What happens when a normal citizen becomes fed up with a city’s lack of action in response to a city-wide crisis? Over 3,500 signatures and more than 42 pages of testimonials from frustrated Austinites get collected, demanding action.
Sara Levine founded ATX Safer Streets after she received an overwhelming response to her petition calling for action. In less than two months, with the help of Butch Dowdy, Joseph Doyle, and several other volunteers, Sara has made considerable progress.
The first call to action was to gather data about drinking habits, driving habits and local transportation options. Austinites reponded: 651 anonymous respondents gave critical insight into our late night transportation habits. The data was alarming, to say the least:
- 73% of Austinites drive to bars, with 67% driving back home.
- 81% said they would use Transportation Network Companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft if they were available.
- An alarming 58% admitted to driving home impaired for fear of being towed.
- Most troubling was that 84% have had trouble hailing a cab, with 43% being refused service.
The results of ATX Safer Streets’ efforts are already becoming apparent. Just last week, the Austin City Council approved Transportation Resolutions 24 and 25 to create a pilot program that allows TNCs to operate in Austin. Taxi permit limits were also increased.
The fact that these resolutions came to pass less than two months after the creation of ATX Safer Streets is no coincidence. The grassroots efforts of Sara Levine, Butch Dowdy, Joseph Doyle, and the rest of their volunteers have been nothing short of inspirational. They have showcased what individuals can do when faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem.
Exclusive Video Interview
Our recent interview with Sara Levine took place just before their launch party on May 11, 2014. It provides an in-depth look into why such an organization even needs to exist in the first place, as well as specific initiatives they are looking to put into place.
Watch the whole video, or skip to the questions you’re most interested in using the index and time markers below.
- Introduction, Why did you start ATX Safer Streets? 0:00
- What are some of your goals as an organization? 1:30
- Why hasn’t the City of Austin adopted ride-share programs like Uber or Lyft? 3:19
- What other types of initiatives are you working on with the city? 5:14
- How did the recent tragedy involving Kelly from ATXHipsters affect you and ATX Safer Streets as a whole? 6:07
- What else can we do? 7:24
If you’re interested, the infographic below is a visual display of the data collected by ATX Safer Streets. Click on the graphic for a larger version.
Thanks for taking the time to watch our video with Sara and learn more about ATX Safer Streets and what you can do to make Austin a better place.
What is the most important or surprising thing you’ve learned through this article and the interview with Sara?