Austin Relaunches Open Streets Program

‘Living Streets’ lets residents apply for three types of temporary or semi-permanent street closures.

1 minute read

November 19, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

View of AUstin Texas skyline from across rover.

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A revived open streets program in Austin, Texas, now named Living Streets, will offer neighborhood groups three options for closing streets to car traffic, reports James Rambin in Austin Towers.

The first option, the ‘block party,’ lets residents close a single block for up to 24 hours on a designated day. Healthy Streets, meanwhile, creates an indefinite closure of three to four blocks using semi-permanent fixtures, similar to the interventions used during the pandemic. According to the city’s website, “After selecting resident-led applications for implementation, City staff will install and maintain semi-permanent partial street closure treatments that discourage motor vehicle traffic and provide more space for walking, biking, and rolling.”

The third option, a new  program called Play Streets, lets residents “close a single block for up to 12 hours a week on up to three chosen days of the week for use as a play and gathering space for kids and families.”

Rambin notes that “These three approaches still allow local traffic and don’t reduce access for emergency vehicles or other normal street services like trash collection or deliveries.” The program calls for 60 percent approval from residents on the affected blocks.

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