Archives for January 2010

Density Bonus Program Stalls

For better or for worse, ROMA’s density bonus recommendations aren’t likely to be adopted anytime soon.  The Planning Commission believes that not all party’s concerns have been addressed and they are requesting a four-month review period.  My experience with the density bonus recommendations is that ROMA and the City’s Planning and Development Review Department went above and beyond what was necessary to gather input.  They’ve held town halls and sought out stake holder input, ad nauseam.  Did it feel like a seminar?  Yes, at times, because these are complicated issues with a learning curve.  As someone that’s opined at these input gathering sessions, I always felt my opinion/concerns/questions were being listened to.  Anyone that hasn’t weighed in on this yet cannot credibly claim they’ve not had the opportunity to do so.  Difficult decisions will need to be made that will not always assuage the concerns of all parties.

I’m still ambivalent on the density bonus.  But it’s easy to be frustrated with City Council and the Planning Commission because there has been a year of planning and citizen input on the recommendations put forth.  What does that say about the process of stakeholder input?  Maybe an additional four month review is warranted, but the notion that ROMA and the City’s Planning and Development Review Department have not made every effort possible to seek input is patently false, and leaves me to be skeptical that this is nothing more than junk-politics at work.

For two perspectives on the issue of warehouse district protection – a highlight of ROMA’s density bonus recommendation – check out this contribution by Mike McGill and Roger Cauvin.

Statesman link

Nueces Bike Boulevard/Local Access Street Stakeholder Meeting

Nueces Bike Boulevard/Local Access Street Stakeholder Meeting

Downtown Austin Blog is in support of the Nueces Bike Boulevard.  Show your support for a more walkable and pedestrian urban core by attending this event.

The City of Austin invites you to share your thoughts on a potential Nueces Bicycle Boulevard/Local Access Street at two upcoming meetings:

January 13: In response to stakeholder feedback, this meeting will include a discussion on the pros and cons of Rio Grande Street as compared to Nueces Street as a Bicycle Boulevard/Local Access Street.

February 24: City staff will present the results of traffic data analyses (This meeting was originally scheduled for 1/27).

Both meetings will be held at Pease Elementary School, 1106 Rio Grande St, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

You can learn more about the project at the City of Austin Bicycle website.

Please contact Jason Fialkoff via email or at (512) 974-7060 or with any questions or concerns.

Thank you,
Downtown Austin Alliance


The Shore Condos Closeout

Perhaps in light of the upcoming Sabine auction, The Shore Condos is aggressively working to closeout their sales program.  We just received a note from sales office: eight units remain and discounts range from 10-25% off of original asking prices.  A large 1bd + study on the 18th floor can be purchased for $243,750.   This same unit would have been offered at $325,000 in late 2008.

A pdf of the remaining units and pricing can be downloaded here.

DAB readers will recall that 2009 was a great year for the Shore, as they quietly discounted and sold nearly 75 units over this past summer.  In fact, in November, Amber and I closed on our new space at the Shore [we’ve leased our beloved 1bd at the Sabine].  The construction quality is outstanding, and the proximity to Rainey Street and the trail cannot be beat.

Downtown Austin Alliance Getting New Motto?

[UPDATE:  Thanks to the DAA for the clarifying point that this was simply the title of the annual report and is not going to become the new motto.]

“Downtown: As Austin As It Gets” could be replaced with “Downtown: Everyone’s Neighborhood”

This is what appeared on the DAA’s annual report (pdf).

I think I understand the DAA’s motivation for a new tag line. It reaches out. It acknowledges [and I agree] that downtown Austin is different and lots of people use downtown. The new tag line is a reminder that downtown respects input from the entire city.

BUT, once neighborhoods outside of the urban core decide what is NOT best for them, then whatever that is gets deflected back into downtown, de facto. Calling downtown “Everyone’s Neighborhood” leaves downtown as the catchall and invites less progressive neighborhoods to continue to ignore the environmental and economic need for density, transit, and social services in their own backyard.

Amazing Photo Of Downtown Austin At Night

This photo wast taken and posted by Hairysun at SkyscraperPage.  It’s really an amazing theme and is something completely new.   I think the moonlight was poking through the clouds, but from this angle it also looks as if the Austonian’s “beacon” is breaking through the the low cloud base – very Gothamish.  Vantage point is Butler Park.  Cool! 🙂