North Austin Walk Audit | Austin, TX

Type: Walk Audit

Size: 25 people, 1.5 miles

Status: Completed

The City of Austin and the North Austin YMCA hired Street Plans to lead a community Walk Audit in honor of National Walking Day (April 6, 2016). A Walk Audit is an unbiased examination/evaluation of the walking environment. The focus of this project was to lead a community Walk Audit that accomplished the follow goals:
• Assess current issues in the pedestrian realm throughout the Walk Audit site, to create momentum for future improvements;
• Train a handful of City staff and advocates to lead public Walk Audits; and
• Test and refine an open source Walk Audit survey tool for use in the future.
On the day before the community Walk Audit, Street Plans led a training session for audit facilitators, including city staff and community leaders. Then, on April 6th, Street Plans worked with the local facilitators to lead several dozen people in a 1.5-mile public Walk Audit in the area surrounding the North Austin YMCA. Participants worked together to evaluate the walking environment in the neighborhood. This process helped participants learn how to better articulate their needs to the City in the future. 
Audit participants identified specific challenges in the pedestrian environment, like auto-dominated land use patterns, long distances between street crossings, and a shortage of amenities in the public realm. Following the event, Street Plans summarized these findings in a report, and refined the Walk Audit tool to create an open-source template that can be used for future Walk Audits in neighborhoods across Austin, and beyond. 
This audit is an example of how city staff, community leaders, and the public can collaborate to both evaluate and propose improvements to their urban environment.