Mike Martinez- (512) 974-2264

Place 3 Councilmember Randi Shade- (512) 974-2255

Place 4 Councilmember Laura Morrison- (512) 974-2258

Place 5 Councilmember Bill Spelman- (512) 974-2256

Place 6 Councilmember Sheryl Cole- (512) 974-2266

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