Kim Resplendent and Concerned

RECEIVED Wed., Sept. 14, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Thank you for the lovely fashion write-up in the Chronicle [“The Big Squeeze at Riverside,” News, Sept. 9]! I'm glad my “Queen Amidala” outfit was noticed. I'm currently working on a Princess Leia look to carry on the Place 3 tradition of colorful, trendsetting dais-wear.
    Regarding Town Lake Park and the subsequent Riverside Drive lane reduction and traffic circle, I see this as a public safety issue, and that's why I voted against it. I know my colleagues had this in mind as well, but I believe there are several looming issues. To cover operating expenses, on occasion the Palmer Events Center and the Long Center will need to hold events simultaneously. No operational plan has been developed to address peak event activity that could yield 10,000-12,000 people and 150 buses. The Public Works Department was concerned that the reduction to two lanes from four and the addition of a traffic circle would be premature before the Long Center is operational. Many of the events will be for children. I worry this project will now make it hard, if not impossible, to accommodate the large volume of cars, buses, and pedestrians during peak activity. We have no plan in place to prevent driver/pedestrian accidents. Furthermore, staff raised concerns that Riverside serves as a major response route for fire and EMS. Traffic accidents or disabled vehicles on this road could halt emergency response on the one-lane segment of Riverside, creating life-threatening delays to medical treatment.
    I look forward to the day Town Lake Park is completed for all of our families and visitors to enjoy, and I truly hope that everyone – drivers, pedestrians, event-goers, and kids – can do so safely.
Jennifer Kim
Austin City Council member
Place 3
   [News Editor Michael King responds: We applaud Council Member Kim's sartorial exuberance; indeed we hope it spreads beyond the traditionally colorful confines of Place 3, providing at least some visual relief to endlessly droning zoning cases. And despite the recent council approval after several years of debate and compromise, we expect the argument concerning Riverside Drive – which we will report in all its resplendent variations – is far from over.]
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