Frances Allen: A True Austin Advocate

Recently, Austin lost a community friend, leader and advocate. Frances Allen passed away on January 18, 2019 at the age of 83.

Frances was an Austin jewel who had remarkable charm. She was firm and clear, but also kind. In a time when so many people want to be heard by shouting, Frances made an impact through kindness. She persuaded through a gentle spirit, making the quality of life for her and the community a main priority.

Frances was a member of several Austin organizations: The Delta chapter of Delta Alpha Pi Sorority, Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA), Capital City Village, Highland Park Neighborhood Association and MoPac Neighborhood Association Coalition (MoNAC).

In 1993, Frances contacted the Presidents of the Neighborhood Organization to call a meeting in regard to the sound from MoPac and how it impacted the surrounding neighborhoods. A group was formed shortly after the meeting that was named MoPac Noise Abatement Coalition at the time and later became Mopac Neighborhood Association Coalition.  It was through her efforts that eventually all of the neighborhood associations from Town Lake to Parmer Lane became members of MoNAC. From then on, she was an advocate for enhanced barriers between one of the region’s busiest roadways and her quiet neighborhood.

That’s how we first met Frances – when we began to consider work on MoPac. Her backyard abutted Mopac, and the only barrier was a wooden fence. For Frances, and for us, it wasn’t enough.

The government and construction process don’t always move as fast as we would like sometimes, but Frances kept her issues and concerns front and center throughout the construction process and improvements to Mopac. She understood that fighting for her and her neighbors didn’t mean she had to fight against everyone else. Her patience and determination prompted us to work assiduously to ensure she continued to live in a peaceful setting.

Our project team met in her home and front yard one afternoon. We stood in her backyard and walked her neighborhood with her. That small moment we shared gave me a chance to see what others saw: her pure kindness and compassionate heart. Along the way, we came to love and respect her for simply being herself and putting up a fight for change.

May God bless you, Frances. Your contribution to the public dialogue and to Austin transportation will be missed.

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