Archives for April 2009

The Blight of Billboard Structures

Gotta feel for this guy.  Billboard structures are a blight that affects ALL of us.  With large cylindrical steel or rotting wood supports, these ugly structures are designed to intercept our line of site without regard to its place in the neighborhood fabric.  Unlike buildings (which serve a fundamental need for shelter and receive scrutiny throughout the design phase) billboards structures like this can literally pop-up overnight.  The more invasive the structure, the more eyeballs it’s supposed to catch.

Operators like Lamar, Reagan, Clear Channel, et al, pretty well have a protected business that, ironically, was created out of the laws designed to curb signage.  It’s my understanding that no new billboards may be erected in Austin.  However, billboards may be moved around.  Take one down in order to put one up.   If it’s a commercially zoned property, then there are few restrictions.

It’s unfortunate that this particular billboard structure, so completely in your face and out of context, was installed next to Bridges On The Park – an outstanding condo development that is contextual to the area, utilized good materials, is not too large, is pedestrian friendly, and has welcoming retail on the ground floor.  Still, be on watch for the Statesman’s John Kelso grumpy hate brigade: “bourgeois condo owners get what’s coming to’em”

Sao Paulo decided to take ALL billboards down!

Where is Scenic Austin on this issue?

If you want to familiarize yourself with Austin’s sign ordinace, you can find it here.

-Jude

New Ashton In Austin Website Teases Us

Austin Ashton - Clubhouse Rendering

Austin Ashton - Living Room

Checkout the new website.   As of this posting you won’t find pricing, floor plans, or availability – stuff you want to know 🙁

For that, you should stay tuned to Downtown Austin Blog as we continue to share the inside info on the Ashton.

-Jude

p.s. Send me an email me with your contact info and I’ll respond with a draft copy of the floor plans.

Walton's Fancy & Staple

Waltons Fancy & Staple

Walton's Fancy & Staple

Downtown Austin Blog has been tracking Walton’s Fancy for some time. It’s good to see they are beginning to get the word out. Sandra Bullock is officially behind Walton’s. From the ABJ…

Bullock is bringing a neighborhood market called Walton’s Fancy & Staple to 609 W. Sixth St. Walton’s is her second downtown business. She opened her upscale comfort food-style restaurant, Bess Bistro on Pecan, a little more than two years ago

-Jude

Golf Carts v Pedi-cabs

KVUE.com is reporting that pedi-cab operators are none-to-thrilled about the fancy golf carts now competing with them for downtown Austin transportation.   Capital Cruises now has two golf carts moving people around town.  Next time you decide to walk, remember that you are competing with pedi-cabs.

Thanks to DANA’s Roger Cauvin for the tip!

A Vision For Rail

Obama’s high speed rail initiative is being covered across the web today.  This is not surprising as informed Americans recognize that construction of more roads, along with the commensurate increase in cars for those roads, is the wrong path towards a sustainable and connected Union.

High speed rail is designed to be a substitute mode of travel within a defined economic corridor.  Air travel will remain the primary mode of transportation; however, rail system will be vastly more convenient and accessible for most people.  For instance, it will not require thousands of acres of scorched earth suburban development as airports do.  Rather, a train station, a single building, could be placed inside the urban core of the connecting cities.

Of course, it’s easy for me to be excited about this vision since Austin is one of those connected cities.  Notice the “fly over” states?  What is their incentive to support this vision?  Pheonix, Denver, and Las Vegas are three large cities that are NOT connected in this vision.  That’s a significant oversight, IMO.

-Jude

An American High Speed Rail System