To let city officials know that people want better options for getting home after a night of drinking.
  • Petitioning Lee Leffingwell

This petition will be delivered to:

Austin Mayor
Lee Leffingwell
City of Austin, Texas
Austin City Council
Chris Riley
Austin City Council
Mike Martinez
Austin City Council
Sheryl Cole
Austin City Council
Kathie Tovo
Austin City Council
Laura Morrison
Austin City Council
Bill Spelman
Austin Police Chief
Art Acevedo
Austin Urban Transportation Commission
Gordon Derr
Cap Metro Community Involvement Manager
John-Michael Cortez

To let city officials know that people want better options for getting home after a night of drinking.

    1. Sara L.
    2. Petition by

      Sara L.

      Austin, TX

UPDATE:  While the petition will remain up for signatures, we have begun the process of preparing the petition and comments for presentation.

You can view our full proposal of changes to Cap Metro, parking, and TNC's here: http://www.atxsaferstreets.org/petition.html

Find us on twitter at @ATXsaferstreets, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ATXsaferstreets and please share using #saferATXroads.  We are currently asking for donations to help defray our printing costs, you can donate via PayPal at http://www.atxsaferstreets.org/

Recently the issues plaguing downtown have been garnering a lot of attention.

As a former downtown bartender I’ve had many conversations about Austin’s poor choices for getting home safely, and I’ve witnessed first hand all of the forthcoming complaints more times than I can count.

Tightening down on DWI’s, adding police presence and checkpoints are all reactive responses, not pro-active.  Let’s face it- the decision starts when someone chooses to drive instead of using alternative means to get to and from their destination(s).

So why do people make that choice?

For many people I’ve spoken with it boils down to three issues:

  1. A poor public transportation infrastructure.
  2. A distinct shortage of cabs who often provide terrible customer service.
  3. A fear that if they leave their car behind it will be ticketed (sometimes repeatedly), vandalized or towed.

 

Cap Metro:  They end too early and many run too infrequently later on to be helpful to the average rider who has other means of transportation.  Austin is incredibly active late into the night and it would be nice to see changes brought to public transportation that reflect that.  Increased reliability, heavily expanded late night and/ or 24 hour bus service to more parts of town including outer Austin would help people view the bus as a viable alternative to driving.  Areas dense in student residents would benefit tremendously from affordable, legal and safe ways home.  A massive expansion of the rail system would help remove cars from the road and offer speedy and well lit rides to outlying areas.

Taxi/ ride share:  If you were to ask any group of people their impressions of Austin taxis it would be largely negative.  Even on a non- festival weekend night it is nearly impossible to hail a cab.  Complaints include fares being refused due to distance/ location/ lack of cash/ size of party, ordered cabs taking hours or just not showing up, complaints of inappropriate sexual behavior, drug use and unnecessarily long routes.  Students seem to be the most frequent victims of all of these practices.

Why are “gypsy cabs” and ride-share programs are so popular?  Because everyone I’ve spoken to have had better experiences with them in terms of reliability, price, cleanliness and ease of use.  The city would do well to listen to the complaints of the people and not the companies when it comes to making changes to city code regarding ride share programs.  The people are voting with their dollars and it's for a new system.

Leaving their car behind: Austinites live in fear of their car being towed or ticketed.  Everytime someone is ticketed, towed or their car is broken into it reduces their comfort level in leaving their vehicle behind.  You’ve effectively all but guaranteed they are going to be leery of choosing public transportation the next time around.  Would perhaps a warning ticket for the first offence on that license plate be equally effective at educating them without costing them a lot of money and stranding them?

 

The city and the police need to be discussing how their regulations and often overzealous enforcement have negatively impacted people’s perception of how safe their car is being left behind.  For someone living paycheck to paycheck a tow fee or a pile of tickets from one night can often be out of financial reach.

 

And that goes for all the above points.  Austin needs more public options for affordable, safe and reliable means of transportation during peak hours day AND night.

The discussion needs to be changed from how to stop drunk people driving home to how to help sober people feel safe and comfortable leaving their car in their driveway.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. We've been super successful thanks to your support!

      Sara L.
      by Sara L.
      Petition Organizer

      Consider these statistics: Austin, Texas has close to 800 establishments that serve alcohol. However we currently only have 1 taxi cab for every 1,146 people. Our public transit system shuts down all but eight routes by 11pm on weekdays and all but twelve by midnight on Saturdays. The majority of parking lots in downtown Austin will tow your car at 3AM if you choose to leave your car to get a sober ride home.

      ATX Safer Streets wants to change this. We believe in taking a more proactive approach to this problem and promoting DWI prevention, rather than relying solely on DWI enforcement. We advocate smarter use of Austin’s transit and parking systems as a way to stop people from drinking and driving before they get behind the wheel, by providing more options - bus, taxi, train, rideshare programs, and overnight parking that encourage people to leave their vehicles at home when they head out for the evening.

