Share On Social!
Salud America! network members submitted 62 public comments urging the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to prioritize safety and wellbeing on state transportation projects.
In August 2018, we asked people to submit public comments to TxDOT to shape transportation planning and spending across the state for the next 10 years, in what is known as the Unified Transportation Program (UTP).
The UTP guides construction, development, and related activities for 13,000 projects. But some say it prioritizes traffic congestion relief over safety and connectivity.
Salud America! filed an open records request with TxDOT and discovered 30% of all comments TxDOT got on the UTP were from Salud America! members!
That’s 62 of 211 total comments, and a big jump from the 27 comments TxDOT got on the UTP in 2017, according to a Farm&City review of the comments.
Also, 130 of the 211 comments urged TxDOT to address safety, transit, health and/or mobility.
The comments are having an impact, said Jay Blazek Crossley of Farm&City.
Although TxDOT was looking specifically for UTP project-related feedback, the comments did “help set up the incredible conversations” Crossley is having with TxDOT about safety right now, he said.
“There is a general concept that TxDOT is accepting the arguments we are making and that they need systemic change,” Crossley said.
We also want to shout out Vision Zero Texas, which fueled the submission of many of these comments. Vision Zero Texas is a project of Farm&City, seeking to change the streets, transit and affordability of Texas.
Although the public input period is over, you can stay involved in the transportation planning process:
- Attend TxDOT hearings and meetings in your region;
- Keep up with monthly Texas Transportation Commission meetings;
- Sign a petition urging state leaders to reduce the default speed limit of 30 mph;
- Email your local and state representatives with your safety and health concerns;
- Follow Vision Zero Texas for more actions; and
- Read a three-part series about Florida’s efforts to make streets safer for people walking, biking, driving and taking transit.
Citizen participation is important to guide transportation strategies and spending, particularly in the eighth most dangerous state for people walking!