Public Notice: More to Be Thankful For
An overdue (if tentative) win in Southwest Austin
As if our cover feature and the defenestration of the orange one weren't enough to give joy ...
The Save Barton Creek Association says they've "scored a major victory" in their lawsuit against the Texas Department of Transportation's controversial multilevel Oak Hill Parkway project to rebuild and expand the "Y" in Oak Hill where U.S. 290 West and Texas 71 meet. SBCA, along with four other plaintiffs – Save Oak Hill, Fix 290, Clean Water Action, and the South Windmill Run Neighborhood Association – say their alternate "Livable Oak Hill" plan for a ground-level parkway and improved street grid would save millions compared to TxDOT's plan (which they say is already $200 million over budget) while protecting the local environment and delivering traffic relief. Their victory is a court-ordered supervised mediation with TxDOT, ongoing as we go to press Tuesday.
No telling how that may have gone by the time you read this, but the dispute is likely not over. If you want to get personally involved, SBCA has set up an Adopt-a-Tree program. Go to www.savebartoncreek.org/oak-hill-parkway to take a tour of the 114 protected, 137 heritage, and 37 legacy trees that are threatened by TxDOT's elevated toll road – sortable by size and/or species, with photos of each, and an option to adopt: free for the protected trees, $100 for the heritage ones, and $1,000 for a legacy. Notable adopters so far include a majority of both the Austin City Council and Travis County Commissioners Court, and organizations such as the Barton Springs Conservancy and the Save Our Springs Alliance, plus the local chapters of the American Institute of Architects and Congress for the New Urbanism. But TxDOT tends to not listen to anyone about anything, so ...
The 2020 Austin Green Awards are coming up next Wednesday, Dec. 2, 4:30-6pm; see more info, register for free, and learn about sponsorship opportunities at www.atxgreenawards.org. The fifth annual awards will celebrate "sustainably inspired design practices, [highlighting] exemplary building, site, and landscape initiatives in Central Texas." This year's event, "Fulfilling the Promise of Sustainability," will include a retrospective "to reflect on what we've learned from the 22 projects recognized over the first four years," and a panel moderated by Huston-Tillotson University President Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette.
The city's Economic Development Department and Corridor Mobility Program are hosting a virtual public meeting on the Colony Loop Drive project, a part of the city's 2016 Mobility Bond Program, which will complete this central artery serving the new Colony Park community in Northeast Austin. See conceptual images and give feedback via the project's Facebook and YouTube channels, Thursday, Dec. 3, at 5:30pm. See www.colonyparkatx.org for more on the Colony Park Sustainable Community.
Two nontraditional holidays this week remind us of ways to contribute to the local community:
• Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28, comes right after Black Friday, and is a much more worthy shopping day. You've heard the stats – money spent at locally owned stores circulates seven times through the local economy, etc. – so whether it's Friday, Saturday, or whatever day, remember that during the shopping season. Don't know where to go? Check out the city's Souly Austin program (www.austintexas.gov/department/souly-austin) or the Austin Independent Business Alliance's IBIZ Districts (www.ibuyaustin.com). After that, celebrate on Small Brewery Sunday, Nov. 29, sleep through Cyber Monday, then:
• Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, kicks off the giving season, as a lot of worthy nonprofits kick off their year-end donation campaigns. See the Chronicle's annual nonprofit wish list compilation, and more about the holiday week in this week's Community listings.