Public Notice: EV / AV Club, Continued
More mobility musings, SXSW Week Two & beyond
South by Southwest continues, and spins into full spring break mode in the second half of the week. Most of the sessions on autonomous vehicles that I wrote about last week have already taken place, but there's still some action to come, including a pair of intriguing panels on Thu., March 16, at the JW Marriott. How Will Trump Steer Car and Transportation Tech? (12:30-1:30pm) will discuss the new administration's approach to one of America's most tightly regulated industries, and to fostering investment in smart and connected transportation infrastructure and alternative-fuel vehicle development. And One Answer to Driverless Cars: Keeping the Driver (5-6pm) explains the balancing act Toyota is exploring with MIT roboticists, between "chauffeurs" that take full control, and "guardian angels" that let humans keep control, but can step in to prevent an accident.
If that's too much talk, and not enough action, come see "the future of public transportation in Austin (and beyond)," as Capital Metro and the UT Austin Center for Transportation Research demonstrate a 12-passenger electric Mini-Bus Shuttle, running in parking lot 37 of Sid Richardson Hall, 2300 Red River on the UT campus. (UT was selected in January to be a USDOT-approved Autonomous Vehicle Proving Ground partner.) The demo is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, March 16-17, 1-5pm Thursday, and 9am-5pm Friday.
On a more immediately practical note, Capital Metro has extended service hours, and increased frequency and capacity, for many of its (heteronomous) services and routes for the rest of this week: MetroRail has trains leaving Downtown as late as 2:30am Wed.-Sat. (once an hour all evening, on the half-hour; increased frequency Saturday). Night Owl buses will run until after 3am at double their normal service capacity most days.
We hope Mayor Steve Adler has gotten some rest by now; he participated in at least 10 events over the first three days, and still managed to find time to cosign a press release slamming the bills regarding transportation network companies being heard this week in the Lege ("The Texas Hammer," Mar. 17, and "Lege for Sale?" online) that "will undermine the safety of residents by stripping away best practice public safety measures, and in doing so, also undermine the will of local voters in Austin." Adler was quoted as saying, "Voters being able to make their own local decisions is the bedrock of liberty. Government closest to the people governs best."
You know that dangerous intersection you go past every day, where the bike lane just disappears and dumps bikes into a sharrow with cars going 40 mph? My pet peeve is at 21st & Guadalupe, where pedestrians in a plywood chute have to dive out blindly into turning traffic like cattle to the slaughter. But I'm sure you have your own least-favorites. Now, the Austin Transportation Department has launched an interactive tool, the Vision Zero Input Map, that lets you comment about specific locations in the city, with a focus on pedestrian safety. See that and more at ATD's Pedestrian Safety Action Plan page, www.austintexas.gov/pedsafetyplan.
ATD is also holding a series of Walk & Bike Talks, community conversations about the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan and the Bicycle Master Plan. Those begin Wed., March 22, 6:30-8pm, at Spicewood Springs Library, 8637 Spicewood Springs Rd., and Thu., March 23, 6-7:30pm, at Windsor Park Library, 5833 Westminster.
You may recall that squabbles about the Grove at Shoal Creek PUD took up much of last year, and much of the back-and-forth had to do with the park component. Now it's this year, and the Grove's Public Parks Master Plan, including a 16.25-acre Signature Park and a Pocket Park, is being jointly developed by PARD and the property owner. PARD will host the first of three "community input meetings" on Tue., March 21, 7-8:30pm at Bryker Woods Elementary, 3309 Kerbey Ln., to take community input, and discuss a vision plan and design alternatives. For more info, visit www.austintexas.gov/parksatthegrove.
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, buy a $20 ticket to the Austin Humane Society Car Raffle, now through noon Friday, and Yard Bar, 6700 Burnet Rd., will give you a 5-Visit Dog Park Pass ($20 value), plus a free green beer at their inaugural St. Pet Trick's Day, all day Friday, March 17. Show off your pup's best trick, and get a special treat. AHS will be there 5-8pm with adoptable puppies and dogs, and this year's Mazda MX-5 Sport donated by Roger Beasley Mazda. Tix at www.austinhumanesociety.org.
Saturday, March 18, is National Quilting Day.