When initially moving to Austin, most individuals often wonder why so much of their time is spent sitting in ghastly traffic. This is, simply put, due to the high concentration of people, outdated road designs, and minimal transportation alternatives. To make matters worse, most companies, jobs, events, and everything in between take place downtown making it the core of the city where everyone hopes to work, live, and play. This causes traffic patterns not only during the week but on weekends as well, especially when large events like Austin City Limits or South by Southwest take place.
Austin is the 8th fastest-growing city in the nation. With so many tech jobs and new startups popping up it naturally brings in talent from all over. More specifically, it’s attracting large numbers of California residents, and the development of the next tech hub means large hikes in rent prices. Rent rises at least 5% or more each year making Austin less and less affordable. This news is great for homeowners looking to rent out their properties but for renters the issue is more worrisome.
With rent prices rising, more and more developers and renters look to less established neighborhoods in order to build and rent within their budget. This creates large amounts of gentrification forcing original residents out of their own neighborhood because they can’t afford the hike in price; too frequently it also leaves some homeless. The city’s fast growth and need for more housing options drives people into formerly poor neighborhoods, hiking up rent prices and leaving the low-income residents with little to no options.
In Austin you can count on great food, outstanding live shows, and crowds of people ready to enjoy it all. (It’s no surprise that one of the fastest growing cities attracts crowds). The fact of the matter is most anywhere you go, especially in the downtown vicinity, you’re likely to share the experience with many, many other people. Of course, this is only a struggle depending on how you look at it.
No Uber or Lyft
In May of 2016 the sad news broke to residents that Uber and Lyft would no longer do business in Austin. The two companies left in protest after Austin’s City Council moved to enact a proposition that required further background regulations on current and potential drivers. The residents of Austin voted for the ordinance and both companies refused. Now residents feel somehow cheated, though some recent attempts to create a similar ride system have gone underway.
Walking and Cycling
In 2014 Austin was considered one of the most dangerous areas for pedestrians. The unsafe conditions affect cyclists as well. It’s unclear whether the issue holds a clear-cut reason but some suggest it’s the high speed limits and others claim individuals in vehicles simply don’t take initiative to look out for pedestrians or share the road with cyclists. As a pedestrian or cyclist in Austin you must take extra caution when heading out.