Problems Facing Mueller

RECEIVED Tue., May 14, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Neighborhood leaders and members past and present of the city of Austin's Robert Mueller Advisory Commission (RMAC) deserve credit for helping launch Mueller.
    However, there are many challenges with the already developed space and the process for including input from the RMAC and the community – for example, unsafe conditions for pedestrians and cyclists in the retail section. It is bewildering how Barbara Jordan Boulevard received a construction green light to proceed when any transportation planner should have been able to see that chaos would emerge trying to enter/exit the curb cuts between the Home Depot and Best Buy. The master developer, Catellus, should accept some responsibility for this disaster. I am well aware that TxDOT changes to I-35 forced more traffic on to Barbara Jordan Boulevard. Citizens partnering with a few Mueller businesses convinced the city to retrofit Barbara Jordan Boulevard to help prevent the daily tire screeching of near misses and fender benders.
    Another example: Adherence to best practices for reducing diesel construction equipment emissions through equipment and fuel choices. Private sector and nonprofit developments including H-E-B are exempt from following the construction/air quality plan that the common area/infrastructure has to follow. Diesel exhaust can be carcinogenic and is a leading source of ozone-smog emissions.
    The aforementioned RMAC has a more limited advisory role than it, and perhaps the Austin City Council, expected. Major decisions are not based on collaborating with adjacent neighborhoods to the north and may be at odds with building a new urban mecca.
Scott Johnson
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