Public Notice: A Groving Consensus?
Plus various options for getting carried away
We take a brief hiatus this week from the superheated rhetoric over the Grove at Shoal Creek, as City Council takes a step back to study the current proposal and various proposed amendments – in work sessions, and with the various interested parties (just about everyone in town, it would seem) – before the matter returns to the dais on Oct. 20 (see " Council: Next Stop, ACL Fest" for more detail).
There's still a lot to be decided, but what does seem apparent at this point is that whatever winds up happening, the end product is going to be a much better development than it would have been if the Bull Creek Road Coalition, founded by CM Leslie Pool and carried forward by a small army of citizen volunteers, hadn't been pushing so hard for more disclosure and more incremental improvements to the plan – largely centered around drainage, traffic, and parkland requirements, and more recently affordable housing components – than anyone in the public sector was willing or able to insist on.
Citizen activists take a lot of crap in Austin for their strident insistence on public process, for holding public officials to task, and seeming to make every decision or action more contentious than it would be otherwise; but in this case, at least (and pending some heavy lifting by Council itself, now that we're down to decision time), they've done their neighborhood, and the city at large, a huge favor.
Still, expect lots of sparks to fly at the final round of the Monitor/KUT series of City Council election forums, as District 10 incumbent Sheri Gallo faces three challengers – Alison Alter, Rob Walker, and Nicholas Virden – who've been far more critical of the Grove development plans than she has: Tuesday, Oct. 4, 7-9pm at the LCRA Redbud Center, 3700 Lake Austin Blvd.
I-35 Virtual Open House
The Texas Department of Transportation is currently working on several different initiatives to improve Interstate 35 for the seven miles between U.S. 183 and Riverside Drive. Taken together, the Central 7 project includes the ongoing work at 51st Street and between Rundberg and Koenig, in addition to main lane, frontage road, and ramp improvements, and various bike and pedestrian enhancements. The two most controversial elements currently being studied are a proposal to add a tolled express lane in each direction, and two different design options for Downtown. Both would increase the current configuration from three main lanes to five, but one would raise them even higher than they currently are and leave the cross streets going underneath, while the other would move them completely below grade, running under the east-west cross streets and possibly covering them completely with "cap" infrastructure that would completely bridge the divide between Downtown and the Eastside. Want to add your two cents? TxDOT is currently hosting a virtual open house for the Central 7-mile Comprehensive Project and taking public input through Tuesday, Oct. 4, at central7.mobility35openhouse.com.
Heading to ACL Fest?
First off, check out our transportation guide in the special ACL pull-out sections this week and next, and at austinchronicle.com/acl – but also be advised that Capital Metro is providing several modes of extended service to accommodate festivalgoers these next two weekends:
• The MetroRapid 801 route (North Lamar to South Congress) will run until 2:30am on Friday and Saturday nights, and 12:30am on Sunday, dropping off directly at the ACL shuttle stop at Republic Square.
• Metro Rapid 803 (Burnet Rd. to South Lamar) has extended service as well, with a stop at Lamar and Barton Springs Rd., the closest open road to the Zilker Park grounds.
• MetroRail service is also extended during ACL, running until 2:30am Friday and Saturday, and 12:30am on Sunday, to and from the Downtown Station at Fourth and Trinity.
• Night Owl buses are running as well, until 3am, but only on Fri.-Sat. See more info at www.capmetro.org/specialevents.