      With 100-150 new residents moving to Austin per day, adding hundreds of cars to the roads, there has never been a more critical time to address this issue. This is a problem that affects all Austin residents, as well as Austin’s booming tourism industry. University of Texas estimates there are 70,000 students a day on campus as well.

      Since we began in late March, ATX Safer Streets has made a definite impact. In the time from our inception we ended towing under the I-35 bridge on weekends, the city has instituted a “Know Before You Go” program through its website that lists ways to get sober rides home and overnight parking options. The City Council unanimously approved a rideshare pilot program that will introduce companies such as Uber and Lyft as an alternative to taxis. The Council also plans to meet with taxi industry leaders to address our city’s critical shortage of cabs downtown. Cap Metro has similarly created a late night website, and their proposed Urban Rail line will go until 2am on weekends. We've presented to various leaders, organizers and we continue to stay involved and very vocal in the fight for our city.

      ATX Safer Streets needs your help to continue this fight. Our group started as three volunteers working in our spare time to create a grassroots movement. Now we have become a force to be reckoned with in Austin politics, and have begun the process of becoming a 501c3. We cannot do this alone. Please consider donating to us to help cover lawyer fees, printing costs and promotions.

      YOU CAN DONATE SECURELY THROUGH PAYPAL: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=EEW2ACC5YPRC4

      Your sponsorship will help ensure ATX Safer Street's continued success in fighting intoxicated driving in Austin. For more information go to our website atxsaferstreets.org or contact atxsaferstreets@gmail.com.

      Thank you for your time, donations and sharing. We wouldn't be where we are today if we did not have the support of you lovely people behind us.

    2. Reached 3,000 signatures
    3. Your Monday news

      Sara L.
      by Sara L.
      Petition Organizer

      We are asking everyone to please tweet to @CapMetroATX every time your bus is late, doesn't show or is too full (especially at night) with time and route number, or when there isn't a route that goes where you need to go!

      So many thanks to Fox 7 for their thoughtful and lengthy story on this petition! Read and watch here: http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/25113285/former-austin-bartender-petitions-city-for-safe-rides

      Former Austin bartender petitions city for 'safe rides'

      Garrett Franklin moved to Austin a few months ago. From what he's seen so far, he agrees. "Alcohol is destructive! I mean you have somebody angry and mad down here without a ride home, they don't have money to even get a taxi home and then it's over man," he said.

    4. Reached 2,500 signatures
    5. Update time!

      Sara L.
      by Sara L.
      Petition Organizer

      I'm extending the petition thru the 4th due to continued media exposure.
      KXAN ran a short piece: http://youtu.be/NITRB6m8YZw
      Fox 7 will be running a longer piece at 9pm Sunday night, links TBA.
      Cap Metro is having a public hearing on April 14th at 12pm (2910 E 5th), I'll distribute copies to officials and I encourage people to attend.
      City Council has a meeting on April 10th at 10am (301 W 2nd). I have requested an opportunity to speak (http://www.austintexas.gov/email/citizenscommunication), please come out!
      I'm also waiting to hear back from Gordon Derr of the Urban Transportation Commission.

      Butch offered on point suggestions for Cap Metro, and he suggests to tweet @CapMetroATX whenever a bus is late, doesn't arrive or your night owl is packed: http://www.thetattooedbrood.com/blog/2014/03/30/open-letter-to-cap-metro/

      Joseph Grey wrote an excellent form letter to send to officials here: http://www.thetattooedbrood.com/blog/2014/03/28/open-letter-to-city-officials/

      Austin City Council approves resolution for SXSW review

      Austin City Council unanimously approved a resolution Thursday to dig deeper into some of the issues that occurred during this year's South by Southwest festival.

    6. Reached 2,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Naomi Hucko AUSTIN, TX
      • 6 days ago

      I recently received a DWI and am in full support of any alternative ride source besides taxis and buses, as I have had $500 of my rent money stolen out of those types of transportation, with no success in trying to recover my funds. I tried for 5 months.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • William Neubauer AUSTIN, TX
      • 9 days ago

      I am currently without a car, and whether I've been drinking or not Late night transportation options are currently very inconvenient.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sabrina Sampson SAMPSON, CA
      • about 1 month ago

      Thousands of individuals rely on this driving job for money in this economy, and thousands of passengers use it to not drink and drive, get around affordably, and use less gas. By allowing this, the many people involved will be thankful to you, know you are for equal entrepruenership and will support you equally in times you need it. Support us!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Philip Hadley AUSTIN, TX
      • 3 months ago

      For a city as big as Austin and 100 people moving here every day, it is a no brainer. We need better public transit!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • sharon chamberlain FORT WORTH, TX
      • 3 months ago

      I have an alcoholic brother that lives there in Austin and does not drive, he rides the bus everywhere. Much safer for everyone

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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