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Austin activist suggests solutions for Cap Remap

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

On June 5, the week that the new Cap Remap rolled out to the city of Austin, Zenobia Jones, an activist and longtime critic of the upcoming changes, spoke in front of the Zoning and Platting Commission to offer her critique of the new plan as well as suggestions for how to improve it. Jones alleged that the new transportation routes were in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial discrimination in programs that receive federal funding, due to the fact that low-ridership areas with wealthier residents received more bus lines while low-ridership areas in less-affluent neighborhoods lost theirs in the rollout of this refurbished plan. She noted, however, that the situation could be remedied with area studies by Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority as well as better communication between city development departments and the public transportation authority. “When it comes to transit decisions (it is imperative) that you consider that the city needs a specific interlocal agreement with Cap Metro.” She explained that when decisions are made in isolation, studies are duplicated and decisions aren’t in line, which results in disparate service. Particularly with CodeNEXT and the urban corridors being designed, Jones hoped that the commission would encourage communication between the city Planning and Zoning Department, developers and Capital Metro. Commissioner David King agreed, saying, “The city should have some skin in the game.” Chair Jolene Kiolbassa noted, “If we’re planning the city one way and our transit centers are disappearing, then we have a serious problem.”

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